P-38 Lightning


The P-38 Lightning is a World War II-era American piston-engined fighter aircraft. Developed for the United States Army Air Corps, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Allied propaganda claimed it had been nicknamed the fork-tailed devil by the Luftwaffe and “two planes, one pilot” by the Japanese. The P-38 was used for interception, dive bombing, level bombing, ground attack, night fighting, photo reconnaissance, radar and visual pathfinding for bombers and evacuation missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.

  • Tactic

With twin powerful engine and nose-mounted cannon advantages, the P-38 is a great fighter airplane for boom & zoom or hit & run tactic. The aircraft is also excellent as fighter-bomber role thanks to its good bomb load and wing-mounted rockets.

P-38 pilot should climb to high altitude and dive down for attack on enemy targets at high speed and zoom away. Avoid low speed turn-fights with lighter opponents.

  • Pros & Cons
    • Pros
      • Fast and climb high
      • Powerful armament with nose-mounted 37mm cannon
      • Excellent durability with twin engines
      • Easy take-off & landing (tricycle landing gear)
      • Could carry bomb and rockets
    • Cons
      • Heavy weight causes large turn radius
      • High stall-speed
  • Engine
    • Default:  Twin V-1710-27/29 V12 (1,150 hp)
    • Upgrade 1: Twin V-1710-49/52 V12 (1,325 hp)
    • Upgrade 2: Twin V-1710-89/91 V12 (1,425 hp)
    • Upgrade 3: Twin V-1710-111/113 V12 (1,600 hp)
  • Armament
    • Default:
      • 2 x .30 cal nose-mounted machine guns
      • 2 x .50 cal nose-mounted machine guns
      • 1 x 37mm nose-mounted cannon
    • Upgrade 1:
      • 4 x .50 cal nose-mounted machine guns
      • 1 x 20mm nose-mounted cannon
    • Upgrade 2:
      • 2 x 500 lb bombs
      • 14 x HVAR rockets
  • Stats
    • Max speed: 414 mph (666 km/h)
    • Max dive speed: N/A
    • Durability: 1000
    • Internal fuel capacity: 306 US gallons (1,158 litres)
    • External fuel capacity: N/A
    • Empty weight: 12,800 lb (5,800 kg)
    • Wing area:327.5 ft² (30.43 m²)
  • Skin
    • screen-shot-2018-03-23-at-2-46-40-pm
    • Miss Virginia Guadalcanal 1943
      • The Lightning figured in one of the most significant operations in the Pacific theater: the interception, on 18 April 1943, of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. This aircraft was flown by Lt. Rex Barber during the intercept mission, borrowed form its regular pilot Lt Bob Petit. The official report gives him partial credit for both bombers.
    • screen-shot-2018-03-23-at-2-47-03-pm
    • Pudgy (IV) Maj. McGuire
      • During his career Thomas McGuire was assigned five P-38’s, nicknamed Pudgy after his wife, all of which had squadron number 131 on the nose. McGuire scored 38 victories, second only to Maj. Richard Bong. This model carries the art from the 4th of his 5 P-38s.
    • screen-shot-2018-03-23-at-2-47-12-pm
    • Maj. R. Bong
      • Top American ace Maj. Bong used ‘Yellow 42’ for a month between October and November 1944, whilst attached to 49th FG stationed at Tacloban, yet he managed to score six kills in that short period.
  • Premium
    • screen-shot-2018-03-23-at-2-45-36-pm
    • USAAF Silver
    • screen-shot-2018-03-23-at-2-45-58-pm
    • USAAF ‘Green-Yellow-Silver
    • screen-shot-2018-03-23-at-2-46-13-pm
    • USAAF ‘Silver-Blue Lady’