P-38 Lightning vs Bf 109

P-38 Lightning vs Bf 109: North Africa, Sicily and Italy 1942–43

The Second World War
Paperback Published on: 23/11/2023
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An exciting account of the aerial battles fought by the USAAF's P38 Lightnings and the Jagdflieger's Bf 109Gs for dominance over North Africa and the Mediterranean.

USAAF fighter pilots experienced a baptism of fire when flying the technically advanced but fragile P-38 Lightning over North Africa in the wake of 1942's Operation Torch. Their opponents were battle-hardened jagdflieger of the Jadgwaffe, flying the tried and tested Bf 109 in its very lastest Gustav iteration.

Responsible primarily for escorting USAAF bombers attacking Afrika Korps installations in Tunisia, the P-38 units in North Africa had to develop effective tactics to defend the bombers against Luftwaffe fighter attacks. For several months the Lightning squadrons had to also cope with shortages of aircraft and spare parts, steady losses and a lack of replacement pilots. To survive, American aviators had to learn quickly. While it is difficult to definitively attribute victories in air combat, in the air battles over Tunisia and later over Sicily and Italy, the claims made by Lightning pilots were comparable to Luftwaffe claims for P-38s destroyed.

Edward M. Young turns his attention to the bitterly fought air war in North Africa and the Mediterranean in 1942–43. Using original archival sources, official records and first-hand accounts from both USAAF and Luftwaffe veterans, as well as newly commissioned artwork and 50 carefully selected photographs from official and personal archives, this book sees two of the most iconic piston-engined fighters of their era pitted head-to-head for control of the skies in a key theatre of World War II.

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • ISBN: 9781472859549
  • Number of pages: 80
  • Dimensions: 248 x 184 mm

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