Every interested person knows about the events in early 1944 when the P-51 Mustang smashed its German opponents. But can you ever comprehensively read why the Mustang was that superior?
Range is not the theme. There are people who claim every contemporary fighter type had its special qualities, so no general superiority of one certain type is to be concluded (says an USSBS report: "An overall comparison of our fighters with German [showed, that] although each aircraft had is good and bad points, in the last analysis, the difference in performance was not great enough to give either side a decided advantage." Quoted from W.A. Jacobs, Operation Overlord, p. 277).
This statement is nothing but plain wrong. The Mustang dominated the skies for its superior performance. And this for two reasons, see below. There is not any German fighter to be compared. Only two versions were produced in numbers at that time, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-8 and the Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 with DB 605 A engine. The Focke-Wulf generally did not reach the altitude performances which were required, so only the Bf 109 is left.
The point is the height where the air combats usually took place: 9,000 m = 27,000 ft.
A. The Mustang was much faster
A speed advantage of 50 - 100 km/h for the Mustang is often written.
Take a look here for the Mustang: http://www.wwiiaircr...ustangtest.html
and scroll to the diagram "Level Speed with 150 Grade Fuel". See the red graph for the P-51B. It hits 27,000 ft at about 422 mph = 675 kph.
Now for the Bf 109 G with DB 605 A: http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/me109/VB-109-19-L-42.pdf
There, go to page 8. You see, the Bf 109 runs not much more than 600 km/h at 9.000 m, so the speed difference is 75 km/h! Exactly in the middle what is claimed above!
B. The Mustang showed better flight characteristics
Comparison of fighters often shows a kind of unexactness because "best" values are received at best conditons for the one aircraft considered. But for military conclusions, you must compare the flight characteristics at altitude and speed where the combats took place. See Robert W. Courter, How the Mustang Trampled the Luftwaffe ... : http://digitalcommon...adschool_theses,
especially his "Energy Maneuverability Analysis" p. 47ff, diagram especially comparing P-51 and Bf 109 G, p. 60.
Courter concludes: "Thus, the Mustang pilot was able to choose the milieu in which he would fight. More often than not, because of his superior training, he was able to make a productive choice." (p. 61).
Surely, Courter is right when he also sees the superior pilot training in the USAAF. But just before he had proven this having been not the essential point. It was the aircraft.
Subsequently, within a few weeks the Luftwaffe lost more than 2.000 fighter pilots, among them very experienced and highly decorated unit commanders alongside with others of all ranks. When the USAAF attacked Berlin on 9 March 1944, the Luftwaffe did not show up.
What for do I write this? I mean it is necessary to compact insight in what happened this way. You cannot read this somewhere else. Or can you? If so, feel free to tell me!