P-38 Com­bat Stats

Flight Journal - - RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL -

The P-38 Light­ning was one of the few Amer­i­can air­craft that was pro­duced be­fore Pearl Har­bor and con­tin­ued in ser­vice af­ter the victory over Ja­pan (VJ Day). In all, 10,003 P-38s were built by Lock­heed at a typ­i­cal cost of $97,100 apiece.

In the Pa­cific The­ater of Op­er­a­tions, the P-38 was cred­ited with down­ing nearly 1,700 Ja­pa­nese fight­ers, trans­ports, bombers, sea planes and Kamikazes from 1942-1945. bout 160 Amer­i­can pi­lots were able to pro­claim them­selves “Ace” while fly­ing and fight­ing in the twin-en­gine, twin-boom fighter around the globe.

In April of 1943, 16 P-38s flew al­most 450 miles (one way) over open ocean at wave-top height on a sneak at­tack mis­sion to in­ter­cept a pair of Betty Bombers, one of them con­tain­ing the “ar­chi­tect” of the bomb­ing of Pearl Har­bor, Ad­mi­ral Isoroku Ya­mamoto. Af­ter the shoot­ing had stopped, the wreck­age of two smol­der­ing Ja­pa­nese bombers along with a pair of Zero es­corts lay on the ocean and jun­gle floor be­low.

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