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42-67450

P-38 Lightning

P-38J field modified to 'Droop Snoot*' configuration. Assigned to the 20th Fighter Group. The groups other P-38's would fly in close formation with the 'droop snoot*' and all drop their bombs when the lead aircraft released its. Several missions were flown using this technique in the build up to D-Day. These missions weren't popular with the pilots who werent keen on flying straight and level in close formation over enemy targets !
The 'Droop Snoot*' entered active service with the 20th Fighter Group on 10 April 1944, when one was used to lead forty-two P-38Js of the 20th FG against the Luftwaffe base at Gutersloh in Germany.

* The 'Droop Snoot' field conversion entailed the removal of the nose armament and associated equipment to make room for a prone bombardiers/observers position with the installation of a plexiglass nose, a Norden bombsight, side windows and an emergency hatch. The theory was for a formation of P-38's to drop their bombs on the formation lead 'Droop snoots' signal with the precision of the Norden bombsight ensuring the accuracy of the formations bombing. An idea championed by Lt Col Cass Hough and Lt Col Dan Ostrander.

Side Profile Picture: http://www.littlefriends.co.uk/gallery.php?Group=20&Style=item&origStyle...

Service

Aircraft

  • 42-67885

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) droopsnoot mission to Tours, France. Crashed near Valmeray in P-38J 42-67885, brought down by flak on 23-Apr-44. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 4124.

Units

People

  • Herschel Ezell

    Military | Captain | Bombardier | 20th Fighter Group
    He was assigned to Louis Cook crew. Reported to the ETO on 04 Apr 1943. He was the 92nd Officer to complete tour of 25 missions. ...

Places

  • Chilbolton

    Military site : airfield
    Planned as a grass airfield Relief Landing Ground for RAF Middle Wallop, Chilbolton was used as a fighter and Army Co-operation base during 1940-42. Enlarged and upgraded with a tarmac-surface hard perimeter track, some double blast pens and other...

  • Kings Cliffe

    Military site : airfield
    Kings Cliffe began as a satellite air base for the Group based at nearby Wittering. The 56th Fighter Group, however, were all based at Kings Cliffe and it was here that the pilots trained in P-47 Thunderbolts and flew their first missions in the...

  • Langford Lodge

    Military site : airfield
    Planned to be a Satellite Landing Ground for No. 23 Maintenance Unit at RAF Aldergrove, Langford Lodge was selected in October 1941 to be developed as an air deport for the maintenance and repair of USAAF aircraft. A scheme was devised whereby the...

Events

Event Location Date
Manufactured Burbank, CA, USA August 1943

Built by Lockheed.

Delivered Long Beach, CA, USA September 1943

Delivered to USAAF.

Field modified Langford Lodge, Ireland April 1944 – May 1944

Field modified to 'Droop Snoot*' configuration.

Operational mission Gütersloh, Germany 10 April 1944

Led forty-two P-38Js of the 20th Fighter Group against the Luftwaffe base at Gutersloh in Germany. 10-4-44.

Operational mission Lyon, France 30 April 1944

Led P-38Js of the 20th Fighter Group, Lyon/Clermont/ Siracourt. 30th April 44.

Assigned King's Cliffe, Peterborough, Northamptonshire PE8, UK May 1944 – June 1944

Assigned to 77FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF.

Transferred to 9AF Chilbolton, Stockbridge, Hampshire SO20, UK June 1944 – December 1944

By June 1944 the writing was on the wall for the 20th FG's P-38. The decision had been made to replace it in 8AF service with the P-51 Mustang and the Lightnings would be transferred to 9AF for lower level tactical missions or to the Mediterranean Theatre where the warmer weather was more suited to the type. The 'Droop Snoot's* non standard configuration meant it remained in theatre [ETO] with the 10DRS, 10ADG, 9AF.

Operational mission Tours-Paris, France 12 June 1944

Led P-38Js of the 20th Fighter Group Tours-Paris. 12th June 44.

Operational mission Paris, France 23 June 1944

Led P-38Js of the 20th Fighter Group, Paris. 23rd June 44.

Crashed Avenue de Villacoublay, France 13 December 1944

Landing accident Villacoublay/A-42 Cat 4 damage, pilot Lt Paul R Gill, 13-12-44.
10th Depot Repair Squadron 10th Air Depot Group 9AF.

SOC Struck Off Charge Chilbolton, Stockbridge, Hampshire SO20, UK 15 December 1944

Struck Off Charge.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
06 January 2016 19:56:28 Al_Skiff Changes to events and mission associations
Sources

www.littlefriends.co.uk
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbasn.asp?SN=42-67450
http://www.20thfightergroup.com/aircraft.html
http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_P-38_droop_snoot.html

Date Contributor Update
02 January 2016 16:45:49 Al_Skiff Changes to nicknames, person associations and media associations
Sources

www.littlefriends.co.uk
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbasn.asp?SN=42-67450
http://www.20thfightergroup.com/aircraft.html
http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_P-38_droop_snoot.html

Date Contributor Update
01 January 2016 13:12:49 Al_Skiff Changes to place associations
Sources

www.littlefriends.co.uk
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbasn.asp?SN=42-67450
http://www.20thfightergroup.com/aircraft.html
http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_P-38_droop_snoot.html

Date Contributor Update
31 December 2015 12:28:15 Al_Skiff Changes to description, events and mission associations
Sources

www.littlefriends.co.uk
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbasn.asp?SN=42-67450
http://www.20thfightergroup.com/aircraft.html
http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_P-38_droop_snoot.html

Date Contributor Update
31 December 2015 11:54:58 Al_Skiff Changes to description, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

www.littlefriends.co.uk
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbasn.asp?SN=42-67450
http://www.20thfightergroup.com/aircraft.html

Date Contributor Update
30 December 2015 21:16:28 Al_Skiff Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, markings, unit associations and place associations
Sources

www.littlefriends.co.uk

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