Little Horse | P-51D Mustang

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This P-51D Mustang served in the European theatre flown by Lt Charles Koenig who named it Little Horse. In May of 1944, Ken Dahlberg arrived in England on a troop ship and was assigned to the 354th Fighter Group. The only problem was that he had been practicing in a P-47, and the squadron he was assigned to flew P-51 Mustangs. His total training on the P-51 was a half-hour orientation flight but six months into his flying career, he was 23rd on the list of all the fighter aces in Europe, making him a triple ace. It was the memories of Ken Dahlberg who inspired the Paul Ehlen to paint this rebuild in the scheme of Little Horse.

By the winter of 1944, Dahlberg had crashed two planes and escaped enemy capture on both occasions. On his third crash, he wasn't quite so lucky. Dahlberg's fellow pilots saw he had a direct hit from an .88 and reported him as probably killed in action. Dahlberg had a hard landing and tried to escape, but ended up in a German prison camp until Patton's Third Army liberated the POW camp.

After D-Day the 354th Fighter Group moved to France from their base in England. To show respect and friendship to the French, Koenig decided to rechristen his aircraft Le Petite Cheval which made the locals very happy.

Crew: 1 pilot
Length: 32 ft 3 in
Wingspan: 37 ft
Height: 13 ft 8 in
Wing Area: 235 sq ft
Empty Weight: 7,125 lbs
Loaded Weight: 11,600 lbs
Powerplant: Packard Merlin V-1650-7 two-staged supercharged 12 cyl. V engine, 1,695 hp
Power/Mass: .146 hp/lbs
Max Speed: 437 mph
Range: 950 miles (2,300 with two 130 gallon tanks)
Service Ceiling: 41,900 ft
Rate of Climb: 3,200 ft/min
Armament: 6 x .50 cal. machine guns, external bomb load of 2,000 lbs or 4 x .5 in rockets

Mustang Pilot Aces: 281
Mustangs Produced: 15,686
Remaining Mustangs: 165

A Little Horse Reunion

by Al Zdon, September, 2006 


Read the story...

The P-51 story begins in 1940 when the British approached North American aviation to build a new fighter.  North American agreed in January, 1940, and remarkably, by September the aircraft made its first flight.  The D model, powered by a Packard-Merlin Rolls-Royce V-12 engine rated at 1490 horse power, was produced in the greatest numbers.  It had a maximum speed of 437 miles per hour at 25,000 feet, and a combat range of 1000 miles.  It had three 50 caliber machine guns in each wing with a service ceiling of 42,000 feet and was considered the best fighter of its time.