The Lockheed P-38G Lightning was a twin-engine heavy fighter in use by the U.S. Army Air Force distinct for its two booms housing its Allison engines and its central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. The P-38G currently sits at Rank 2 in the American line with an upfront cost of 49,000 .
Design, Development, & HistoryEdit
The P-38 was used most extensively and successfully in the Pacific theater, where it proved ideally suited, combining excellent performance with very long range, and had the added reliability of two engines for long missions over water. The G variant was created at the end of 1942 and was based on the E and F variants. The G had a more powerful turbocharged Allison V-1710-51/55 engine. Engine management was significantly more automated than before.The P-38 was used in a variety of roles, especially escorting bombers at altitudes between 18–25,000 ft (5,500-7,600 m). The P-38 was credited with destroying more Japanese aircraft than any other USAAF fighter.The P-38G had a reinforced fuselage and could carry two extra 300-gallon (1136-liter) fuel tanks. The G was not equipped to carry rockets and bombs, but was often modified on the field to carry 250-lb or even 500-lb bombs as well as unguided rockets.
Freezing cockpits were not a problem at low altitude in the tropics. In fact, since there was no way to open a window while in flight as it caused buffeting by setting up turbulence through the tailplane, it was often too hot; pilots taking low altitude assignments would often fly stripped down to shorts, tennis shoes, and parachute. While the P-38 could not out-turn the A6M Zero and most other Japanese fighters when flying below 200 mph (320 km/h), its superior speed coupled with a good rate of climb meant that it could utilize energy tactics, making multiple high-speed passes at its target. Also, its focused firepower was even more deadly to lightly armored Japanese warplanes than to the Germans'. The concentrated, parallel stream of bullets allowed aerial victory at much longer distances than fighters carrying wing mounted weaponry. It is therefore ironic that Richard Ira "Dick" Bong, the United States' highest-scoring World War II air ace (40 victories solely in P-38's), would fly directly at his targets to make sure he hit them (as he himself acknowledged his poor shooting ability), in some cases flying through the debris of his target (and on one occasion colliding with an enemy aircraft which was claimed as a "probable" victory). The twin Allison engines performed admirably in the Pacific.