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By Alwyn T. Lloyd

Aspect & Scale Vol.10: B-29 Superfortress (Part 1)

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50 and cannon. The Mu tang rolled over, went into a pin, and crashed inverted. Coulon, of cour e, pent some leeple night over the incident until headquarters advised that no P-51s were then assigned to combat operations, and that this one, without drop tanks, wa beyond range of any Allied ba e. Since it was known that the German were using at least two Mustangs for this sort of thing, Coulon was credited with a confirmed victory. Through November, the ground attack missions continued. The P-38s flew e cort for the 3rd and 5th photo/recce F-5s into Germany; and when the 82nd FG received a 'Droop Snoot' Lightning, one which had a scal d-down version of a Fortres no e, containing a Norden bomb ight, other P-38 temporarily became 'B-38 , for high-level bombing run led by the 'Droop Snoot'.

The new 475th FG entered combat in mid Augu t 1943 when the 431st and 432nd FS moved up to Twelve-Mile Strip and Ward's Drome at Port Moresby, and the 433rd went to Jackson Drome. On 17 Augu t, the 5th AF began an intensive five-day attack on the Wewak area to knock out enemy air opposition to Allied landing there scheduled for 4 September. Caught by urprise, the Japane e lost more than half their airplanes on the ground to Kenney's bomber on the first day. -38s of the 9th, 39th, and 80th FS , along with those of the 475th FG, destroyed in air combat most of those that remained.

On 2 May 1945 nearly a million Germans surrendered, and the war in Italy ended. From the time the P-38 groups joined the 15th AF, Lightning were airborne 44,296 times, with 3,814 early returns due to weather or mechanical or other problems, making this airplane 84 per cent effective in combat operations. In 4,004 encounters with enemy aircraft the P-38 de troyed 60 , probably destroyed 123, and damaged 343. 2 enemy aircraft de troyed per 100 encounters. 3 per 100 encounters. 27 per 100 ortie to all cause, flak, enemy aircraft, mechanical, and unknown, while this airplane was operational 75 per cent of the time.

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