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XP-38A prototype aircraft in flight, 1940-1942

Caption   XP-38A prototype aircraft in flight, 1940-1942 ww2dbase
Source    ww2dbaseUnited States Air Force
More on...   
P-38 Lightning   Main article  Photos  
Added By C. Peter Chen
Added Date 23 May 2010
Licensing  Public Domain. According to the United States copyright law (United States Code, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105), in part, "[c]opyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government".

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
17 Aug 2010 11:31:25 AM

The Lockheed P-38 made its first flight in September, 1940. When the design for the P-38 was put down on paper in 1936, with speeds toward 400mph, the Boeing P26 was the USAAC's first-line fighter. The "peashooter" as it was nicknamed was an radial engine, open cockpit, wire braced monoplane with fixed landing gear, with a maximum speed of 234mph, and armed with two .30 caliber machine guns.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
20 Apr 2011 10:26:12 AM

The P-38 would have its weapons centrally mounted in the nose w/4x50cal.machine guns w/500rpg and 1x20mmcannon w/150rounds. As a fighter-bomber the P-38 could also carry up to two tons of bombs.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
21 Apr 2011 06:22:30 PM

One Hundred and Fifty, or Sixty Rounds, that is the question? Some sources say the 20mm cannon drum magazine held 150rounds, other sources say the drum magazine held 60rounds. The bendix Mk II, 20mm cannon used by the US Navy looked like the same type of drum magazine used on the P-38, just wanted to clear this up.
4. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
22 Apr 2011 12:43:49 PM

MORE SHOP TALK: XP-38 mockup mounted 2x50cal. machine guns w/200rpg and 2x30cal. machine guns w/500rpg plus 1x23mm cannon w/15rounds. Experiments with a 1x37mm cannon w/15 rounds was tested, but never put into production aircraft. In March 1941 the P-38 Lightning was set at 4x50.cal machine guns w/500rpg and 1x20mm cannon w/150rounds. Photographs of the P-38 Glacier Girl show a 60 round drum magazine this would give about six or seven seconds firing time for the 20mm cannon. The 60 round drum magazine was used briefly before the 150 round magazine and feed system was installed. I would think the 60 round drum magazine on the P-38 was very limited in firing time, it probably wasn't used long operationally. Did You Know... In 1934 the US Government's sale of the Fifty Caliber Browning M-2 Machine gun to Japan, the Japanese scaled up this design to 20mm model HO5. Six years later, the US bought the rights to manufacture the Hispano-Suzia 20mm cannon.
5. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
22 Apr 2011 05:36:48 PM

PICKUP THAT BRASS! Where did all that brass go? when the pilot fired his guns, the empty shells (brass to any GI) were expended with links from four chutes in the P-38s nose. The 20mm cannon shells were bigger, and if ejected would be to close to the propellers and could cause damage to the fuselage or engines, they were emptyed into a brass catcher and later removed by the ground crew
6. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
22 Apr 2011 07:36:44 PM

BEFORE L.A. BECAME A GREAT BIG FREEWAY: Photograph taken over 1940s Los Angeles,Ca. before it became a great big freeway. During World War II Los Angeles would become a "Boom Town" the area grew faster then any other city in the United States. GI's who were stationed or processed through on their way to oversea duty, would return settled down and built post-war civilian lives. People who traveled to California to work would do the same after WWII, Cities like Costa Mesa, Irvine didn't exist before the war and San Bernardino was in the "Sticks" thats in the country. I remember riding my bike down a wide dirt road, in each direction that was being built and would later become a section of the Santa Monica Freeway. Between July 1941 to August 1945 Lockheed built 19,000 aircraft, and by 1945 about 23 P-38s left the assembly lines every day thats about one every hour!

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