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P-38 Lightning

Built by Lockheed as a P-38J, field modified to 'Droop Snoot*' configuration. Assigned to 338th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force. Transferred to 56th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force. Transferred to 9th Air Force.

* 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.



  • 55th Fighter Group

    55th Fighter Group

    The 55th Fighter Group were the first P-38 Lightning Group to go fully operational from England. The pilots flew long-range escort missions for bombers flying over occupied Europe and racked up 'kills' of their own by destroying enemy aircraft in...

  • 56th Fighter Group

    56th Fighter Group

    Flying P-47 Thunderbolts throughout their time stationed in England, the Group, known as "the Wolfpack", had more ace pilots than any other Eighth Air Force Fighter Group. The 56th Fighter Group also destroyed more enemy aircraft in air combat than any...

  • 338th Fighter Squadron
  • Base Air Depot 3


  • Clair Buskirk

    Military | Captain | Fighter pilot | 55th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 338FS, 55FG, 8AF USAAF. Baled out before his P-38J crashed at Langford Grove, Maldon, Essex on return from a bomber escort mission on 25-Feb-44. Returned to Duty (RTD). 106 combat missions. Credited 1 x kill. Failed to Return (FTR) escort...

  • 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. ...

  • Arthur Scroggins

    Military | Major | Bombardier | 95th Bomb Group
    Flew 53 missions. Shot down twice. First time 04 Jan 44 ditched in North Sea after bombing Kiel, plane was Superstitous Aloysius, RTD was picked up by British Destroyer HMS Verdun. 2nd time 17 Oct 44 crash landed behind U. S. lines in Belgium after...

  • Hubert Zemke

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Group Commander; Pilot | 479th Fighter Group
    17 air victories with 56th FG flying P-47s, 2 1/2 with 479th FG flying P-51s. Lost 30 October 1944 when P-51 broke up in storm. Prisoner of War (POW) in Stalag Luft I. Was appointed as head of American Prisoner of War (POW)s while in camp. Retired from...


  • Boxted

    Military site : airfield
    Boxted was built for heavy bombers and became operational from May 1943. In the few months B-26 Marauders of the 386th Bomb Group were stationed there, there were two night attacks by the Luftwaffe. On 17 August 1943, one man was killed when bombs...

  • 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...

  • Wormingford

    Military site : airfield
    Wormingford was a Royal Flying Corps/RAF anti-Zeppelin aircraft Landing Ground First World War, rebuilt for the Eighth Air Force 1942-43. It was a Ninth Air Force base from 1943-44, and home to the 362nd Fighter Group. Switching back to the Eighth Air...


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.

Assigned Wormingford, Colchester, Essex CO6, UK May 1944

Assigned to 338th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force.

Bombing Mission Chantilly, France 30 May 1944

Flying a glass fronted P-38 “droopsnoot” Lighting fitted with a Norden bombsight and Lt H Ezzel of the 20th BG as bombardier Col Zemke leads 24 Thunderbolts on a bombing mission. 16 of the P-47s carry 1000lb bombs under the fusalage while the remaining 8 fly top cover. The rail bridge at Chantilly is destroyed. 30th May 1944.

Bombing Mission Gütersloh, Germany 31 May 1944

Armed with 500lb bombs the P-47s of the 56th carry out another “Droopsnoot” mission led by Col Zemke. The target today is an airfield at Gutersloh which is attacked with excellent results. 31st May 1944.

Bombing Mission 80500 Montdidier, France 25 July 1944

Another “droopsnoot” mission with Schilling leading 35 P-47's and Col Zemke flying the P-38 the group take off at 18.20. Each P-47 carries a 150Gal drop tank filled with oil, with the targets including a fuel dump at Fournival. Zemke's P-38 is hit by flak over Montdidier and he returns to Boxted minus the starboard propeller. 25th July 1944.

Crashed Boxted, Colchester, Essex, UK 25 July 1944

On landing the P-38's brakes fail and Zemke ends the mission in a field at the end of the runway. 25th July 1944.

Transferred Boxted, Colchester, Essex, UK August 1944

Transferred to 56th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force.

Transferred Europe December 1944

Transferred to 9th Air Force.


Date Contributor Update
21 August 2017 18:23:33 Al_Skiff Changes to person associations

Date Contributor Update
06 January 2016 18:57:52 Al_Skiff Changes to events and person associations

Date Contributor Update
31 December 2015 18:48:29 Al_Skiff Changes to description

Date Contributor Update
31 December 2015 14:26:09 Al_Skiff Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, markings, description, events, unit associations and place associations