Kagero's P-51/F-6 Mustangs in the MTO/Asia/Pacific


Tomasz Szlagor




$22.95 from www.casematepublishing.com


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 88 pages, softbound, 8.3 x 11.7  inches,
ISBN: 978-83-65437-11-2

Adding to their very nice SMI Library series is this one on the P-51 Mustang and its F-6 photo recon version. This edition concentrates on its use outside the European theater. Not surprisingly, these theaters of operation were not a priority for equipment and so they often got the latest and greatest rather late in the war or got second-hand equipment.

The book is divided into three major sections covering units in the Mediterranean, CBI, and Western Pacific. Interestingly, it was the MTO that saw the first use of the Mustang as US units were flying the Allison engine version from the very start of US involvement. These were initially the photo recon planes, but unlike some recce birds, these were armed and so they saw their fair share of air to air combat. The first Mustang ace was flying these planes well before the Merlin powered planes were received  by the 8th Air Force. Slowly Mustangs started replacing P-40s and P-47s until most fighter units in the MTO were flying them.

In the CBI, things were different. This was undoubtedly the theater that got equipment last. As such, Mustangs were not used there until everyone in Europe was properly equipped and even then, many of the planes they got were second hand. Here, the Alison Mustang was quite useful as its lack of high altitude performance was not an issue and they were quite effective in Burma. The B model Mustangs and some later D variants started replacing the P-40s in China in 1944, though some squadrons were still flying the Warhawk even at the end of the war.

Pacific theater Mustangs were not really needed until bases were available for them to start escorting bombers against Japan. This meant that PTO Mustang units started with the P-51D and F-6D, flying them from bases in the Philippines and from island bases at Iwo Jima.

In line with other books in this series, we get a nice historical overview of the units flying these planes. This is not, however, the purpose of these volumes. It is the photographs and there are plenty of large and well done images as well as a couple of handfuls of full color profiles. This series used to include a nice decal sheet, but that is not the case with this one and instead, a set of canopy masks for the 1/32 Tamiya and 1/48 Hasegawa P-51D are included.

Overall, it really is a superb book. The combination of history, super photos and color profiles make this a very nice addition to anyone's aviation library, and a book that I can easily recommend to you.

April 2016

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