Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Escort Fighters

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by GunSlinger86, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,050
    Likes Received:
    35
    The P-38 had the range to go to Germany and back with the bombers, or at least a longer range than the P-47s that only escorted them part way. The P-38s were also fast, why weren't they used in the escort role? Were they less agile than the German fighters? Being an American fighter, it was probably tough as nails and packed a heavy punch, so it seemed they could have used that as a stop gap before the Mustang.
     
  2. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,266
    Likes Received:
    657
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    They were in great demand in the Pacific and production may not have met both fronts. Even though the ETO was given priority that may not have over ridden certain situations. Others here will know more and hopefully will comment on air to air superiority between the P 39 and the 109-190 combination. P 38's were used in the ETO to some extent But I do not know what role. It would appear the size and configuration of the 38 would not allow it to turn and role with the Germans buit that is purely conjecture on my part.
     
  3. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,642
    Likes Received:
    266
    Some things from memory about the P-38:

    The Allison engines had a bad habit of quitting at the very high altitude (for the time) that the American bombers flew.

    Some variations had poor diving characteristics.

    They engineers figured that the P-38's limiting mach number wasn't going to be able to be increased very much unlike other American, German and British aircraft.

    While it was very agile for a twin-engine plane, it couldn't match it's German opposition especially in acceleration and climb speed.

    It's score rate on German a/c was lower than the P-47 and Spitfire.
     
  4. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    90
    As Harolds posted the P-38 had numerous teething troubles. These problems were exasperated in the role of bomber escort in Europe. Meanwhile the redundancy of twin engines flying over the sea and long range was a godsend in the Pacific without the need for high altitude operations.
     
  5. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,050
    Likes Received:
    35
    So a P-39 in the ETO was preferred over the P-38, even though the P-39 lacked a good turbo-supercharger?
     
  6. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    90
    Um, not sure how you've entered into that line of questioning. The P-39 was most effective at a ground attack role while the P38 was realistically a jack of all trades.
     
  7. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    6,256
    Likes Received:
    992
    As has been the navy's requirement for dual engined aircraft for decades, as you can't land on water, if one engine goes you can still get home...this is one reason the 38s were brought into the PTO...vastly more water travel than the ETO.
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,202
    Likes Received:
    1,080
    While there is no such thing as a perfect 'fighter' it came reasonably close, especially in the Pacific. That does not mean it had no flaws, but when identified they generally were overcome by successive variants, field modifications and tactical improvisations as with all long service aircraft. As noted above it served best in the Pacific and many of the USAAF top Aces flew the Lightning, with Richard Bong (top US Ace) scoring all his victories in the P-38.

    Each of America's primary land based fighters had their virtues, the P-47 was exceptionally rugged, the P-51 mated extreme range with excellent dog-fighting abilities, for the Lightning it was remarkable versatility. On the whole it did just about everything you could ask of it in a manner above average for planes of that era, or if you will, one of the first truly multi-role aircraft.

    A case could be made that if the US could build only one type of land based fighter to fight in WWII, the P-38 Lightning might be the best choice. In production from Pearl Harbor to VJ-Day, very forgiving to its pilot and able to do nearly every task expected of a one man high performance aircraft with better than average results.
     
  9. chibobber

    chibobber Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    85
    An interesting side note is that Charles Lindburg was sent to the PTO to wring out more range on the P-38.Although a consultant,some say he participated in combat missions.
     
  10. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,642
    Likes Received:
    266
    In the PTO the P-38 really did shine. As noted above, it's long range helped with the long distances often encountered. With its heavy armament clumped in the nose it could stand off and clobber the fragile and incendiary Japanese a/c almost with impunity. However, the wise P-38 jockey avoided turning battles with zeros.
     
  11. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,247
    Likes Received:
    132
    The P-38 did not like cold temps. The Alison engines gave them no end of trouble in the ETO. However, in the the MTO and PTO the aircraft was the equal to anything the Germans had, and developed tactics to turn the tables on the Japanese machines.
     
  12. Lippert

    Lippert Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    26
    Not sure where you get that P-38s weren't used in the bomber escort role. I recently read Robin Olds' memoirs, "Fighter Pilot." In it he describes his WWII experience flying P-38s and describes at length escorting bombers.
     
  13. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,500
    Likes Received:
    1,397
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Another thing about the P-38 that I've read about in the past as to why it wasn't so popular in the ETO was that both engines were wing mounted. Not that it made for an inferior aerodynamic set up, but that it made for one cold as a witches tit ride in the cockpit, especially in the winter and at extended periods at altitude. That wasn't a big problem in the PTO. However, it must have made some impression on Luftwaffe pilots who faced it, They referred to it as the "forked tail devil".
     
  14. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    694
    Wow...hadn't heard that.
    Thought Lindburg was a sympathizer. Surprised if true.
     
  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    8,298
    Likes Received:
    1,755
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    He was for Germany...Amazing how many "sympathizers" suddenly didn't sympathize after December, 1941.

    IIRC, he claimed, or was credited with, one Japanese kill.
     
  16. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    Lindbergh not Lindburg. Berg in german means mountain, burg means castle. His son was killed by a german immigrant.

    Charles Lindbergh was a friend of Ernst Udet and visited Germany a few times, as far as i remember. Surely he was impressed by the german modern Luftwaffe and was applaused everywhere he appeared. And generally, he did not like Jews.

    Somewhere i read, that he was considered a useful nerd by Goebbels, which was only good at flying without falling asleep.
     
    Poppy likes this.
  17. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    75
    ..often wondered who originated that piece of hyperbole - it certainly wasn't German pilots - probably just Caidin 'exaggeration'
     
  18. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,050
    Likes Received:
    35
    I thought the Japanese called it the fork-tailed devil? Or did they have a nickname for the Corsair?
     
  19. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    Even my father told me about the "Gabelschwänzle", fork tailed devil in suebian accent and he was a teenager back then. It was the P-38 of course.
     
    A-58 and Slipdigit like this.
  20. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    75
    maybe he did....but it definitely wasn't Jagdwaffe pilots who described it thus.. the expression was most probably a fabrication dreamt up by Allied Intelligence, probably appeared on leaflets dropped over Germany
     
    A-58 likes this.

Share This Page