View Full Version : Merlin powered P-38

Dr Illitout
13th Sep 2004, 13:09
Hear is a question I've all ways wanted to know. When us "Brits" got North American to put a Merlin into a P-51, it became one of the best fighters in the war. Why then didn't Lockheed take the hint and do the same with the P-38?.
Carrying this muse on a little could you imagine a P-38 with two Shackleton type Griffons in it!!!!!!!.
Just an idle thought that's all

Rgds Dr.I.
(I've looked around on ther web for a P-38 lovers site to ask them the same question, but can't find one. Any body know one?)

13th Sep 2004, 14:20
Not being a P-38 expert, the only reason I can suggest is the that engines in the P-38 were handed, ie each engine rotates in a diffent direction to reduce torque. Merlins were never modified to do this.

Did the P-38 have the same engines (Allisons?) as early P-51s anyway and if so, why was the P-38 better at altitude than the P-51?

13th Sep 2004, 14:51
Merlins were handed!!! Especially in the 100 series. I believe the Hornet had handed engines. Also doesn't the serial number for Merlins (and other RR engines of the time?) end with odd for left hand tractor and even for right hand? (Or the other way round)

13th Sep 2004, 14:57
The Merlin 130/131s in the orgasmically gorgeous aaahh deHavilland Hornet were indeed 'handed', rotating (as seen from the cockpit) clockwise on the left and anticlockwise on the right.

Wasn't it the GE turbosupercharger which was the secret to the P-38's high-altitude performance? That's why the non-turbosupercharged Model 322 Lightning Mk 1 was rejected by the Air Ministry.....

13th Sep 2004, 18:47
Dr.Ill, try...www.p38assn.org/index; they used to have a `conversation pit` for those questions;I did ask once,but it was the usual `we won, so there was no need`. Even the Lightning II never went into RAF service either.The prototype P-38 had `handed` props ,a la Hornet, but that was changed on development a/c to `outwards rotation` due to aerodynamic interference of prop-wash on the tail.The RAF Lightning1 didn`t have turbo-chargers, and the props rotated `right( from the cockpit), so they were the worst of two bad jobs!!

Dan Winterland
14th Sep 2004, 08:39
The P51 was introduced into the RAF with it's Allison engine. It was found lacking in high altitude performance, so the Merlin was fitted as a fix. The P38 was tested by the RAF and rejected as it was considered relatively un-manoeuvrable and not stable enough as a platfrom for it's considerable arsenal. Had it also been bough by the RAF, it may have been fitted with Merlins.

14th Sep 2004, 10:42
I stand corrected - handed Merlins, well I never knew that,

orgasmically gorgeous aaahh deHavilland Hornet

A fair description I think, if a trifle understated.

So why didn't Mosquitoes have handed engines?

14th Sep 2004, 11:07
It was the RAF who actually specified non-handed and non-supercharged engines! Why????

14th Sep 2004, 11:47

After trawling through a few P-38 websites, the two following explanations appear contradictory:-

"When the plane was in its first production run, a number were supplied to the British RAF, built according to RAF specifications. To simplify the maintenance, both engines (and props) rotated in the same direction, and for a similar reason, the turbochargers were deleted. These two features were probably two of the most important ones that made the P-38 great. The RAF rejected these castrated "kites" and they wound up in the US Army Air Corps as trainers."

"The first P-38 production runs sold to the British did not include a supercharger fitted to their Allison V-1710 engines.The supercharger (turbocharger) was deemed to be classified equipment by the U.S. Government, and was thus restricted from overseas sales. These P-38's performed poorly, resulting in the order for 667 additional P-38s being cancelled by the RAF."

Dr Illitout
14th Sep 2004, 17:25
Thanks for all the gen gang. I will try that websit out and see what I can stir up!.