Photo reconnaissance Lightnings played important roles in both Europe and the Pacific. In fact, the first P-38s to fly combat missions in the Pacific Theater were converted reconnaissance planes that were sent to Australia early in 1942. In early 1944, the modified P-51 Mustang was introduced to the European theater. The inclusion of additional fuel tanks in the wings and fuselage greatly extended the airplane’s range, and the P-51 soon became the favored fighter in Europe. Not so, however, in the Pacific, where the P-38 continued its reign right up to V-J day.
This article was first published by the Warfare History Network. This first appeared earlier and is being reposted due to reader interest.