P-38s and Japan

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Marshall_Stack, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. Marshall_Stack

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    Does anyone know if P-38 were going to have any role in the invasion of Japan?
    AFAIK, the closest P-38s were in the Philippines and therefore would probably out of range. It seems that only P-51s and P-47Ns were operating from Iwo Jima and Okinawa, but I don't know of any P-38s operating from these bases.

    Thanks.
     
  2. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I'd hope some bases in Korea would be secured by that time....

    .
     
  3. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Eventually. If not right away, after half of Kyushu is taken and used as a spring board into Honshu.

    If the P38 wasn't on anyone's active list right away, it wasn't because it lacked as a fighter or fighter bomber. More likely there were only so many spaces for aircraft and the groups flying the initial invasion took the slots.

    But once there were airfields available on Japan proper, definitely. The aircraft was not being phased out at that point.
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    P38 groups were active on Okinawa in the final months of the war.
     
  5. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Yes, and the first Allied fighter to land on a Japanese territorial island was a P-38, who was "forced to land on the island due to engine problems"; likely story!
     
  6. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Stitch,

    >Yes, and the first Allied fighter to land on a Japanese territorial island was a P-38, who was "forced to land on the island due to engine problems"; likely story!

    Clay Tice was the flight leader and the first man to land, it was his wing man who had fuel problems who had brought about this situation.

    I believe they were not eager to land because they feared the Japanese would kill them ... here is the story: Clay Tice Story

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  7. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    The 8th FG of 5th AF started operations from Okinawa/Ie Shima in July 1945, first I believe; the 475th FG moved there in August. The other 5th AF units moved there were P-51 and P-47, as were the fighters of VII Fighter Command operating over Japan. At least one 13th AF P-38 unit also arrived there before the surrender, 49th FG. I believe the 8th saw the only air combat from Okinawa/Ie Shima though among P-38 units. They engaged 47th Fighter Regiment Type 4's ('Frank') over Bungo Strait on August 14, claiming 4 'Franks' for the loss of 1 P-38, the Japanese claimed 5 P-38's for the loss of 2 Type 4's.

    Korea would have been entirely in Soviet hands within a few days after August 15 had their been no ceasfire that day (as prelude to the formal Japanese surrender), but an invasion of Japan instead, and therefore no agreement for the Soviets to stop at the 38th parallel and have the US to accept the Japanese surrender south of the 38th. Those Japanese forces wouldn't have just been left alone, but there was no immediate US plan for a combat operation to invade southern Korea (as opposed to just steaming there in peacetime conditions after the ceasefire). The Soviets would have had to engage those Japanese forces. Whether they'd then cooperate with the US providing bases from which to strike Japan, or rather insist on doing that themselves and coming along on the invasion too, and setting up a Communist state in part of Japan permanently as they did in Korea...well that was one, among several, of the problematic factors in waiting to invade Japan conventionally rather than forcing a surrender via nuclear attack.

    Joe
     
  8. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Thanks for the info, HoHun; I remember reading about it in one of my WWII books, but I couldn't remember who it was or what island they landed on, just that the brass was suspicious of their story since they "grabbed the glory" by being able to say they were the first ones to land on Japanese territory.
     
  9. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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