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french invasion of russia P-51 Mustang w/ WWII
The effects of the P-51 Mustang in World War II

  The Effect of the North American P-51 Mustang On the Air War in
Europe

                                    by

                             David Buckingham
                            stu950495@gcc.edu

                         IBH 20th Century History
                               Mr. Peloquin
                         George Mason High School
                          Falls Church, Virginia

                              March 27, 1995

     [Unfortunately, we don't have a digitized image of this photo.]

                             [Photo caption]

 Harry R. Ankeny, Jr., the author's grandfather, with his P-51,
"Betsy,"
  (named for the author's grandmother) at the end of his combat tour on
                             August 16, 1944.

                                 Abstract

This paper deals with the contributions of the P-51 Mustang to the
eventual
victory of the Allies in Europe during World War II. It describes the
war
scene in Europe before the P-51 was introduced, traces the development
of
the fighter, its advantages, and the abilities it was able to contribute
to
the Allies' arsenal. It concludes with the effect that the P-51 had on
German air superiority, and how it led the destruction of the Luftwaffe.
The thesis is that: it was not until the advent of the North American
P-51
Mustang fighter, and all of the improvements, benefits, and side effects
that it brought with it, that the Allies were able to achieve air
superiority over the Germans.

This paper was inspired largely by my grandfather, who flew the P-51 out
of
Leiston, England, during WW II and contributed to the eventual Allied
success that is traced in this paper. He flew over seventy missions
between
February and August 1944, and scored three kills against German
fighters.

                            Table of Contents

Introduction
Reasons for the Pre-P-51 Air Situation
The Pre-P-51 Situation
The Allied Purpose in the Air War
The Battle at Schweinfurt
The Development of the P-51
The Installation of the Merlin Engines
Features, Advantages, and Benefits of the P-51
The P-51's Battle Performance
The Change in Policy on Escort Fighter Function
P-51's Disrupt Luftwaffe Fighter Tactics
P-51's Give Bombers Better Support
Conclusion
Works Cited

                               Introduction

On September 1, 1939, the German military forces invaded Poland to begin
World War II. This invasion was very successful because of its use of a
new
military strategic theory -- blitzkrieg. Blitzkrieg, literally
"lightning
war," involved the fast and deadly coordination of two distinct forces,
the
Wermacht and the Luftwaffe. The Wermacht advanced on the ground, while
the
Luftwaffe destroyed the enemy air force, attacked enemy ground forces,
and
disrupted enemy communication and transportation systems. This setup was
responsible for the successful invasions of Poland, Norway, Western
Europe,
the Balkans and the initial success of the Russian invasion. For many
years
after the first of September, the air war in Europe was dominated by the
Luftwaffe. No other nation involved in the war had the experience,
technology, or numbers to challenge the Luftwaffe's superiority. It was
not
until the United States joined the war effort that any great harm was
done
to Germany and even then, German air superiority remained unscathed. It
was
not until the advent of the North American P-51 Mustang fighter, and all
of
the improvements, benefits, and side effects that it brought with it,
that
the Allies were able to achieve air superiority over the Germans.

                  Reasons for the Pre-P-51 Air Situation

The continued domination of the European skies by the Luftwaffe was
caused
by two factors, the first of which was the difference in military theory
between the Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force. The theories concerning
the
purpose and function of the Luftwaffe and RAF were exactly opposite and
were a result of their experiences in World War I. During WW I, Germany
attempted a strategic bombing effort directed against England using
Gothas
(biplane bombers) and Zeppelins (slow-moving hot-air balloons) which did
not give much of a result. This, plus the fact that German military
theory
at the beginning of WW II was based much more on fast quick results
(Blitzkrieg), meant that Germany decided not to develop a strategic air
force. The Luftwaffe had experienced great success when they used
tactical
ground-attack aircraft in Spain (i.e. at Guernica), and so they figured
that their air force should mainly consist of this kind of planes. So
Germany made the Luftwaffe a ground support force that was essentially
an
extension of the army and functioned as a long- range, aerial artillery.
The RAF, on the other hand, had experimented with ground-attack fighters
during WW I, and had suffered grievous casualty rates. This, combined
with
the fact that the British had been deeply enraged and offended by the
German Gotha and Zeppelin attacks on their home soil, made them
determined
to develop a strategic air force that would be capable of bombing German
soil in the next war. Thus, at the beginning of WW II, the RAF was
mostly a
strategic force that consisted of heavy bombers and backup fighters, ... more

french invasion of russia

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Treaty of Versailles
At eleven O' clock on the morning of November 11, 1918, the fighting ceased on the western front in France, Belgium. For almost four years the world watched the bloodiest and most expensive wars in history.  Now at last, the return of peace that was so desperately desired became a reality.

Two months later the representatives of the victorious powers in Paris to write the treaties of peace.  The most important of these agreements was first to be completed. In less than four months the representatives of the German government were summoned to a suburb of Paris.  There, in the Hall of Mirrors in the Great Palace of the French Kings, they signed the documents that formally brought World War I to an end.  The Versailles Palace thus gave the name to one of the most important treaties of Paris and in History. Out of the Versailles Treaty came the league of Nations, one of mankinds attempts to find a means of abolishing war. Many people that signed the Treaty of Versailles struggled with each other. Some people believed there were there to find a just and lasting peace, while others were there with vengeance on the mind towards Germany.
The treaty also brought about conditions that aided Adolf Hitlers rise to power in Germany. It
also played a significant role in causing World War II, only twenty years later.

With the signing of the armistice, discussion in Europe had turned to where the Peace Conference would be held.  The question of where this meeting would take place caused discord.  The United States and Great Britain favored small cities such as Geneva or Lausanne in neutral Switzerland, but the French insisted on Paris.(Vaughan 10)  The reason behind this was because forty-eight years earlier, France suffered a crushing defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, The citizens of Paris watched a Prussian army match down the Champs Elysees and under the Arc de Triomphe(Hankey 23). On January 18, 1871, Bismarck and the German princes had proclaimed the birth of the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors of the Versailles Palace(Knapton173). Now that the tables were turned, France wanted to pay back Germany for the humiliation they suffered.  The setting for this conference was much different from the 1815 Congress of Vienna.  There, a defeated France stood at the mercy of Russia, Prussia, Austria, and British Conquerors.  So it was decided on that the conference would take place in Paris.  The German treaty was going to be dealt with at the Palace of Versailles.  Other Central Powers were assigned to other Palaces. Austria was assigned to St.Germaine en Laye, Hungary to Trianon, Bulgaria to the Palace of Neuilly,  the Ottoman Empire to the Palace of Severes(Vaghan 86). There was also many other reasons why the Conference was chosen to be held in a city like Paris.  One major reason Paris was chosen to be the site of these negotiations was it's size.  Only a city as large Paris could accommodate all of the people that for one reason or another were to be at the signing.  Twenty-seven of the fifty-three allied and associated powers sent representatives, not only were they sent but their staff, advisors, secretaries and servants were sent along as well(Weiner 113-15).  Each nation present demanded at least one Hotel to serve as it's headquarters(Vaghan 22).  A major power like Great Britain for example required five(Vaughan 22).  In addition, vast numbers of journalists and writers arrived to witness the event.  Paris seemed to be the perfect choice for what was probably one of the most historic events in our history.



                             
The "Big Four" consisted of four men who other nations leaders deemed to be the most wise, intelligent, and powerful men at the conference.  This group, deemed the"Big Four" consisted of The United States and its President Woodrow Wilson, Great Britain's David Llyod George, France and it's leader George S. Clemenceau.  Finally, Italy and its leader, Vittorio Emanuele(Vaghan 55). Emanuele was considered the lest impressive member of the Big Four.  Not only was he considered the weakest member of the Big Four, but the country he was from, Italy, was also considered to be the weakest country as well. One major reason for him ... more

french invasion of russia

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