|Later in WWII the Allied bombers were flying deep into Germany but suffered tremendous losses
because of the lack of range the fighter escorts had. German fighters would wait beyond the
range of the Allied fighters and then attack the vulnerable bombers. Once the P-51, called
Mustang by the British, had the Allison engine replaced with a British Merlin it possessed the
high performance that had been lacking. With drop tanks the P-51 had the range to escort
bombers all the way to Berlin and back.
P-51K Mustang 44-72035 “Tall In The Saddle” was delivered to the USAAF on December 21,
1944. Originally destined for the 8th AF in England it was soon changed to the Mediterranean
Theater of Operations with the 15th AF in Italy. 44-72035 was assigned to the 332nd FG/99th FS
known then as the “Red Tails” and later “Tuskegee Airmen”. The squadron provided bomber
escort and ground attack sweeps over Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. Pilot George
Hardy flew many missions in this aircraft and “Tall In The Saddle” survived WWII wearing many
bullet hole repairs.
Specifications for the North American Aviation P-51D Mustang
The main difference between the D variant and the K variant was the use of the Aeroproducts
propeller on the K instead of the Hamilton Standard propeller that was unavailable around the
time of these P-51s being produced. However some K’s will be seen with Hamilton Standard
because of field changes.
Hamilton Standard Prop – 11 ft 2 ins, 4 blades, some were cuffed and some weren’t and had
square tipped blades (paddle blade)
Aeroproducts propeller – 11 ft , 4 blades
Total K built – 1,500
Wing Span – 37 ft (11.27 m)
Length – 32 ft 3 in (9.82 m)
Height – 13 ft 8 in (4.16 m)
Empty – 7,125 lb (3,232 kg)
Gross – 10,100 lb (4,581 kg)
Maximum Take-off – 11,600 lb (5,262 kg)
Engine – Packard Merlin two-staged supercharged V-1650-7, 12 cylinder V engine 1,695 hp.
Maximum Speed – 437 mph (703 km/h)
Ceiling – 41,900 ft (12,771 m)
Range – 950 miles (1,529 km)
Maximum Range – 2,300 miles (3,701 km)
(6) .50 caliber MG
Maximum External Bomb Load – 2,000 lb (907 kg)
Or (4) .5 inch rockets.
|Hobby Master 1/48 Air Power Series
P-51K Mustang "Tall In the Saddle"
99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, WWII
|HOBBY MASTER COLLECTOR