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History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk => Military (and other) History => Topic started by: LongBlade on November 12, 2012, 07:27:04 AM

Title: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: LongBlade on November 12, 2012, 07:27:04 AM
Quote
Four men say they have unearthed pieces of a World War II-era fighter plane in a southeastern Michigan farm field.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/11/12/michigan-men-find-pieces-downed-wwii-era-plane/
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: FarAway Sooner on November 14, 2012, 07:57:51 AM
We already had P-38Ds in training usage by October, 1941?  I know there's a lag between when a craft started rolling off production lines and when it saw widespread usage on the front, but that seems earlier than other stuff I'd seen.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: LongBlade on November 14, 2012, 08:15:38 AM
We already had P-38Ds in training usage by October, 1941?  I know there's a lag between when a craft started rolling off production lines and when it saw widespread usage on the front, but that seems earlier than other stuff I'd seen.

I'm not fully up to speed on them, but IIRC they served in North Africa. Ultimately they found their place in the PTO where their endurance/range were best put to to use. The Japanese never moved much beyond their early war planes and the P-38 was more than a match for them. In fact, I believe that P-38s were responsible for shooting Yamamoto down.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: W8taminute on November 14, 2012, 08:49:42 AM
You are correct LB about Yamamoto.

FYI on the P-38 and it's variants:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_P-38_Lightning#Variants
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: LongBlade on November 14, 2012, 09:14:03 AM
Man. Some days I think it would be nice to be rich.

There are nine airworthy P-38s in the US and five under restoration. That would be a plane I'd love to own.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: FarAway Sooner on November 14, 2012, 09:01:24 PM
Yup.  The P-38s thrived in the South Pacific, especially once US airmen got the knack for how to use them.  Their performance above 20,000 feet was vastly superior to that of the Zero, while the F4U and even the P40 were better planes below that level--again, once US airmen got the knack for how to use them against the more maneuverable Japanese fighters.

One of the most effective doctrines that evolved in the latter stages of the air war in the South Pacific was to send bomber flights with P-38 escorts on top and F4Us underneath.  The Zeros had to rise up to attack the allied bombers or risk being destroyed on the ground, but when forced to fight under circumstances of their enemy's choosing, they suffered appalling casualty rates. 

Paul Bergerud's Fire in the Sky is the most detailed treatment of this topic that I've ever seen.  It gets a bit dry in places, as he goes into some technical explanations that were simply beyond my ken (don't know enough about internal combustion engines or aerodynamics, I guess), but his study of evolving technology, doctrine, and actual battles is impeccable.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: Con on November 14, 2012, 09:11:38 PM
+1 on Fire in the Sky

When you are fighting in the most miserable place on earth at the tail end of the longest logistical tail possible a rugged two engined beast of a plane beats a finesse finicky one engine acrobatic plane.

Con
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: besilarius on November 14, 2012, 10:55:58 PM
My dad was on the carrier Yorktown, and they tried out a lot of variants of the F4 Corsair.
Near the end of the war there was one version, I think he said the F4M or Mary, which was a stripped down plane optimised for long distance over water flights.  Supposedly had incredible range, but the pilots didn'tlike it because of the lack of armor.
The other he talked about was the F4N or November.  This was a limited version which was optimised for dogfighting.
He heard some pilots talking about it and they were just in awe of how it flew.  From the scuttlebutt, it was the very best fighter in the Pacific.
However, toward the end of the war, they got some F8 Bearcats, and the pilots were very impressed.  It was just too late to have any real effect, and then production was cut so few were made.
The pilots and flight crews referred to the manufacturer as the Grumman Iron Works, the planes were so solid and reliable.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: LongBlade on November 15, 2012, 07:00:21 AM
+1 on Fire in the Sky

When you are fighting in the most miserable place on earth at the tail end of the longest logistical tail possible a rugged two engined beast of a plane beats a finesse finicky one engine acrobatic plane.

Con

OK, between you and FarAway I guess I need to add that to my reading list. Thanks!
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: FarAway Sooner on November 15, 2012, 08:01:14 AM
It's interesting in large part because of how many different dimensions of the air war in the South Pacific it looks at. 

One of Bergerud's conclusions in particular jumped out at me as I was reading it, but is typical of the breadth of research he did in the book.  His thoughts on one weapons system which probably gave the Allies the most decisive advantage in the South Pacific Air War:  the tractor.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: Con on November 15, 2012, 12:21:51 PM
And that the SeaBees could put down Marsden Matting and repair runways and revetments in heartbeat.  I cannot recall the numbers but his estimates of the percentage of Japanese planes that were inoperable because they had a busted landing gear were astronomical.  Its the details like this that bring home to you that you win wars not with sexy machines but rugged logistical and detail driven obsession.

Con
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: Airborne Rifles on November 16, 2012, 10:35:54 AM
Fire in  the Sky was excellent, as was his previous book, Touched with Fire, which covered the ground war in the SW Pacific.  I'm looking forward to his third book covering the naval war in that region.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: LongBlade on November 16, 2012, 11:43:11 AM
Fire in  the Sky was excellent, as was his previous book, Touched with Fire, which covered the ground war in the SW Pacific.  I'm looking forward to his third book covering the naval war in that region.

I found it used on Amazon for $3 and bought it. Looking forward to reading it.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: GDS_Starfury on November 17, 2012, 01:06:14 PM
mid and late war Japanese fighters were no joke.
thankfully their pool of pilots sucked.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: Electric_Strawberry on November 29, 2012, 07:44:42 PM
Here's another book on the P-38 that I highly recommend.  The name "Forked Tailed Devil" was given to it by Luftwaffe pilots.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: Staggerwing on November 29, 2012, 07:53:03 PM
Here's another book on the P-38 that I highly recommend.  The name "Forked Tailed Devil" was given to it by Luftwaffe pilots.

I can't quite see that book from way over here... can you hold it up a bit higher so's I can try and make out the title?? 

:D
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: Electric_Strawberry on November 29, 2012, 07:56:29 PM
Ooopps..... I guess the link would be helpful :)

http://www.amazon.com/Fork-Tailed-Devil-P-38-Martin-Caiden/dp/0743413180
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: LongBlade on November 29, 2012, 09:33:22 PM
Cool. Thanks Electric!
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: besilarius on November 30, 2012, 04:56:17 AM
Wow, tha's a name you don't see much.
Martin Caiden wrote a lot of World War II aviation books that were put out by Ballantine paperbacks.  Think as a teen, you couldn't check the books in a drugstore, and not see something by him.
Vaguely recall that his best one may have been "The Ragged Rugged Warriors" on the early war fighter pilots.  Had a good section on the aerial fighting in New Guinea I think.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: Electric_Strawberry on November 30, 2012, 09:39:58 AM
The P-38 is my favorite aircraft of all time.  Here's a video of one on U-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoZas43xm2U

The Confederate Air Force used to visit St Louis nearly every year in the 1980's and I always enjoyed seeing all their vintage WWII aircraft, especially their P-38.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: TheCommandTent on November 30, 2012, 07:39:16 PM
The P-38 is my favorite aircraft of all time.  Here's a video of one on U-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoZas43xm2U

The Confederate Air Force used to visit St Louis nearly every year in the 1980's and I always enjoyed seeing all their vintage WWII aircraft, especially their P-38.

Thanks for the video link.  The P-38 is in my to three favorite WWII planes.
Title: Re: P-38 Found In MI Field
Post by: steve58 on December 08, 2012, 03:59:20 PM
...and another WWII plane, an FM-2 "Wildcat" Fighter, pulled not from a Michigan field, but Lake Michigan...

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/07/world-war-ii-plane-recovered-from-lake-michigan/?intcmp=obnetwork