Lightning Strikes!

Lockheed P-38 Lightning Smithsonian - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre in Chantilly, Virginia
Lockheed P-38 Lightning @ Smithsonian – Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre 2013 (Chantilly, Virginia)

The P-38 was a fast long-range heavy fighter used for interception, close air support and bomber escort duties in the European, North African and Pacific theatres during World War Two (there were also reconnaissance versions). The Lightning proved to be very successful in all roles and was in production for the entire period of the US involvement in World War Two. Over 10,000 P-38’s were manufactured with the first entering service in 1941 in the USAAF and the last being retired from the then renamed USAF in 1950.

Lockheed P-38H Lightning @ Classic Jets Fighter Museum 2011 (Parafield, South Australia)
Lockheed P-38H Lightning @ Classic Jets Fighter Museum 2011 (Parafield, South Australia)
The P-38H Lightning packed a punch in the nose - 1 x 20mm cannon, 4 x 12.7 mm machine guns Classic Fighters Parafield
The P-38H Lightning packed a punch in the nose – 1 x 20mm cannon, 4 x 0.50 Calber machine guns
The Flying Bulls P-38 Lightning at the Berlin Air Show 2010
The Flying Bulls P-38 Lightning at the Berlin Air Show 2010
P-38 Chino Planes of Fame 2013 USAF Heritage Flight
USAF Heritage Flight @ Planes of Fame 2013 (Chino, California)

Dubbed the “Der Gabelschwanz Teufel“ (“Forked Tail Devil“) by German pilots the P-38 was credited with sharing the first air to air kill of a German aircraft by US Forces on August 14th, 1942 and went on to be a major contributor in establishing Allied air superiority over Europe. In the Pacific theatre the P-38 was credited with more air to air kills of Japanese aircraft than any other type and was the aircraft used by the United States Army Air Forces top aces Richard Bong (40 victories) and Thomas McGuire (38 victories). A very successful fighter indeed!

P-38 Lightning Chino Planes of Fame 2013 23 Skidoo
P-38 “23 Skidoo” @ Chino 2013
P-38 Lightning Chino Planes of Fame 2013 Tangerine
P-38 “Tangerine” @ Chino 2013
P-38 Lightning Chino Planes of Fame 2013 Glacier Girl
P-38 “Glacier Girl” @ Chino 2013
P-38 Lightning Chino Honey Bunny
P-38 “Honey Bunny” @ Chino 2013
P-38 Lightning Chino Thoughts of Midnite
P-38 “Thoughts of Midnite” @ Chino 2013
F-5G-6-LO Lightning (P-38L) from Yanks Air Museum Chino
F-5G-6-LO Lightning (a recon P-38L) from Yanks Air Museum @ Chino 2013
P-38 @ Evergreen Aviation Museum 2013 (McMinnville, Oregon) Lockheed Lightning
P-38 @ Evergreen Aviation Museum 2013 (McMinnville, Oregon)
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