The only difference between the North American P-51B and C variants was the B was built in Inglewood and the C in Dallas. The B variant first flew on May 5, 1943 and the C variant first flew on August 5, 1943. The B variant saw 1,988 built while the C variant saw 1,750 built. On December 1, 1943 he P-51B Mustang flew its first combat mission and in March 1944 provided bomber escort to Berlin. The high shape of the P-51B/C dorsal spine gave it he name “Razorback”.
On September 15, 1944 several P-51s departed to provide escort for bombers on their way to Warsaw Poland. P-51B 42-106783 “Flying Panther” was assigned to Captain E. K. Simpson Jr. but on this day was being flown by Lieutenant Nowlin. P-51B 43-24842 piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth F. Graeff had departed first and was loitering while he waited for the rest of the escorts to form up. As Lieutenant Nowlin climbed to altitude he entered Heavy overcast conditions and as a result collided with “Blackpool Bat” killing both pilots.