Why is the P-51D such a nightmare to play?

I’m referring to the D-30. No matter what, unless it’s an Fw-190 the plane just seems to be an utter crapshoot against any enemy this plane faces.
Yes, I understand shallow climbs and shallow dives to get separation, I don’t need the 50th tutorial regarding this. The part no one talks about is how to reengage your opponent. When you have spitfires and Bf-109s and J2Ms chasing you to the ends of the earth at 6000m. I can’t engage them because I’ll bleed speed turning around to engage, they basically destroy me in a dogfight so I have to just sit there and just force headons and wait 4-5 minutes for more separation. What’s the fun in that?

What can I do for myself to actually give myself a fighting chance instead of “Oops, he’s on my tail, guess I’ll either just die or run forever.”


Coordinated teamplay is the only real chance for planes that don’t excel at 1v1 dogfights.

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I fly quite often in my Italian P-47 D-30 (with 4 Ju 288s) against the P-51 D-30 - and the P-51 is the better plane in every aspect. A good flown P-51 is a serious threat - for me on the receiving end it still seems that the P-51 has this rudder issue, so they struggle at very high speeds to get guns on target.

But as soon as i outclimbed them (mainly as they stopped climbing) they are limited to use speed only as main weapon - as long as i avoid headons and maintain energy advantage the better pilot wins, most of the time i dive on them with air brake released, park at their 6 and just spray them down…

From my perspective you outrun any J2Ms or Spits, so as long as you stay very fast and above 6-7 km you are almost untouchable.

You might want to watch this vid:

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That video is cool and all, but it shows you have to rely on teammates to live in some capacity as everyone else can utterly obliterate you. I’m not saying the D needs P-51H status, but I’m simply referring to the fact that facing that Bf-109 in the beginning was a major risk and if the bf-109 committed, Defyn would be worse for wear big time.


War thunder is not a team game unless it’s squadron on squadron. Air RB is the last place you’d see team play because there’s literally 0 time and place for coordination.

Don’t miss in that first boom and make sure there is no one around for your zoom?
Don’t play Mustangs (or Lightnings, or…) ?

Besides that 5 minute commute to the furball…


Mostly you need to get involved while your team is still alive and nearby climb to start, but it’s better to be near your team at 3000m than alone at 6000m. Energy can be either altitude or speed, so if you dive a little and get your level speed up, it doesn’t matter if they’re above you.

If the only enemies are way above you, the P-51 is pretty effective against ground targets and has plenty of ammo. Chunk away at their tickets and they’ll come down.

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This is what I don’t get about the War Thunder Devs and the general (non-US playing) War Thunder community’s approach to American props. At virtually every BR American props have worse turn rates, worse climb rates, and worse performance at low altitude (which is 95% of the fighting in game, and due to the crap climb rates American props will not get to high altitude before a German, British, Russian, etc. will), yet people just say “boom and zoom.” IMO boom and zoom is just a term for “there’s literally nothing you can do except have such a large speed and altitude advantage that no one can engage you,” or put another way: “we recognize that American props are overtiered so hard that they have no options, but we won’t do anything about it.”


Because that is how they were IRL. They aren’t overtiered. You just have to know how to play them to their advantages.

There’s nothing you can do, ARB is designed so that 90% of skill is lost in the furball, unbalanced teams, and the mind-numbing monotony of taking off at the runway hamstringing your patience. Just rush ground targets to get your research done and go play RGB.

P51 is not a high altitude fighter, 6k is to high for dog fights . The reason you get hight in p51 is bully your enemys down, such as the germans and you can fight russians above 4k

I played the P-51D-30 recently (just before air superiority patch) and went about 6:1 during those sessions playing mostly solo.

  1. Use MEC. 100% prop pitch, about 80% radiators. Best climb speed is 250 IAS at the start of the game. You will never overheat, and the climbrate will surprise you.
  2. Sideclimb, but not too much. Friendlies are best used as distractions. I sideclimb harder if I see that my team is going low or if I see that my team composition is weak since I want most of the impatient enemies to dive off early game.
  3. When attacking, roll so your wings are perpendicular to the enemy’s direction of travel; putting lead on the enemy should be 100% elevator, no rudder involved. This skill helps in all planes but especially D-30.
  4. Don’t be afraid to spray in the headon. D-30 sucks at dodging headons, so make them dodge first. You paid for all your ammo, so use it.
  5. Work on target priority. Killing the right guy at the right time is more than going for fighters instead of bombers - it’s which fighter is the most dangerous at this point in time. Killing 1-2 of the right guys usually decapitates the enemy team and winning is easier after that point. Having a rough game is often because you failed to do this or it was not possible.
  6. Don’t be afraid to take the 1v1 with bf 109s. At high speed D-30 wins. At low speed, it loses. Wrap up the fight quickly.

The rest is just a litmus test of how well you know air RB… the more you know about playing this game the more you will exploit the D-30’s potential. It is not a bad plane and could justifiably go to 5.3 together with the 190 D-9.

some games you just need to go 101% aggressive if you see that you’re in a bad situation and about to be chased by 3 dudes if you don’t do anything. It’s just a game, if you die learn from it and go to the next one.


US props aren’t overtiered, they just don’t fit the meta well. The US designed planes for real life. The realities:

  1. Fighters were almost always in the air and at altitude before engaging enemies. Airfield starts in RB are extremely unrealistic.
  2. Fighters would almost always have advance information of enemy location and altitude whether from RADAR, coast watchers, or reports from allied bombers.
  3. If 1+2 weren’t true, no fighter could be effective.

When you read about WWII fighters, especially US, they are always at a pre-selected altitude searching for enemies. The game meta where both sides start on the ground and race to climb above one another was something that almost never happened.

If you played during the brief time where Gaijin gave P-47s an interceptor start, you remember how gloriously overpowered they were. They were designed to be at altitude and speed before engaging, so when the game allowed them to do that they were suddenly amazing.

But because of the unrealistic ground start US planes generally don’t perform near their potential. It’s especially a problem because they can’t climb to compete with their contemporaries, but when they have their BR reduced to fight earlier props, earlier props are all lighter and more agile.

P-51 is far from the worst US plane though. If you can just survive the initial merge when all your enemies are above you, it’s pretty good.


So you’re saying that because of game design decisions US planes artificially perform worse than the planes of similar BR, so in other words they are overtiered.

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Dropping the BR won’t help. A P-51 can’t outclimb or outturn lower BR planes either. US planes can’t handle the low-altitude, low-speed turn-fights.

You can make US planes work at their current BRs if you accept that you can’t climb above your enemies and get your level speed up. In the initial merge, US planes are support fighters. After that, when everyone is at speed, they are a lot better.

Just had to play though the P-51D-20 grinding the Israeli tree, and it’s a lot better if you play it that way. Climb early, but stay near your team. Don’t be the first to engage, and don’t dump altitude too early. If the enemy insists on staying high, kill ground targets for tickets. A P-51 at 300+ mph IAS is a threat whether it’s low or high.

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If you’d rather have a quicker turning aircraft, try the ad-4. It is surprisingly good in a dogfight, I have killed many me262 and prop fighters with it and it is excellent for grinding. You can take 3 aircraft laid magnetic mines with have higher TNT equivalent than regular 1000lb bombs, plus attack aircraft spawn so u can shoot down a 288, bomb base, kill 1-2 enemy fighters and ground pound till ammo is gone. I used it to grind my first jet and if u look at my stats it is my #1 vehicle in game. I love it.

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There just are ways you could drop the BR to make them comparable, the literal only issue with it is amount of firepower the dropped-BR planes would have.

The way I see it - going off of turn time and rate of climb - I would change US Rank III props through this:

  • Drop all P-47’s to Rank II with a max BR of 3.3 for most and 3.7 for the chrome ones (comparing the best P-47 to the 3.0 Bf 109 F-2, 3.3 La-5F, 4.0 Fw 190 A-4, and 3.3 P1Y1 mod. 11)
  • Move F4U-4 to 4.3 (comparing to Spitfire Mk Vb and Bf 109 F-4’s)
  • Change BR of P-38-5-LO to 4.3
  • Change BR of F8F-1 to 4.7 (comparing to Spitfire Mk Vc)
  • Change BR of F6F-5N to 3.3 (comparing to La-5F) and move to Rank II
  • Change BR of P-63A-10 and P-63C-5 to 3.7

Reading this as a whole, you mix some things up, and imho you are wrong with some (ok, all) conclusions about US fighters and US players in general.

  1. WT community in US props:
    US is one of the big 3 nations and extremely popular. Almost everybody wants to play iconic US fighters as fast as possible. This leads to a high ratio of rookies playing them - you have basically the same effects in Ground RB with Germany (“Germany suffers”) and Tiger I players. In other words: Flying with or allocated to US plane dominated teams is usually a real pain, almost every time a mixed bag and not really tempting for experienced players unless you fly in a squad and/or you can make them work.

  2. WT meta In US props:

  • The attributes “climb and turn” are decisive in wt as climb helps to get positional advantage and most less experienced players tend to start turn fights whilst being under pressure - instead of relying on their advantages “speed” and to a certain degree on “armament”. The focus on high altitude performance was a doctrinal issue due to the “Germany first” approach of the US and the USAAF in particular in the ETO.
  • So if irl events led to focus on high alt performance and most Air RB matches are decided at lower altitudes, you have the root cause of your pov. - and that stuff like the P-47s, P-38s were at least in Europe (except 56th FG) withdrawn from A2A duties (due to a lack of performance) should give you another indicator that history is biased.
  • For stuff like fighters active in the Pacific - after mid 1942 the IJA and IJN were out of trained pilots, like the Luftwaffe in Spring/Summer 1944. So it became a turkey shooting in the Pacific and war of attrition above Germany decided by numbers and lack of fuel for flight operations and pilot training since 1941 for the Luftwaffe boys…
  • To deal with “climb and turn” issues - wt gave the US players a hell of very capable fighters with air spawn - with alt advantage there is no need for “turn” if you are faster and can play energy.
  1. WT battle ratings for US planes
    Imho you are flat wrong with your assumption that US planes are overtiered. Most of them are severely undertiered, like 2.7 P-39 N, the 3.7 P-51 C or the 4.7 F4U-4 (=the same plane like the 5.7 F4U-4b with 20mm).
    The problem is that the experience level of their pilots is way too low, some planes need certain play styles to make them work and enemy aircraft usually climb and turn better.

Lowering BRs for US planes is imho already in place, only experienced pilots benefit, rookies will still die due to lack of experience. Btw - US fighters were clapped above Europe in every fight on equal terms until the end of 1943, so you might lower your expectations…

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Domt forget the super charger on p51’s. At some altitudes they not have much power till the supercharger gear shift. You zn watch the booster in cockpit to kmow when