Twin Mustang: The North American F-82 at War
by Alan C. Carey, Pen and Sword, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK, 2014, $24.95
The F-82 Twin Mustang was “one of the oddest” postwar U.S. military aircraft and has been overlooked, Alan Carey writes. Designed for long-range warfare against Japan, it evolved into a night fighter but did plenty of day flying as an escort for Strategic Air Command and in combat in Korea. Lest we forget, an F-82 chalked up the first U.S. aerial victory in the Korean War.
What’s most extraordinary, as revealed in the narrative accompanying this picture book, is how few components were interchangeable between the F-82 and the P-51 Mustang that inspired it. The F-82 had different dimensions, different structural materials and redesigned flight surfaces.
This smallish, softbound, reasonably priced volume offers about 150 images that give us a comprehensive look at the 272- plane F-82 fleet. In addition to portraits of aircraft, there are close-ups of add-on equipment, including an underslung radar pod and two experimental gun packages. Appendices provide useful reference information, such as differences among major models, as well as a tally of Korean War kills and casualties. Carey gets the details right and rightly treads with care on the myth that the North Koreans used Lavochkin La-7s and La-9s in Korea: They didn’t. That first air-to-air kill, scored by pilot Lieutenant William A. “Skeeter” Hudson and radar operator Lieutenant Carl Fraser, widely reported as a Lavochkin, was actually a two-seat Yakovlev Yak-11.
This is a fine addition to Carey’s body of work and to anyone’s aviation library.
Originally published in the May 2015 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.