This Weapon Was Too Bonkers for the U.S. Air Force, Gets Second Life in War Thunder

Gun Pod 10 photos
Photo: Secret Projects Forum (Source Unkown)
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The U.S. military has a knack for building terrifying superweapons. For instance, they once tested a nuclear bomb so powerful, it just about blasted the island it was tested on back into the sea which spawned it. But not every death machine drawn up by American military contractors winds upon an actual battlefield.
Sometimes, a weapon is so ludicrous, even the Americans think it’s ridiculous. The experimental machine gun pod designed for the F-82 Twin Mustang is one such example.

The late 1940s and early 1950s were quite a momentous period in aviation history. The end of the Second World War only brought forth another conflict soon after, and the war in Korea was a conflict that saw dozens of different aircraft types see combat.

One of the most noteworthy on the American side of things was the F-82 Twin Mustang. A Frankenstein creation consisting of two P-51 Mustang H fuselages welded together via a connecting piece of metal at the wingtips and tail section.

The Twin Mustang was stop-gap aircraft of sorts. One meant to be sufficient enough to get by while the first generation of American jet fighters took to the skies for the first time. Initially, the influx of Lockheed P-80 Shooting Stars, Republic F-84 Thunderjets, and early North American F-86A Sabers were slow to arrive on the scene. This left the job of escorting lumbering B-29 Superfortress strategic bombers to the Twin Mustang.

Gun Pod
Photo: Secret Projects Forum (Source Unknown)
The Twinstang, as it’s sometimes referred to informally, was an all-around excellent piston-engined interceptor. Its acceptable climb rate and dive speed, exceptional fuel range, and firepower from six center-mounted M3 Browning machine guns satisfied most itchy trigger fingers. Still, there was at least one North American Aviation or U.S. Air Force engineer who must have deemed this firepower to be “insufficient.”

The Twin Mustang had plenty of payload capacity and regularly saw its center-line mounting points fastened with everything from radar pods, to extra fuel tanks, to pairs of thousand-pound bombs. If there was ever a warbird that flew worthy of testing a machine gun pod with a scarcely believable eight Brownings, it was the F-82.

The objective with these new gun pods was straightforward. Take off from an airfield, usually in Japan. Fly in formation with a squadron of bombers over North Korea, point its nose at anything in the sky that wasn’t friendly, and proceed to delete it from existence behind a wall of the finest American lead.

The gun pod was complete and ready for breaking in by the time the first XP-82 prototype was prepared for flight testing. Not much is known about the reaction Air Force personnel had to this certifiably looney new weapon. But there is at least one photo of the thing firing at full capacity. At the very least, it must have been one hell of a fireworks display.

Gun Pod
Photo: Gaijin Entertainment
As time passed, North American Aviation and the U.S. Air Force agreed 14 machine guns was a bit excessive, even for the U.S military at the height of its post-war dominance. The weapon never saw active combat in Korea and was promptly relegated to the pages of history. That was, until its revival in the digital sphere almost seven decades later.

The Twin Mustang’s gun pod may never have amounted to anything in real life. But in War Thunder, the aircraft, tank, ship, and helicopter combat simulator by Gaijin Entertainment, the pod strikes fear into the hearts of all pilots.

First introduced in update 1.39, the Twin Mustang serves much the same role in War Thunder’s realistic battles as it did over Korea in real life. Only this time, there’s no stuffy military top brass to tell us its machine gun pod is much too silly.

All one needs to do is climb to around 15,000 feet (3,000 m), find an unfortunate enemy bomber, then shred it to pieces in a way the US Air Force wasn’t able to in the real world. The fact the Twin Mustang and its gun pod aren’t locked behind a paywall like most of the really cool planes in the game is only a bonus.
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