The P-38 Lightning (1): XP-38 Through P-38H (Detail & Scale 57)
By Bert Kinzey
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications Inc. 1998 80 Pages
PDF 29 MB
The Germans called it Der Gabelschwanz Teuful or "Forked-tailed Devil," and the Japanese referred to it as two planes with one pilot. But whatever it was called, Lockheed's P-38 was a giant step forward in fighter technology and design. It was faster, bigger, and more heavily armed than anything ever seen previously. In England, early versions in particular were plagued with problems associated with using British fuels in exhaust-driven, turbo-supercharged engines, but in Africa, Southern Europe, the Aleutians, and throughout the Pacific, it performed admirably. Pilots who could master a twin-engined fighter loved the P-38, while those that couldn't shunned it. America's top two aces of World War II scored their victories in the large P-38 while flying against nimble Japanese aircraft known for their maneuverability. Although it was controversial, its contributions to America's efforts during the war were undeniable while it served as a single-seat fighter, photographic reconnaissance aircraft, and in several special purpose roles.