Three P-38 Lightnings, 42-68184 and two others, of the 495th Fighter Training Group in flight. 1943. 42-68184 a 'Droop Snoot*' was used as a lead bomber for the following formation of P-38's.
* The 'Droop Snoot' field conversion entailed the removal of the nose armament and associated equipment to make room for a prone bombardiers 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.
The 495th Fighter Training Group, which operated in England from December 1943, trained P-47 Thunderbolt pilots. These pilots, who had received the basic training in the USA would be assigned to a training group to practise ETO operational procedures...
Built as a P-38J by Lockheed, field modified to 'Droop Snoot*' configuration as the first full prototype of type. Trials A/C, later used operationaly as well. Led formations of 20th and 44th FG P-38's on bombing raid 10-4-44.