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P-38 Lightning Speculation Thread

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The P-38 might be my favorite airplane of WW II (I have a soft spot for twin engine fighters), so I'm pretty stoked to see the late model P-38 in Bodenplatte. I thought it would be fun to speculate on how the plane will perform in IL-2. 

 

This will be the first single seat twin engine fighter in the new IL-2, and arguably the best twin engine WW2 fighter ever made, so I wonder how it'll perform? It was a beast in the East against Japan, but somewhat of an awkward fit in the European theater. The closest plane in the current IL-2 series to the P-38 is probably the PE-2, which with a 3 man crew and turret is quite different from the P-38. 

 

How will the P-38 stack up against late generation BF-109's and FW-190's? 

 

With its speed and armament, will it be the "go to" aircraft against the ME 262?

 

Will we finally get photo recon missions?

 

 

Edited by Porkins

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Things that will most likely happen, German pilots will weep (at having to blow such a beauty out of the sky) and I personally will blame British Fuel for all its engine problems :ph34r:

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The p38 wasn't use for air supremacy duties, at this time it was used for reco, ground attack and were even replaced by the p51 for bomber escort.

It may bave been used as a fighter but only when nothing else was available.

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I saw this video on YT recently, some really cool stories of the p38, but this guys in particular was one of my favourites. The whole vid is pretty good, but i time stamped it for the bit I'm talking about
 

 

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absolutely fing amazing ...unfing beleivable

 

check out this from the p38 training manual 

p38-8.jpg

"a 22 year old leading a group of 72 P38s..."  wow

Edited by katdog5
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The single seater was reported to be an incredibly tight fit. I can only imagine how it would feel in the 2 seat trainer! 

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It’s gonna be the BoBP equivalent of the Bf 110, which is not too bad considering how popular the Bf 110 is.

 

It’s probably the plane I’m looking forward to the most - at least until they announce that they are making the B-25 flyable ;)

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I have been waiting so long! And i will get it. Its a L model. My favorite.

 

Its a beauty.

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3 hours ago, Porkins said:

The single seater was reported to be an incredibly tight fit. I can only imagine how it would feel in the 2 seat trainer! 

 

Iron Maidenish 

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2 hours ago, Finkeren said:

It’s gonna be the BoBP equivalent of the Bf 110, which is not too bad considering how popular the Bf 110 is.

 

It’s probably the plane I’m looking forward to the most - at least until they announce that they are making the B-25 flyable ;)

That's my biggest question as well, how similar will it be to the BF 110?

 

I love the 110 as an aircraft, but I personally don't find it all that fun to fly in IL-2. Whether I'm flying it or facing it, it feels like a death trap. Which may be accurate, as historically it did very poorly against single engine fighters, and particularly in MP that's 80% of what you will be facing if you go with the 110. But even attacking ground targets I have far less confidence in it holding up compared to the IL-2 or PE 2. 

 

The P-38 should be more nimble than the 110. It's a much more streamlined and aggressive design. Unlike the 110, practically everything on a twin engine fighter that decreases speed and maneuverability is stripped out of the P-38 design. I'm not saying it should be able to match a 109 or 190 in a dogfight, as I don't think it could do that particularly well in reality, but I do hope it feels far more responsive and nimble than the 110. 

2 hours ago, Yankee_One said:

I have been waiting so long! And i will get it. Its a L model. My favorite.

 

Its a beauty.

If you're ever in Duluth, MN, there is an absolutely gorgeous restoration of the P-38 at the Richard Bong museum. 

Edited by Porkins

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3200 Hp of raw power, it's in a class all by itself.  It's going to depend on what type of server is set up, tactical and strategic war type it will shine, dogfight only, well, who cares........

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Just now, Porkins said:

That's my biggest question as well, how similar will it be to the BF 110?

 

As similar the day is to the night.

 

The P-38 seems to be a heavy, two engines fighter but not really - the Lighting is streamlined to the level of high performance single engine brethren.

Major advantages of the P-38L are turbos, excellent backward and forward visibility, and most stable gun platform - expect effective firing range 2x, or even 3x of other fighters.

Counter rotating propellers are such rare feature... The most similar plane to the P-38 we have now in IL2 could be the Aircobra - similar visibility, tricycle and alike, nose mounted armament.

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It is the Tomcat of its age. Big, twin engine, optimized weapons package, great visibility, way more nimble than you would expect of a bird that size and able to hold its own when driven properly against more spritely foes. Just don’t think you’re gonna go all Maverick with her in a close quarters knife fight.

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5 hours ago, Eicio said:

The p38 wasn't use for air supremacy duties, at this time it was used for reco, ground attack and were even replaced by the p51 for bomber escort.

It may bave been used as a fighter but only when nothing else was available.

 

The early model P-38's didn't do well in the ETO. Lack of superchargers and dive flaps (Late J models and forward) to prevent compressibility made it unsuited for escort duty and combat against the LW. By the time these issues were sorted out P-47s and P-51s had entered the theater to take up escort roles. Cost and complexity more than anything else kept the P-38 from being used in much larger numbers in all theaters.

 

America's two top aces (Bong and McGuire) scored their victories in the P-38 against much more nimble opponents. If modeled correctly the P-38L will be among the best air superiority fighters in IL2.

Edited by MaxVonDayGlow
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Dunno, I think she will be very good when flown to her strengths but second tier overall in the Allied bullpen. Especially when facing 109K and D9’s. 

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The 38 should be a deadly energy fighter and capable of turning very tightly with use of its excellent flaps.  It was famously stable and packs a lethal punch with 4xM2 and 1x 20mm mounted centrally in the nose.  Cons being high speed compression (as stated earlier this was largely fixed in later models), being a large target, and a relatively slow roll rate.  109's and 190's will likely seek to abuse the roll rate and maybe top dive speed.  My main concern is the repeated portrayal of the Allison engine as finicky, flimsy, and failure prone.  Given how the P40/P39 need to exercise painstaking engine management I fear this trend will continue.  

 

von Luck

Edited by von-Luck

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6 hours ago, Finkeren said:

It’s gonna be the BoBP equivalent of the Bf 110

 

 

I think we're going to see a larger fighter role for der gabelschwanz teufel..

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Well, the P-38 is gonna definately be a slow aircraft in the planeset, at least at low altitudes if you look at top speeds on standard fuels)

P-38L        P-51D       P-47D      Spitfire Mk IX Tempest Mk V

342mph   375mph   345mph   340mph           378mph

 

Bf-109K-4 Bf-109G-14 FW-190D-9 FW190A-8

370mph    345mph       376mph     350mph

 

Yes, it's performance will improve at high altitudes (20,000ft+) as it's turbo doesn't loose power at altitudes unlike superchargers until critical turbo speed, but I really don't see combat extending much above 3km with the current planeset with the lack of bombers, and at 3km the aircraft in this table travel roughly 30-40mph faster then at SL. Then again I could be wrong as it's not hard to imagine P-47 and P-38 players climbing to high altitudes just to make the most of their turbos

 

It will have the best climbrate of the US fighters of 3700fpm (this is J-25, but will be very similar for L) vs 3300 and 2800 of P-51D and P-47D-26 respectively and this is at 17500, aka full fuel internal load of 416US gal, nearly as much as a Ju-88s internal fuel load. If you lighten the fuel load, it would probably push over 4000fpm, which compares favourable to Tempest Vs ~4200fpm and Spitfire Mk IX ~4500fpm, and thus will be fairly competitive vs the German aircraft in an energy fight, except the K-4 which is a rocket.

 

P-38L will probably have a sluggish roll at low speeds due to the need to accelerate all that engine and boom mass that is situated away from the centreline, but at high speeds will be very competitive as the hydraulic ailerons show their advantage.

 

P-38 will be the first fighter with counter rotating engines, eliminating pulling effects caused by the propellor spinning, hence it should be a very stable gun platform, one of the things noted on the P-38 is its low speed handling high AoA handling, it is an aircraft that is very benign in those regards, it doesn't snap and very slow stall speed for an aircraft it's size and weight (74mph at military power and flaps up weighing 17,000lbs and drops down to 54mph with flaps lowered)

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by RoflSeal

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3 hours ago, II/JG17_HerrMurf said:

 Just don’t think you’re gonna go all Maverick with her in a close quarters knife fight.

 

I don't know, I reckon with my luck I'll probably end up in a flat spin heading out to a sea of green trees lol

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As cool as the P38 is, it will be the dog of the late war plane set if used air to air.

In the attack role it should do well, owing to it's loadout and twin engine reliability.

 

The more I think about this plane set, the more I see myself in the Mustang or Tempest.

 

Time will tell.

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But i am sure, it´s performance will be closer to any bf and fw, than the 110s to  this, of it`s singlee engine opponents at bos/bom/bok.

And even a medicore sim pilot like me is able, to score some fighters in the 110!

So, don`t be afraid, it will be able to deal with it`s opponents, it definitely have some strenghts, for example a magnificant climb rate.

 

Edited by I./ZG1_Krokodilor

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6 hours ago, Porkins said:

That's my biggest question as well, how similar will it be to the BF 110?

 

I love the 110 as an aircraft, but I personally don't find it all that fun to fly in IL-2. Whether I'm flying it or facing it, it feels like a death trap. Which may be accurate, as historically it did very poorly against single engine fighters, and particularly in MP that's 80% of what you will be facing if you go with the 110. But even attacking ground targets I have far less confidence in it holding up compared to the IL-2 or PE 2. 

 

The P-38 should be more nimble than the 110. It's a much more streamlined and aggressive design. Unlike the 110, practically everything on a twin engine fighter that decreases speed and maneuverability is stripped out of the P-38 design. I'm not saying it should be able to match a 109 or 190 in a dogfight, as I don't think it could do that particularly well in reality, but I do hope it feels far more responsive and nimble than the 110. 

If you're ever in Duluth, MN, there is an absolutely gorgeous restoration of the P-38 at the Richard Bong museum. 

 

I think you're right here. I'm going to guess that it will play similarly to the way that it did in IL-2: 1946 in later war Bodenplatte type scenarios. Ideally the P-38 will function as a strike aircraft first with a heavy gun armament complemented by heavy bomb and rocket capabilities. Lugging around 10x HVAR rockets reduces the speed a bunch but it gives you a lot of striking power.

 

In fighter vs fighter combat the P-38 will do well to use sweeping attacks and fly mutual cover. It will not have speed superiority in this planeset but excellent climb rate should help. Plus compared to the Bf110 its fairly nimble and able to fly aggressively in close in combat. In theory you can pull the P-38 up into a near stall and hold it there while your Bf109 or FW190 opponent tumbles away.

 

Also those guns...!

 

I think it's going to be fun, it'll be effective, but it won't be outright superior in fighter versus fighter combat. What it can do is drop a lot of ordinance on ground targets and escort itself out of the combat zone. Pretty handy.

 

4 hours ago, MaxVonDayGlow said:

 

The early model P-38's didn't do well in the ETO. Lack of superchargers and dive flaps (Late J models and forward) to prevent compressibility made it unsuited for escort duty and combat against the LW. By the time these issues were sorted out P-47s and P-51s had entered the theater to take up escort roles. Cost and complexity more than anything else kept the P-38 from being used in much larger numbers in all theaters.

 

America's two top aces (Bong and McGuire) scored their victories in the P-38 against much more nimble opponents. If modeled correctly the P-38L will be among the best air superiority fighters in IL2.

 

The P-38s did have a lot of trouble in the ETO but it wasn't because of a lack of turbosuperchargers. All USAAF P-38s had turbosuperchargers. The only version that did not was the export Lightning Mark I for the British which was fitted with a conventional supercharger instead (due to export controls on the turbo system). Performance was far worse than the USAAF versions. These were trialed and never used in combat by the RAF.

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If it's anything like it's '46 iteration it will have an excellent zoom climb AND good energy retention on extension after a dive. Lots of bait for drag and bags even if it can't reverse the fight. As I've said before, use it similar to the 190 and now the G6 and you should be fine. Boom and zoom or boom and extend = success. Of course, online, few will use it that way and call it a dog after a few bad experiences using it incorrectly.

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I'd imagine it excelling very low speed dogfights and maybe even high speed dogfights depending on the elevator forces.

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A lot of people are downplaying american aircraft on here, for starters the p-38L had hydraulic boosted ailerons that gave it a great roll at high and low speeds. A great climb rate (almost on par with a k-4) , dive brakes, that allowed it to exit or control a dive or (let them fly right by)and a low stall speed which at slow speeds allowed it to turn into 109s easily, and two 1600 hp engines, which is twice the horsepower of one p-51. the p-38j is a different story, which the reason why they did so poorly in europe was due to poor tactics and a lack of general understanding of the aircraft. Last but not least, fix the p-39 and p-40 engine models devs.

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i would not sneeze about that roll rate of the late model P-38 with boosted aileron ... kind of scary if that charts are correct 

 

p-38j-roll.jpg

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For me a P-38 with its unconvetional twin boom configuration doesn't even count as a true twin engined fighter. It's more like a single engined one with two engines. :D

 

Seriousyl now, with boosted ailerons giving it outstanding roll rate at high speeds, with its climb, speed, outstanding power/weight and power/drag ratios, and nose packed 5 barrels I'd expect it to be extremely maneouverable for a twin. Heck it's gonna be a formidable opponent for any LW fighter, even in 1v1! It is however still going to present a big target, so it will be much easier to hit compared to singles.

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Don't overthink the guns though, for the beginning of the war it was good.

However in this planeset the armament is nothing more than ok.

 

P51 : 6*M2

P47 : 8*M2

Tempest: 4 hispano mkV

 

Fw-A8: 4*mg/151 and 2*13mm

109K4: 2*13mm and a Mk-108

Fw-D9: 2*13mm and 2*mg/151

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6 hours ago, LukeFF said:

5fNtxpA.jpg

 

:cool:

make it a Droop Snoote, and we are talking ;)

p38 Droop Snoote.jpg

 

No bombardier internal Cockpit to modell needed IMHO , just the external modell and the bomsight view  - it had anyway to be managed by the pilot

Edited by III/JG53Frankyboy
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4 minutes ago, Eicio said:

Don't overthink the guns though, for the beginning of the war it was good.

However in this planeset the armament is nothing more than ok.

 

P51 : 6*M2

P47 : 8*M2

Tempest: 4 hispano mkV

 

Fw-A8: 4*mg/151 and 2*13mm

109K4: 2*13mm and a Mk-108

Fw-D9: 2*13mm and 2*mg/151

 

Compared to the Allied fighters, the difference is the central mounting of the guns. 

 

Outside convergence distance its armament is gonna be more effective than the P-47 and P-51 and arguably about equal to the Tempest

The 500 rounds per gun ain’t nothing to sneeze at either.

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I have to disagree there, the p47 will be much more dangerous with it's 8 .50 cal.

 

And for the central mounting... I always find that it's easier to hit targets with wing mounted guns when you're not a good shot.

 

Moreover it's said that central mounted guns allow for further shots... But I guess that this is only true when your target is flying a straight line, otherwise good luck with the deflection...

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Just now, Eicio said:

Moreover it's said that central mounted guns allow for further shots... But I guess that this is only true when your target is flying a straight line, otherwise good luck with the deflection...

 

The nose in the Lightning is short enough to not occlude the target and with 500rpg for 50 cals you don't hesitate to open fire early in deflection shots.

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Without Zeros or Ki-61s to fly against, its hard for me to get excited about the P-38 yet.  :mellow:

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18 hours ago, MaxVonDayGlow said:

 

The early model P-38's didn't do well in the ETO. Lack of superchargers and dive flaps (Late J models and forward) to prevent compressibility made it unsuited for escort duty and combat against the LW. By the time these issues were sorted out P-47s and P-51s had entered the theater to take up escort roles. Cost and complexity more than anything else kept the P-38 from being used in much larger numbers in all theaters.

 

America's two top aces (Bong and McGuire) scored their victories in the P-38 against much more nimble opponents. If modeled correctly the P-38L will be among the best air superiority fighters in IL2.

 

IMHO the P38s in the ETO were simply not as well matched as they were against Japanese fighters.  In the Pacific the 38 had a really significant speed advantage.  In the ETO it did not.  The German fighters were just as fast (more or less) and generally a bit more nimble.  Not that the 38 wasn't competitive - it should never be compared to the 110 - but it wasn't dominant.

 

McGuire was known to use flaps to turn with Zeros,  but that was not recommended tactics.  He had to be a hell of a pilot to pull that off as often as he did.  In the end, however, those tactics killed him.

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yes but you have more chances to hit because as you said the gun shoot "wide".

But often you just won't it the same point but 2 of thé ennemi plane so it's worth it

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3 hours ago, Eicio said:

I have to disagree there, the p47 will be much more dangerous with it's 8 .50 cal.

 

And for the central mounting... I always find that it's easier to hit targets with wing mounted guns when you're not a good shot.

 

Moreover it's said that central mounted guns allow for further shots... But I guess that this is only true when your target is flying a straight line, otherwise good luck with the deflection...

 

One wing's worth of P-47 .50's is equal to the nose of a P-38 without the cannon. So any hit outside of convergence is on par, and at convergence ("Jug Hugs") absolutely brutal. 

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