Presented here is the North American P-51K-5-NT ‘Barfly’ of the 118 Tactical Recon Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group based at Liuchow in China. Although the 118th Squadron was a ‘tactical Reconnaisance Squadron’, it was also heavily relied on for ground attack sorties. The skin provided here can be used with every P-51D model found in the game in 4K and 2K DDS/TGA, all with a working damage model.
Please note when installing: You can place these DDS/TGA folders in just one ‘P-51D skin folder’ and have it work for all P-51D. Doing so will make the skins available for every P-51D model in game which have their ‘user skin folders activated’ (P-51D-5, P-51D-10, P-51D-20, P-51D-30).
As stated before, the aircraft presented here is a North American P-51K-5-NT of the 118th Tactical Recon Squadron. aircraft serial number 44-11773 carried the number ‘199’ in combination with its nickname ‘Barfly’ painted on the nose. The P-51K was not much more than a Dallas built P-51D with an Aeroproducts propeller instrad of the Hamilton Standard propeller found on the D-variant. This alternative propeller proved troublesome and unreliable due to manufacturing problems, creating dangerous vibrations at full trouble. They were eventually replaced by the Hamilton Standard.
‘Barfly’ was Major Marvin Lubner personal aircraft, an ace of the 76th Fighter Squadron who was credited with 6 victories between 1942 and 1943. He later returned to China in June 1945 to take command of the 118th TRS which was part of the 23rd FG at the time. Lubner also laid claim in performing the last combat mission for the 23rd FG, a photo-reconnaissance sortie over the Hong Kong harbor on the 7th of September 1945 (5 days after the official Japanese surrender).
The P-51K and the 118th Tactical Recon Squadron
Much can be found and said of the 23rd FG and the 118th TRS so I will attempt to keep it short.
The 23rd FG was a component of what used to be the AVG, better known as the ‘Flying Tigers’. in 1945 the 118th TRS fell under the command of this group. The history of the 118th TRS can be dated all the way back to WW1, when on the 31st of August 1917 it was organized as the 118th Aero Squadron. It was inactivated and reactivated a couple of times until on the 11th of August 1943, it was re-designated as the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. During this time the missions were flown all over the CBI-theater (China-Birma-India), with the 118th TRS participating in security patrol, close air support and ground attack missions as part of the 23d FG (which in itself fell under the command of the Fourteenth Air Force).
Between 1944 and 1945, the squadron was outfitted with various types of P-51 Mustangs, ranging all the way from F-6’s and P-51B’s to P-51K variants. All of these aircraft had a yellow outlined black thunderbolt painted on both sides of the fuselage and varying combinations of yellow, black and NMF prop spinners. At the end of the war, the 118th TRS was officially disbanded and the lightning bolt design was ditched. In practice however the squadron was transformed into the 118th Fighter Squadron as part of the Connecticut Air National Guard. In the 2000’s, when the unit was outfitted with A-10’s, several aircraft with profilic lightning bolt design started to emerge again.
In 2005 the DoD made the recommendation to distribute the 103rd’s A-10s to the 104th Fighter Wing, with the 103d becoming an Airlift Wing. It is now outfitted with C-130’s supporting VIP airlifts and counter drug operations over the both the North and South American continents.