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P38 Lightning #5324510 01/16/20 04:01 PM
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Kamele0N Offline OP
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Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Kamele0N] #5324517 01/16/20 04:11 PM
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Astro14 Online Content
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Too much airplane for the pilots at the time...


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Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Astro14] #5324583 01/16/20 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Astro14
Too much airplane for the pilots at the time...


Probably, but some pilots also stated that it was the best pure fighter airplane in the hands of an experienced, above-average pilot. I love the P/F-51D too, and perhaps it was a better overall aircraft for most pilots. But the definitive versions, the P-39J-25 and P-38L, were excellent fighters. Think the article is decent, but leaves out a few things:

Quote
In the European Theater, P-38s made 130,000 sorties with a loss of 1.3% overall, comparing favorably with P-51s, which posted a 1.1% loss, considering that the P-38s were vastly outnumbered and suffered from poorly thought-out tactics. The majority of the P-38 sorties were made in the period prior to Allied air superiority in Europe, when pilots fought against a very determined and skilled enemy.[104] Lieutenant Colonel Mark Hubbard, a vocal critic of the aircraft, rated it the third best Allied fighter in Europe.[105] The Lightning's greatest virtues were long range, heavy payload, high speed, fast climb and concentrated firepower. The P-38 was a formidable fighter, interceptor and attack aircraft.

In the Pacific theater, the P-38 downed over 1,800 Japanese aircraft, with more than 100 pilots becoming aces by downing five or more enemy aircraft.[102] American fuel supplies contributed to a better engine performance and maintenance record, and range was increased with leaner mixtures. In the second half of 1944, the P-38L pilots out of Dutch New Guinea were flying 950 mi (1,530 km), fighting for fifteen minutes and returning to base.[106] Such long legs were invaluable until the P-47N and P-51D entered service.


Wiki

I would also argue it was a mistake to mothball the P/F-38L in favor of the F-51 Mustang at the end of the war. Whatever it's shortcomings as a high altitude escort, it would've been a better post-WWII strike aircraft in Korea than the Mustang because of its dive flaps and twin engines (dive bombing and survivability)...

Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Kamele0N] #5324595 01/16/20 06:09 PM
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Astro14 Online Content
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Absolutely a better airplane than the P-51.

If it had been fitted with Merlin Engines, instead of the two Allisons, it would’ve been even farther ahead of the Mustang.

The Mustang benefitted greatly from the Merlin. It wouldn’t have been nearly the airplane that it was, had it been equipped with the Allison that it had originally.

The point is: the average pilot entering into combat in the ETO had very little time. The P-38 was simply too sophisticated for the average pilot. It took too much to make it perform well. The P-51 was simpler, more reliable, and easy to learn.

Pilots had to survive their first twenty or so combat missions to become good in combat. Much more of a challenge to clear that hurdle in the P-38.


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Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Astro14] #5324676 01/16/20 07:54 PM
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A_Harman Offline
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Originally Posted by Astro14
Absolutely a better airplane than the P-51.

If it had been fitted with Merlin Engines, instead of the two Allisons, it would’ve been even farther ahead of the Mustang.

The Mustang benefitted greatly from the Merlin. It wouldn’t have been nearly the airplane that it was, had it been equipped with the Allison that it had originally.

The point is: the average pilot entering into combat in the ETO had very little time. The P-38 was simply too sophisticated for the average pilot. It took too much to make it perform well. The P-51 was simpler, more reliable, and easy to learn.

Pilots had to survive their first twenty or so combat missions to become good in combat. Much more of a challenge to clear that hurdle in the P-38.


I doubt the P38 would have benefitted greatly from a Merlin swap. The P51 benefitted due to the 2-stage supercharged Merlin in altitude performance compared to the single-stage supercharged Allison. But the Allisons in the P38 were turbocharged, and had great altitude performance. The two-stage supercharged Allison came much too late to save its installation in the P51, but was the selected engine in the F82 Twin Mustang.


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Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Jackson_Slugger] #5324738 01/16/20 08:49 PM
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Spartanfool Offline
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Originally Posted by Jackson_Slugger


I would also argue it was a mistake to mothball the P/F-38L in favor of the F-51 Mustang at the end of the war. Whatever it's shortcomings as a high altitude escort, it would've been a better post-WWII strike aircraft in Korea than the Mustang because of its dive flaps and twin engines (dive bombing and survivability)...


How about the F-82 Twin Mustang? It was a pretty hot ship early in Korea. It got the first American aerial kill of the war, and was effective in both ground support and escort roles.

There is a beautiful example "Betty Jo" at Wright-Patterson AFB Museum in Dayton.

Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Kamele0N] #5324818 01/16/20 10:34 PM
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Why would you want to heat the cockpit on a plane flying at 30 000 ft. Over Europe. In the winter ...? Probably -40*F or colder up there.

Somebody must of called in sick the day they were brainstorming that little detail ...


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Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Kamele0N] #5324871 01/17/20 12:47 AM
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A good friend of mine’s grandfather was an ace in the P-38. One of the last few flying P-38s is a replica of his plane.


You get what you pay for...
So keep in mind how much you paid for this advice.
Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Kamele0N] #5324887 01/17/20 02:29 AM
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That was a pretty good article. A couple of things I want to point out, going from memory:
The P-38 was a failure in Europe going against the ME-109 and FW-190 head to head, and a few squadrons were withdrawn from service due to high loss rates.
The Me-110 was similar in design to the P-38: it had superior rate of climb and speed, but suffered in roll rate and overall maneuverability. High loss rates pretty much doomed the Me-110.
A lot of historians forget a few key traits of the P-51- it was simpler to operate, which translates to better combat efficiency.
- It was twice as fuel efficient, which is pretty important when you have to ship fuel long distances.
- The P-38 cost about $110,000 per copy at peak production, while the P-51 only cost about $55,000 per copy at peak production.

Oh I forgot - I knew this guy that was one of the senior members of the WW2 War Production Board. They were formed a few weeks after Pearl Harbor and charged with squeezing the most out of the US economy, and I had quite a few discussions on his experiences. The guy was brilliant, and was an entertaining speaker well into his 90's. I actually found him irritatingly arrogant at our first meeting, but he grew on me and it turned out he really knew his subjects. We talked about fighters and bombers and production numbers, and he told me "the math gets a bit complicated, but it boils down to the fact that you can get 2 P-51's for the price of one P-38, and the operational cost was also 2-1 in favor of the P-51.".

Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Kamele0N] #5324888 01/17/20 02:44 AM
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More info- he had a bunch of examples of poor equipment. He was very critical of the Thompson SMG- It was too expensive, it took too long to manufacture each unit, and in many combat theaters it was just not suitable due to limit ranged and accuracy. He was also really critical of Ford and its production lines for airplanes, because they took too long to gear up production. They gladly paid a premium (up to a point) to get decent airplanes sooner. They also forced a lot of companies to cross license designs and production, because some companies were good at production and maybe not so good in design, and rarely was it suitable to have only one manufacturer. I asked him if that was common- to always have 2 builders, and he laughed and said "no, we would get 3,4, sometimes 10 companies depending on the item. Singer Sewing Machine Company made great rifles.". They even broke a few companies apart that failed to produce and deliver. It was usually by taking over personnel and reassigning them, or not giving them allocations of people or resources.

If I think of some more decent info, I will try to write it down.

Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Kamele0N] #5325026 01/17/20 08:57 AM
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"Its Allison engines consistently threw rods, swallowed valves and fouled plugs, while their intercoolers often ruptured
under sustained high boost and turbocharger regulators froze, sometimes causing catastrophic failures."

"Anti-knock lead compounds literally seethed out and became separated in the Allison’s induction system at extreme low temperatures.
This could cause detonation and rapid engine failure, especially at the high power settings demanded for combat.
The P-38’s General Electric turbo-supercharger sometimes got stuck in over-boosted or under-boosted mode.
This occurred mainly when the fighter was flown in the freezing cold"

It was one heck of a learning experience.


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Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Kamele0N] #5325375 01/17/20 03:01 PM
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Kamele0N Offline OP
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Additionally to the topic.....I like to watch Bo`s YT channel....its funny and very informative (podcasts)




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Re: P38 Lightning [Re: A_Harman] #5325535 01/17/20 06:27 PM
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Astro14 Online Content
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Originally Posted by A_Harman
Originally Posted by Astro14
Absolutely a better airplane than the P-51.

If it had been fitted with Merlin Engines, instead of the two Allisons, it would’ve been even farther ahead of the Mustang.

The Mustang benefitted greatly from the Merlin. It wouldn’t have been nearly the airplane that it was, had it been equipped with the Allison that it had originally.

The point is: the average pilot entering into combat in the ETO had very little time. The P-38 was simply too sophisticated for the average pilot. It took too much to make it perform well. The P-51 was simpler, more reliable, and easy to learn.

Pilots had to survive their first twenty or so combat missions to become good in combat. Much more of a challenge to clear that hurdle in the P-38.


I doubt the P38 would have benefitted greatly from a Merlin swap. The P51 benefitted due to the 2-stage supercharged Merlin in altitude performance compared to the single-stage supercharged Allison. But the Allisons in the P38 were turbocharged, and had great altitude performance. The two-stage supercharged Allison came much too late to save its installation in the P51, but was the selected engine in the F82 Twin Mustang.


The two-stage supercharger was great for the Merlin's altitude performance, though I don't know how it compared with the P-38's Allison's, it was a huge leap in performance in the Mustang.

My comment was more based on reliability and ease of operation. Given similar power, an engine that doesn't require delicate handling, and extra steps to keep it running, is the better fighter engine.

This whole discussion reminds me of my former ride: big, twin-engine, complex, finicky engines, more than most pilots could handle, expensive to produce. Arguably the best fighter built, but at what cost in reliability, combat effectiveness with new pilots, and acquisition?


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Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Astro14] #5325876 01/18/20 12:42 AM
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BusyLittleShop Offline
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Originally Posted by Astro14
Absolutely a better airplane than the P-51.


Not just because I have stick time in a P51 and because I think they are pure sex with wings but because
aerodynamically speaking the Mustang had a better wing over its friends and foes...

WW2 WarBirds Air Foils comparison... the Mustang's laminar flow wing
was a success and its performance in the air war is now history... In
cross section the wing is slightly thicker than its rivals but the
maximum thickness is further back from the leading edge, being near the
center of the cord, and the bottom trailing edge is cusped... The
shape of this NACA 66 series air foil permitted the transition from
laminar to turbulence flow to be generated further and thus reduce
the profile drag or air resistance by a great margin than previous air
foils available in 1939 by friend or foe...

[Linked Image]


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Re: P38 Lightning [Re: Astro14] #5337715 01/31/20 09:36 PM
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Jackson_Slugger Offline
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Quote
...

This whole discussion reminds me of my former ride: big, twin-engine, complex, finicky engines, more than most pilots could handle, expensive to produce. Arguably the best fighter built, but at what cost in reliability, combat effectiveness with new pilots, and acquisition?


If you were flying long missions over the Pacific, I suspect you might have a slightly more nuanced opinion where it was prized for its engine redundancy...

BTW, overall it was a very reliable aircraft in its later, definitive models...

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