– Special thanks to Col. Perry J. “PJ” Dahl for his revisions to this article.

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Top View of P-38
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The P-38 was the first fighter to fly faster than 400 mph.
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and, it was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout the entire American involvement in WWII.
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The P-38 was nicknamed the ‘fork-tailed devil’ by the German Luftwaffe and ‘two planes, one pilot’ by Japanese fighter pilots.
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The P-38 was exceptionally quiet for a fighter, due to its exhaust being muffled by turbo-superchargers.
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The aircraft used nose-mounted guns, unlike most other us fighters. This meant the P-38 had better useful gun range than other aircraft, whose wing-mounted guns had crisscross trajectories.
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The P-38s guns were so effective, they could reliably hit targets at up to 1,000 yards. Most other fighters were only effective at 100-250 yards.
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The P-38 had counter rotating propellers, thus eliminating torque (left turning tendency when advancing power).
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The P-38 was the first American fighter to extensively use stainless steel and flush-mounted rivets.
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In 1939, one of the first P-38 prototype aircraft set a speed record from California to New York in 7 hours and 2 minutes, but it crashed short of its intended airport due to carburetor icing.
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The first active service P-38s were used as reconnaissance aircraft in april 1942 by the Australia 8th photographic squadron.
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However, the P-38 quickly saw battle, downing two Japanese flying boats in august 1942 off the Aleutian island chain.
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However, the P-38 quickly saw battle, downing two Japanese flying boats in august 1942 off the Aleutian island chain.
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The P-38 flew over 130,000 sorties in the European theater, and downed over 1,800 aircraft in the pacific theater.
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In total, over 10,000 P-38s were produced during the war, making it one of the most successful fighters and interceptors of its time.