1. #1
    I am looking for a good read in the form of a P-38 pilot memoir, but cannot seem to find many for sale on Amazon or at specialist aviation bookseller websites. I noticed the Fork-Tailed Devil book by M. Caidin, but a lot of people seem to think this memoir was inaccurate and possibly even falsified in places. I am particularly interested in ETO P-38s, but anything in the Pacific would be of interest too. The books MUST be in-print and readily available. Any good recommendations out there ??
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  2. #2
    I am looking for a good read in the form of a P-38 pilot memoir, but cannot seem to find many for sale on Amazon or at specialist aviation bookseller websites. I noticed the Fork-Tailed Devil book by M. Caidin, but a lot of people seem to think this memoir was inaccurate and possibly even falsified in places. I am particularly interested in ETO P-38s, but anything in the Pacific would be of interest too. The books MUST be in-print and readily available. Any good recommendations out there ??
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  3. #3
    My edition of Caidin's Fork-Tailed Devil, iBooks 2001, includes a nine page update from the author addressing the inaccuracies of the original 1971 printing. IMO it's well worth the effort to obtain a copy.
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  4. #4
    Zyzbot's Avatar Senior Member
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    Just don't take the chapter about the Italian P-38 as fac..a little research found this:



    "In Martin Caidin's "Fork-Tailed Devil: The P38" he recounts an incident regarding a captured P38 flown by a Captain Rossi and American intelligence efforts to lure it to destruction by means of his wife's picture painted on the nose of a YB-40. Please separate fact from fiction and give the true details of this "incident."

    Ferdinando D'Amico:

    "Personally, I think people are probably bored with this topic, but you're doing right by discussing it in hopes that it might be possible to set the record straight once or all (I doubt we'll be successful as fiction is always more fascinating than facts, at least many think so...).

    The whole matter is a textbook example of how "hearsay", stereotypes and no research could lead to a completely fabricated history.

    The article (and later or earlier, the book and chapter) of Martin Caidin, was nothing else than the reprint of an even older article by Glenn Infield titled "One Of Our Own Planes Is Shooting Us Down!" (sic) and I must confess that IMHO it is the kind of "historical" research that causes more damage to history than anything else.

    The P-38 mentioned in Caidin's "story" was captured on 12 June 1943 in Sardinia where a ferrying US pilot landed by mistake due to the malfunctioning of the compass. Thus, it became "property" of the Regia Aeronautica and was soon brought to the Italian Test Center of Guidonia (near Rome). This aircraft was flown - with Italian markings - by Col. Angelo Tondi (Chief test pilot of the center) in the Summer of 1943 in half a dozen scrambles against USAAF bombers attacking Rome and Central Italian targets.

    On 11 August 1943 Col. Tondi intercepted off the coast the B-17F s/n 42-30307 of 419th BS, 301st BG and shot it down at 12.00 hrs*. This was the only successful interception completed by this aircraft and soon after the P-38 was grounded due to the bad quality of the Italian petrol that had corroded the fuel tanks.

    * (cfr. Missing Air Crew Report n.490 available at the US National Archives - I own a copy of it)

    All the above is also proved by photographic evidence, by the accounts of Col. Tondi and by the documents of the Guidonia Test Center reporting all the scrambles effected by the P-38. This material is available to researchers at the Italian Air Force Historical Branch, where I consulted it personally.

    The "Captain Guido Rossi", the YB-40 and the soap-opera story of the former romance between the wife of the YB-40 pilot and the Italian pilot (!!) clearly are a joke, or should be... instead they were taken seriously and developed a life of their own. This should tell us a lot about the dangers of writing and spreading information that has not been checked or researched.

    Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to accept this or to behave accordingly..."


    http://www.aviation-booklist.com/int...erdinando.html
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  5. #5
    Thanks for clarifying about the Caidin book - I will take a look at that one.
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  6. #6
    bird_brain's Avatar Senior Member
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    Although not all biographical information, the Osprey Aircraft of the Aces series has alot of good info, pictures & color plates in it.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/185532633...827?v=glance&s=books

    You might try this one as well, although I don't have it. It looks like a wealth of information.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/185532749...coding=UTF8&v=glance
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  7. #7
    I already have all of the excellent Osprey volumes on the P-38, but thanks for suggesting those anyway.
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  8. #8
    'Happy Jack's go Buggy, A fighter pilot's story', might be of interest to you. Published by Schiffer in 1998. ISBN: 0-7643-0664-2. Should be possible to obtain.
    It is the autobiography by 8 victory ace Jack Ilfrey, flying in 94th FS in N/Africa and Europe.Later with 79th FS of twentieth FG escorting bombers over Germany.
    Some Lockheed F-5 first hand accounts can also be found in 'Patton's Eyes in the Sky' by Tom Ivie, published by Classic Publications in 2003. Not mainly a book on the F-5 reconnaissance version, but a great book on the important recon work over N-W Europe in 1944-45. Contains stories and pictures of F-5 and other recon ac as well.ISBN 1-903223-26-1
    Happy reading!
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  9. #9
    That Jack Ilfrey volume sounds like exactly what I was looking for, searching for it now, thanks for the recommendation
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  10. #10
    A number of P-38 Pilot memoirs...
    Happy Jack's Go Buggy - Jack Ilfrey
    An Ace and his Angel - 'Stub' Hatch
    Bill, A pilots Story - Bill Harris
    Fighter Pilot - Ralph Wandrey

    Also the 'Aces Speak' series by Eric Hammel have a number of P-38 Ace stories. I have more, but I'll need to dig thru my collection. If you need ISBN numbers or such let me know.

    Jim
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