Could the P51A been made available for the Battle of Midway?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pinsog, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    Everything happening as it did historically, could the P51A have been made available to the defenders at Midway in late May of 1942?
     
  2. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    How about P-38's?
     
  3. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    What could it add, escort our SBDs to Berlin? :lol:
     
  4. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The USAAF started getting production P-51A's in March 42, getting enough of them, then pilots with useful experience in them, ground crews trained in their maintenance, spares organized, and then get all that to Midway in 4 months would be quite a accomplishment.
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    A small quibble: the P-51 was the 1st model, used by USAF in token numbers. It has been introduced by the RAF, from spring 1942, named Mustang (later Mustang I).
    The P-51A was the new model, produced in 1943, equivalent to the RAF's Mustang II, 1st used during the summer of 1943. Featured the engine with supercharger drive better suited for higher altitudes (but still not as good for hi-alt job as DB-601E/605A, or contemporary Merlin), along with armament changes, and ability to carry drop tanks and bombs. Between these two Mustangs, NAA produced A-36.
     
  6. CORSNING

    CORSNING Active Member

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    Just a straight up answer: NO. The NA-73 (Mustang I) maybe. The P-51 (Mustang Ia) not sure.?

    Jeff
     
  7. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    The First production Mustangs for the RAF were known as Mustang Is; the first of which flew on 23 April 1941 and the first of which began equipping 26 Sqn at Gatwick from January 1942. The first USAAC/F (The USAAC became the USAAF on June 20th 1941) variant of the Mustang, the P-51, was based on the RAF Mustang IA. The P-51A came after the A-36. Interesting to note that the first USAAC Merlin engined P-51 variants were named XP-78s, later P-51Bs.
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Not unless they commandeered all RAF Mk 1
     
  9. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    As Drgondog says, There were only 138 Mustangs made in 1941 and about another 306 made till the end of April 1942. To get the planes to Midway they have to be accepted (test flown) knocked down and crated for shipment, loaded on a ship, sailed to Hawaii, unloaded, reassembled, test flown and then issued to a unit. Pilots would have zero time in type and mechanics would be reading (hopefully) from the manuals as they attempted their first servicing of the aircraft.

    Any scheme to get Mustangs to Midway would need the RAF planes commandeered 2-3 months before the actual battle which calls for more fore-knowledge than they really had.
     
  10. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Guys, I don't understand what P51s could have added to the defense of that island, anyway. Let's just say we had them, there. So what? The Japanese sent 130 planes after that island that were met with 27 fighters and then our anti-aircraft fire, there. What could substituting those fighters with P51s have accomplished? I don't see any different outcome, really.
     
  11. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    #11 pinsog, Jun 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
    Putting up some kind of reasonable air defence, shooting down some, several, or alot of the incoming attack force without being slaughtered, instead of being slaughtered by the attacking force with only a few kills. Later in the war a small number of Hellcats attacked large formations of Japanese planes and broke up the formations and inflicted significant damage even though greatly outnumbered.

    I thought the P51A was the first available Mustang, my mistake. My question should read, could the very first combat capable Mustang have been supplied to Midway in time to take part in the battle.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    And the answer is no as the first combat capable Mustangs were OWNED by the British, Bought and paid for, not lend lease. At least the first 320, the next 300 are still British but may be lend lease(?) but the first P-51 (aside from the 2 test aircraft) built to a US contract is not delivered until July 1942.
     
  13. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    The Japanese planes enroute to the island were headed off by our fighters just outside the island. They weren't there to have an air conflict but to get to the island. It would have taken a much greater force than just 27 fighters to hold the bulk of those planes off the island.
     
  14. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    I think only about 30 of that force were Zero escorts, the rest were dive bombers. Mustangs had the speed to engage the bombers and avoid the fighters. I feel certain that 27 Mustangs or some other fighter of equal performance could have done alot of damage to that incoming raid. I mean come on, anything is better than shooting down 5 planes and losing nearly all the defenders in the first 3 minutes of combat.
     
  15. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    P38's had been in production for several months as it was. The available ones were rounded up and shipped to the Aleutians. So yes, P38's could have been flown to thee atoll prior to the battle and given the IJN a nasty reception on June 4th.
     
  16. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    Any guess as to how many P38's could have been put there? How many were in the Aleutians?
     
  17. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Think of what those fighters were up against. They were outnumbered 4:1. Say they shot down 15 in 1 minute rather than 5 in 3 minutes. That still leaves 115 getting by them. There's no fighter that can shoot down more than one at a time. Say 27 shot down 27. That's still 103 getting by.

    I don't know what you imagine these Mustangs were, but they weren't magic. Different story, again, if it's just an air conflict. When 27 encounter 130, and the 130 are trying to get away, the bulk of them get away, it's as simple as that. That means, regardless, little appreciable difference, that little island is still toast.
     
  18. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Pisong, according to Shattered Sword; The IJN put up the following forces for the attack on Midway itself.

    36 dive bombers
    36 level bombers
    47 fighters
     
  19. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    #19 pinsog, Jun 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
    Shoot some down, live to fight another day, at least the Mustang gives those poor guys a fighting chance. Either you go down fighting as hard as you can or you roll over and let them kill you. After looking at my copy of "Shattered Sword", the Japanese lost 23% of the attacking force that hit Midway, that includes outright kills by fighters and AA guns and aircraft written off as unflyable/unrepairable that made it back to the carriers. The fighting ability of the defenders of Midway island was not deminished.


    Syscom3

    Thank you. I have that book. Perhaps I should read it again.

    Do you know how many P38's they could have put on the island?
     
  20. altsym

    altsym Member

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    Where exactly are these Allison powered P-51's taking off from?
     
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