The P-51 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 the start of the Korean War, the Mustang once again proved useful. The now re-designated F-51 was used for ground attack, fitted with rockets and bombs, and photo-reconnaissance, rather than being as interceptors or "pure" fighters. After the first North Korean invasion, USAF units were forced to fly from bases in Japan, and the F-51Ds, with their long range and endurance, could attack targets in Korea that short-ranged F-80 jets could not.
P-51 Mustang in The Hot WarEdit
After Leningrad had been attacked with an atomic bomb it continued to operate a Soviet Air Force Tu-4 bomber base in the outskirts of the damage. The U.S. Air Force made a surprise daytime raid on the base with long range P-51 Mustangs. The MiG-15s defenders screamed up in an almost vertical climb to attack any American bombers and so did not spot the attack. The Mustang came in low and attacked the field with bombs and machine gun fire in one strike. They then streaked away back to their base leaving cratered runways and a shot up farmhouse serving as the base HQ.