The Mustang and the Merlin. So right did the combination prove that they are now synonymous. But it was by no means always certain it would produce the long-range escort fighter which proved so influential in the European theatre. What was the reality behind the legend?
In late 1944, the men of the Duxford-based 78th Fighter Group faced a new challenge. Since 1943 they had run the gauntlet of German fighters and anti-aircraft fire in that tremendously dependable platform, the P-47 Thunderbolt. Now the ‘Duxford Eagles’ were converting to the P-51 Mustang — and some of them weren’t best pleased. With extracts from unit records, this is the story of the 78th’s transition