479th Fighter Group: Riddles Raiders by John Stanaway

By John Stanaway

Shaped in October 1943, the 479th FG claimed a magnificent heritage opposed to the Luftwaffe through the ultimate yr of the struggle. initially flying P-38s, the 479ths pilots had a fierce delight of palms. They earned a Presidential individual Unit quotation within the past due summer season of 1944 and have been additionally credited with the USAAFs first German jet kill in July 1944. ultimately transitioning to the P-51D in September 1944, the 479th excelled with the Mustang. The 479th FG used to be credited with scoring the final aerial victory claimed by way of the 8th Air Forces VIII Fighter Command, on 25 April 1945. via VE-Day, 29 pilots flying within the team had earned ace prestige.

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Upon seeing Tucker again when he rerurnedto the 479th FG, Creighton claimed that he could 'fly the panrs off' him on any occasion. To test the matter, Tucker suggested a conrest that would see him fly a P-38L against Creighton in a P-51 D. Once ai rborne, at 10,000 ft Tucker proved that he could out-tu rn and out-climb Creighton, thus making it virtually impossible for the laner pilot to shake the P-38 off his tail. 5 victories at Nancy/Elsey on 18 August 1944. However, he considered the P-51 D to be much better at aerial combat - a belief he more than confirmed by scoring nine kills with the type.

The P-51 had the advantage of a laminar flow wing, which maintained a superior performance over the P-38 wing across a wide alrirude range. The P-47 could challenge the Mustangabove 18,000 ft, while the P-38 could give it 436th FS pilot Lt Gerald Mulvaney stands beside his P-51D 44-14280 BOTTLENECK in the later stages of his combat tour. 5 ground kills and an Fw 190 shot down during the course of 61 missions, flown between June 1944 and March 1945. All of Mulvaney's victories were scored flying a P-38J (via Blake) 'Wing-mounted guns, of course, inrroduced greater opporwniry for lack of concentration of fire when the target was either behind the harmonisation "sweet SPOt" of the guns or beyond that range.

Ar lasr we sar in comforr, plenty of room for legs, arms, shoulders and head, ample hear ar any alrirude, fan rasric pi lor visibil ity all arou nd (excepr over rhe nose, of course, and who cared whar was in fronr) and a range capability we hadn'r dreamed of. ' One of rhe negarive derail aspecrs of rhe Lighming rhar seemed w parTicularly irrirare Olds was rhe insrallarion of rhe gun-camera in rhe nose under rhe cannon. lise rhar rhe vibrarion of rhe cannon firing would jerk rhe picrure inw blurred uselessness.

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