The P-51 Mustang and the men that flew them saved lives in the skies and on the ground. The P-51 Mustang was a solution to the clear need for an effective bomber escort. The Mustang was at least as simple as other aircraft of its era. It used a common, reliable engine and had internal space for a huge fuel load. With external fuel tanks, it could accompany the bombers all the way to Germany and back. 

From late 1943, P-51s were used by the USAAF's Eighth Air Force to escort bombers in raids over Germany, while the USAAF's Ninth Air Force used them as fighter-bombers, roles in which the Mustang helped ensure Allied air superiority in 1944.In Europe, the P-51 was also used by Allied air forces in the North African, Mediterranean and Italian theaters.

The numerical superiority of the USAAF fighters, superb flying characteristics of the P-51, and pilot proficiency helped cripple the Luftwaffe's fighter force. In air combat, the top-scoring P-51 units (both of which exclusively flew Mustangs) were the 357th Fighter Group of the 8th Air Force with 565 air-to-air combat victories and the Ninth Air Force's 354th Fighter Group with 664, which made it one of the top scoring fighter groups.

Here I leave some of the best photographies collected from the American Air Museum in Britain of crashed and wrecked P-51s 'Mustang'. Watch and enjoy!

A crashed P-51 Mustang of the 4th Fighter Group [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2281]

The wreck of a P-51 Mustang of the 357th Fighter Group after crash landing [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3117]

The remains of the nose of a P-51D Mustang that crashed in the Normandy area sometime in 1944. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'P-51D, crashed Normandy area 1944' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 10295]

A crashed P-51 Mustang (C5-M) of the 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3147/3157]

A crashed P-51 Mustang of the 357th Fighter Group [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3149]

The burning wreck of a P-51 Mustang of the 4th Fighter Group that crashed near Boxted, 10 September 1944. Official caption on image: "(GAD-272-1-35)(10-9-44)( P-51)(Rest)." Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Boxted - our fields. 4F6 P-51 gp' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2312]

A crashed P-51 Mustang (CL-P, serial number 44-13740) of the 338th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group. Official caption on image: "97SGA4G380-2. A/C No. 44-13740. P-51D NA" [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2450]

A P-51 Mustang (WZ-J, serial number 44-72163) of the 84th Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group that has crash-landed [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3044]

Ground personnel of the 325th Fighter Group, 15th Air Force attend to a crashed P-51 Mustang nicknamed "Boss Baby" [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 8803]

Ground personnel inspect a crashed P-51 Mustang (serial number 44-13573) of the 357th Fighter Group [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3159]

A crashed P-51 Mustang (OS-U, serial number 44-13353) nicknamed "Gin Rummy" of the 357th Fighter Squadron, 355th Fighter Group [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2938/2939]

A crashed P-51 Mustang (5Q-B, serial number 44-13569) of the 504th Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2782]

Ground personnel winch a crashed P-51 Mustang (5Q-Y) of the 504th Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group after a nose landing [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2781]

Ground personnel of the 384th Fighter Squadron, 359th Fighter Group attend to the burning wreck of a P-51 Mustang that has crash landed. Personnel of the of the 2017th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon attend to the burning wreck of a P-51 Mustang (P-51D 44-14034 5Y-U) that crashed on take-off, colliding with B-17G 42-107226, at Honington on 30th July 1944. The pilot of the aircraft, Lieutenant James R Korecky, of the 384th Fighter Squadron, 364th Fighter Group, was killed. This P-51 was assigned to Major Robert E Lacy and was named "Jackie" [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3198]

Crash landing of P-51 Mustang of the 334th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, (CY-?), 1944 - 1945. Error in picture caption "335G-4G" and in the caption's first version above : ID letters CY- are for 55th Fighter Group / 343rd Fighter Squadron [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 164]

A P-51 Mustang (serial number 44-63177) of the 78th Fighter Group that crash landed dur to collapsed landing gear The incident occurred at Duxford on 4th January 1945 with Flight Officer Melvin F Hoffman at the controls of P-51D-20-NA 44-63177 MX-C of the 82nd Fighter squadron. Following repair, the aircraft was lost on 24th February 1945 with 2Lt. Edwin B Anderson becoming a POW [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3042]

A P-51 Mustang nicknamed "Shangri-La" of the 4th Fighter Group, after crash-landing, 13 March 1944. Handwritten caption on reverse: '13-3-44.' On reverse: Keystone Press Agency [Stamp] [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2324]

Capt. Don Gentile's P-51B Mustang "Shangri-La" after crash landing on 13 April 1944 as Gentile arrived back at the 4th Fighter Group's Debden air base after his last mission. Printed caption attached to print: 'Captain Gentile crashes after big raid over continent, 14.4.44' And: 'Captain Don S. Gentile, 23-year-old flight leader in a U.S. 8th Air Force Mustang Group, who now is the top-scoring American ace in the European Theatre, crash-landed yesterday April 13th [date censored] after taking part in the big raid. Not known yet whether he broke his previous record by shooting down more enemy planes [sentence censored]' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 56]

Captain John B. England looks on as ground crew attend to his crashed P-51 Mustang (G4-X, serial number 44013738) Handwritten caption on reverse: 'G4-x crash- 10 Oct '44- John England' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 492]

Ground crew attend to a crashed P-51 Mustang nicknamed "Baby Jo" of the 357th Fighter Group. Handwritten caption on reverse: ' Lt Noel Breen ran out of fuel 9 Feb '45.' * * * * * This is P-51-D "Baby Jo" - Serial 44-14884 of 357th Fighter Group / 364th Fighter Squadron. Freeman's "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" : "Orbiting the field after return from the 9 February (1945) escort, one 357FG Mustang ran out of fuel. Lt Noel Breen managed to crash-land, ending up in a farmyard with the tail of his broken fighter resting against the house" [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 491]

The wreck of a P-51D Mustang (QP-B, 44-13372) of the 334th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, flown by of Lieutenant-Colonel James Clark after crash landing during a test flight by Lieutenant Willard G. Gillette. Official caption on image: "(33SGA168-1)(11-8-44) Crash - P-51D - #44-13372." Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Aug. 11, '44. L/Col James Clark's 334 P-51D, crashed on test flt by Lt. Gillette. QP-B, 44-13372. Note small kills by canopy. Source - Woody Jensen' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2326]

Crash site of P-51-C Mustang of the 55th Fighter Group/338th Fighter squadron at Wormingford air base. The 55th FG were stationed at Wormingford from 16 April 1944 until 21 July 1945. Additional information : This is 43-25056 - crashed on take-off - Pilot Jerry R. McDonald [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 125]

A P-51 Mustang (5Q-Q, serial number 42-106672) of the 504th Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group, that has crash landed, 18 May 1944. Official caption on image: "-Restricted.- Chedburgh. 314SG - 18 May 1944 - A/C Crash Damage - G-115-P-51-2106672." On reverse: US Army For Personal Use Only [Stamp] [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2784]

Ground personnel of the 353rd Fighter Group inspect the burning wreck of a P-51 Mustang, flown by First Lieutenant James N. Poindexter at Raydon, 3 January 1945. Printed caption on reverse: '69596 A.C. - This North American P-51 (A/C 4589) of the 353rd Fighter Group exploded when it crashed at its 8th Air Force base in England on 3 January 1945. Here, it burns furiously. U.S. Air Force Photo' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2867]

Personnel of the 364th Fighter Group attend to a crashed P-51 Mustang at Honington, 13 April 1945. Printed caption on reverse: '71951 A.C. - Men of the 364th Fighter Group, 67th Fighter Wing, salvage useable parts from a wrecked North American P-51 (A/C 44-15726) at their U.S. Air Force Station F-375, Honington, England. 13 April 1945' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3211]

A crashed P-51D Mustang (G4-W, serial number 44-14152) of the 362nd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, 27 December 1944. Official caption on image: "AD-210-1-50SG) (27 Dec 44) (A/C# 414152 - P-51D) (Rest)" Handwritten caption on reverse: '27/12/44, England.' On reverse: Merle Olmsted Collection [Stamp] [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3125]

One of the two 21st Fighter Group P-51 Mustangs that crashed on take-off from Iwo Jima airfield is lifted from the ground by a winch as a patch of wreckage behind the ground crew burns away [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 10333]

A crashed P-51 Mustang (WR-L, serial number 42-106450) of the 354th Fighter Squadron, 355th Fighter Group, 1 September 1944. Handwritten caption on reverse: '9/1/44, 1/9/44, No. 103, Wilkinson' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2935]

A crashed P-51 Mustang (6N-C) nicknamed "Butch" of the 505th Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group. Handwritten caption on reverse: '504th F.S., 339th F.G., 8th Air Force' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2783]

Crash site of P-51 Mustang (CL-?, serial number 44-72814) of the 338th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, due to runway accident, 1944-1945 [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 129]

The wreckage of a P-51 Mustang of the 357th Fighter Group following a crash landing in a front garden. * * * * * * This is the wreckage of 44-14884 flown by Lt Noel M. BREEN. Freeman's "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" has the same photo and this caption : "Orbiting the field after return from the 9 February escort, one 357FG Mustang ran out of fuel. Lt Noel Breen managed to crash-land, ending up in a farmyard with the tail of his broken fighter resting against the house (M. Olmsted)." Handwritten caption on reverse: '9 Feb 1945' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 482]

Personnel of the 357th Fighter Group examine the wreck of a P-51 Mustang (G4-X, serial number 44-13738) flown by John England, 1 October 1944. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'G4-X. 1 Oct '44 - John England crash, John England album/via Olmsted' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3154]

A crashed P-51 Mustang (HL-C, serial number 44-63620) nicknamed "Small Boy Here" of the 83rd Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group. Handwritten on reverse: '"Small Boy Here", 78th F.G., 83rd Sqdrn. 463620, 6/5/45' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 3043]

A P-51 Mustang (QP-K, serial number 44-14271) of the 334th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, flown by of Captain Joyce that crashed near Darmstadt. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'MIA 12.9.44 Capt. Joyce near Darmstadt. 2 1/2 Vict[ories]' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2287]

Ground crew, including Sergeant Dick Spicer, of the 357th Fighter Group attend to a P-51 Mustang nicknamed "Pretty Pat" following a crash landing caused by slick runways, which made the pilot Lieutenant Rocco Lepore lose control of the aircraft. Image via Merle Olmsted. Handwritten caption on reverse: '10 Jan 1945' [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 476]

A P-51 Mustang (LH-X, serial number 44-15516) nicknamed "Danny Boy 2nd" of the 350th Fighter Squadron, 353rd Fighter Group after belly-landing near Raydon. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'P-51D-15-NA. "Danny Boy 2nd". 44-15516. 353rd FG, 350th FS. 8th Air Force.' On reverse: George J. Letzter [Stamp]. This crash happened at Raydon on the December 29, 1944 mission. The pilot, Capt. John 'Jack' H. Winder of the 350th Fighter Squadron, reported: While taking off on runway 27 I was unable to get more than 50 inches of manifold pressure. When I applied more power the engine cut out. At the time of take off the visibility was approximately 250 yards consequently it was impossible for me to tell how near the end of the runway I was. As a last resort I tried to jettison the tanks but I noticed no difference in the feel of the ship. Thinking that I was about to run out of runway I pulled up the wheels realizing that if she still refused to take off at least I would prevent nosing over when I hit the dirt [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2852]

Ground personnel of the 353rd Fighter Group attend to a crashed P-51 Mustang (YJ-Z, serial number 44-14610) nicknamed "Sweet Marie", flown by Tom Pryor, 13 June 1945. Handwritten caption on reverse: '13/6/45. Tom Pryor.' On reverse: Tim L. Bivens [Stamp]. The figure making a close inspection of the crashed aircraft standing centre of the picture is Col. Glenn E. Duncan [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2829]

Colonel Howard Moody opf the 355th Fighter Group inspects the wreck of a P-51 Mustang, cannibalised for parts. Passed as censored 3 Mar 1945. Printed caption on reverse: 'When a plane crashes anywhere in occupied France, Belgium, Germany or Holland, a guard from one of the emergency fields is immediately dispatched to the scene to watch over the plane until a ground crew can come and take off vital equipment. The plane is then left with this sign on it to indicate there is nothing of value left. Here Col. Howard Moody, Santa Cruz, Cal., in charge of the largest emergency field, looks over the remains of a crashed fighter that has been stripped. The pilot escaped with only scratches. Brandt/Acme/Combine. (Nos. 4&5).' On reverse: British Combine Photos, Central Press, No Air Objection and SHAEF Field Press Censor [Stamps] [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 2953]

17 April 1945 - Major Pierce W. McKennon's P-51D Mustang 'Ridge Runner III' after being crash-landed in France by another 335th Fighter Squadron pilot [Roger Freeman Collection - FRE 14945]

Crash - 16th Aug. 1944. Bottisham, Cambridgeshire. Lt. Donald T. Woodward crashed the P-51 Mustang E9-D serial no. 44-13717 nicknamed 'Golden Wave' of Capt. John D. Duncan after experiencing engine failure during take-off [Bottisham Airfield Museum - UPL 18430]

P-51 Mustang E9-H serial no. 44-14197 nicknamed 'Mary Jane II'. The plane belonging to Lt. Robert R. Volkman experienced engine failure while leading a section of eight Mustangs on 29th October 1944. Volkman crashed when landing at Newborough, near Peterborough [Bottisham Airfield Museum - UPL 18432]

P-51 Mustang E9-D serial no. 44-13717 nicknamed 'Golden Wave' of Capt. John D Duncan; the aircraft was crashed by Lt. Donald T. Woodward. 16th Aug. 1944, Bottisham, Cambridgeshire [Bottisham Airfield Museum - UPL 18421]

Source: 

www.americanairmuseum.com
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