Lockheed P-38 Lightning
One of the 25 airplanes that won it
still flying 70 years after victory.

AIR&SPACE Smithsonian, May 2015
13:48 4/21/2015
I'd Rather Be Flying From Hangar 18
in the...
Lockheed P-38 Lightning
(Featuring some of the Ol'Kunnel's favorite airplanes!)
The lightning was designed in 1937 as a high-altitude interceptor. The first one built, the XP-38, made its public debut on February 11, 1939 by flying from California to New York in seven hours. Because of its unorthodox design, the airplane experienced "growing pains" and it required several years to perfect it for combat. Late in 1942, it went into large-scale operations during the North African campaign where the German Luftwaffe named it "Der Gabelschwanz Teufel"--"The Forked-Tail Devil." Equipped with droppable fuel tanks under its wings, the P-38 was used extensively as a long-range escort fighter and saw action in practically every major combat area of the world. A very versatile aircraft, the Lightning was also used for dive bombing, level bombing, ground strafing and photo reconnaissance missions.

Take a break and view the video "P-38 A Personal Story." It is a wealth of information about the Lightening...
Video: P-38 "A Personal Story"
09/14/2017 1512 Some type information:

  • Span: 52 ft.
  • Length: 37 ft. 10 in.
  • Height: 12 ft. 10 in.
  • Weight: 17,500 lbs. loaded
  • Armament: Four .50-cal. machine guns and one 20mm cannon
  • Engines: Two Allison V-1710s of 1,475 hp. ea.
  • Cost: $115,000
  • Maximum speed: 414 mph
  • Cruising speed: 275 mph
  • Range: 1,100 miles
  • Service Ceiling: 40,000 ft.
    ... in the Pacific, single-seater Lightnings downed 1,800-plus enemy planes there. In April 1943, wise to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's route, 16 P-38 pilots roared 435 miles from Guadalcanal to Bougainville to kill the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack. Over Europe, Axis aviators respected der gabelschwanz Teufel--“the fork-tailed devil”--.... The LIghtning--10,037 built--was the only American fighter that was in production from Pearl Harbor to V-J Day.
    [From World War II Magazine, July/August 2015]
14:55 6/9/2015
15:34 6/9/2015

    In 2010,
Fred Hargesheimer, a World War II Army pilot whose rescue by Pacific islanders led to a life of giving back as a builder of schools and teacher of children, died Dec. 23. He was 94.

From article in FEDERAL TIMES. Click for more information.
December 28, 2010
Richard Ira "Dick" Bong (September 24, 1920 – August 6, 1945) is the United States' highest-scoring air ace, having shot down at least 40 Japanese aircraft during World War II. He was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) and a recipient of the Medal of Honor. All of his aerial victories were in the P-38 Lightning, a fast and well armed fighter aircraft.
The restored "Marge" is on display in Superior, Wisconsin.
“    On April 18, 1943, a formation of 70th and 339th Squadron P-38s out of Guadalcanal, led by Col. John Mitchell, downed Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto after one of the longest pinpoint interceptions in history. In May 1943, the 475th Fighter Group was created within the Southwest Pacific Theater as the only all-Lightning group. It quickly established a number of scoring records. Throughout the Pacific War, the Lightning proved itself as the premier Army fighter, as both Dick Bong and Tom McGuire proved. Flying only the P-38, Bong became America's ace of aces with forty kills, while McGuire got thirty-eight.”
    from Warbirds of World War II, ©Jeffrey L. Ethell, 1993, 1994

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