Mustang: The Untold Story (Hardback)
The North American Mustang is one of the most well-studied aircraft. However, much of what is commonly understood about it, particularly its early, Allison-powered variants, is not entirely correct. This book examines the history of the aircraft afresh, within the orbit of tactical doctrine, strategy and even politics, as well as the changing nature of World War II. The Allison Mustang proved to be no worse than the best aircraft of the war in the roles where it found its niche and, through this new study, it is hoped that the significance of this vital aircraft can finally be appreciated.
Even among many Americans there lingers a suggestion that the Alison-engined Mustang was no match for the Packard-Merlin version and that it was ‘not up to much’. If the comparison is to be simply that of a high-altitude fighter there may be some merit in that thought. But the reality is that the two were quite different engines which equally functioned well – but in completely different applications. In effect the two engines produced two different aircraft and in this book Matthew Willis has produced a timely analysis of the one with the much-maligned Alison motor.Philip Styles - Archivist – The Shackleton Assn.
There had, indeed, been a number of problems with the Alison engine but these were exacerbated by its installation into an aircraft whose aerodynamics were at the forefront of the day’s know-how. Indeed so advanced were they that questions were raised as to whether they should be revealed even to a friendly power. But the only immediate customer for this advanced aircraft was the RAF which in the first painful years of the war, together with the army, had learned about modern warfare the hard way. By the time the Mustang flew in mid-1942 it was clear that ‘Army Co-operation’ was more than just spotting for artillery. It needed fast, robust, heavily-armed and long-range aircraft, adaptable for bombing and photo-reconnaissance, and the Alison-engined Mustang quickly proved it could provide all of that. High altitude performance was secondary.
From this extensive technical background the narrative moves on to operations by the RAF and USAAF worldwide, with dozens of evocative illustrations from both the European and Far-Eastern theatres.
With this book Matthew Willis has much more than ‘balanced the books’ for the Alison-engined Mustang – he has established its rightful place in the annals of aviation history.