Lockheed P-38 Dutch Air Force

After the German invasion of Belgium and Denmark in 1940 the Dutch government was very concerned about keeping Dutch neutrality in tact. It realised that had the Germans invaded the low countries too, it wouldn't have been able to keep fighting for more than a few days given the state of its military.

In June 1940 the Dutch government went looking for sources of fighter aircraft. It's traditional ties with the French aviation industry were useless as France was conquered by the Germans. The British and Germans had no aircraft to spare, leaving only the USA as a source of modern combat aircraft.

The Lockheed factory was seeking customers for its new fighter, the P-38 Lightning at the time. A deal was struck and the first Dutch Lightnings were delivered in early 1941. A total of 200 aircraft were delivered in 1941 and 1942 equipping almost all the Dutch fighter squadrons. They defended Dutch neutrality by attacking all foreign aircraft entering Dutch air space. A number of dogfights with German Me-109's and British Spitfires took place. This and a number of training accidents resulted in a total of 34 aircraft lost until the middle of 1943.

From the beginning of 1943, the Lightning was replaced in frontline service by the Fokker D-26 fighter, which was powered by a German DB-605 engine and which offered a far superior performance than the P-38. In March 1944 the last Lightning was withdrawn.

The model

The model is a Hasegawa P-38E Lightning.

Last updated: 02/01/2011