P-38G-13-LO Lightning Instrument Panel 43-2285
AeroAntique is pleased to share this instrument panel owned by one of our good friends. We welcome inquiries and are happy to put you in contact with the owner of this artifact. Please email us with the name of the artifact at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This WWII-era P-38G instrument panel resides in the collection of one of our good friends in New Zealand.
According to its owner:
"Not just another Lightning panel. This panel was found in 1963 near the smelter site at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, where so many historic aircraft were destroyed. It had heavy surface corrosion, so had to be lightly glass-beaded to remove this, after which the crayoned script P-322 appeared. So it was no ordinary P-38 – it had started its life with assignment to the RAF as a P-322. But the P-322s were delivered without turbo-superchargers, hence they were useless for the high-altitude operations required by the RAF and were returned to the USAAF. But they were orphans there too, so – typical for the times – many were dumped into the “unimportant backwater” of the South West Pacific and some of them fetched-up with the 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group.
When the decision was made to intercept and shoot down Admiral Yamamoto, the task was assigned to the 339th Sqn P-38Gs, as they were the only fighters in the SWPA with sufficient range to reach Bougainville after an ultra-low level flight from Henderson Field. It is not known whether 43-2285 was one of the 16 P-38Gs assigned to the Yamamoto mission, but it was on the unit at the time of that mission. Whatever, it was not the aircraft flown by Rex Barber, the man who shot down the two Japanese G4M1 bombers carrying Admiral Yamamoto, Admiral Ugaki, and their fellow staff officers."