As seen in: 1942 (Arcade)
Also in: 1943: The Battle of Midway (Arcade)
Distinguishing feature: Twin-boom engine construction.
Strengths: Takes a lickin', keeps tickin'.
Weaknesses: Limited fuel supply.

Profile by Jeremy Parish | January 30, 2010

Military hardware enthusiasts know a few truths, passed down through the ages. The M-16 is a piece of unreliable garbage; commanding a tank is for people with a death wish; and above all, the Lockheed P-38 is the greatest fighter plane of all time.

Sure, the P-38 has been exceeded in speed, firepower, stealth, handling, fuel economy, and range. But no other fighter craft has ever managed to single-handedly destroy a full naval fleet. And not just any fleet, but Imperial Japan's entire World War II armada. Twice!

Some would argue that much of the credit for these annual victories is due the uncanny skills of the man at the P-38's flight stick. Hardware aficionados argue otherwise. Anyone can triumph over the odds when their plane can summon lightning and tsunamis and switch weapons mid-flight and capture floating cows and pinwheels and barrels for bonus points. This is, needless to say, a difficult case to counter. And so the P-38 will be forever remembered as the plane that triumphantly saved the world from Japan.

Except in Japan, of course, where the colloquial name for it translates, roughly, to "that genocidal bastard."

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