History of the P-38 Lightning
The P-38 Lockheed Lightning was a fighter aircraft in World War II, employed by the United States Army Air Corps. Built by Lockheed, the P-38 was referred to by its adversaries as the "forked tail devil" because of its unusual design. With the P-38, the fuselage was basically non-existent because the cockpit and armament were housed centrally together inside what is called the nacelle, while the engines were housed on the wings with their own fuselages called "twin booms".
First introduced in 1941 at a price of 97,000 dollars each, with a total of a little over 10,000 built, it was used mostly as a long range fighter. Although primarily used in the Pacific theater, the P-38 was also used in Europe and during the D-Day invasion.
The main photo at top is of a P-38 painted with black and white bands called "invasion stripes". This was to make it easier to differentiate between enemy or friendly aircraft during the Normandy landings on D-day.
The P-38 had 2 , V 12 Allison turbosupercharger engines with 1000 hp. It weighed 12,800 lbs empty. The P-38 had a maximum speed of over 440 mph and a range of 1,300 miles. The P-38 could climb at 4,750 feet per minute and had a service ceiling 44,000 feet.
The P-38 was armed with four Browning .50 machine guns, one-20 mm autocannon (Hispano), four M10 rocket launchers three tubed each and 4,000 pounds ordnance bombs or fuel.