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eraucubsfan

Pacific P-51 Pilot

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As my F-18 hits the paint booth. I decided to build the Airfix 1/48 P-51. I am thinking about possibly doing the markings of a Pacific (Iwo Jima) Bird. I want to put a pilot in the cockpit. Would it more “accurate” (using that term loosely) to use a navy pilot rather than the ETO pilot? From the pictures I have seen, the pilots in the Pacific did not wear the heavy leather flight jackets etc... 

 

thanks

 

Brent

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It got just as cold at 25,000 feet in the Pacific as it did in the ETO.     By that time as well, I think all Mustang pilots would be wearing g-suits.    Might want to check out the Osprey book on VLR Mustang Squadrons.  Should be a bunch of pics that might help.

 

 

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To generalize, pilots wore the basic, khaki tan AN-6550/AN-S-31 summer type flight suit, khaki colored AN-H-15 flight helmet, rubber framed plastic lens B-8 goggles, mae west, and parachute.  So basically khaki colored overall.  If you were to use a USN pilot, the biggest thing is make sure he doesn't have the large protruding ear cups found on some.  I have not seen any photos, nor any of the vets I know have mentioned getting the G suits.  Things got to Iwo (And other parts of the pacific) very very slowly.  Combined with the fact that the Iwo Mustang groups (15th, 21st, and 506th) were under a kind of joint command from the 7th and the 20th AF, there was a lot of screw ups and even essential equipment got there very slowly.  Take the very important (and one characteristic of the Iwo Mustangs) twin Uncle Dog homing antenna's....they had to field install them and not all aircraft had them even going into June of 1945.  Or the fact that they had to first hand make sway braces out of wood scraps for the extra large 110 and 165 gallon tanks.  Even the rocket stub launchers were in short supply and in one squadron from the 506th FG, I know based on squadron history report only 4 P-51's had them installed.

 

Here's a somewhat famous picture of my friend, Bill Ebersole, on Iwo in front of his P-51.  He has on the leather (dark brown) A-11 style flight helmet.  

 

If they were doing any B-29 escort, they would get up there (altitude) but that pretty much stopped May/June so  they would then only be going to about 10,000 feet or so for their flight to mainland Japan.  

462nd_fs_a42337_ebersole.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Waltz41 said:

To generalize, pilots wore the basic, khaki tan AN-6550/AN-S-31 summer type flight suit, khaki colored AN-H-15 flight helmet, rubber framed plastic lens B-8 goggles, mae west, and parachute.  So basically khaki colored overall.  If you were to use a USN pilot, the biggest thing is make sure he doesn't have the large protruding ear cups found on some.  I have not seen any photos, nor any of the vets I know have mentioned getting the G suits.  Things got to Iwo (And other parts of the pacific) very very slowly.  Combined with the fact that the Iwo Mustang groups (15th, 21st, and 506th) were under a kind of joint command from the 7th and the 20th AF, there was a lot of screw ups and even essential equipment got there very slowly.  Take the very important (and one characteristic of the Iwo Mustangs) twin Uncle Dog homing antenna's....they had to field install them and not all aircraft had them even going into June of 1945.  Or the fact that they had to first hand make sway braces out of wood scraps for the extra large 110 and 165 gallon tanks.  Even the rocket stub launchers were in short supply and in one squadron from the 506th FG, I know based on squadron history report only 4 P-51's had them installed.

 

Here's a somewhat famous picture of my friend, Bill Ebersole, on Iwo in front of his P-51.  He has on the leather (dark brown) A-11 style flight helmet.  

 

If they were doing any B-29 escort, they would get up there (altitude) but that pretty much stopped May/June so  they would then only be going to about 10,000 feet or so for their flight to mainland Japan.  

462nd_fs_a42337_ebersole.jpg

Great info.   I know that by the end of the war in Europe, G-suits were pretty common, figured they would be present in the Pacific by mid-45 as well.   That's a great picture of your buddy BTW.

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Thanks!  I have a lot more but the uploader is being weird (file is under the 101 kb for sure but it's not letting me attach).

 

Yeah, I'll have to ask him and see if he remembers any g suit, but in my collection of photos and everything that I have seen elsewhere, I've never see the it on the Iwo guys.  I'll also ask him about the high altitudes, I know of his 10 VLR missions, only 1 was B-29 escort.  The rest were ground attacks in Japan.

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Here's Bill a few years ago, with a model I build for him of his P-51 'Hon Mistake'.

DSC00302.JPG

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1 minute ago, Waltz41 said:

Thanks!  I have a lot more but the uploader is being weird (file is under the 101 kb for sure but it's not letting me attach).

 

Yeah, I'll have to ask him and see if he remembers any g suit, but in my collection of photos and everything that I have seen elsewhere, I've never see the it on the Iwo guys.  I'll also ask him about the high altitudes, I know of his 10 VLR missions, only 1 was B-29 escort.  The rest were ground attacks in Japan.

That's really interesting, I thought almost all the VLR missions were escort and only after the bombs dropped did they go down for a bit of strafing.   Does he happen to know if his aircraft were fitted with HVAR's at any point?   

 

Those were tough missions, he's got my full respect.   Long time in the cockpit and having to bail out if hit over Japan was only slightly better than having to bail out in the middle of the Pacific ocean, hundreds of miles from any land. 

 

 

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By the time the 506th joined up w the 15th and 21st FGroups (they were waiting for the North Field (#3) to be completed) in mid May, the B29 losses to enemy fighters was so small and the threat so insignificant for the most part, that 7th Fighter Command made the decision to start making VLR strike missions. In fact from June 1, out of 36 VLR missions, only 7 were escort. 

 

And no, 619 Hon Mistake was never fitted for rockets. 

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Yes those missions were one of a kind....the vets said getting there was easy....just head north from Iwo you will hit Japan! But coming back was looking for a grain of sand in the ocean.....which is why they had the Uncle Dog system and mother hen B29s. Also the missions were fully coordinated w Air sea rescue and the navy....with PBMs, PBYs, B17 Dumbos, navy ships and submarines all stretched out along the way to help any downed pilot on the trip up or back. Truely amazing missions from statt to finish requiring so many moving parts!

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