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This page is about the American twin-engine fighter P-38G-1. For other variants, see P-38 (Family).


GarageImage P-38G-1.jpg

The P-38G-1 Lightning is a rank II American twin-engine fighter with a battle rating of 3.3 (AB/RB) and 3.7 (SB). This twin-engine fighter has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.29.

General info

Flight Performance

Despite being a heavy twin engine fighter the P-38G has a quite good overall performance. Its level speed is comparable to many single engined fighters and even faster than some of them. It can reach 550 km/h at the sea level and thanks to its superchargers the plane's maximum is speed is close to 660 km/h at 5000m alt. The cruising speed remains constant up to 11000m alt. That makes it a good medium and high altitude fighter and in most cases outperforms the opposition.

Acceleration in level flight is decent and when it starts diving it gets very good. However, it is required to keep an eye on the speed because the maximum structural speed limit is low in this plane. Of course due to the plane's configuration it suffers a lot from high speed compression, which starts close to 0.70 Mach.

Climb rate is comparable to other American fighters. The plane is able to reach 5000m in 4 minutes and 40 seconds which is quite mediocre. Its climb rate at 1000m is close to 18 m/s but, again thanks to the supercharger, it will not suffer so much at high altitude. When climbing from 5000m alt to 9000m alt it will outperform most of other fighters.

The P-38G's turn rate is quite good but depends a lot on its Fowler flaps. They do increase the lift significantly but at the cost of a proportional increase in drag too. Sustained turn rate is quite good, better than in almost every other heavy twin engined fighter but in most cases only comparable or worse to other single engined fighters. On the other hand the instantaneous turn rate especially with deployed flaps is very good and can help a lot with getting the guns on the target and high deflection shooting.

The other issue is its roll rate, at best it reaches 70 degrees per second at 400 km/h.

The way that Lighting's engines are mirrored in turn direction makes it so the pilot does not need to worry about the propeller torque effect as the propellers on one side negate the effect of the other. Furthermore, the plane doesn't require any trimming except for some elevator adjustments to fly in a straight line.

Max Speed
(km/h at 7,040 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
627 617 12,192 23.5 24.0 12.6 14.6 380
Max Speed
(km/h at 7,040 m)
Max altitude (meters) Turn time (seconds) Rate of climb
Take-off run (meters)
693 660 12,192 20.6 22.0 25.7 18.0 380


Combat flap Take-off flap Landing flap Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
790 289 620 500 250 ~11 ~8
Optimal velocities
< 380 < 460 < 500 > 420
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
5,800 m 2,620 hp 3,010 hp

Engine performance

Engine Name Number present
Allison V-1710-51 12-cylinder 2
Engine characteristics
Weight (each) Type Cooling
610 kg Inline Water
Engine power (Stock)
Mode Max Take-off
Arcade 1,084 hp 1,350 hp
Realistic/Simulator 1,072 hp 1,200 hp
Engine power (Upgraded)
Mode Max Take-off
Arcade 1,264 hp 1,531 hp
Realistic/Simulator 1,252 hp 1,380 hp
WEP Duration
Arcade Realistic/Simulator
25 seconds Infinite

Survivability and armour

  • 38 mm Bulletproof glass in cockpit top front.
  • 6.5 mm Steel plates in the nose.
  • 6.5 mm Steel plates in pilot's seat.
  • 9.5 mm Steel plate in pilot's headrest.


Offensive armament

The P-38G-1 is armed with:

  • 1 x 20 mm AN/M2 cannon, nose-mounted (150 rpg)
  • 4 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine guns, nose-mounted (500 rpg = 2,000 total)

Suspended armament

Main article: M8

The P-38G-1 can be outfitted with the following ordinance:

  • Without load
  • 6 x M8 rockets

Usage in the battles

As typical in American planes, the P-38G suffers a bit in turning, whilst excelling in the tactic known as Boom & Zoom. However, it is not all it can do well. Its two engines work to create a splendid power-to-weight ratio, therefore a great climb rate too. What this is means is that, if you take care to climb at the start of a match, not only will you have a great altitude advantage over most of your opposition, you will find yourself able to outdive and catch most of your opposition. Being a large target however, you must take care to not spend too much time in "fur balls" (essentially, massive concentrations of dogfighting planes); also while the Lightning's turning ability and stall speed is superior to most twin and even single engine aircraft you should take care in avoiding prolonged engagements unless you are extremely confident that it will be a 1v1 scenario. The P-38's main job is to sweep in, fire, and climb away. If you play with discipline, you will find yourself uncatchable. Using MEC (Manual Engine Control) on the P-38G-1 is easy to do and is great for novices who are exploring MEC for the first time.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Controllable
Automatic pitch
Controllable Not controllable Combined Not controllable Not controllable


Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage Repair Radiator Offensive 12 mm
II Compressor Airframe New 12 mm MGs
III Wings Repair Engine Offensive 20 mm Rocket Launcher M10
IV Engine Injection Cover New 20 mm cannons

Pros and cons


  • Good top speed
  • Good dive acceleration
  • Nose-mounted weaponry creates a "buzz-saw" effect
  • Excellent roll rate
  • Great climb rate
  • Extremely stable in terms of torque
  • Turns well at high speeds
  • Nose mounted weaponry allows long-range shooting, as well as being an exceptional opponent in head-ons
  • Has a great ammunition reserve for its machine guns
  • Cannon has a respectable ammunition reserve of 150 rounds


  • Large aircraft and thus an easy target
  • Prone to elevator damage, may shear off when struck by cannon rounds
  • Low dive speed limit
  • Controls will stiffen around 350 mph
  • Modest armament for a Boom & Zoom fighter
  • Cannon is highly dependent on "New 20 mm cannon" upgrade in order to be able to fire accurately.
  • Will often catch fire.


The P-38 was an all-metal, three-wheeled, single-seater, twin-engined monoplane fighter with an aerodynamic design rarely seen in World War II.

An experimental XP-38 (Model 22) was first flown on January 27, 1938. Production began in June of 1941.

The G variant was created at the end of 1942 and was based on the E and F variants. The G had a more powerful turbocharged Allison V-1710-51/55 engine and benefited from more automated engine management. The G model had lighter weight and handling characteristics compared to the later J and L models, and was therefore favoured by some of the more experienced pilots despite accumulated age and wear in theatre.

The armament suite was formidable and consisted of a 20mm Hispano AN/M2 cannon with 150 rounds and four 12.7mm Colt-Browning M2 machine guns with 500 rounds apiece. The fuselage of the F and G models was reinforced, and the operating manual allows for the carry of two extra 300-gallon (1,136-litre) fuel tanks, or up to 1,100 lbs of external ordnance. However, in-theatre operational requirements often dictated the need for heavier ordnance, and it was not uncommon for 2 x 1,000 bombs to be hung on the racks. Field modifications allowed additional external ordnance to be loaded, including 2 x M10 triple-tube rocket launchers, or installation of outer wing pylons allowing 4 x 500 lb bombs to be carried outboard of the engines (two bombs per pylon) - thereby allowing long-range drop tanks to be carried simultaneously on the standard inner-wing racks.

One of the P-38's unique characteristics was its incredibly long range, especially for a fighter - a trait which made it ideally suited to bomber escort, intruder patrols, and long-range strikes, such as the famous "shuttle missions" over Germany to Ukraine. Perhaps the most exceptional display of the P-38G's capabilities was Operation Vengeance - a war-changing mission to kill the Imperial Japanese Navy's brilliant naval strategist and mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack, Admiral Isokoru Yamamoto. The highly-secret 18 April 1943 interception successfully brought down two G4M1 bombers - one transporting Adm. Yamamoto, the other carrying his chief of staff. Despite the mission's success, the U.S. kept the operation a state-secret for some 35 years in order to protect the intelligence sources and methods used to plan the operation.

The P-38 was widely used by the Army Air Force (USAAF) in all theatres and was the plane used by the United States' top aces: Richard Ira Bong (40 kills) and Thomas McGuire (38 kills). Other noteworthy aces of early P-38s include Jack Ilfrey and Dixie Sloan of the Mediterranean Theater; Robin Olds and John Lowell of the European Theater; Charles McDonald, Gerald Johnson and numerous others in the Pacific Theater. George Welch, famed for his exploits in a P-40 during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor also became a P-38 ace of 12 kills. In addition, the famed 'Lone Eagle', Charles Lindbergh, splashed a Ki-46 at the controls of a P-38 while on a visit with the 475 FG in the South Pacific.

From 1942 to 1943, Lockheed built 1,462 P-38Gs. Whether out of preference, or sheer necessity, some F and G models served in theatre as late as 1945. They were finally decommissioned in 1949.

In-game description

"The P-38 was an all-metal, three-wheeled, single-seater, twin-engined monoplane fighter with an aerodynamic design rarely seen in World War II.

An experimental XP-38 (Model 22) was first flown on January 27, 1938. Production began in June of 1941.

The G variant was created at the end of 1942 and was based on the E and F variants. The G had a more powerful turbocharged Allison V-1710-51/55 engine. Engine management was significantly more automated than before.

The plane carried a formidable armament consisting of 20mm Hispano AN/M2 cannons with 150 rounds and four 12.7mm Colt-Browning M2.5 machine guns with 300 rounds apiece. The P-38G had a reinforced fuselage and could carry two extra 300-gallon (1136-liter) fuel tanks. The G was not equipped to carry rockets and bombs, but was often modified on the field to carry 250-lb or even 500-lb bombs as well as unguided rockets.

The P-38G was widely used by the Army Air Force (USAAF) in all theaters of the war. They were often used for shuttle missions over Germany from the airfields of Ukraine. The best known operation in which the P-38G participated was Operation Lightning, which changed the war in the Pacific. The mission, which was flown on April 18, 1943, intercepted and shot down a Japanese G4M1 bomber with Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto on board. In addition, the P-38 was the plane of choice of the two most successful American aces: Richard Ira Bong (40 kills) and Thomas McGuire (38 kills).

From 1942 to 1943, Lockheed built 1,462 P-38Gs. They were decommissioned in 1949."



See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • encyclopedia page on the aircraft;
  • other literature.

Lockheed Corporation
Fighters  XP-38G · P-38E · P-38G-1 · P-38J-15 · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38K · P-38L-5-LO · YP-38
Bombers  B-34 · PV-2D
Jet Fighters  F-80A-5 · F-80C-10
  F-104A · F-104C
Export / License  A-29 · ▄Hudson Mk V
  ␗F-104A · ▀F-104G · ␗F-104G · ▅F-104J · ▄F-104S
See Also  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries · Fiat Aviation

USA twin-engine fighters
P-38  XP-38G · P-38E · P-38G-1 · P-38J-15 · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38L-5-LO · P-38K · YP-38
P-61  P-61A-1 · P-61C-1
F7F  F7F-1 · F7F-3
Other  XF5F · XP-50 · F-82E