Could the later model P38 establish complete control of air over Germany without P51

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, May 28, 2012.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Could or would the P38 Lightning have eventually taken complete control of German skies without the aid of the P51 Mustang?
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    fast answer, probably not. But it may have allowed the daylight bombing to continue which is not the same as complete control. The P-38 may not have been available in numbers to do the job.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Why not? P-38 production cost was only slightly more then the P-47.
     
  4. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    this is true but cost 80% more of 51 in '43, and 88% in '44
     
  5. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    Cost didn't matter to the US. We made aircraft carriers a dime-a-dozen like cupcakes at a kindergarden party. No one was going to say "Oh, we can't finish off Hitler, the P38 costs too much". We had the B29 and Manhatten Project rolling right along. Cost did not matter.
     
  6. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    the money (notes) is not a matter but that money represent a true value, i've many doubt that US can substitute P-51 with P-38 in 1:1 ratio w/o change in others productions
     
  7. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    They never seem to have the performance to have any advantage over the German fighters but did have enough to defeat them en masse. I would not doubt that large amounts of P-38s could be built, especially if no P-47s or P-51s were being built. USAAF losses would have been greater.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    What does the P-51 have to do with a decision to produce 15,686 additional P-38s ILO the P-47?

    As for the P-51, the war was almost over before it arrived in large numbers. Any fighter aircraft can defeat the Luftwaffe after RAF Bomber Command destroys the German hydrogenation plants during the spring and summer of 1944.

    Of course The History Channel would need to select a different "best fighter aircraft of all time".
     
  9. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Part of the problem is WHEN the decisions have to be made and HOW LONG it takes to implement the decision. If you want 15,000 more P-38s the decision has to be made by 1941 or so, no later than the beginning of 1942. If you want just 8,000 more P-38 the decision can be be made later but the planes won't show up until later in the war.
    It can take 12-18 months from breaking ground on a factory (to produce an existing design) till more than 2-3 are rolled out the door and another 6-9 months to get the first 500. A few months after that you may get 300-400 a month. You need how many thousand fighters in the Spring of 1944 for bomber escort missions? You had to "pick your winner" when it's "A" model was flying and hope the "C", "D" or "G-H-J" version would do the job (and a different job at that from the original specification) 2 years in the future. To get thousands more P-38s you not only need a second (or third) production line for airframes, you need a second source for Allison engines. And again the decision had to have been made in in 1941 at the latest to really affect the bomber campaign in 1944.

    The P-38 had the range, It might have even suffered lower losses being able to get home on one engine at times. The question is wither it could inflict the same losses as the P-51 on the Luftwaffe and here it may be a bit lacking.

    Keeping the Germans from shooting down a prohibitive number of bombers per mission is not the same as destroying the Luftwaffe in the air.
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Forget the money thing - if it "would have" been able to do the job, the money "would have" been spent.

    The bigger question - What later model P-38 are we talking about? The J or L? How about the P-38K?
     
  11. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    davebender in this thread the 38 replaces the 51, "Could or would the P38 Lightning have eventually taken complete control of German skies without the aid of the P51 Mustang?"

    Sr6 i'm agree with your but we need take in the count that all the resources used for the factory of 38 and the allisons (and all other component) are probably more and different of that used historically for the 51/merlin production
     
  12. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Another issue relating to the question of when the decision had to be made is that the USAAF hierarchy did not believe a long range escort fighter was necessary. IIRC drop tanks were developed by Lockheed for teh P-38 as a private venture, the AAF not requesting them.
     
  13. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    What's next?

    Could the later model Spitfire get extended range and establish complete control of air over Germany without P51?
     
  14. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    The USAAF 8th AF was still quite willing to send bombers to target in daylight without escort.

    But if losses continued, they may have been forced to switch to night attacks. They would then utilise the RAF PFF Mosquitos and electronic aids.
     
  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #15 GregP, May 29, 2012
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
    The early P-38's suffered from intake manifold issues and running on European gasoline, which had a LOT more aromatic percentage than American gasloine. American gas ahd 4% aromatics and Europeam fules had up to 40% aormatics. So ... our engines detionated a bit relative to European engines. When we figured that out amd fixed the intake manifold issues, the Allison were cured. European engines also had a hard time running American fuels, read the fighter conference proceedings and see.

    By the time they FIXED the P-38's, the P-51 was there and there was NO point in maintaining two logistical chains into Europe.

    So, we transferrred the P-38's into the PTO and flew them against the Japanese. Our two higherst-scoring Aces flew P-38's.

    The issues were fixed about when elected to move them from the ETO to the PTO. We could just as easily have moved the P-51's into the PTO, but didn't in large numbers.

    The P-38 could easily have done the job. By the end of the war, it was the fastest-rolling figher in any theater with hydraulic aileron assist, turned pretty well, too, had devasting armament and a very fast rate of climb.
     
  16. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  17. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Many times in the forum is writed tthat US can built all that want but this is wrong, US had not unlimited resources, also if was the largest and most advanced economy in the world, so a sum of money had a true value (if you coin more notes this change that value), sure they can build up the factories for the P-38s but if you used more resources in this you've less for other oh yes probably some resources were not full used in the war but probably some were full used (bottle necked trouble).
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Disagree - look what was spent on the B-29 and Manhattan project and there was still plenty of money and resources left over. No, it wasn't unlimited but for some of the hypothetical situations presented here, there were more than enough resources as far as manpower, capital and raw material to make it happen.
     
  19. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Just as an example....

    from the "WWII Data Book" by John Ellis.....

    Aircraft production in Units - 1944

    USA - 96,318

    Germany - 39,807

    Thats not taking into account UK and USSR production numbers. USA definately had enough resources to wage a two-front global war.
     
  20. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    none here has writed that that programs were deleted so just put trials that there were plenty of resources inutilized in US, and the right resources for built P-38. at example manpower was a scarce resource, there was sure a limited unemployment in the war years but that manpower was the right manpower for the need?
     
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