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Thread: Soviet P38 Lightnings?

  1. #1
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    Question Soviet P38 Lightnings?

    I was wondering if anyone here has any details regarding the sending of Lend-Lease P38 Lightnings to the USSR in WW2,even just evidence to confirm tht P38's WERE sent there. Details and documentation on the subject seem to be a bit sketchy,and I've heard very little about Soviet use of the P38 in action. I've hunted high and low on the net and not found anything on Russian Lightnings,and can't find any reference to them in my 'library'.
    The most solid evidence I've ever come accross is a story about a VVS pilot who crashed two examples on take off during a scramble,before finally succeeding in a third!
    Aswell as just wanting to know out of curiosity,I'm also building a 1:72 scale model of a P38 and a Russian scheme would be something a bit different from the norm.
    Over to you...
    "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease." Sergei Sikorsky

  2. #2
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    Hi Ant,

    The only referance I have of P-38 in Russian a few that came from Alaska.

    The only countrys beside the US to fly them where the Free French, Portuguese,Australian and China. The Brits had a few but they came with out the turbos on them.

    I'll cross check my Lend Lease records to see if anything matchs up but I don't recall Lockheed getting a contract for P-38s from the USSR.

    Cheers
    RER

  3. #3
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    Probably 2 airplanes was study at Research Flying institute at war time - both of them was from Poltava airfields or anyone airfields around. Some time i see photos captured P-38 in Poland or Hungary or etc. Never hear that any P-38 was in servise at VVS - only rumors or wrong informations. Some photos available at the book on Russian - author Kotelnikov Vladimir - "Americans at Russia" - subname "Americans airplanes at Russia"

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazymainer
    Hi Ant,

    The only referance I have of P-38 in Russian a few that came from Alaska.

    The only countrys beside the US to fly them where the Free French, Portuguese,Australian and China. The Brits had a few but they came with out the turbos on them.

    I'll cross check my Lend Lease records to see if anything matchs up but I don't recall Lockheed getting a contract for P-38s from the USSR.

    Cheers
    RER
    About the Portuguese ownership of the P-38.

    It's a funny story as we had only 1 example of that particular plane. Actually, in the beggining there were 2....

    The story goes like this. While in transit to north africa, two P-38 landed in Portela airport and were interned by the portuguese autorities (Portugal was a neutral state in WW2). While in custody one of the American flyers managed to escape from the guards and retake his aircraft and fled away. So we got only one of the P38s to reamin in Portugal. Not sure how it's performance remained being a one of a kind aircraft here, without spare parts, but it did form a squadron called "OK", made up with the P-38 and some other P39s that also were interned while in transit.

    Cheers

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oleg
    Probably 2 airplanes was study at Research Flying institute at war time - both of them was from Poltava airfields or anyone airfields around. Some time i see photos captured P-38 in Poland or Hungary or etc. Never hear that any P-38 was in servise at VVS - only rumors or wrong informations. Some photos available at the book on Russian - author Kotelnikov Vladimir - "Americans at Russia" - subname "Americans airplanes at Russia"
    Hi Oleg,

    Do you know if this book is aviable in the West I would be interested in purchasing it.

    Cheers
    RER

  6. #6
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    Sorry but I do not know if Kotelnikov's book is available at the West - I am only know the Moscow home phone number of Mr.Kotelnikov but I am not sure if he knows English... So if anyone call from Britain or so - tell very-very slowly - Vladimir? Your book "Americans in Russia" is possible for buying? What is the price?
    Sorry but it is only way )
    Last edited by Mark12; 4th July 2005 at 20:31. Reason: Home phone number deleted. PM to Oleg please.

  7. #7
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    Hi Oleg,

    Thanks for the Telp.# I will give him a call, do you know if he sells his book to us Yanks

    Baka
    RER

  8. #8
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    Welcome to the site Oleg.



    Quote Originally Posted by Oleg
    Probably 2 airplanes was study at Research Flying institute at war time - both of them was from Poltava airfields or anyone airfields around. Some time i see photos captured P-38 in Poland or Hungary or etc. Never hear that any P-38 was in servise at VVS - only rumors or wrong informations. Some photos available at the book on Russian - author Kotelnikov Vladimir - "Americans at Russia" - subname "Americans airplanes at Russia"

  9. #9
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    The book "Lavochkin's Piston-Engined Fighters" (Red Star Vol 10) by Yefim Gordon contains the following information on a Russian Lightning;

    "Several months before the beginning of the La-11's flight tests GK NII VVS obtained an example of the Lockheed P-38L-1-LO Lightning twin-engined fighter. Its evaluation, which was completed in April 1947, showed that, despite the Lightning's high all-up weight (almost twice that of the La-11), its range with drop tanks was inferior to that of the Soviet fighter. Other performance figures, with the exception of the radius of turn and service ceiling, were also lower."

    As for other operators, one P-38 was briefly used by the Yugoslav Air Force between 1945 and 1946. The remains of her should still be preserved in Belgrade.

    One interned photo-recce F-5 was test-flown by the Swedish Air Force. It was written-off after a few test flights.

    Regards,

    Jan

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all your feedback folks,all much appreciated. Interesting story about the two in Portugal,I knew they'd had one but didn't realise another had escaped! There's a picture of the one that stayed alongside the P39's in Squadron/Signal's "P38 Lightning in Action". The comparitive trials with the Lavochkin make interesting reading,thanks for posting Jan. It's amazing to hear the La had a longer range!
    Looks like I'll have to ditch the Russian markings idea for my model,though.
    "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease." Sergei Sikorsky

  11. #11
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    Smile The RAF also had at least ONE P-38L Droop Snoot

    Various photos exist of it, usually at RAF Lichfield after the war in full RAF insignia.
    Source:MCP book on Lend-Lease
    :diablo:

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