P-38 High Altitude Ops in Pacific Theatre

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    In the European theatre the P-38 is noted for reliability problems at high altitude.
    In the Pacific theatre the P-38 is noted for it's long range/endurance (and 2-engine reliability.)

    I am interested in learning if the P-38 was tasked with high altitude missions in the Pacific theatre, for missions at altitudes where the P-39 and P-40 performance were not acceptable.
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Not really -

    1.) most B-24 missions were in the 18,000 to 20,000 ft range.
    2.) ALL medium bomber strikes were medium to low altitude
    3.) most japanese bomber missions were lower than B-24 strikes
    4.) the warm surface temp guaranteed higher temperatures at 20,000+ feet than ETO comparable temperatures.
    5.) photo recon could remain at a lower altitude because of the incredible speed advantage the P-38 had over most japanese interceptors
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The dry adiabatic lapse rate is about 3 degrees F per 1000 feet. If the surface air temp is 95F, at 20K you're only looking at about 35F, not that terribly cold compared to ETO temperatures.
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I dont recall seeing any picture of a fighter or bomber crew (in the central or SW pacific) wear the cold weather gear like that worn in European. Even the P38 pilots wore what looked like a tropical or warm weather type of clothing.

    Things might have changed though once operations over Japan began.
     
  5. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Syscom - I really agree that for one particular point in time - just before LeMay took over when Hansell has 20th and high altitude bombing was order of the day.

    I suspect that ops from Okinawa tactical and B-17/B-24 /B-32 type ops would have been exactly the same but I wonder when and if high altitude ops would have ever started again..
     
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