Lockheed P-38 Lightnings Go To War DVD video covers the Lockheed P-38 fighter of World War II. Included are six films and the P38 Lightning pilots manual on the DVD.
Film #1 - The Back Door Gang: 430th FS Color Scrapbook. Newly discovered film of the 430th FS, 474th FG, 9th Air Force. From the get go, the 474th was configured as a ground attack unit, but they also provided bomber escort and level bombing, led by Norden equipped "Droop Snoops." One of three P-38 squadrons in the 474th, the 430th's call sign was was "Back Door," and its planes and pilots are featured in the film in the Spring of 1945 at their base in Florennes, Belgium. You'll see some intense (and rare) color gun camera film showing strafing attacks inside Germany, as well as color footage of B-26s and a P-61 Black Widow. Perhaps most memorable are the all too brief, silent portraits of the men who flew those dangerous missions. It's amazing how color film brings 60+ year old images to life. In color with a run time of about 15 minutes.
Film #2 - Flight Characteristics of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Lockheed's top WW2 test pilots do the check out on this very thorough pilot training video. The aircraft of choice of top American Aces, Dick Bong and Tommy McGuire, the P 38 was America's fastest and most advanced fighter in 1941 and served with distinction in a variety of roles throughout the war -- from bomber escort and dive bomber in Europe to the Army's air superiority fighter in the Pacific. In color with a run time of about 34 minutes.
Film #3 - P-38 Reconnaissance Pilot. Starring William Holden ('Bridge on the River Kwai') as Lt. 'Packy' Cummings. Photo recon pilots Photo Joes) had one of the riskiest, highest impact jobs in the war. Flying camera equipped, unarmed, and often unescorted aircraft -- in this case the Lockheed F-5, a 'stripped down' P-38 -- pilots flew deep into enemy territory. 'Reconnaissance Pilot' follows Packy Cummings from basic training to the skies over New Guinea. He's not particularly happy to be flying reconnaissance -- his Dad was a renowned World War I ace recently killed by the Japanese and he wants revenge. The story of the film is how Packy comes to realize the absolutely essential nature of photo recon and how one Foto Joe can have more deadly impact than a whole squadron of combat '38s. Along the way, you'll learn about photo recon and see some nice F-5 footage, The climax of the film, an action packed clash with a Japanese Zero, is based on a real incident where Alex Gary, the most decorated US recon pilot of the War, deep sixed his opponent without firing a shot. In B+W with a run time of about 29 minutes.
Film #4 - Angel in Overalls. This film was developed to show US Lockheed P-38 production line workers the Lightning at war in a wide variety of combat roles. The dramatic framing for the piece involves a straggling B-24 that is saved from certain destruction by the arrival of 'Angels in Overalls' -- P-38s. You'll see all aspects of Lightnings in action, including air-to-air gun camera, bombing, rocketing and photo recon. There's a cameo by Air Corps P-38 ace of aces Dick Bong too. This dramatic film is a must see for all P-38 fans! In B+W with a run time of about 15 minutes.
Film #5 - Yamamoto shot down!. See the P-38 Squadron that shot down Admiral Yamamoto in an incredible long distance interception in the Pacific. Includes purported P-38 gun camera footage of the Admiral's Betty going down in flames, This truly amazing mission -- the result of super secret code breaking and meticulous planning-- was one of the most astounding feats of the war. See why it's been called 'the equivalent of shooting down an arrow with a bullet from a mile away'. In B+W with a run time of about 4 minutes.
Film #6 - Dick Bong Pacific Ace. This short film pays tribute to Richard 'Dick' Bong, the leading American ace of World War II. Flying P-38s, he had 40 victories in the South Pacific and was renowned for being a remarkably accurate shot. After 28 victories, he could have withdrawn completely from combat to instruct, but he continued to fly combat missions at his own request. He died test flying the new Lockheed P-80 jet fighter on August 6, 1945, the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. His death received equal billing in newspapers across the country, a testament to the high esteem in which he was held. In B+W with a run time of about 4 minutes.
A 72-page P38 Lightning pilots manual is included on the DVD. It is in .pdf file format with detailed photos, systems diagrams, performance charts, procedures & more. The manual can be accessed on a computer equipped with a DVD drive.
The DVD is in NTSC format and region-free. It is packaged in a plain clear plastic C-Shell DVD case without paper graphics.