Military Review

The twin-engine "Lightning" of the American aces is the R-38 "Lightning" fighter.

61


In the early autumn of 1938, the documentation obtained by our intelligence service on the new American high-altitude interceptor Lockheed-22 arrived in Moscow. She was able to steal in the United States by members of the Intelligence Agency of the People’s Commissariat of Defense. Thick packs of photocopies contained technical descriptions, drawings and drawings of the aircraft and its main parts, calculations of flight characteristics and airframe strength, the results of blowing models in a wind tunnel. The originals were printed on forms of Lockheed and carried stamps “Secret”. In the drawings and drawings, a two-gang twin-engined aircraft was extremely unusual in appearance, with a short fuselage-gondola, a three-wheeled chassis and turbo-compressors on engines. Copies of materials sent to the Office of Logistics and the Institute of Air Force. This is what the 1 rank officer Znamensky, who studied the materials on the American aircraft, wrote in his review: “It must be admitted that, in terms of its flight qualities and power of artillery and small arms, the Lockheed-22 interceptor fighter represents a significant step forward in the development of combat aircraft, and in this respect deserves the closest scrutiny from the Red Army ”.

The stolen project was nothing more than the first studies on the well-known fighter Lockhid P-38 "Lightning" (in English - "lightning"). It was at Lightning that an American pilot shot down the first German plane in a war, the Lightning, the first American fighter plane to fly over the capital of the Reich. He became the only multi-purpose serial two-beam fighter of the Second World War, several Dutch Fokkers S.1, who managed to make war for less than a week in May 1940, you can not take into account. “Lightning” was the first among all production aircraft to receive a chassis scheme with a nose-pillar that greatly facilitated take-off and landing. The best aces of the United States fought on it ... But first things first.

Tactical and technical requirements of the US Air Force for a multi-purpose twin-engined fighter aircraft were formulated in 1935, and the following year they were introduced to a number of aircraft manufacturers. The plane was conceived as a universal: interceptor, long-range reconnaissance and escort fighter. In the air force, the project received the X-608 index, and at Lockheed he was assigned the "corporate" number "Model 22".

Chief designers Hal Hibbard and Clarence Johnson worked out six options for building a twin-engine machine. The first was a classic monoplane with motors on the wing and a cockpit in the fuselage. In two projects, the engines stood in a thick fuselage and rotated the pulling or pushing screws in the wings with the help of shafts and gearboxes. Three other options represented a two-girder construction. And in one case, the engines also remained in the short fuselage, and the screw installations in the planes were driven through a system of shafts. In the fifth layout, the engines were placed at the base of the beams, but the fuselage was absent, and the pilot's seat was in the left nacelle. However, for the construction of the chosen sixth version with two beams and a short fuselage in the center of the wing.

Other American firms, Douglas, Curtiss, Bell and Valty, also participated in the competition. But after getting acquainted with all the projects, the military ordered in June 1937 the construction of the XP-38 prototype only to Lockheed. Three months were spent on the preparation of working drawings. Engineers of the Allison Company also worked hard. Especially for the new fighter developed modifications of the motor V-1710 (12-cylinder, V-shaped, liquid cooling), which had the opposite rotation and eliminated the gyroscopic moment. At the same time management was facilitated, and the air flow from the propellers was symmetrical.

GE "Type F" turbochargers, working from exhaust gases, increased engine power to HP 1150. Compressors were placed in nacelles at the rear edge of the wing. Close to the tail in the beams placed radiators with side air intakes. The very design of the fuselage and beams was all-metal type semi-monocoque, with duralumin lining. The single-shaft wing has Fowler flaps and ailerons. The beams ended with keels and were connected by a stabilizer with a height wheel. All steering surfaces - with duralumin trim had trimmers, which is not surprising, given the size of the car. Three-support chassis with a nose strut was removed using hydraulic actuators. The main pillars hid back in flight in the engine nacelles, and the front "leg" - in the lower compartment of the fuselage.

The fuselage was quite short and ended at the rear edge of the wing. The pilot was sitting in a spacious cockpit with a large convex lantern with binding. In the empty nose, they planned to install an 23-mm Madsen cannon or a TI caliber 22,8 mm with 50 ammunition. A quartet of large-caliber (12,7 mm) M-2 Browning machine guns with a reserve of 200 ammunition for a barrel was added to the gun. According to the calculations of the designers, the plane turned out pretty fast - at the height of 6100 m expected to get 670 km / h. Inspired optimism and other characteristics. So, the height in 9145 m was planned to be reached in 10 minutes and a little, and the ceiling due to the operation of turbochargers was almost 12 km.

At the end of 1938, the first prototype of the XP-38 (unarmed) left the plant’s workshop and moved to March Field airfield. Here, Lieutenant Casey began to run on it, preparing for the first flight. Because of problems with the brakes that required further work, the takeoff was scheduled for January 27. However, immediately after the release of the XP-38 from the runway, flap vibrations arose, leading to a breakdown of their linkage nodes. Casey was able to partially cope with the vibration, increasing the angle of attack. After the 30 minute flight, we had to land the plane from the same angle. Due to the raised nose of the concrete runway, they first touched the keels (received damage), and only then the XP-38 got on the main wheels. After the flaps were repaired and improved, the flight program was continued, and by February 10 the total flight time was about 5 hours. No more serious problems.

The twin-engine "Lightning" of the American aces is the R-38 "Lightning" fighter.


To check for speed and range, they planned to fly the XP-38 over the entire United States. Casey was supposed to take off from the Pacific coast in California and reach Wright Field airfield in Dayton, Ohio. February 11 February early morning XP-38 left March Field and, after refueling at the Amarillo base in Texas, landed at Dayton. The plane behaved flawlessly, and decided to continue the flight to the airfield Mitchell Field near New York. On the Atlantic coast, the fighter landed, having stayed on the way 7 h 2 min. The average speed was 563 km / h. Unfortunately, this flight, which proved the good characteristics of the machine, ended in failure. Casey landed, still not trusting the flaps to work efficiently. Therefore, the angle of attack was quite high, and the engines were running at high speeds. Due to the high landing speed of the aircraft several times "tangled" and rolled over, receiving significant damage. Casey himself got off with only bruises, but there was no point in restoring the first prototype.

This accident had no effect on the fate of the "thirty-eighth." At the end of April, 1939 of the year, Lockheed signed a contract for the construction of 13 pre-series YР-38 with engines V-1710-27 / 29. Propellers also rotated in opposite directions, but in a different direction. Unlike the first prototype, when viewed from the cockpit, the screws rotated in the direction from the fuselage. The artillery of the pre-production YР-38 also differed and consisted of 37-mm M-9 cannon (15 ammunition of shells), two 12,7 mm machine guns (ammunition for 200 barrel ammunition) and a pair of 7,62 mm (500 cartridges for barrel). The take-off weight of the YP-38 reached 6514 kg, and the maximum speed on the 6100 m -652 km / h.

Innovative aircraft was quite difficult and expensive to manufacture. Therefore, only 17 September 1940, the first YP-38 took off. Earlier, England and France became interested in the double-beam fighter. In May, the purchasing commissions of these countries visited 1940 in New York, signing a preliminary contract for the supply of fighters with Lockheed. The French Air Force planned to acquire 417 aircraft, and the United Kingdom - 250. However, already in June in Paris, units of the Wehrmacht were marched, and the French order had to be canceled.

"Lightning" and ordered the US Air Force. X-NUMX airplanes were soon added to the first batch of 80 P-38. The serial P-66 were identical to the YP-38, but with 38 caliber machine guns. 12,7 serial P-30 (no letter addition after the number) followed by 38 P-36D, which was distinguished by protective tanks, armored plates by the pilot and a modified oxygen system. The aircraft was immediately assigned the index "D", in order to unify the fighter by designation, with the already existing P-38D and B-39D aircraft, on which such modifications were made. Thus, the “C” and “B” indices were missed, and the letter “A” was given to the experimental XP-24A with a pressurized cabin.



While preparations were under way for the production of mass-produced cars, the pilots of Lockheed and the United States Air Force thoroughly flew the pre-production YР-38. During the flight tests of the Lightnings, we faced two unpleasant problems - the vibration of the tail and the poor handling when diving at high speeds. Vibration of the tail assembly was handled quite easily by setting balancing weights on the elevator and modifying the fairings in the place where the wing and fuselage were mated (the flow of air has now decreased). And the second problem was busy for a long time. Due to the compressibility of air at dive speeds with the numbers M = 0,7-0,75, the elevator became practically ineffective. It was necessary to test various profiles and designs in a wind tunnel. Only by 1944 (!), The problem was finally solved, and at all P-38 they removed the speed limit during a dive.

For the first batch of P-38 and P-38D, the USAF ordered an additional 40 aircraft. The serial P-38 was ready in June 1941, and the P-38D rolled off the assembly line in October. In December, after the attack of the Japanese aircraft carriers on Pearl Harbor, the United States entered World War II and orders for a new aircraft increased sharply. By that time, there were two successive modifications of the "thirty-eighth" - the P-38E and the "Model 322-B" - (the export version for the UK). Now, besides the index, the aircraft was assigned its own name. At first the name “Atlanta” was suggested, but the final choice was left for the more harmonious “Lightning”. The British always had a special opinion and assigned their names to export aircraft. But the new fighter company "Lockheed" was the exception, retaining the native "American" name.

By the end of 1941, the Royal British Air Forces had planned to get 667 Lightnings MkI and MkII. MkI corresponded to the equipment P-38D, but with engines V-1710 (1090 hp) without turbochargers. The first MCI in the camouflage of the Royal Air Force and English identification marks took off in August 1941. The first three cars went overseas, where, in the Boscombe Down test center, they began to conduct assessment flights. The opinion of the British pilots about the plane was not very high. In the reports, the pilots primarily pointed to the poor maneuverability of the Lightning, although otherwise the data were comparable to other twin-engined fighters of the time. They also attributed the number of defects to the sun glare from the engine nacelles that prevented a safe landing. Nevertheless, the criticism had an effect, and the delivery of the 143 Lightning MkI was refused.



Work on the assembly of these machines have already gone and 140 of them transferred to the US Air Force. The planes received their own P-322 index (from "Model-322В") and flew only over the territory of the United States. 40 Р-322, who were in the ranks of 7 on December 1941, with the outbreak of hostilities sent to guard the west coast of the country. The unclaimed “British” were based in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. Most of the P-322, which later received more powerful F-series engines, flew up to the 1945 of the year, mostly as training machines.

Did not get to England and 524 "Lightning" MkII with engines V-1710F5L (1150 hp) with turbochargers. In October, only one car was managed to repaint 1942 in camouflage of the Royal Air Force, but the rest of the aircraft remained at home under the indices Р-38F and Р-38G. These modifications were replaced on the Lightning conveyor P-38, produced since the fall of the 1941.

The P-38E (a total of 310 machines was released) was distinguished by the X-NUMX-mm M-20 cannon (instead of the unreliable M-1), the modified hydraulic and electrical systems and the increased machine-gun ammunition. At the end of the 9, two aircraft of this variant were converted into an F-1941 photo reconnaissance aircraft. All weapons were replaced by four cameras. In 4, X-NUMX P-1942E was also subjected to similar modifications, also crossing them in F-97.



The P-38F differed from the P-38 in the V-1710-49 / 57 (1225 hp) engines. The Lightnings 547 with the letter "F" descended from the stocks, of which 20 is in the version of the photo reconnaissance F-4А. "Lightning" with high-altitude motors V-1710-51 / 55 received the index Р-38G, and Р-38Н was equipped with a pair V-1710-89 / 91 (1425 hp). And these options had unarmed photo versions. From 1462, P-38G 180 became F-5 scouts, and 200 received the number F-5В (they differed in photo equipment). Among the 601 P-38H, the F-5С reconnaissance aircraft made up 128.

In the summer of 1943, an experienced XP-50 (created on the basis of the P-38C) was tested, designed for high-altitude reconnaissance. In this car in an enlarged fuselage found a place for the observer. He was responsible for the operation of the K-17 camera in the cockpit and the panoramic camera in the tail boom. A pilot, if necessary, could fire from a pair of abandoned machine guns. True, the serial release of this option did not take place.

In addition to the use of various engines, the designers of "Lockheed" introduced and other changes in the "Lightning". In January, 1942-I installed nodes for two suspended tanks for 568 l or 1136 l. The wing was strengthened, and if necessary, bombs of 454 kg or 762 kg were hung on these units. With additional fuel tanks, the Lightning range increased significantly, which clearly demonstrated the X-NUMX-th F-1942F flight in August through the USA. Fueled "to the eyeball" fuel "Lightning" without weapons and a pair of tanks for 38 l for 1136 hours overcame 13 km, and the rest of gasoline allowed to fly another 4677 km.

At the end of the 1942, P-38F was tested as a torpedo bomber. Under the wing, one torpedo weighing 875 kg and one tank per 1136 l (or two torpedoes simultaneously) were hung. The tests were quite successful, but the Lightning didn’t appear on the front. On the same plane they tried to drop the 908-kg bomb, and a similar fighter-bomber managed to make war in Europe at the end of the 1944 year. For patrolling over the Pacific, Lockheed’s designers have proposed the creation of the Float Lightning. The relevant documentation was prepared, but the floats were not installed.



Designers worked on new high-altitude versions of the two-beam "Lightning". The first "Lightning" with a pressurized cabin, as already mentioned, was an experienced XP-38A. In November, the 1942 th flew an improved version of the XP-49 with Continental XI-1430-1 engines (12-cylinder, V-type inverted type, liquid cooling), HP 1600 power. On this "spiderman" they planned to install a pair of 20-mm cannons and four 12,7-mm machine guns. But during the flight the only XP-49 left unarmed, since it took to accommodate the second crew member - an observer engineer. Glider towing was another profession for the P-38. In the tail section, locks were installed, and the Lightning in 1942 was successfully tested on towing the Waco C-4A airborne glider. In the same year, an air gas generator was tested in flight to set up a smoke screen for the advancing infantry.



Production of "Lightning" increased with each passing year. In 1941, the 207 fighters were released, and the next, 1478. "Lightning", increasingly attracted to combat sorties, opened by downed Japanese aircraft 4 August 1942 of the year. On this day, a pair of P-38 343 th fighter group, taking off from the Adak airfield in Alaska, found and shot down two Kavanishi flying boats H6K4 Mavis.

In July, 1942-th "Lightnings" participated in the operation "Bolero" - the transfer of aircraft from the United States to bases in the UK. The first to redeploy 200 "thirty-eighths" 14 of the fighter group, flying overhead tanks through Newfoundland, Greenland and Iceland. Each group of four fighters was led by a Boeing B-17 leader plane. The Lightnings of the 27 Fighter Squadron (1 Fighter Group) remained in Iceland to patrol the North Atlantic. 15 August 1942, the pilot of the R-38 of this squadron won the first victory of the US Air Force over the German aircraft. "Lightning", together with the P-40 fighter (33 group), managed to shoot down the four-engined Fw-200 "Condor".

In November 1942, a part of the Lightnings flew from England to bases in the Mediterranean to participate in Operation Torch, an Allied airborne assault force in North Africa. In the skies over Tunisia, two-beam "Lightning" often acted as escort fighters of their bomber. Air battles with German and Italian aircraft happened quite often and went with varying success, due to the lack of maneuverability of heavy Lightnings. So, only 48-th fighter group from November 1942-th to February 1943-th lost 20 Р-38 and 13 pilots, five of them are January 23.

However, the “Lightning” did not remain in debt, being considered a serious opponent in the air due to its good speed characteristics. 5 On April, the crews of the 82 group of the US Air Force intercepted the 17 of the Luftwaffe aircraft, knocking down the 5. Their colleagues from the 1 fighter group were even more successful, destroying the same day 16, and four days later 28 more aircraft with a swastika on the tail. True, in fairness, it is worth noting that virtually all of these victories were over the German bombers. In October, pilots of the 14 group excelled over Crete. "Thirty-eighths" attacked the compound low-speed Ju-87, in that battle (although it is difficult to call it a battle), the group commander announced seven Junkers who had been shot down. By that time, the Lightnings themselves became increasingly involved in ground attack aircraft with bombs suspended under the fuselage.



Well proven "Lightning" in the Pacific. Back in August, the 1942 Fighter Squadron arrived at Port Moresby (New Guinea) in August. However, due to technical problems with overheating of motors in the tropics, real combat missions started only by the end of the year, having finished the cooling system. But already in the first battle of 39 December, the Americans shot down several Japanese aircraft. Interesting information of the parties on the outcome of this battle. In total, the Lightning pilots announced 27 shot down Japanese cars (some articles even indicate 11 airplanes), including the pair recorded the future best American ace Richard I. Bong. However, only one P-15 Lieutenant Sparks received engine damage in this battle. The Japanese pilots of the 38-th Sentai, in turn, announced seven Lightnings that were shot down. In fact, according to the available documents, the 11 th kokutai lost one Zero in battle, the second A582M was damaged and crashed during a forced landing (the pilot was still alive), in addition, one Val was shot down and the other was bomber returned to base with damage. In the 6 th Sentae lost two Ki-11 "Hayabus" and one pilot. At the same time, it is worth considering that, in addition to P-43, P-38 also participated in that battle, which the Lightnings hurried to help.

The Lightning, with its long range, was ideally suited for patrolling over vast ocean expanses. That is why on April 18, 1943, on the attack of Japanese bombers with Admiral Yamamoto, the 18 Lightnings of the 339th Squadron went aboard. From the intercepted radiogram, the Americans learned of the commander’s arrival on Bougainville Island fleet The countries of the rising sun were not going to miss such a chance. Having flown over the ocean for about 700 km, the Lightnings definitely came to the enemy at the estimated time. After a fleeting battle, the Japanese sailors had to choose a new commander. According to the Americans, they shot down three Mitsubishi G4M bombers and three A6M Zero fighters, losing one Lightning in the battle.

Two months later, the names of the pilots of the 339 Squadron were again on the lips of Air Force personnel. The Lightning Forces intercepted a large group of Aichi D3 dive bombers under the cover of Zero fighters. More than others after landing rocked Lieutenant Murray Shubin. During one sortie, the pilot recorded six air victories at his own expense, immediately becoming the best American ace in the Pacific.



Problems with cooling engines "Lightning" led to the creation of another modification - P-38J. Now the air after the turbochargers, before getting into the carburetor, was cooled in additional radiators under the screw of the screw. A radiator in the beams received wider side air intakes. Thanks to the modifications, the power of the V-1710-89 / 91 engines increased at altitude, the P-38J at 9145 m developed speed to 665 km / h, and the range with outboard tank 1136 l was 3218 km.

Total collected 2970 P-38J, which, as the release, constantly improved. In particular, they increased the capacity of wing tanks on the 416 l. Wing shields appeared on the P-38J-25 modification, making it easier to control the plane during a dive. Soon the serial P-38J was equipped with aileron boosters. Thus, heavy "Lightning" was the first among all the fighters to receive power steering in control.

P-38J was followed by a version of the P-38L with V-1710-111 / 113 motors (1475 hp), released as 3923 machines. More 700 "Lightning" P-38J and L converted into reconnaissance F-5E, F and G (different photographic equipment). An experienced modification was the P-38K with V-710-75 / 77 engines and larger diameter screws. But the new engines demanded a serious change in the design of the wing (we would have to change the factory equipment), so the series did not take place.

The Lockheed Company did not stop working on the improvement of the already released Lightnings. In Alaska, circled P-38G with retractable skis. The flights were successful, but there were no orders for the combatant units. Conducted on the "Lightning" and testing of various weapons. At the Wright Field airfield, the P-38L flew into the air with a powerful battery of three 15,24 mm machine guns and eight 12,7 mm machine guns, and under each plane there was also a pair of large-caliber machine guns. But for use at the front, the designers chose the rocket weapon. Under the wing, guides appeared for the unguided HVAR missiles. First, they were located seven in a row under each plane. And the final was the version with five rockets on each side, hung on one node, "herringbone."



The P-38G served as the base for a light bomber, called the Drup Snoot (Stretched Nose). A plexiglas flashlight was installed in the elongated nose and a navigator was added to the crew who was responsible for the work of the Norden bomb-sight. At the factory near Belfast, the 25 Lightnings, which were part of the 8 Air Force of the United States Air Force, were finalized. Another version of the Drup Snoot was the version with the AT / APS-15 radar sight in the nose, at which the navigator-operator was sitting. Radar sight set on several dozen P-38L, also fought in Europe.

The first combat mission "Stretched noses" made 10 on April 1944 on April, attacking targets under the Disir. Two squadrons of the 55 th fighter group served as bombers, and they were covered from above by single Lightnings. Each Drup Snut carried one 454-kg bomb and a suspended tank. Although the target was covered by clouds, the navigators accurately reached the point of discharge. In the future, "Lightnings" bomber made flights with one or even a pair of larger bombs on 908 kg, but without tanks.



The main profession of "Lightning", of course, remained "destructive" work. Before the targets in Germany, the American B-17 and B-24 bombers were very often accompanied by Lightnings, thanks to their long range. There were exceptions. In June, the 1944 th single "thirty-eighth" 82 th fighter group attacked a refinery in Ploiesti with a dive. Romanian anti-aircraft gunners and pilots are well prepared for the "meeting", having managed to bring down 22 "Lightning".

Later the Lightnings of the 82 and 14 of the fighter groups participated in the so-called shuttle flights, accompanying the B-17 and B-24 bombers. The Americans took off from bases in Italy, dropped bombs over Romania and Germany, and landed on Soviet airfields. Here, after refueling and rest, the crews left for the return flight. But with the pilots of “Lightning”, “Stalin's falcons” could get to know each other closely not only in the canteen of the airfield of Poltava. In the autumn of 1944, a real air battle took place between the allies in the sky of Yugoslavia.

These events occurred after the liberation of Belgrade by the Red Army. In early November, on the road near the city of Nis, the rifle corps of Lieutenant General GP Kotova. There was no air cover since in this area aviation there was no enemy. A fighter regiment of the 17th Air Army, commanded by Major D. Syrtsov, was based near the city. The situation at the airport was calm, and on that day the link was on duty of captain A. Koldunov (twice future Hero of the Soviet Union, air marshal and commander in chief of the country's air defense). There was a roar of airplanes in the sky. Syrtsov looked anxiously into the sky, although he was sure that the Germans should not be here. But the planes turned out to be the American R-38, which, it seemed, on their own initiative was going to cover our troops from the air, although there was no need for this. Soon, however, the Lightings stood in a circle and one after another began to attack the convoy. The whole road was immediately enveloped in smoke. Our soldiers waved red banners and white rags, signaling to the Americans that they had attacked the allies. But the bombs continued to roll down. Syrtsov immediately rushed to his airfield. Six R-38s swept low over it and our Yak-9 fighter took off. Before he reached the CP, the regiment saw how Koldunov’s plane took off, followed by two more “Yaks”. Syrtsov ordered the whole regiment to be raised, and soared. On the radio, he several times transmitted: "Do not open fire! Send signals that we are ours." But the Americans shot down another one of our fighters, whose pilot, fortunately, managed to jump with a parachute.

Meanwhile Koldunov crashed into a large group of Lightnings and at first close shot one and then the other. He managed to repeat the attacking maneuver, and soon two more "ally" were on the ground. And just our aces shot down seven aircraft. One American pilot on a parachute descended along the road and was picked up by infantrymen. Since there was no one to interrogate on the spot, Syrtsov sent him to the headquarters of the 17 Army. During this raid, many of our soldiers died, including the commander of the Corps, General General GP. Kotov. All the dead were buried on the spot, and according to the recollections of Koldunov and Syrtsov, the candles lit by local residents did not go out for a few days on the graves. To disassemble the incident, the commander of the 17 th air army, General V. Sudet, flew to the regiment. His point of view was this - the Soviet pilots acted correctly and distinguished themselves should be noted. But not to write reports to the army headquarters, not to give information to the correspondents. Nobody wanted to spoil relations with the allies without a high command from above.

The latest modification was the double night fighter Р-38М. The release of the Black-widow P-61 nightlight ordered by the Nor-troop company was delayed, and temporarily decided to create a similar machine based on Lightning. Experiments with the installation on the radar aircraft were first performed by engineers in combat units. In the 6 Fighter Squadron in New Guinea, two P-38Gs were transformed into a night fighter with their own forces. The SCR-540 radar was placed in a hanging tank, and the operator’s position was equipped behind the pilot. True, the squadron was brought to the United States before they had time to test the structure in a real battle.



At Lockheed, the modifications were completed more professionally. The AN / APS-4 locator in a cigar-shaped container was hung under the nose, and the operator sat behind the pilot. After test flights with shooting, it turned out that the ejected liners damage the radome radome. I had to move the radar under the right plane. Several modified P-38J were transferred to the 481 training group for testing. After the evaluation flights, the USAF ordered 75 machines that received the P-38M index. The first serial Р-38М were ready at the beginning of 1945, and did not have time to take part in the hostilities. After the capitulation of Japan, the night Lightnings were based in the defeated country before the start of the 1946, entering the 418 and 421 squadrons.

In World War II, "Lightning" managed to fly and with the identification marks of France. After the landing of the Anglo-American troops in Africa, France joined the anti-Hitler coalition and received airplanes from the allies. On November II, six F-33 photo reconnaissance cameras, and then F-1943 photo cameras, were the first to be deployed to the II / 4 group. Parts were based at different times in Italy, Sardinia, Corsica and France. The most famous French pilot of Lightning was undoubtedly the writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who died on his unarmed Lightning, not returning from July 5's 31 flight of the year. According to the Luftwaffe archives, on this day, the Germans shot down only one double-row Lockheed fighter. Therefore, it is precisely known that Exupery was the victim of the “Focke Wolf” Fw 1944D-190.

Three photo reconnaissance aircraft F-4 were transferred to the Australian Air Force, where they were used to observe the Japanese at the end of the war. 15 Lightnings (mostly F-5 intelligence agents) in the 1944-45 years, the Americans sent to China. With the beginning of the civil war in the country, these planes turned out to be both of Chiang Kai-Shek and the Communists Mao. Another country that received the two-beam "Lightning" was Portugal, but here the case intervened. In November, the 1942 of the P-38F pair flew from England to North Africa. By mistake, the pilots began to land in Lisbon. One of the pilots immediately figured out the situation and, without turning off the engine, immediately flew into the air. But the second car did not have time to take off and went to the Portuguese as a trophy. The plane entered the squadron of the Air Force of the country. In December, the 18 Bell fighters and the P-39 Aero Cobra were also included in this squadron. They also landed in Portugal by mistake.

After the end of the war, the "thirty-eighth" was fairly quickly removed from service by the US Air Force, although other piston fighters (Р-51 and Р-47) continued to carry combat service. Several Lightnings remained in service until 1949, as training machines. In 1947, several dozen “thirty-eighths” were sent to Honduras as military assistance. Four aircraft in 1961 returned to their homeland when they were already of interest as museum exhibits. One “Lightning” of this group took its place in the exposition of the museum of the USAF. In 1949, after the formation of NATO, 50 "Lightning" was transferred to Italy. Their service was short-lived, and soon in the front-line units piston fighters from Lockheed were replaced by jet Vampires.

Thus, the two-beam "Lightning" were in service a little more than 10 years, and became the only American fighter, whose mass production began before Pearl Harbor, and lasted until the surrender of Japan. By August, 1945-th released a total of 9923 aircraft of all modifications. Although a series of other piston fighters (P-39 Aerocobra, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang) were superior to Lokhida’s aircraft, this did not affect the attitude of the pilots to the car. Pilots loved their Lightning for long range and reliability - two motors are always better than one. Yielding single-engine vehicles in maneuverability, "Lightning" was very good for long-distance patrols at altitude.





Sources:
Firsov A. Lockheed R-38 "Laitning" /// Aviation and Cosmonautics. 1998. No.4. C. 37-52.
Kotelnikov V., Kondratyev V. Dear "Lightning". // AviaMaster. 2002. No.4. C.19-37
Ivanov S. Heavy Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter. War in the air. No.103. C.2-8, 22-30.
Kolov S. Shine "Lightning" - in ten years. // Wings of the Motherland. 1996. No.10. C.18-23.
Bear A. Lockheed R-38 "Lighting". M .: Arsenal – Press; Elakos, 1994. C.6-32.
Firsov A. US Fighters // Aviation Collection. No.13. C. 46-50.
Author:
61 comment
Ad

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, daily additional materials that do not get on the site: https://t.me/topwar_ru

Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. V.ic
    V.ic 28 June 2016 06: 50
    +13
    Score article: EXCELLENT! And the plane is beautiful.
  2. Tsoy
    Tsoy 28 June 2016 06: 56
    +19
    Detailed excellent article. Thank.

    On Р38 flew Saint Exupery. And 31 July 1944 flying off for reconnaissance did not return.
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov 28 June 2016 07: 39
      +22
      "Flew" is said loudly. He had to knock out flights for himself almost by blackmail. We must pay tribute to the Americans, they understood the importance of the writer, and did everything to keep him away from the war. What can I say, the German who shot him down was brought to the aviation by his own books ...

      But he could not stay away. This was contrary to Exupery's philosophy.
      1. Tsoy
        Tsoy 28 June 2016 07: 54
        +18
        “I have a funny craft for my age. Next in age is six years younger than me. But, of course, my present life - breakfast at six in the morning, a dining room, a tent or a lime-bleached room, flying at an altitude of ten thousand meters in the forbidden world of man - I prefer unbearable Algerian idleness ... ... I chose to work for maximum wear and tear, because always squeeze myself to the end, no longer go backwards. I wish that this foul war would end before I die, like a candle in a stream of oxygen. I have something to do after it ”(from a letter to Jean Pélus 9 — 10 July 1944)

        By the way, I recently learned that Bulgakov met Saint Exupery in Moscow, and even mentioned him in his memoirs as "some pilot, also writes books" ...
      2. Warrior2015
        Warrior2015 28 June 2016 09: 49
        +2
        Quote: Spade
        He had to knock out sorties with almost blackmail. We must pay tribute to the Americans, they understood the importance of the writer, and did everything to keep him away from the war.

        Therefore, they gave him the option of an unarmed high-speed reconnaissance, in order to thereby protect him from participation in air battles. But unfortunately, the wonderful writer was apparently not such a wonderful pilot and was shot down by the attack of a German fighter.
        1. sivuch
          sivuch 29 June 2016 10: 36
          +3
          He was a reconnaissance pilot and very good.
          But what could he have done on an unarmed car (even if there were a couple of scarecrows 7.62)? NJA, it was assumed that Latning's high-altitude h-ki were enough to take his legs if necessary. But Saint-Exupery ran into the new Fw-190D
          It is interesting that the German pilot in the report lied that Lightning was the first to attack (he himself was sent to scout with the order not to get involved in battles)
      3. Vlad.by
        Vlad.by 8 August 2016 13: 25
        0
        went to the looking glass ...
    2. Kenneth
      Kenneth 28 June 2016 08: 47
      +8
      Not so long ago, an exupery plane was found. There was also a German who shot him down.
      1. Tsoy
        Tsoy 28 June 2016 10: 02
        +9
        Quote: Kenneth
        Not so long ago exupery plane found.


        In 1998, near Marseille, a sailor found a bracelet belonging to Exupery. Before that, it was thought that it had crashed in the Alps. There were several inscriptions on it: “Antoine”, “Consuelo” (that was the name of the pilot's wife) and “c / o Reynal & Hitchcock, 386, 4th Ave. NYC USA. This was the address of the publisher in which the books of Saint-Exupéry were published. In May 2000 of the year, diver Luke Vanrel said that at the 70-meter depth he discovered fragments of an aircraft, possibly belonging to Saint-Exupéry. The remains of the aircraft were scattered on a strip length of a kilometer and a width of 400 meters. Almost immediately, the French government banned any searches in the area. Permission was obtained only in the autumn of the year. Specialists raised fragments of the aircraft. One of them turned out to be part of the cockpit, the aircraft’s serial number was preserved: 2003-L. According to the US military archives, scientists compared all the numbers of aircraft that disappeared during this period. So, it turned out that the onboard serial number of the 2734-L corresponds to the aircraft, which in the US Air Force was listed under the number 2734-42, that is, the Lockning Airplane P-68223 "Lightning", a modification of the F-38B-5-LO (long-range photo reconnaissance aircraft) who piloted Exupery.
  3. Bayonet
    Bayonet 28 June 2016 06: 57
    +4
    Saint-Exupery flew and died in the same car, only in the version of a photo scout.
  4. Kenneth
    Kenneth 28 June 2016 08: 48
    +2
    It is a pity that the author did not find a report on the fight with the yak-9 lightings. There the description of the battle was a little different.
    1. Warrior2015
      Warrior2015 28 June 2016 09: 42
      +2
      Quote: Kenneth
      It is a pity that the author did not find a report on the fight with the yak-9 lightings. There the description of the battle was a little different.

      And could you voice it to us?
      1. The comment was deleted.
      2. DenZ
        DenZ 28 June 2016 10: 04
        0
        Quote: Warrior2015
        And could you voice it to us?

        A couple of years ago it was in the magazine "Arsenal-collection" This issue is at home.
        As far as I remember, ours were shot down by Lightnings and ours were shot down a bit. in general, all by mistake and in the heat of battle, they did not immediately notice that they were fighting against the Americans (I myself do not understand how).
        1. dkflbvbh
          dkflbvbh 29 June 2016 13: 38
          +1
          And what is not clear here? .. I have read for a long time (I do not remember where) that the Americans and the Anglo-Saxons (nits are still those) specially bombed our troops in order to stop their advance and not let them into Greece, where at that time in connection with the approach of our troops arose an uprising (there were enough partisans there) ... As a result, Greece was occupied by "allies" and the Anglo-Saxons crushed the Partyzan-communist uprising ...
          Here in this article I received confirmation of that battle, otherwise I didn’t tell anyone they believed with a stretch.
          1. Vlad.by
            Vlad.by 8 August 2016 13: 56
            0
            So about the R-38 raid near Nis, there are many publications. Even Vicki checked in.
            Here for example:
            http://alternathistory.com/boi-s-ramami-7-noyabrya-1944-goda
            or
            http://10otb.ru/content/history/souzniki/nish_07.11.1944.html
      3. The comment was deleted.
      4. Gamdlislyam
        Gamdlislyam 28 June 2016 11: 19
        +1
        Quote: Warrior2015
        And could you voice it to us?

        I give a link to article B0 "Multipurpose fighter P-38" Lightning "" dated October 2, 2015, where the comments describe this battle in detail:
        https://topwar.ru/83599-mnogocelevoy-istrebitel-p-38-lightning.html
      5. Kenneth
        Kenneth 28 June 2016 12: 32
        +2
        In article 2a on decks in the comments, I gave excerpts from the report and a link to the archive. What struck me most was the conclusion that the light maneuverable yak and went into his tail. Although most likely this was achieved using flaps and game engine thrust.
    2. gladcu2
      gladcu2 28 June 2016 17: 18
      0
      Kenneth

      We believe to Russian bios.

      :)
  5. Kenneth
    Kenneth 28 June 2016 08: 50
    0
    The plane of the best aces. How is our P39
    1. Yak-3P
      Yak-3P 28 June 2016 09: 47
      0
      Pokryshkin rearmed his division on La 7 by the end of the war, until his student-friend Klubov died (training flight) on it ... but La left anyway ... and the FV shot down over the highway were shot down on the "bench" young ... about the film "In the Sky Pokryshkin"
      1. Kenneth
        Kenneth 28 June 2016 12: 43
        +1
        Pokryshkin won 48 victories on the cobra. Also, Rechkalov, Amet Khan, Gulaev, Fadeev flew on the cobra.
      2. Gamdlislyam
        Gamdlislyam 28 June 2016 15: 25
        +3
        Quote: Yak-3P
        Pokryshkin rearmed his division on La 7 by the end of the war, until his student-friend Klubov died (training flight) on it ... but La left anyway ... and the FV shot down over the highway were shot down on the "bench" young ... about the film "In the Sky Pokryshkin"

        Dear colleague Smoke, thanks to you, I have reviewed the film "In the Sky Pokryshkin". In the film, Alexander Ivanovich and his pilots fly on "Airacobras".
        There is only one episode in the film with the soaring La-5. An off-screen voice commented that Marov’s guards were taking off.
    2. Dimon19661
      Dimon19661 28 June 2016 13: 21
      +2
      And Ivan Kozhedub flew on LA-5, LA-7. (The most productive pilot of the USSR)
  6. Yak-3P
    Yak-3P 28 June 2016 09: 37
    +1
    as a good scout but as a hawk it is very bad .. GSS Koldunov acted as a link !! against practically the regiment of lightings ... the Pyandosovskoe was greatly exceeded ... recall Kozhedub and his first victims in the form of P-51 2pcs and the words of Novikov - at the expense of the future war ---
    1. Kenneth
      Kenneth 28 June 2016 12: 45
      +2
      Bong on light fell mostly fighters
      What does Kozhedub have to do with it?
    2. veteran66
      veteran66 29 June 2016 19: 24
      -2
      "In the air combat between the Yak-9 and the Lightning aircraft, the latter showed good horizontal maneuverability, and when conducting air combat on turns, the advantage remained with the Lightning aircraft, which easily went into the tail of the Yak-9 aircraft, which had a much larger turning radius than the Lightning aircraft." The withdrawal of our pilots after that battle. Stratech sofa, damn it!
  7. Warrior2015
    Warrior2015 28 June 2016 09: 40
    +2
    The article can be said exemplary! Clearly, carefully, a lot of rare and generally new facts! The author is a pro with a capital letter!

    Quote: Technical Engineer
    Among the defects, they also attributed solar glare from nacelles that interfered with a safe landing.
    I didn’t know what exactly during the landing they created problems - it seems like they even caused inconvenience in the battle and therefore the tops of the nacelles were painted with special anti-reflective paint (like the hoods of the Mustang engines).

    Quote: Technical Engineer
    Filled with fuel, "Lightning" without weapons and a pair of tanks of 1136 liters in 13 hours covered 4677 km, and the rest of gasoline made it possible to fly another 160 km.
    Truly fantastic range, did not know about such a record!

    Quote: Technical Engineer
    In the skies over Tunisia, two-boom "Lightning" often acted as escort fighters for their bombers. Air battles with German and Italian planes happened quite often and went with varying success, the lack of maneuverability of the heavy Lightnings affected. So, only the 48th fighter group from November 1942 to February 1943 lost 20 P-38s and 13 pilots, of which five cars - on January 23.
    Oddly enough, but despite the already known correct battle tactics for the P-38 and the high graduation qualifications of the pilots, the Americans for some reason acted relaxed and negligent ("we are now piling up on these pasta and beauches"!). And the forces of the Italian and German aces of the Desert were thrown against them, who turned out to be very dangerous opponents and it is not known what the allies would have come to if the fascist states in the skies of Tunisia had much more aircraft.

    The production of the P-61 Black Widow night light ordered by Nor-Trope was delayed, and it was temporarily decided to create a similar machine based on Lightning. Experiments with the installation of a radar on an aircraft were first performed by engineers in combat units.
    I didn’t know at all that there was a DOUBLE option (I wonder what kind of people were taken into the radar operators then?) And also the night one! (although with a rather weak activity of the Japanese and a serious shortage of pilots who were qualified enough for flying at night, the presence of such aircraft in the Yankees as a whole was probably an excess).

    Quote: Technical Engineer
    Lagging behind single-engine vehicles in maneuverability, the Lightning was very good for long-distance patrols at altitude.
    Well, how to say - it was also very good as a universal "invasion plane", so to speak, the American analogue of "Mosquito". And the given example with the raid on Ploiesti - it was only one unsuccessful battle, while in France the Lightnings became a thunderstorm for everything that moves on the ground.
  8. rubin6286
    rubin6286 28 June 2016 10: 52
    +1
    The article is interesting, informative. It is a pity that the author did not explore the issue of familiarizing Soviet specialists with the design of this remarkable machine in the prewar years. For a number of reasons, the production of such an aircraft could not be established in the USSR at that time, but a number of technically competent and constructively thought-out decisions by American specialists could be used by Soviet designers to create new combat aircraft. Not only SB, DB-3, but also new VIT-2, BB-22 and Pe-2 could become structurally more perfect, more rational. In the post-war period, a reconnaissance and corrector double-beam scheme was built in the Design Bureau of P.O.Sukhogo, but its design did not carry even half of the novelty that was in the P-38 Lightning and was found to be obsolete and unpromising.
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 28 June 2016 11: 23
      0
      Quote: rubin6286
      . In the post-war period, a reconnaissance and corrector double-beam scheme was built in the Design Bureau of P.O.Sukhogo, but its design did not carry even half of the novelty that was in the P-38 Lightning and was found to be obsolete and unpromising.

      In 1931, the fighter I-12 (ANT-23) was built. Also a 2-beam scheme. It was built because the fuselage beams were Kuchevsky's dynamo-reactive guns. Http://airwar.ru/enc/fww1/i12 .html This is a link to the plane.
    2. gladcu2
      gladcu2 28 June 2016 17: 25
      +1
      rubin6286

      In the USSR there was no need for heavy escort fighters. More precisely and most likely, such a question was posed, but the solution fell on the development of front-line aviation. Due to different concepts and a different approach to the development of aviation.

      That two-girder high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. Made in the USSR it was an attempt to follow the German scheme. Since the Germans' "frames" worked effectively.
      1. Gamdlislyam
        Gamdlislyam 28 June 2016 20: 09
        +3
        Quote: gladcu2
        In the USSR there was no need for heavy escort fighters.

        Dear colleague, in the pre-war years in the USSR, quite a few projects were developed heavy escort fighters. Before the war, prototypes were built and tested:
        Ta-1 and Ta-3 (chief designer Tairov Vsevolod Konstantinovich). Alas, the designer died in October 1941 in a plane crash. The topic was closed in 1942;
        VI-100 "Sotka" (chief designer Petlyakov Vladimir Mikhailovich, died in a plane crash in 1942). On the basis of this machine, the Pe-2 dive bomber and the Pe-3 heavy fighter, which were mass-produced, were manufactured;
        TIS experimental vehicles (Ch. Designer Polikarpov Nikolay Nikolaevich, died in 1944) After the death of the designer, the topic is closed;
        Gr-1 (IDS) (chief designer Grushin Peter Dmitrievich). During the test, the aircraft received serious damage and later (in war conditions) did not recover. Grushin P.D. continued to work already as deputy Lavochkina S.A.
        Pe-3I (DIS) (chief designer Myasishchev Vladimir Mikhailovich) This is actually a newly designed aircraft, superior in performance characteristics to the P-38 "Lighting", and in range too. The aircraft passed tests, but was not launched into production.
        1. gladcu2
          gladcu2 2 July 2016 03: 57
          0
          Gamdlislyam

          Well, if we take the period of the Second World War, then for the USSR there was no need for such an aircraft.

          And a lot of things were being developed.
      2. rubin6286
        rubin6286 28 June 2016 21: 41
        0
        Having a complete set of documentation for the machine, you can reproduce a number of individual units and elements of its design, make sure that they are operational and effective in comparison with existing ones, and then decide on the use of domestic equipment (copying) or reject it. Lightning is highly indicative in this regard. As of 1938, it was, from the point of view of construction, a truly unique machine. If, on the whole, our aircraft industry was not ready for the reproduction of this aircraft, then with regard to individual structural elements, as they say, “a special conversation”. I deliberately do not develop this topic, giving food for thought and interest in technical literature to young aviation enthusiasts, both understanding the influence of the “back wing on pitch”, and students of colleges and universities of the corresponding orientation.
  9. Operator
    Operator 28 June 2016 11: 09
    -2
    It is not a matter of qualifying German or Soviet pilots who clicked Lightings like seeds.
    The problem was in Lightning itself - a heavy twin-engine aircraft, with a clumsy aerodynamic design, low thrust ratio, low speed and rate of climb.
    Lightning could shoot down only more awkward enemy bombers, following without fighter escort. Victory in the air over German and Japanese fighters was achieved only in the event of multiple superiority of the Lightings.
    This ersatz in the class of escort fighters was replaced immediately after the adoption of the Mustangs. Lightings were transferred to scouts and high-speed bombers, and in the last class they were inferior in all respects to specialized Thunderbolts.
    1. Dimon19661
      Dimon19661 28 June 2016 13: 28
      +1
      I agree-at low and medium altitudes, subject to quantitative equality -Lighting could not compete with Soviet and German fighters, due to worse maneuverability. And by the way about the range, the Japanese Zero had a range of 2600 km with full armament.
      1. pimen
        pimen 28 June 2016 13: 38
        0
        at the expense of the roughness of the scheme: well, two elongated fuselages that gradually come to "no" with a twin-engine scheme are good (albeit extra weight), but a large rear wing, providing good rigidity of the scheme, should influence too much the pitch stability (without a computer- then control), and slow down too. But turns on two spaced engines can be very effective, perhaps not even worse than with a modern variable thrust vector
        1. Operator
          Operator 28 June 2016 14: 57
          +3
          The classic aerodynamic design of a fighter from one full-size, not three short bodies, with one rather than two engines, is three times (based on the midship area) more effective in air resistance of the aerodynamic design of Light.

          The fact that Lightning as a fighter was not scrapped immediately after the appearance in the Pacific theater of operations is entirely "merit" of the Japanese Zero fighters, which had even worse flight performance due to the frail engine (but this is a question for Japanese engine builders ).

          An additional advantage of the Lightings over the Japanese (and for some time over the German in high-altitude battles) opponents was the quantitative superiority of the Lightings - the Americans massaged the use of these aircraft or refused to fight in case of equality of arms.
          1. pimen
            pimen 28 June 2016 15: 30
            +1
            at the expense of the "threefold" advantage - a question in general, and highly dependent on the flight altitude - in particular: for example, the same lightning did not lag too far behind the mustang in speed (630 to 700 km / h), having a total engine power of 2300hp. at 6500t takeoff weight, against 1400hp. by 4600t from the mustang; and rate of climb (12m / s to 17m / s)
    2. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 28 June 2016 17: 45
      +4
      "The problem was in the Lightning itself - a heavy twin-engine aircraft with a clumsy aerodynamic configuration, low thrust-to-weight ratio, low speed and rate of climb." ////

      You just forget that the entire sortie, for example, La-5 -
      (a good fighter) could not exceed 40 minutes.
      What does this mean in practice? 15 minutes there - 10 minutes of battle -
      15 minutes back to your airfield. Carried away by the fight - gasoline
      at zero - forced landing on the belly. Which often happened.

      Lightning could cruise at high altitude for hours. Attack from above and
      come back to a height.
      1. Tsoy
        Tsoy 28 June 2016 18: 23
        +1
        Quote: voyaka uh
        Attack from above and return to a height.

        What fits into the standard air force practice. Boom zoom is our everything.
      2. Operator
        Operator 28 June 2016 18: 23
        +1
        I compared the escort fighter Lightning with a classmate - an escort fighter Mustang.

        In the real situation of the 1944 of the year, the ten-minute battle was enough for the highly maneuverable and faster front-line La-7 fighters to defeat the majority of the Lightings.

        For the sake of clarity, you need to compare Lightning with the Soviet La-11 escort fighter (in terms of speed, range, rate of climb, power density and wing specific load).
      3. gladcu2
        gladcu2 28 June 2016 20: 08
        0
        voyaka

        Lightings, heavy escort fighter.

        La-5 front-line fighter.

        Different application concepts.
        1. voyaka uh
          voyaka uh 28 June 2016 20: 42
          +1
          The concepts are different, but they had to fight one against the other.
          If the Lightings got involved in "dog dumps" - they lost,
          and if attacked by enemy fighters (which went to intercept high flying bombers)
          from above - they won.
          1. gladcu2
            gladcu2 2 July 2016 04: 02
            -2
            voyaka

            Well, they fought in the Wartander. There is an idea how to use speed, altitude, maneuverability.

            Each fighter plane has its own style. You can also zoom-in, and you can also leave the zoom-in, until one day you are mistaken and they get you.

            This game is good, it teaches history.
  10. pimen
    pimen 28 June 2016 11: 09
    0
    Quote: rubin6286
    . In the post-war period, a reconnaissance and corrector double-beam scheme was built in the Design Bureau of P.O.Sukhogo, but its design did not carry even half of the novelty that was in the P-38 Lightning and was found to be obsolete and unpromising.

    maybe right? Mosquito even in a wooden incarnation looked no worse
    1. 4thParasinok
      4thParasinok 11 July 2016 22: 32
      0
      Quote: pimen
      Mosquito even in a wooden incarnation looked no worse

      laughing have fun, thanks. Mosquito is a light high-altitude bomber, most of them did not have machine guns and having twice less range, if not 3.
  11. Lester7777
    Lester7777 28 June 2016 11: 41
    +2
    Atlantic breezes were kissing
    Hands burning on the helm.
    Under Antoine is a blue sea and clouds.
    In the distance, over the shoulder - not met, not found -
    A blazing Lightning flies in the sky
    Short beep, last hello in all languages.

    Thank you, great article!
  12. iouris
    iouris 28 June 2016 12: 04
    +4
    The material is famous, but the article is of high quality. Thanks to the author for the work.
    Regarding American technology, in general, and aircraft, in particular, we can say that the Americans (the US government) were not very interested in what the enemy and the allies have, believing (however, rightly so) that they have an overwhelming superiority in technology over any belligerent the state. They saw their main task in realizing in hardware, testing and working out at the expense of the taxpayer the maximum number of advanced technologies in order to create and sell consumer goods to the rest of the world after the end of the war. It is not entirely correct to compare the flight characteristics of the P-38 with those of the Bf-109 or Yak-9 - after all, they are a different class of aircraft, but the USA did not make light fighters (an exception, maybe the P-39 "Airacobra", which was not used in the US Army) ... Therefore, the aircraft is outstanding, but in the Red Army Air Force it is unlikely that widespread use was found for it.
    For completeness, the version of the death of Antoine de Saint-Exupery should be supplemented.
    The circumstances of his death are still, rather, a version.
    Another version of the death of Exupery is a sudden deterioration in health or loss of consciousness due to a failure of the oxygen system in high altitude flight.
    Some scholars have suggested that Exupery, as a humanist and a staunch anti-fascist, committed suicide in this way, not knowing how to bridge the gap between him and his relatives, and, in a broad sense, with France, who have been actively collaborating with the Nazis all these years.
    Of course, official France and Europe, the latest version seems very uncomfortable. But let me remind you that Mr. Renault, who was a fan and a great personal friend of Hitler, perhaps, at the direct direction of de Gaulle, was simply quietly beaten in prison to death, and the enterprises that made France famous were actually nationalized. Moreover, de Gaulle had at his disposal military forces, the backbone of which was made up of communists. After the war in France (as well as in Italy, Greece) it was most likely the Communists who were to come to power, moreover, in a democratic way. Well, or a civil war could break out. I think Exupery understood that.
    1. Tsoy
      Tsoy 28 June 2016 13: 33
      +1
      Quote: iouris
      that Mr. Reno, who was a fan and great personal friend of Hitler,


      And he was a friend of Charlie Chaplin and rested with him very often before the war. Renault was the scapegoat for all the French industrialists that helped the Reich. The rest in no way affected the post-war persecution of accomplices of the Nazis. Citroen had already died by that time, and in fact they were very close to each other with Renault. Probably none of them could have imagined that in 1976 where their companies would unite Renault-Citroen under the same roof.
    2. gladcu2
      gladcu2 28 June 2016 20: 13
      0
      iorius

      You should write fantasy.

      In your exupery should think like a ninth grade student.

      "Chef, everything is lost !!! Everything is lost !!!"
  13. Taoist
    Taoist 28 June 2016 12: 26
    +6
    "light" is perhaps the most successful attempt to create a twin-engined heavy fighter. A very successful weapon placement scheme, excellent visibility and decent maneuverability for such a scheme. This ultimately determined the long service life of the machine. And yet, (for "critics"), do not compare you Christ for the sake of performance characteristics "head-on" ... any performance characteristics are just numbers that say little about the real combat effectiveness of the vehicle ...
    1. 4thParasinok
      4thParasinok 11 July 2016 22: 42
      0
      Quote: Taoist
      "light" is perhaps the most successful attempt to create a twin-engined heavy fighter.

      This is the most publicized attempt to create a twin-engine fighter. So our hundreds were killed during flight tests, demanding to add 2 people to the crew, increasing the size and replacing the engines and tons of gasoline with bombs, extra crew and overweight aircraft. Even the resulting Pe-2 with a reduced speed if the pilot was a former fighter managed to wage a maneuver battle against the Germans, even at 41-42, but he could.
  14. The comment was deleted.
  15. The comment was deleted.
  16. motorized rifle
    motorized rifle 29 June 2016 01: 41
    +1
    And so looked familiarization flights.
  17. Kir1984
    Kir1984 29 June 2016 08: 20
    0
    Finally, a great article about perhaps the most beautiful fighter of the second MV smile
    About him, the American pilots spoke - She climbs like a homesick angel - he bursts skyward, like an angel missing home.
    Here is a beautiful video about the surviving P38.
    Thank you for the article.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p26NYiRXm2s&list=FLkfzWHzpaJLsA08Wf47_B7g&index=

    48
  18. Winnie76
    Winnie76 29 June 2016 08: 56
    0
    So it turns out in whose honor the penguin was named. A plane with flaws, but found its niche, commercially successful. But about the grandson, big doubts ...
  19. DimerVladimer
    DimerVladimer 11 October 2016 09: 33
    +1
    Good article - written pleasantly and consistently.