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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

WW2 Bombing Raids on Germany Were Bloodbaths for the Allies Until a Futurist Fighter Plane (the P-51) Was Developed

00:00 35:16
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One of the lowest points of World War 2 for the Allies was autumn 1943, when bombing runs from England to Germany were ramping up. Hundreds of B-17s flew out to strike military targets, but they flew unescorted due to being the only planes with enough range (fighters could only make it from England to Belgium and back) and were sitting ducks for German fighters. Losses were as high as 25 percent. Flight crews were grounded and murmured mutiny.

But what change everything was the revolutionary P-51 Mustang fighter. It had a top speed of over 400 mph and fly over 2,000 miles – outrunning and outlasting any other fighter in the war. But not many know the story of how it gained its reputation—how it nearly didn’t make it to the skies at all. Today’s guests are David and Margaret White, author of “Wings of War: The World War II Fighter Plane that Saved the Allies and the Believers Who Made It Fly.”

We discuss how the P-51 Mustang airplane was not only used in the war, but how it was created, the roadblocks that almost prevented it from taking flight against the Luftwaffe, and how it ultimately won the war.
February 16, 2023
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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