Arguably two of the finest fighters built during the course of World War II, the Me 262 and P-51 Mustang heralded new dawns in aircraft performance. Making its operational debut in the summer of 1944, and powered by the Jumo 004 jet engine, the Me 262 outclassed Allied planes in terms of speed and firepower ratio, offering a formidable punch with four 30 mm MK 108 nose-mounted cannons. However, in the P-51, fitted with the Rolls-Royce (Packard) Merlin engine and drop tanks, the USAAF finally had a fighter that had the 'legs' to escort its heavy bombers deep into Reich airspace and back. If flown to its strengths, the P-51 was more than capable of taking on the feared Me 262 on an equal footing, despite the differences in power and top speed. Indeed, the Mustang proved to be the Luftwaffe fighter arm's nemesis. When the P-51D sortied over Germany from the summer of 1944 onwards, it shredded through the ill-trained and depleted Gruppen of the Luftwaffe's defence wings. This book examines the two fighters in detail, exploring their history and development and containing accurate descriptions of the combats between the P-51 Mustang and the Me 262 in what were some of the most bitter and large-scale aerial actions fought over Europe in 1944-45.
Introduction /Chronology /Design and Development /Technical Specifications/ The Strategic Situation /The Combatants /Combat /Statistics and Analysis /Aftermath /Further Reading /Index
Robert Forsyth is an author, editor and publisher, specialising in military aviation and military history. Born in Berkshire, England, he is the author of several books on the aircraft and units of the Luftwaffe, an interest he has held since boyhood. His articles have appeared in The Aviation Historian, Aeroplane Monthly, Aviation News and FlyPast and he is a member of the Editorial Board of The Aviation Historian. He has written over 20 books for Osprey and lives in Sussex, UK. Jim Laurier attended Paier School of Art in Hamden, Connecticut, from 1974-78, and since graduating with Honours, he has been working professionally in the field of Fine Art and Illustration. He has been commissioned to paint for the US Air Force and has aviation paintings on permanent display at the Pentagon. He is a native of New England and lives in New Hampshire. Gareth Hector is a digital artist of international standing as well as an aviation history enthusiast. Gareth completed the battlescene artwork and cover artwork in this title. He lives in Perthshire, UK.