But we did it better. Both planes were first flown within a year of each other. The Fw-189 in 1938 and the P-38 in 1939.
The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu (“Eagle Owl”) was a very successful Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft used extensively in the Eastern Front. It was unarmed, could carry a 3 man crew, had a combat radius of 420 miles and top speed of less than 250 mph but was extremely maneuverable. It could avoid being shot down by Soviet fighters simply by flying in very tight circles. The Soviets called it “The Frame” because of it’s box like silhouette in the sky. About 850 of these aircraft were produced. There is only one in existence today.
Lockheed’s P-38 “Lightning” was a heavily armed, 400+ mph fighter. It could also carry two 1,000 bombs and with drop tanks it could be flown across the Atlantic, eliminating the need for transport by ocean born freight.The German Luftwaffe called it “Der Gabelschwanz Teufel” (The Fork-Tailed Devil). It was that good. It was the first USAAF fighter to be delivered to the RAF under its own power. With a range of 2,500 miles, it was the most important fighter in the Pacific Theater.
Japanese mastermind Adm. Yamamoto was killed by a P-38 that shot down his transport plane. Of course the US Navy had broken the Japanese military cypher codes by then so the P-38′s had a good idea where he would be. Lockheed manufactured over 1,000 of these fighters in variants up to the P-38L. The Air Force retired the Lightning in 1949.