Lockheed P-38 Lightning in China, Burma and India (CBI)

Lockheed P-38 Lightning in China, Burma and India (CBI)

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Lockheed P-38 Lightning in China, Burma and India (CBI)

A relatively small number of P-38s served in China, Burma and India theatre. Three fighter groups in two air forces flew the type, starting with the 459th Fighter Squadron of the 80th Fighter Group (10th Air Force), which went operational with the type in September 1943.

The American presence in India and Burma was designed to protect the supply routes to China. After the loss of Burma, the only way to get supplies to the beleaguered Chinese was to fly them over the Himalayas, a route known as the “Hump”. This was a dangerous enough route in normal times, flying at high altitude (and through) the mountains, made more dangerous by the risk of Japanese attack.

American involvement in China predated their entry into the war. The famous Flying Tigers had present in Burma since the summer of 1941 (although they did not fly their first missions until after Pearl Harbor). From the middle of 1942 the American effort in the area had been controlled by the 10th Air Force, based in India. In March 1943 that air force was split in half, and the units based in China were grouped together as the 14th Air Force. Of the three Fighter Groups that served in this theatre, the 33rd and 51st served with both air forces, while the 80th remained with the 10th Air Force until the end of the war (the 449th Fighter Squadron was briefly allocated to the 23rd Fighter Group, but moved to the 51st FG in October 1943).

Before the arrival of the P-38, the most advanced American fighter in this theatre had been the P-40. It remained the most numerous until replaced by the P-51, although that process was not complete until well in 1945.

The end of the war in North Africa in early 1943 slightly reduced the demand for the P-38. Meanwhile General Claire Chennault, the commander of the 14th Air Force, had been making urgent calls for more modern fighters. The air force responded by moving aircraft and pilots directly from North Africa to form two new P-38 squadrons. The 449th FS would be sent to China, while the 459th was sent to the India-Burma border. The 449th was the first unit to go operational, in July 1943, while part of the 23rd FG. The 459th followed in November.

The 449th had three main duties – to protect the hump, to help Chinese ground operations and to attack Japanese ground and sea forces. From their bases in China, the P-38s had the range to reach the coast, allowing it to conduct raids over Hong Kong, Canton and Hainan Island (the target of some of their last operations in 1945).

The 459th spent most of its time conducting offensive operations over Burma, including attacks on Japanese ground installations and simple fighter sweeps. As in the south Pacific, the twin engined Lightning was well suited to operations over the jungle, having the ability to limp back to bases in India on one engine.

449th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron

The 449th Fighter Interceptor Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with 11th Air Division stationed at Ladd Air Force Base, Alaska, where it was inactivated on 25 August 1960.

The squadron was first activated in 1943 as the 449th Fighter Squadron and engaged in combat in China during World War II. Following VJ Day, it returned to the United States and was inactivated. It was reactivated in Alaska in 1947.

Lockheed P-38 Lightning in China, Burma and India (CBI) - History

One of the reasons for the 459th Fighter Squadron's success was the impressive range of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Many of the Japanese were surprised to see enemy filters ranging over their airfields, sometimes from as far as 700 miles (1,126 km) away.

Wayne Sneddon was Lockheed's technical representative with the squadron, and he wrote down some of his experiences in keeping the 459th on maximum operational status: When the Wingate expedition was to take place, the squadron was neutralizing the Japanese fields some 700 miles out. This required the P-38s to carry external tanks to the target area, drop them, and then do 20 minutes of combat before heading back to home base. All planes reached home base, but two planes had to be towed from the end of the runway to their parking areas because they were out of gas! A week before the expedition launch date, the squadron ran out of drop tanks and substitute tanks made from a P-40 tank were flown in for our use. The captain of the airplane bringing the tanks asked how many more tanks were needed, I replied that we couldn't use these tanks on the current missions as they would slow the airplane down about 40 mph and that I had no idea what they would do when dropped. The net result was that I was put under 'house arrest' while the tanks were tested and my statements were confirmed. The Wingate expedition was postponed one week until we got P-38 tanks.


The Wingate expedition began on March 5,1944 -the 459th's impressive claims in the air and on the ground between March and the end of May certainly raised interest in Japanese as well as Allied camps. Some 70 air claims and more than 60 others destroyed on the ground during the period made the Japanese fear the P-38 as a formidable weapon, white Allied fortunes on the ground were commensurately improved.

Twenty of those air claims were scored in May for the loss of two pilots missing in action. The most productive mission of the month was a raid on Kanguang. led by Captain Max Glenn on May 15. Earlier in the day Captain Wally Duke had led a sweep to the Heho/Kanguang area and caught the Japanese on the ground. Duke accounted for one Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (Oscar) on the ground, and another damaged in the air. while five additional 'sitting' Japanese were claimed destroyed by the rest of the P-38 fight.

Glenn took off with his flight in the early-afternoon and ran into a hornet's nest of Oscars over the same area. By the end of the engagement Glenn had shot down two, with another probably shot down and a fourth damaged. The action made Glenn an ace with 6 1/2 air victories. Newly-promoted Captain Hampton Boggs also increased his score to six confirmed victories, and Lieutenant Aaron Bearden scored his fifth air kill during the mission. Captain Duke was the ranking ace of the squadron with eight air victories at that point.

Duke scored two more aerial victories in May to become the permanent ranking ace of the squadron, with ten confirmed in the air and eight others on the ground. His aerial score may have been a bit higher if he hadn't fallen victim to his own concern for a wingman in trouble during an early June mission.

While the 459th was running rampant over Japanese airfields, the enemy was not content to let this sort of nonsense go on forever - and the P-38 squadron paid a price during one of the sweeps over Heho/Meiktila on June 6, 1944. Twenty P-38s were in the force that was jumped by Oscars from every side. The Americans were forced to fight their way out and lost two P-38s for two Oscars confirmed and nine others reported damaged. Captain Bill Broadfoot was the leader of one flight, and he damaged one Oscar. He explained the high number of damage claims by pointing out that nobody wanted to keep count when they were fighting their way out of a trap they just kept shooting and got clear as soon as possible.

One of the pilots who did shoot his way out was Wally Duke. He then realised that his wingman, Lt Bill Baumeister, was missing, so he turned back to find him. Baumeister reported over the radio that he was flying over the crash-landed P-38 of Burdette Goodrich. Duke then radioed that he was heading home, but was listed as missing when the mission was completed.

Hampton Boggs made a survey of Japanese units at the end of the war, and was surprised to find some details relating to Duke's fate. The Japanese told him that some of their high cover had seen Duke's lone P-38 and bounced it immediately. Perhaps they would have thought twice about the matter when the feathers finally flew because, by the Japanese reckoning. three of their number were lost in the fight with a single Lightning. If that account is accurate then Duke would have had a total of 13 air victories and eight victories on the ground before he was shot down and killed over Meiktila.


Throughout March, April and May 1944, the 459th so vigorously assaulted Japanese air power in Burma that it boosted confidence among Allied ground units so they could advance without much concern about Japanese opposition from the air. Along with RAF units, the 311th Fighter Group and the 1st Air Commando Group, the 459th had a remarkable record of defeating Japanese air power in Burma.

The time for accolades began after June. General Stilwell's office sent a commendation to the 459th on July 21, 1944. The squadron's maintenance section was commended in a letter by the commander of the 10th Air Force in November for efforts that kept the squadron in top form throughout the year. Finally, the 459th received a Distinguished Unit Citation, mainly for the period March 11 through to May 19, 1944.

August 1944 saw the successful clearing of the Myitkyina area with the subsequent control of northern Burma going over to the Allies. Within the next year of the war, all of Burma fell into Allied hands, and the air units found dwindling opportunity for aerial combat. It remained for units, like the 459th, to attack railroads, bridges, truck convoys, and to fly harassing missions to hasten the Japanese out of the country.

September 3 was a tragic day for the squadron when ten of its P-38s set out on a dive-bombing mission to a railway yard around Mandalay. The weather was bad, so a bridge (that was an alternative target) was successfully bombed. Lt Aaron Bearden and his wingman, Lt Gene Barnes, were apparently disoriented in the low visibility because they collided - Barnes was killed outright, but Bearden took to his parachute and fell into captivity.

Another 459th pilot, Lt Joe Moore, was only on his third mission during a dive-bombing attack on Monywa docks on September 8. Moore was flying close to his element leader, Captain Klumb, when heavy Japanese flak disabled his P-38. He managed to crash-land his broken fighter but remained in captivity until Rangoon was liberated in May 1945. Moore was the last surviving 459th pilot to have endured the harsh reality of life as a prisoner of the Japanese.

October continued the assault against Japanese rail and communications targets. The last mission, 16 P-38s escorting B-25 Mitchells to an airfield at Namsugn on October 28, gave the 459th pilots at least a chance to strike the Japanese Army Air Force on the ground. After the B-25s had dropped their bombs, the P-38s went down and shot up the hastily erected hangars. The American fighters passed up a bomber on the field that seemed too badly shot up to merit the use of any precious ammunition.

A better chance to meet the enemy in the air came on November 4 when the P-38s escorted B-24s of the 7th BG to rail targets around Insein. Oscars and Nakajima Ki-44 Shokis (Tojos) attacked the bombers just as the American force was withdrawing. Nineteen P-38s reacted with ferocity and claimed three Japanese shot down with another three damaged. No P-38s were lost.

One of the victories scored on that mission was credited to Major Verl Leuhring, commander of the 459th since the glory days of March 1944. His final score was three Oscars claimed in the air and 2 1/2 bombers scored on the ground. In March 1945 he returned home on rotation, handing command of the 459th over to Hampton Boggs, who went home himself just a few months later at the end of June.

By June of 1945 the 459th was practically out of a job in Burma because no suitable targets remained within the country. In the previous month the squadron had been assigned to the 33d Fighter Group with the stated purpose of supporting operations in China.

In point of fact, the last air victory scored by the 459th was a Kawasaki Ki-6i Hien (Tony) shot down on a B-24 escort to the Rangoon area on February 11, 1945. The bombers had just cleared the target when a single enemy aircraft was sighted below. Hampton Boggs noticed it, and led his flight down from the direction of the sun to open fire at about 400 yards. Boggs was gratified to see the enemy fighter explode, becoming his ninth confirmed air victory.


World War II [ edit | edit source ]

Repairs to P-38 by 459th Fighter Squadron at Chittagong, India – January 1945

The squadron was activated in August 1943 with Lockheed P-38 Lightnings and joined the 80th Fighter Group, whose three squadrons of Curtiss P-40 Warhawks had arrived in India in June. The group completed the China-Burma-India Theater training and entered combat in September. Α]

It supported Allied forces during the battles for northern Burma and the advance toward Rangoon bombing and strafing troop concentrations, supply dumps and lines of communications. The squadron helped protect bases in India from which cargo aircraft of Air Transport Command flew missions over the Hump to supply forces in China. It patrolled allied airfields and attacked Japanese airfields from which enemy interceptors operated. Α] The 459th was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for destroying 119 enemy aircraft between 11 March and 19 May 1944. Ώ]

The 459th Received a second DUC for intercepting a large formation of enemy aircraft while defending an allied oil refinery in Assam, India on 27 March 1944. The squadron was credited with 66 aerial victory credits between 1 December 1943 and 13 January 1945. The first victory was earned by Capt. Hampton Boggs, who went on to become one of the squadron's aces. The unit continued in combat until about 6 May 1945. Β] Shortly thereafter, it was transferred to the 33d Fighter Group, returning with the 33d to the United States, where it was inactivated at the New York Port of Embarkation on 5 November 1945. Ώ]

Flying training [ edit | edit source ]

The squadron was activated again at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas in April 2009 as the 459th Flying Training Squadron. Ώ] The 89th Flying Training Squadron, which was conducting training with the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II at Sheppard and had grown to over twice the size of a normal training squadron, was split to form the 459th. Γ]

The 459th conducts undergraduate flying training for Euro-NATO joint jet pilot candidates. Ώ] Its instructor pilots come from seven countries. [note 1] In 2010, it was named top operations squadron in Air Education and Training Command. Δ]

Category:Lockheed P-38 Lightning

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The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement. The P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Named "fork-tailed devil" by the Luftwaffe and "two planes, one pilot" by the Japanese, the P-38 was used in a number of roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, photo reconnaissance missions,and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings. The P-38 was used most successfully in the Pacific and China-Burma-India Theater of Operations. It was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day.
Several variant were dedicated to aerial photo reconnaissance under the types F-4 and F-5.

This page lists all films that feature a variation of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.

Lockheed P-38 Lightning (also known as F-4 and F-5)

Designed as a twin-engine, high-altitude interceptor fighter, the prototype P-38 first flew in 1939. Although that crashed at the end of a trans-continental record-breaking attempt, the design was regarded as sufficiently proven for test and development models to be followed by production models from 1940.

The French air force and RAF were initially just as keen as the USAAF to buy the P-38, and 677 were ordered in 1940 for export to Europe. After the fall of France in June 1940, the RAF took over the French order, but rejected the P-38 after testing two examples as the Lightning I. After America entered the war in 1941, the USAAF took over the RAF allocations for both Lightning Is and IIs, so the type never entered RAF squadron service.

It entered USAAF group service in the USA in mid-1941, although aircraft and pilots were not yet combat-ready when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.First overseas deployments were by the 1 st and 14 th Fighter Groups in 1942, initially to the US 8 th Air Force in the UK and then to the US 12 th Air Force in North Africa.

During 1943-1945, P-38s served with several other fighter groups of the US 8 th and 9 th Air Forces in the UK, but the majority converted to P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs during 1944-45. Although overtaken in the European theatre by other types of fighters, F-4 and F-5 photographic reconnaissance variants of the P-38 remained important up to the time of the German surrender in May 1945.

During 1942-1944, P-38 squadrons were deployed further afield by the US 11 th , 5 th and 13 th Air Forces in the Pacific theatre, and the 10 th and 14 th Air Forces in the China-Burma-India theatre. By the summer of 1944, when the 5 th and 13 th Air Forces were reorganised into the Far East Air Forces, the new command included five groups equipped with P-38s. The 457 th Fighter Group in particular had among its personnel three top-scoring ‘aces’: Major Richard I Bong, Major Thomas B McGuire Jr and Colonel C H MacDonald.

P-47 Thunderbolt: The Plane That Won World War II and Crushed Hitler

Although the P-47 was a force to be reckoned with in the air, it was sluggish in a climb and difficult to handle in takeoffs and landings. Lieutenant Harold Rosser, who flew the plane in the China-Burma-India Theater before his unit received twin-boom Lockheed P-38 Lightnings, reported, “The P-47 had no nose wheel, and instead of leaning forward to take off, it held back, leaning on its tail wheel, its tilted-up nose obstructing our forward view until it gained speed. Not until it reached a speed of 60 miles an hour did the tail come up, and until it did, we could not see the runway in front of us. The opposite was true when landing. To compensate for the blind spot, we ‘essed’ when we taxied, turning from side to side, looking to the front between turns.”

Limited pilot vision was a drawback in the early Thunderbolt variants, but this was improved when a clear-view teardrop cockpit was introduced with the P-47D model. This gave the pilot all-around visibility.

While its pilots loved and trusted the Thunderbolt, some USAAF officers in Europe thought that it used up too much runway to take off, was difficult to pull out of a dive, and that its landing gear was weak. In the Pacific Theater, however, few doubts were voiced. General George C. Kenney, the able, Canadian-born commander of the Fifth Air Force, was impressed by the performance of the plane and requested that more of his fighter groups be equipped with it.

The Thunderbolt made a significant contribution to the downfall of the Luftwaffe, the destruction of the Third Reich’s transportation system, and the eventual defeat of the German and Japanese Armies. A total of 15,579 P-47s were built, more than any other USAAF fighter, and they equipped 40 percent of overseas fighter groups in 1944 and 1945. The only American fighter that surpassed the Thunderbolt in all-around performance was the lighter P-51 Mustang, generally regarded as the best single-seat, piston-engine fighter of the war. As Colonel Gabreski observed, however, the P-51 fell short of the Thunderbolt in dive bombing and could not withstand the kind of punishment it absorbed routinely.

With double the range of the P-47s, Mustangs eventually took over escort duties for the Eighth Air Force bomber streams. The Thunderbolt pilots had acquitted themselves heroically, but even when fitted with disposable fuel tanks the planes lacked the necessary range. The final push for P-51s was accelerated by a disastrous B-17 mission on October 14, 1943. On that “Black Thursday,” 291 unescorted B-17s attacked the ball-bearing plant at Schweinfurt for the second time. They inflicted considerable damage, but 60 Fortresses were destroyed and 140 damaged. A further 88 Eighth Air Force planes had gone down in the previous week, and the losses were intolerable.

The first mission escorted by Mustangs was mounted on December 5, 1943, and they then routinely accompanied B-17s and Liberators to Berlin and back. By the end of the European war, all but one of the Eighth Air Force fighter groups were equipped with Mustangs.

The arrival of the P-51s changed the tide of the air war in Europe, but the P-47 pilots remained fiercely loyal to their corpulent Jugs and insisted that they were superior. Improved Thunderbolt variants continued to render gallant service on all fronts, from northwestern Europe to North Africa and from Italy to the Pacific. They were based in Australia from late 1943, and P-47Ns escorted Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers of the Twentieth Air Force on long over-water missions.

The last of a dozen variants of the famous Thunderbolt, the P-47N was built solely for deployment in the Pacific Theater. A total of 1,816 were deployed. The P-47Ns specialized in bombing and strafing Japanese shipping, rail lines, and airfields.

During the big Marine-Army invasion of Saipan in mid-June 1944, Thunderbolts of the Seventh Air Force’s 19th and 73rd Fighter Squadrons supported Navy planes in blasting Japanese caves and other strongpoints with napalm. They also flew in support of U.S. and Allied troops in many other Pacific actions, including the reconquest of New Guinea, the Philippines campaign, and the invasions of Guam, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

The RAF used Thunderbolts for training in England and Egypt, and they were widely deployed for strafing, reconnaissance, and “rhubarb” sorties in the Far East. While several squadrons in India and Burma converted from Hawker Hurricanes, RAF P-47s armed with 500-pound bombs, rockets, and napalm specialized in low-level assaults on Japanese troop concentrations and their long supply lines. They covered British-Australian landings in Burma and continued to harass the retreating enemy during the last year of the war. A total of 830 Thunderbolts were used exclusively against the Japanese during the bitter Burma campaign.

RAF Thunderbolts in the Far East bore white recognition bands to prevent confusion with Japanese Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate fighters, which closely resembled them. USAAF Thunderbolts, meanwhile, escorted Allied C-46, C-47, and C-54 transport planes flying over the Himalayan “Hump” from India to China.

It was in the European Theater, before, during, and after the momentous invasion of Normandy by the British, American, and Canadian Armies on Tuesday, June 6, 1944, that P-47s found a new role and came into their own with a vengeance. Along with 10 Eighth Air Force fighter groups and the RAF’s deadly Hawker Typhoons and Tempests, Thunderbolts took off daily from English airfields to sweep across the English Channel and pound German tanks, convoys, airfields, supply dumps, trains, and communication lines with bombs, rockets, and machine-gun fire. After the Allied troops broke out from their beachheads, the planes operated from hastily laid airstrips in France.

As long as weather conditions permitted, the Thunderbolts, Typhoons, and Tempests kept up the pressure as the Allied armies pushed across France, Belgium, Holland, and into Germany. They cheered the embattled riflemen in the foxholes and terrified their opponents. Over the front lines of northwestern Europe in 1944-1945, the P-47 proved itself a fearsome weapon. The effect of it firing eight .5-inch Colt-Browning machine guns in its wings was described by one observer as being like “driving a five-ton truck straight at a wall at 60 miles an hour.”

Thunderbolts were the frontline workhorses of General Hoyt S. Vandenburg’s Ninth Air Force, history’s largest tactical air command, which had been reformed in the fall of 1943 after operations in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, to support ground units in Normandy. It boasted 3,500 aircraft.

By May 1944, 13 of the Ninth Air Force’s fighter groups had been equipped with P-47Ds, tailored for their critical role as low-level strafers and bombers. They had upgraded engines and propellers, and racks were fitted beneath their wings to carry 500-pound bombs and, later, rocket projectiles. After the Normandy landings, the Ninth Air Force followed the example of the RAF’s “cab rank” tactics with Typhoons. U.S. Army tank crews with VHF radio sets were able to summon bomb-carrying Thunderbolts to attack specific targets.

With an overall loss rate of only 0.7 percent, the P-47s destroyed or damaged 6,000 enemy tanks and armored cars, 68,000 trucks, 9,000 locomotives, 86,000 pieces of rolling stock, and 60,000 horse-drawn vehicles. Flying 545,575 sorties and logging an estimated 1.35 million combat hours, they shot down 3,752 enemy planes with the loss of 824 in aerial battles. By August 1945, Thunderbolts had flown on every front and destroyed more than 7,000 German and Japanese aircraft in the air and on the ground.

The most aerial victories in the European Theater were scored by Colonel Hubert A. “Hub” Zemke’s 56th “Wolfpack” Fighter Group. His P-47s racked up 665.5 kills, and he himself was credited with 17.75 enemy planes destroyed in the air and 8.5 on the ground. The conservative, gentlemanly Zemke was described as the “fightingest” fighter commander in Europe because he regularly led his pilots into action. He also was an innovative tactician. Both he and the gallant Colonel Gabreski, the third-ranking American air ace of all time, ended the war in German prison camps.

The production of Thunderbolts ended in November 1945. P-47Ds and P-47Ns remained in service with the USAAF and when it became the U.S. Air Force in September 1947, and a few flew with Air National Guard squadrons before being phased out in 1955. P-47s also operated with the air forces of Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Dominica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Nationalist China, Peru, Turkey, and Yugoslavia.

When the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, Defense Department planners decided that piston-engine fighters were sorely needed for ground support. They tried to find enough P-47s for the task, but the planes, which had perfected such tactics in World War II, were almost out of inventory. A few Thunderbolts saw action in Korea, but the Air Force had no choice but to rely mainly on P-51s and the new breed of jet fighters.

Lockheed P-38 Lightning

Lockheed P-38 Lightning seen in Aces: Iron Eagle III.

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement. The P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Named "fork-tailed devil" by the Luftwaffe and "two planes, one pilot" by the Japanese, the P-38 was used in a number of roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, photo reconnaissance missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings. The P-38 was used most successfully in the Pacific and China-Burma-India Theater of Operations. It was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day.
Several variant were dedicated to aerial photo reconnaissance under the types F-4 and F-5.

This page lists all films, TV series, and video games that feature the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.

COBI P38L Lightning Set (5539)

The COBI P38L Lightning Set features 395 highly detailed brick parts and colorful, easy to read detailed instructions. The COBI P-38 Set parts all work with the “other major brand” and you will be impressed with the great quality and detail of this Cobi set.

The COBI P38 Lightning Fighter includes 1 figures and all the markings are pad printed so stickers are not necessary.

Both children and adults will get hours of enjoyment from this COBI P38 Lightning Set. Whether you are buying to display or play, Cobi Brick sets will not disappoint. Ships quickly from Billings, MT USA with tracking number.

Also, don’t forget to check out the COBI F4U Corsair Set

Lockheed Lightning

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Named &quotfork-tailed devil&quot by the Luftwaffe and &quottwo planes, one pilot&quot by the Japanese, the P-38 was used in a number of roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, photo reconnaissance missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.

The P-38 was used most successfully in the Pacific Theater of Operations and the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations as the mount of America's top aces, Richard Bong (40 victories) and Thomas McGuire (38 victories). In the South West Pacific theater, the P-38 was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war.

American Aircraft Of World War II
Published by Chancellor Press Ltd.

Fighters of the United States Air Force
Published by Temple Press/Aerospace.

Watch the video: Lockheed P-38 Lightning fork-tailed devil


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