The P-38G in Aces High II
The P-38G introduces an interesting alternative to the J and L models. The G fits nicely in some early war scenarios but it’s unclear how popular it may end up in general play. As in the other P-38s, the quality of the pilot really matters, as someone unfamiliar with the P-38 in general tends to have difficulty mastering the aircraft.
The P-38G does not get a lot of attention from the general populace, just as the P-38L has never attracted swarms of players. That said, elite P-38 pilots are likely to adapt fairly easily and will quickly fill their perk point coffers with the G’s high ENY value. Most G model P-38s you meet will have a better than average pilot at the controls because of that, especially if you see a couple of them working together. The P-38G shares most of the advantages of the family though, just missing out on some acceleration, climb, and ordinance carrying but gaining a bit in turn-rate. The P-38G should be a bit easier to exploit though if caught low/slow as it can’t generate energy nearly as quickly as the later models can.
Not great, the P-38G can manage only 327mph at sea-level with no WEP option. This is a bit slow but steadily improves with altitude at a rate of about 3-4mph/1K gain. By 10K it cruises at 359mph, at 20K 387mph, and it tops out at 26K and 401mph. Climb appears to be in the 2,700ft/min range with matching acceleration. Fuel range is slightly less than other P-38 models due to the lack of leading edge wing tanks. Duration at military power is only 29 minutes though this can be doubled with the addition of drop tanks. Altitude makes little difference in fuel duration as there is no measurable difference from sea-level up to 25,000ft at which point is slowly decreases. Fuel is stored in 4 tanks, LA/RA with 60 gallons each are burned first, LM/RM with 90 gallons each are burned second. To help out with general fuel management, the fuel gauge has a very small red marker that shows percentage of internal fuel remaining. It seems to be the pattern in the remodeled aircraft to have this added though all aircraft can look at the E6B now and see exact fuel remaining.
Aces High II Performance Charts
Outstanding, the P-38 is probably the class of the field when it comes to fighter mounted guns. Four .50 calibre machine guns are mounted along with a 20mm Hispano cannon. Nose mounting ensures that convergence is not an issue (set out to D650) and concentration of fire is heavy. The nose mounting also gives an easy aiming reference since all weapons are firing on the center line. The match of .50 calibre and Hispano is also good as they have similar ballistic properties at short-medium ranges. Cannon ammunition is limited to 150 rounds, about average for Hispanos, but it won't last very long if you have a heavy trigger finger. You have two options for the .50's, either 200 rounds/gun or a whopping 500 rounds/gun in an overload option. While it can be tempting to take the 500 round option by default, the weight is more than double the smaller load and tends to last "too" long, making you stay around when maybe you should consider leaving instead. Shooting with the P-38 is so easy though, snapshots, deflection and even long range shots are about as easy as you can get with great effect. Even on difficult shots, the P-38 tends to deliver many hits in a short period of time and cause concentrated damage to enemy aircraft. Externally, the P-38 is also one of the most flexible aircraft for air-to-ground weapons. It can carry up to 6 rockets, as well as, two mounting points for bombs up to 1,000lbs in size. Ordinance options exist for many combinations of bombs and drop tanks so that you may not have to give up one or the other.
From some testing, the P-38G appears to turn better than the other P-38 models, though the difference is not dramatic. Overall in roll and general handling, the P-38G appears to feel very common to the whole P-38 family. Roll rate is good once started but the inertia of starting/stopping rolls has to be overcome so there tends to be a bit of delay in initiating roll. Elevator response is good and stall handling is excellent, especially at high angles of attack or in the vertical. The P-38G appears quite tolerant to higher airspeeds, structural creaking beginning at ~480mph IAS. Mach buffet and compression, two issues that have affected P-38s in the past, don’t seem as serious in the G, recovery at low altitudes was not difficult and did not require the use of dive-recovery-flaps as on the L model. At high altitudes though those conditions still exist and can make maneuvering difficult unless you slow down or descend to lower altitudes. The G model picked up some turn-rate improvement over the L model, which was no slouch itself, so it should make for a pretty competitive ride in the same turn-class as a Spitfire Mk IX. Flaps can be used to enhance maneuverability, the first 3 stages available at 250mph, with the last two at 200mph and 150mph. Fuel load-out does have some impact on the P-38 simply because it has so much fuel (~1,800lbs at full load, double that with drop tanks) so getting light on fuel will really enhance your maneuverability. Ammunition load is personal preference though most people claim the difference in flying qualities is almost imperceptible.
Fighting in the P-38G
A couple of good P-38 pilots have really given the G model good marks. It should retain all the best features of the P-38 in ease of use, excellent stall and vertical characteristics, but will give up quite a bit in acceleration/climb. Likely you really want to start with a solid energy position and BnZ, only letting yourself get into turn-fights for short periods of time. You certainly can’t run away from most aircraft but you should be able to give them a tough time in close. Flap use is critical but requires knowledgeable employment at the correct instant.
Offensively, use the advantage in ease of gunnery and your total firepower to hit people quickly and hard. Not much can take a full broadside from a P-38G. The forward view can be a bit frustrating because of the unusual arrangement of the armored glass plate, it tends to get in the way. Some pilots find the gauges not all that easy to read, with some instruments obscured by the control column/wheel when it moves around. Some claim the P-38G can maneuver with the likes of a Spitfire Mk V, though it probably doesn't deserve quite that high a mark, it’s probably in a tier just behind that so could probably give it a good fight but not purely beat it. The P-38G makes a good swing-role attack aircraft though the rockets, with tubes, are not a good choice.
Defensively, avoid getting slow and low, your climb and acceleration aren’t going to let you get out of those situations easily. The P-38G is also a large target, you don’t want to give people shots at you as rounds that would normally pass behind a smaller fighter will instead hit the P-38G.
Fighting against the P-38G
The P-38G has fewer options for defense but early on in a fight when it has lots of energy it can be very dangerous. As the fight moves along into lower energy points, the P-38G is less likely to be able to break free or generate large amounts of energy like some common AH fighters.
Offensively, the P-38G is a large target so take every shot you can at one. Sometimes a single hit or two may spell a long term success because of damage adding up. The P-38G can’t really run well, it’s very much in the mid-lower tier of fighters in that respect, so you should be able to keep one from getting away should it try and run. Never try and HO a P-38 of any type, if that is the only shot opportunity then try and do something else, you can’t really win in those situations.
Defensively, the P-38G is going to be most dangerous early on in a fight. While still packing energy it can do some amazing vertical maneuvers and turns. You need to have him burn up that excess and then try to turn the tables. Don’t get caught thinking you can beat one in a vertical zoom, he is just as likely to hit you at D800 with his easily aimed nose guns. Scissors offer a generally good defense against P-38s, change directions in frequent rolling motion. The P-38G roll is slow to start/stop because of the large momentum to roll such a large aircraft. Do not dive away from the P-38G except if you are starting at very high altitudes. With some of the modeling changes in AH2 the P-38s don’t appear quite as susceptible to compression and Mach buffet as they used to be but they are still not especially strong divers.
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