by John Stanaway
Osprey Publishing 1997
Color Plates of
aircraft & aces
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|Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 14
P-38 Lightning Aces of the Pacific and CBI
The P-38 Lightning is undoubtedly one of the most famous
aircraft of WWII. In nearly every region of the Pacific, dozens of pilots
became 'aces' in this twin engine fighter, including America's highest
scoring aces of the war. Its service included nearly all theaters of
the Pacific. Illustrated with beautiful color plates of aces aircraft,
and dozens of WWII photographs, Stanaway's meticulously researched book
tells their stories.
Dog-Fight & Mission Accounts
The accounts of P-38 combat in the Pacific are the
centerpiece of the book. In addition to describing the mission, and
combat outcome, Stanaway also notes the serial number and model number
of each pilot's Lightning, especially useful for readers who want more
than just the anecdotes about combat. The strengths of the P-38, its
heavy armament, long range and two engines that got pilots home were
some of its best attributes that allowed the fighter to score heavily
against the Japanese.
P-38 Operations in the Pacific
Each page details the P-38 in each region of the
Pacific, from the first victories with the 11th Air Force over the Aleutians,
to the final victories before VJ Day. Chapters include early operations
- including Alaska, and the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. A chapter is
devoted to the famous "Yamamoto Mission" when P-38's used
intelligence to locate and shoot down Admiral Yamamoto's bomber of Bougainville
and shoot it down, also the controversy as to which of the pilots -
Rex Barber or Tom Lanphier actually shot down the Admiral's aircraft.
Stanaway covers operations in New Guinea, the Philippines and China,
India and Burma.
Details, Facts and Impressions of the P-38
The book is filled with interesting information,
including details about little know facts, like the use of P-38's as
Night fighters over Guadalcanal. Also, an entire chapter devoted to the
Japanese impressions of the Lightning, tactics of P-38 pilots against
various Japanese aircraft, and comparisons of the different model numbers,
and the advent of later fighters, like the P-51. And, other interesting
impressions, including why the P-38 was not popular with some, like
Clair Chennault in China.
Bong and McGuire
America's two highest scoring aces, Richard Bong (40) and Thomas McGuire
(38) are the subject of the final chapter of the book, exploring their
personalities, background and victories. Also, their competition to
become the highest scoring aces, and the sad circumstances that took
both their lives before the war ended - one in combat and one in flight
This book is essential for anyone interested in one
of the most famous aircraft of WWII, and certainly the Pacific air war.
And, the stories of the pilots who flew it in combat, and the more than
a hundred pilots who became aces in its cockpit.
Read interview with author John
Review by Justin Taylan
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January 9, 2018