At the dawn of World War II in 1942 the Lockheed P-38F, the first Lightning version, was considered fully combat-ready and the finest American made war plane. It included 377 U.S.ordered aircraft, in addition to 150 planes that had originally been ordered under British and French contracts.
The P-38F was bigger, faster, and could climb higher than any other U.S. plane built at the start of the war. It was the only American fighter in production at the time of Pearl Harbor to be still in production at the war’s end, and it accounted for more Japanese aircraft destroyed in combat than any other US fighter.
By the end of the war the P-38 had made it’s mark. The top two American Aces Richard I. Bong and Thomas B. McGuire Jr. flew P-38s and 15 others who piloted P-38s were counted in the ranks of aviation aces.
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