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Mixed usage of P-51 B/Cs and P-51Ds in USAAF squadrons

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I need some clarification on the mixed usage of P-51 B/Cs and P-51Ds in USAAF squadrons in the USAAF's Ninth Air Force. I am aware of razorback P-47s being used alongside bubbletop P-47s up until the end of the war in Europe, but I'm not certain about the same sort of thing in P-51 units. Was it standard practice to have both types of P-51s in Ninth AF P-51 squadrons? I've seen mixed types in Eighth AF squadron photos, but Ninth AF is a bit of a mystery to me. 

 

Thanks!

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From what I read, wich I can't support rn, the Ninth AF didn't use mix types. They moved to the Bubbletop versions once they were already based in France. I don't know if this can help or can point you towards a good source, sorry Luke!

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I don’t know if this info could help you I found on americanairmuseum.com three photographs showing a mixed formation of seven P-51 B and D from 356th FS, 354th FG, Ninth AIr Force, five of them with invasion stripes.

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/unit/55
 

 "P-51D AJ-V is sandwiched between P-51B's AJ-E 'Bo-Yo' and AJ-D. 356FS, 354FG, 9AF" :

8607F07A-48B3-482E-B40A-388893036971.thumb.jpeg.b59af267effc19d3c56d8e5f5e066256.jpeg

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It was very normal to have mixed units of P-51B/C/D aircraft in both the 8th and 9th AF fighter units during the summer of 1944.  P-51D's began appearing in late May and early June.  The first D loss I can find a record of was Major James Goodson's P-51D (4th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force), which went down due to flak on June 20th, 1944 (Goodson was captured).  Some other D models appear from other groups in late June and early July, and B and C model losses continue to pop up well into September/October.  The 20th, 55th and 364th Fighter Groups converted from P-38s to P-51s in July of 44 and seem to have received mostly D model aircraft, but all seem to have gotten a few B/Cs.

 

The 354th Fighter Group took General Eisenhower on a tour of the front lines on July 4th of 1944, using a P-51B that had been converted to add a second seat.  Richard Turner had to abort on this mission flying a brand new D model.

 

The 363rd Fighter Group appears to have received D models in July, and losses of both B/C and D models were recorded in late July and early August, sometimes on the same day.

Edited by KW_1979
added some additional detail
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Hey Luke,

 

D models were received and rotated in pretty much the same way whether it we're talking 8th or 9th Air Force, as they were under the same constraints, procedures, aircraft arriving in spurts etc. 

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Luke, consulting the 354th FG group-history by Steve Blake, just a couple of samples of aircraft lost (american dates), which probably is the easiest way of establishing mixed fleets:

 

P-51B-10

42-106712 LIA 10-29-44

 

P-51C-1

42-103313 LIA 10-29-44

 

P-51C-10

42-103687 LIA 11-28-44

42-103798 LIA 10-22-44

 

P-51D-5

44-13328 LIA 07-17-44

44-13560 LIA 10-14-44

44-13581 LIA 11-21-44

44-14045 LIA 09-28-44

 

I think it's pretty safe to say there was a good deal of mixing in the 354th. The mixing of course went away after the switch to Jugs and then re-equipping with fresh D-model Mustangs in early '45. There seem to have been no D-15s with the 345th FG. Correction: The color-section shows one example of a D-15.

 

Checking the 363rd FG group-history by Kent Miller, I can see D-5s being LIA in late July '44 and B-10s being lost in late August '44.

The 363rd FG stood down on September 4th 1944 and became the 363rd TRG.

 

The issue of mixing in 9th AF units is a bit different to the early adopters of P-51s over in the 8th, because there was a good deal of aircraft-transitions going on in the 9th. The two "original" Mustang groups of the 9th were either transitioned to another mission (363rd) or had an intermezzo with Jugs (354th). The other unit to become acquainted with Mustangs (the 370th) transitioned in early '45 and got new or new'ish D-models. The same amounts for the 354th, which wouldn't get their original fastback models back when retransitioning to Mustangs.

Edited by Bremspropeller
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Good stuff, guys, thanks! I had a look in America's Hundred Thousand, and it gives a date of June 1944 as to when the 8th AF starting receiving P-51Ds "in quantity."

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On 1/26/2020 at 12:22 AM, LukeFF said:

Good stuff, guys, thanks! I had a look in America's Hundred Thousand, and it gives a date of June 1944 as to when the 8th AF starting receiving P-51Ds "in quantity."

 

It's going to add another dimension to the sim...similarly with the Razorback Jugs mixed in on the Rhineland map.

I think it's worth talking with Jason and getting a Bodney'esque base squeezed into the outer edge of the map since it's cut off.

 

That way a 352nd career can start in Normandy, and continue into BobP.

Man...I always make so much sense. 😆

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Posted (edited)

According to Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces series, British squadrons defintitely used mixed variants of Mustangs, so the US did too, probably. I also found these pictures from a book called "Mustang Aces of the Ninth and Fifteenth Air Force". In the first pic, although hard to read it, the 6th and 7th aircraft on the pic - a B and a C respectively - appear to be from the same squadron of the 9th AF, and judging by the paint and the markings, probably from the same time period. On the second, the 3rd and 4th aircraft - a B and a D - are also from the same group, although from the 15th AF (but if the 15th used them together, the other AFs did too, probably). Again what I can tell from the paint job and the markings, they are argueably from the same time period. It's a shame no date or homebase is written.

i-img600x450-1586096424dujyos123.jpg

pic209833-1484582303.jpg

Edited by Ruben_Szabo

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On 1/19/2020 at 3:28 AM, LukeFF said:

I need some clarification on the mixed usage of P-51 B/Cs and P-51Ds in USAAF squadrons in the USAAF's Ninth Air Force. I am aware of razorback P-47s being used alongside bubbletop P-47s up until the end of the war in Europe, but I'm not certain about the same sort of thing in P-51 units. Was it standard practice to have both types of P-51s in Ninth AF P-51 squadrons? I've seen mixed types in Eighth AF squadron photos, but Ninth AF is a bit of a mystery to me. 

 

Thanks!

Frankly, I don't get the confusion. Units that recieved the new B and C models of the Mustangs began recieving D models once they reached Europe in May of '44. If one of the earlier models was still a good airframe, Groups didn't push them off into the junkpile just because the D's had arrived. They just continued to fly them both. As attrition, or time, caused B and C models to be removed from the roster, D 's eventually became the primary model in these outfits. That's pretty much it. What's confusing about it?

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On 5/7/2020 at 1:41 PM, Poochnboo said:

 If one of the earlier models was still a good airframe, Groups didn't push them off into the junkpile just because the D's had arrived. 

 

That's exactly what happened...in the 8th Air Force at least. B/C's were replaced with D's when they arrived, one by one as they were received, prepped and ready to fly.

Might have been different in the 9th AF, I don't have that information. I'm sure lower priority units like the 15th etc were lower priority and used older models much longer.

 

8th AF squadrons went to D models and the condition of the prior B/C's had nothing to say in the matter.

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9 hours ago, Gambit21 said:

That's exactly what happened

Yep they where replaced, those converting from JUG to 51 D however the jug was sent to units operating them

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12 hours ago, Gambit21 said:

 

That's exactly what happened...in the 8th Air Force at least. B/C's were replaced with D's when they arrived, one by one as they were received, prepped and ready to fly.

Might have been different in the 9th AF, I don't have that information. I'm sure lower priority units like the 15th etc were lower priority and used older models much longer.

 

8th AF squadrons went to D models and the condition of the prior B/C's had nothing to say in the matter.

In the book, Escort to Berlin, there are a couple of P-51Bs pictured supposedly still flying with the 4thFG in late December 1944. VF*T was salvaged on 04/08/45. Whether it was still flying missions until that late date, the book doesn't say. VF*S has the late 44/early 45 swept back nose painted on it so it was still on ops as late as the end of 1944. There were likely others still flying in the 8thAF as well I'd think.

 

IMG_3096.thumb.jpg.211a66999f8356a70524d776d11165bd.jpg

Here's a screen shot of a P-51D from the 354thFG leading two B models. It has to be at least late summer or early fall as the upper D-Day bands are re moved or over painted.

media-33259.jpeg

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Gambit21 said:

 

That's exactly what happened...in the 8th Air Force at least. B/C's were replaced with D's when they arrived, one by one as they were received, prepped and ready to fly.

Might have been different in the 9th AF, I don't have that information. I'm sure lower priority units like the 15th etc were lower priority and used older models much longer.

 

8th AF squadrons went to D models and the condition of the prior B/C's had nothing to say in the matter.

Gambit, the only 8th Air Force units that went over completely to D models were those that were flying Jugs and Lightnings until later in '44 when the earlier models were no longer being issued. The 356th, the 78th...etc... But the 357th, for instance. Here s a quote by Merle Olmstead from his book, "The 357th Over Europe." He was a mechanic with that unit and was the 357th historian:

  ..."equipment at year's end was almost entirely P-51D'S and a few K models. However, some B models soldiered on.........all flown by new pilots, of course." It was the same with the Jugs of the 56th. There were still razorbacks on the roster in October of '44. Ya didn't just junk good planes. They were replaced when they were either shot down or were declared war weary.

Edited by Poochnboo
spelling

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1 hour ago, Poochnboo said:

Gambit, the only 8th Air Force units that went over completely to D models were those that were flying Jugs and Lightnings until later in '44 when the earlier models were no longer being issued. The 356th, the 78th...etc... But the 357th, for instance. 

 

Pooch!

Can you please clarify?

 

This is seemingly not the case for instance with the 352nd (Jugs, to B’s to D’s)

Maybe all their B’s were “war weary” but that isn’t the impression I have either from research or my conversations with the pilots themselves. Still doesn’t mean you’re not right though. 

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Posted (edited)

Gam, I have a photo in Jay Stout's, "Fighter Group," that I'm sure you have. It shows the 352nd about to leave on their Shuttle mission to Russia. All of the airplanes are B and C model Mustangs except for a lone bubble topped D in the foreground. An early D-5. I think that shows that the D's dribbled in and did not replace the older Mustangs overnight. Don't forget that when the D models began leaving North American's factories there were hundreds of, still undelivered, B's and C's. These were still new airplanes and couldn't simply be discarded. A lot of these went to China, though, as I'm sure Europe was given precedence over the CBI when it came to the new D 's. And they were thrilled to get them to replace their aging P-40's. But that's another story.

352nd mustangs.jpg

220px-458_BG_352_FG_FRE_006713.jpg

 

The second picture came out a bit too small, but shows two B and two D model 352nd Group Mustangs escorting some Libs.

And....well, you get the point.

P-51MustangsincludingHO-Aserialnumber44-13530nicknamedMillie.jpg

Edited by Poochnboo
spelling

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Poochnboo said:

Gam, I have a photo in Jay Stout's, "Fighter Group," that I'm sure you have. It shows the 352nd about to leave on their Shuttle mission to Russia.

 

Indeed I do. :)

He's a great guy by the way - we've traded some emails with regard to 352nd research.

 

 

 

Quote

 

 

All of the airplanes are B and C model Mustangs except for a lone bubble topped D in the foreground. An early D-5. I think that shows that the D's dribbled in and did not replace the older Mustangs overnight. Don't forget that when the D models began leaving North American's factories there were hundreds of, still undelivered, B's and C's. These were still new airplanes and couldn't simply be discarded. A lot of these went to China, though, as I'm sure Europe was given precedence over the CBI when it came to the new D 's. And they were thrilled to get them to replace their aging P-40's. But that's another story.

 

 

Found some good stuff. You are correct.

Looking through my squadron history I found another photo of a mixed 328th flight escorting B-24's back across the pond while stationed at Chievres.

 

Further, I found a photo and blurb of PE-S -106703. P-51B. "Snoots Sniper" as the Sgt/crew member was the 328th barber.

Was supposed to be "Snoots Snipper" but was misspelled as "Sniper"

Anyway this aircraft accumulated over 300 hours and was still at Bodney when the Group rotated to the states after VE-Day.

 

I’ll drop Jay an email later and see if he happens to have any specific info as to which 352nd squadrons had them or more of them. Or did one or 2 of the 3 squadrons go all D. For instance I can’t find any  photos of late war 487th B/C’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gambit21

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Yeah, Snoot's Sniper was the longest serving Mustang with the unit. By the time the war was over she had already been declared war weary and served as a joyrider and hack. Note that the Malcolm hooded B in the last picture I posted is in a photo taken in front of the Bodney control tower in May of 1945. So, she's another old timer. 

I'm not trying to belabor the point. I just want people to understand that these older models weren't bulldozed out of the way to make room for new models. There was a war on, and if the airplane could fly, it was sent out on missions until it couldn't anymore. 

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39 minutes ago, Poochnboo said:

Yeah, Snoot's Sniper was the longest serving Mustang with the unit. By the time the war was over she had already been declared war weary and served as a joyrider and hack. Note that the Malcolm hooded B in the last picture I posted is in a photo taken in front of the Bodney control tower in May of 1945. So, she's another old timer. 

I'm not trying to belabor the point. I just want people to understand that these older models weren't bulldozed out of the way to make room for new models. There was a war on, and if the airplane could fly, it was sent out on missions until it couldn't anymore. 

 

No worries.

It’s something that certainly slipped past me until this thread. 

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@LukeFF Response from Stout was basically a "no idea" on number of B/C models operating in the 487th vs the other two squadrons that we know used them (328th)

as well as... "I have a panoramic of the 352nd staging for takeoff in spring 1945 and there are no B/Cs in it."

All late war 487th photos I have are D's, but that's just the photos I have. It's a lot of photos mind you, but still not definitive.

 

My educated guess is that B/C's were present in all 3 squadrons, but not in every mission/flight, and seemingly more common in the 328th at least for escort missions where 4 guns wasn't a liability vs 8 for ground attack. Best I can do and errors may exist. :)

 

 

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Please, help us to find information when these squadrons began to receive P-51D-15 in 1944:

 

354th FG:

353rd Fighter Squadron

355th Fighter Squadron

356th Fighter Squadron

 

363rd FG:

380th Fighter Squadron

381st Fighter Squadron

382nd Fighter Squadron

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What are you looking for specifically with 354th and 363rd FG? Airfields? Markings? Aircraft use? Remember 363rd transitioned to TAC Recon Group 4 in September.

 

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54 minutes ago, NDak said:

What are you looking for specifically with 354th and 363rd FG? Airfields? Markings? Aircraft use? Remember 363rd transitioned to TAC Recon Group 4 in September.

 

 

He needs information on when they received P-51D-15.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, 41Sqn_Skipper said:

 

He needs information on when they received P-51D-15.

This is the reason for my question:

Because of the amount and depth of information from that thread and in this thread above, also the similarities of the various D sub-types, I was asking if he needed more information.
The D started arriving in the ETO in March, the D-15 probably not until July-August time frame.

Edited by NDak

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, BlackSix said:

Please, help us to find information when these squadrons began to receive P-51D-15 in 1944:

 

354th FG:

353rd Fighter Squadron

355th Fighter Squadron

356th Fighter Squadron

 

363rd FG:

380th Fighter Squadron

381st Fighter Squadron

382nd Fighter Squadron

 

Hey Alex!

 

First off, if you ever have doubts about the exact type of P-51 in a photo, this website is a good place to check: http://www.mustang.gaetanmarie.com/documents/serials.htm

 

Now, onto the planes:

 

First, the 363rd Fighter Group:

 

"Fool's Paradise IV", a D-5 from the 380th FS, was photographed as being at Cherbourg-Maupertus in early July 1944: https://ww2db.com/image.php?image_id=10723

 

44-13575, a D-5 from the 382nd FS, was also photographed at Cherbourg-Maupertus in early July 1944: http://www.americanairmuseum.com/media/22169

 

44-13310, a D-5, was lost on 27 July 1944: http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/13997

 

All other listings of 363rd FG Mustangs from the American Air Museum in Britain website list either P-51 B/Cs or D-5's that were lost in August 1944. So, at the earliest, we could say that they started received D-model Mustangs at the beginning of July 1944.

 

Now, the 354th FG:

 

44-13328, a D-5, lost on 17 July 1944: http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/14002

 

44-13621, a D-5, was assigned to the 353rd FS while the squadron was stationed at Lashenden, so that puts the date somewhere between mid-April and mid-June 1944: http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/20946

Edited by LukeFF
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Hi, Luke!

I suppose we need to find somewhere the lists of losses for these P-51 fighter groups, as it was done for the P-38 and P-47 squadrons, when we were able to determine the arrival of new modifications with an accuracy of 10-15 days. But I didn't see such P-51 lists of losses anythere...

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4 minutes ago, BlackSix said:

Hi, Luke!

I suppose we need to find somewhere the lists of losses for these P-51 fighter groups, as it was done for the P-38 and P-47 squadrons, when we were able to determine the arrival of new modifications with an accuracy of 10-15 days. But I didn't see such P-51 lists of losses anythere...

 

Hey Alex!

 

I'll keep having a look. Based on my research so far, I would say that the D-5 started arriving in the 363rd no later than 5 July 1944. With the 354th, I would say they started receiving D-5s around mid-June 1944. The trend for 9th AF units seems to be that D-model Mustangs were taken on hand right before they transferred from England to France.

 

It doesn't look like D-15s were in either of these fighter groups during the time frame depicted by the game. 

 

I'll keep looking to see if I can find more detailed info on these two groups.

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Ok, thanks!

Of course it would be a pity if they don't have time to get D-15s before August 22.

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33 minutes ago, BlackSix said:

Hi, Luke!

I suppose we need to find somewhere the lists of losses for these P-51 fighter groups, as it was done for the P-38 and P-47 squadrons, when we were able to determine the arrival of new modifications with an accuracy of 10-15 days. But I didn't see such P-51 lists of losses anythere...

 

Also, one other thing: as I wrote above, America's Hundred Thousand says that P-51Ds started being taken on hand by 8th AF units "in quantity" (i.e., in significant numbers) in June 1944. That date would also be true for 9th AF. 

 

If nothing else comes forward about D-model deliveries, I would go with mid-June 1944 as the starting date for both fighter groups. They definitely had them before leaving for France, that much is true. To keep within the 10-15 day time frame, a date of 25 June 1944 for the 363rd would be reasonable, while for the 354th, a date of 15 June 1944 would work, in my opinion.

 

2 minutes ago, BlackSix said:

Ok, thanks!

Of course it would be a pity if they don't have time to get D-15s before August 22.

 

Upon looking further, I did find some photos of Short Fuse Sallee (44-15622) from when it was at Gael, France, in August. It was a D-15.

 

http://www.354thpmfg.com/galleries_wwlouie_pt2.html

 

wwl-image-40.jpg

M/Sgt. Henry Guckenburger (back facing camera) speaking with a Frenchman during a 'Sunday Open House', Gael, France, August 1944.

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Just a pic of a painting I was reminded of reading this post

 

 

P 51s Michael Turner painting.png

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Posted (edited)
On 5/25/2020 at 11:41 AM, BlackSix said:

Ok, thanks!

Of course it would be a pity if they don't have time to get D-15s before August 22.

 

Why not extending the timeframe to 29th August? Lots of juicy targets for allied A2G missions at the river Seine?

 

Quote: From 26 to 29 August, the Germans continued to cross the Seine river on floating bridges north and south of Paris. They are followed directly by US and British troops, who chase the defeated soldiers to prevent them from regrouping and counter-attacking. But it was without counting on the German rear-guards that prevented the Allies from advancing in safety and favoring the withdrawal of the Wehrmacht and Panzer armies.

 

https://www.dday-overlord.com/en/battle-of-normandy/days/26-august-1944

 

The battle of Normandy is, on the 29th of August, finished.

The Battle of Normandy resulted in the death of more than 36,000 Allied soldiers and about 50,000 German soldiers. On 29 August 1944, when the last German convoys crossed the Seine, the Allies had more than 2,850,000 soldiers on the European continent. Fighting has also lastingly affected the Normandy region: Frederick Alexander Lindemann, scientific advisor to Winston Churchill, estimated that approximately 80,000 to 160,000 Norman civilians would be killed by the bombing and operations. In fact, 20,000 people were killed; 300,000 are homeless. 100,000 cattle and 8,000 horses were also killed.

 

https://www.dday-overlord.com/en/battle-of-normandy/days/29-august-1944

Edited by sevenless

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2 hours ago, sevenless said:

Why not extending the timeframe to 29th August? Lots of juicy targets for allied A2G missions at the river Seine?

 

All of the German Luftwaffe units are off the map by that date.

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34 minutes ago, LukeFF said:

 

All of the German Luftwaffe units are off the map by that date.

 

I see. Expanding the map to the necessary airfields to the east or usage of semi-prepared forward operating strips to make that historical date happen is not an option?

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Why just not use P-51D-15 in game for P-51D-5 that were used for Normandy SP missions ? Differance betwen them is minimal, looks as simple option.

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5 hours ago, sevenless said:

I see. Expanding the map to the necessary airfields to the east or usage of semi-prepared forward operating strips to make that historical date happen is not an option?

 

No, not at this point.

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6 hours ago, CountZero said:

Why just not use P-51D-15 in game for P-51D-5 that were used for Normandy SP missions ? Differance betwen them is minimal, looks as simple option.

Seems like a good option, performance wise they were nearly identical weren't they?

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Legioneod said:

Seems like a good option, performance wise they were nearly identical weren't they?

 

Like siamese twins. Furthermore units usually got a mixture of various machines of different builds.

 

375th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group

P-51D "LOU IV" (s/n 44-13410), unnamed P-51D (s/n 44-13926), P-51D "Sky Bouncer" (s/n 44-13568), and P-51B "SUZY-C" (s/n 42-106811)

 

Lou-IV is a D5.

 

Image of : North American P-51D Mustang

Edited by sevenless

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15 hours ago, CountZero said:

Why just not use P-51D-15 in game for P-51D-5 that were used for Normandy SP missions ? Differance betwen them is minimal, looks as simple option.

Perhaps we'll do so, given that, for example, we'll have to use Spit IXe from the very beginning of the career.

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13 hours ago, Legioneod said:

Seems like a good option, performance wise they were nearly identical weren't they?

If only differance is tail fin i guess they have same performace exept yaw instability.
For squadrons that used P-51D-5 in period of planed carrer it looks fair to alow player to use P-51D-15 from game if he wonts, AI wont mined.
And if player plays on Axis side AI uses only P-51B/Cs and no problems for player.

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1 hour ago, CountZero said:

If only differance is tail fin i guess they have same performace exept yaw instability.
For squadrons that used P-51D-5 in period of planed carrer it looks fair to alow player to use P-51D-15 from game if he wonts, AI wont mined.
And if player plays on Axis side AI uses only P-51B/Cs and no problems for player.

If there wasn't big difference in the performance between D-5 and D-15 we don't need to do such restrictions for the AI planes. I'll discuss this question with VikS. 

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