Yamamoto Shootdown


Photo by Paul Bowen

Lightnings Strike

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was the architect of Japanese Naval strategy in the Pacific, and had personally planned the attack on Pearl Harbor – and when broken Japanese codes revealed that he would by flying around the South Pacific inspecting Japanese bases, American forces were eager to bring down his aircraft. On April 18, 1943 sixteen P-38s succeeded in intercepting and downing the admiral’s airplane – which crashed into the jungle below.

Featured Aircraft: Lockheed P-38 Lightning

The P-38, known to the Germans as the Fork Tailed Devil actually enjoyed its most stunning success in the Pacific theater, where it accounted for the destruction of more Japanese aircraft than any other USAAF aircraft type. Issues with ventilation in the cockpit meant that P-38 pilots often preferred to fly in Shorts and Tennis shoes. Its impressive performance, long range and reliability made it a natural choice for the mission to shoot down Admiral Yamamoto, which was going to need an airplane with significant endurance, but with the ability to dogfight, since the admiral would certainly have a fighter escort.

FaGen_ P-38j Lightning Ruff Stuff_luigino Caliaro (2)

Lockheed P-38 Lightning

Aircraft Type: Lockheed P-38J Lightning Ruff Stuff

Organization: Fagen Fighters WWII Museum

Photo Credit: Luigino Caliaro

**The aircraft listed have agreed to participate in the flyover, but due to factors such as weather or mechanical issues,participating aircraft are subject to change without notice.**