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under constant update ! 

With the end of World War II, i.e. May 1945 in Europe and August 1945 in the Pacific, almost overnight hundreds of P-51 Mustangs became surplus to the needs of the Army Air Forces. In Europe, most of the famous and much decorated Fighter Groups were soon ordered to return to the Z.I. (Zone of Interior = U.S.A.) - this meant that the pilots and personnel went home without their beloved aircraft. Only a relatively small number of Fighter Groups and Reconnaissance Units were assigned to the 9th (Tactical) USAAF for occupational duties in Germany, some of them using the P-51 Mustang, others the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. 

P-51D-25-NA 44-73156 WR-B 'Wolverine' of the 355th FG 354th FS seen here at Schweinfurt, Germany, during Summer 1945. The red-yellow-red fuselage band was applied to all aircraft attached to the occupational forces in Germany as recognition markings (via Peter Randall). 

Another colourful example, P-51D-25-NA 44-73294 OS-I 'Ole VIII' of the 355th FG 357th FS, assigned to the Squadron CO Major William J. 'Billy' Hovde. This aircraft later was sold to the Italian Air Force (via Peter Randall).

Interesting photograph of a F-6D nicknamed "Katie" from a yet to be identified Tactical Recon Unit, seen here being serviced on a former Luftwaffe Base in Germany - the wording on the wall means "No Smoking !".


After VJ-Day in August 1945, P-51's also were stationed on mainland Japan for occupational duties.

F-51's of the 35th FIW 41st FIS at Johnson AB in 1948 - most of these aircraft later saw service during the Korean War - see details below (Jack Cook).

44-72672 #92 previously served with the 506th FG 458th FS from Iwo Jima in 1945
44-73608 #90 later was #80 with 35th FIW 40th FIS and then 51st FBS(P) in Korea and eventually was lost on 31st July 1950 to enemy action
44-74281 #87 served with 35th FIW and was lost on a combat mission on 12th July 1950 over Korea
44-74014 #96 was lost in an accident with the 18th FBG in Korea on 17th September 1951


I will continue to add more information and photographs on the immediate post-war use of the P-51 Mustang, mainly in Germany. Some of these Mustangs were later purchased by the Swiss Air Force, others went to Sweden and Italy.

©  Martin Kyburz / Swiss Mustangs 2003 - 2009