German P-51B Mustang

During World War II, belligerents actively searched reliable data concerning their opponent’s equipment. This was particularly true of air forces, which could obtain a decisive tactical advantage if given the opportunity to examine enemy aircraft. The most famous example of this was the Japanese A6M Zero fighter : American forces managed to salvage a copy of this “invincible” fighter shortly after the battle of Midway. Restoring it to flyable status, they discovered the aircraft had many weaknesses and were able to devise tactics that exploited those weaknesses to maximum effect. On the European front, the large number of Allied aircraft flying – and crashing or ditching – over Axis soil meant that, sooner or later, the Luftwaffe would be able to recuperate Allied aircraft wrecks, study them and, hopefully, restore them to flying status. The P-51 Mustang brought the Luftwaffe so much trouble that the Germans certainly longed to get their hands on an airworthy model… […]