(Poem from an anonymous 15th Air Force B17 radioman)
YP-38 prototype, polished aluminium... simply beautiful !
Oh, Hedy Lamarr is a beautiful gal
and Madeleine Carroll is too,
But you'll find if you query, a different theory
amongst any bomber crew
For the loveliest thing of which one could sing
(this side of the Pearly Gates)
is no blonde or brunette of the Hollywood set -
But an escort of P-38s.
A bombing mission by a single B-17 and two P-38s was not unusual in the Pacific.
In the day that have passed, when the tables were massed,
with glasses of scotch and champagne,
It's quite true that the sight was a thing to delight
Us, intent upon feeling no pain.
But no longer the same, nowadays, in this game
When we head north from Messina Straits,
Take the sparkling wine--everytime just make mine
an escort of P38s.
|Richard Ira Bong
||Thomas Buchanan McGuire
Major Richard Bong is the all-time highest scoring American ace, with 40
confirmed kills between December 1942 and December 1944, all of them achieved
in a P-38.
On August 6 1945 (day of the Hiroshima bombing), Richard Bong was flight-testing
a P-80 jet fighter in California when he lost control of the plane; he tried to
bail out but his parachute never opened.
At the time that he broke Rickenbacker's record of 26 aerial victories, in 1944,
Major Bong declared that he was a "one airplane man, and that airplane was
Thomas McGuire, known as much for his aggressive nature as for his outstanding flying
and leading abilities, is the #2 highest scoring pilot for the USA with 38 confirmed
kills between August 1943 and December 1944. He was killed in combat on January 7, 1945.
Kelly Johnson (P-38 designer, left) and Milo Burcham (test pilot, right) are discussing
the efficiency of the "compressibility flaps" that can be seen over their head.
These flaps, first fitted on the P-38J-25, allowed the pilot to keep the plane under control
when diving at high speeds.
The P-38J featured another major improvement: hydraulic boosters were fitted to the aileron
control system; they greatly improved the roll rate over previous versions.
The P-38M "Night Lightning" featured an AN/APS-4AI radar pod, a modified cockpit with a radar
operator sitting behind the pilot, and flash hiders fitted on the guns to avoid blinding the pilot at night.
- Left: Bore-sighting at night.
- Above right: An experimental loading of 14 rockets.
- Below right: That rocket tree, one under each wing, could hold five rockets.
I received the following picture from Jack T. Curtis, who flew the P-38 with the 367th fighter group
(9th Air Force). He pointed out that two 910 kg (2000 lb) bombs were sometimes loaded on
the P-38... Thanks for the picture, Jack !
Colonel (now General, Ret.) Charles M. Young and his P-38, loaded with 2000 lb bombs.
P-38J fitted with retractable skis, Alaska 1944.
This downed P-38J was repaired and flight-tested by the LuftWaffe.
Experimental fit of eight .50cal nose guns, plus four more of these in wing pods !
That's all for today...
Thanks for visiting this Gallery, I hope you've enjoyed the ride !
You can also check my P-38 information page.
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