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Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 19 : P-38 Lightning Aces of the ETO/MTO

The P-38 made its combat debut in Europe in mid-1942, the first American fighters being flown to the UK before heading further east to Twelfth Air Force units in North Africa. Its service in this theatre, and later over the heartland of Germany itself, earned the P-38 the nickname 'der gabelschwanzer Teufel' (the 'fork-tailed' devil). Throughout the duration of the war, all sane Axis soldiers and aircrew expressed a healthy respect for the armament of the Lightning, which lived up to the fighter's popular name at least thanks to the murderous concentration of fire emanating from the battery of four .50-calibre machine guns and single 20 mm cannon fitted in the nose of the aircraft. Though possessing a great range that allowed it to escort American 'heavies' well into occupied Europe, the lightning was plagued with technical problems in its early years in the ETO, and it wasn't until the J-model became available in late 1943 that these were finally cured. This book traces the careers of many previously unknown aces within the USAAF in Europe, and helps redress the balance which has in the past seen all the 'glory' for the fighter victories in this theatre shared between the pilots of the P-47 and P-51. Some 17 pilots scored 7 or more kills on the P-38 in the ETO/MTO. Text by John Stanaway with illustrations by Tom Tullis.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Pioneer P-38 Aces
  • Desert War
  • Mediterranean War
  • Eighth and Ninth Air Force Aces
  • Ground Claims
  • Appendices

 

Osprey Aircraft of the Aces


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