- Mar 18, 2022
Kennedy wanted to replace all P-39s with P-38s but he couldn't get them.
Spaatz Liked the P-38 in Sicily.
In Aug 1943 the Med theatre is told it will get no more P-38s until October because they are needed in the UK for bomber escort (nobody knows how good the P-51s will do)
Rightly or wrongly for most of 1943 the P-38 is considered the best US fighter (P-47 only shows up about 1/2 through) and P-38s are assigned accordingly, No P-38s in Europe during late 1942 and 2/3rd of 1943 because they are needed in NA.
Right. Now that I understand how (relatively) late the really improved P-38 models arrived in Theater the whole thing makes more sense.
Getting back to the OP, I'd say (again) that the reason the P-38 did so much better in the Pacific was that the specific strengths of the aircraft were more of an advantage relative to Japanese aircraft, especially in 1942-43. And because the enhanced range and the redundancy of a second engine were so beneficial in the long haul flights in the Pacific. This wasn't quite as urgent in the MTO though of course it was also a big deal in NW Europe with the Strategic bombing campaign.