430th FS "Back Door Gang" P-38 Lightnings in action over Germany – Color, 1945



Color film of the 430th FS, 474th FG, 9th Air Force. I created this original documentary from undocumented, unedited, silent archival footage. Where possible, I identified the P-38 pilots shown. Color film of P-38s in action is very rare.
From the get go, the 474th was configured as a ground attack unit, but they also provided bomber escort and level bombing, led by Norden bomb sight equipped “Droop Snoots,” which are shown here. One of three P-38 squadrons in the 474th, the 430th’s call sign was “Back Door,” and its planes and pilots are featured in the film in the Spring of 1945 at their base in Florennes, Belgium, a former Luftwaffe night fighter base.

You’ll see intense (and rare) color gun camera film showing strafing attacks inside Germany with slow motion replays, as well as color footage of B-26s and a P-61 Black Widow. Perhaps most memorable are the all too brief, silent portraits of the men who flew those dangerous missions. Β It’s amazing how color film brings 60+ year old images to life.
Zeno, Zeno’s Warbird Video Drive-In http://zenoswarbirdvideos.com Get this video and more on our P-38 DVD, including a P-38 pilot’s manual.http://bit.ly/J0owLJ
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47 thoughts on “430th FS "Back Door Gang" P-38 Lightnings in action over Germany – Color, 1945

  1. Kenneth Benn says:

    This is a outstanding piece of video.So rare is the footage.Fascinating to watch.They all were so brave.Thank You.ZenosWarbirbs

  2. Pat Cattin says:

    Thank you Nat COLE. Those P-38’s look absolutely terrifying as an assault bird.

  3. Dra Williams says:

    I'm glad the Germans never got one of our Norton bomb sights, excellent work from Army Air Services

  4. Dra Williams says:

    Lieutenant Jim Byers looks like Tucker Carlson oh, I got to send him this picture

  5. nulife022 says:

    Love the music, great choice

  6. Frank Hunt says:

    Very cool …. loved it!

  7. All that's missing is the Coyote and Road Runner.

  8. Awesome 😎 American πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ made product from winter ❄️πŸ₯Άβ„️πŸ₯Άβ„️πŸ₯Άβ„️πŸ₯Άβ„️❄️ Olympic πŸŒ†πŸŒ†πŸŒ†πŸŒ†πŸŒ†πŸŒ†πŸ™οΈ Colorado , thanks America πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ from John Robert Bruffett JuniorπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ!

  9. Ruggles McButt says:

    The Lighting with the glazed nose is a Droop SNOOT. Snoot being slang for nose.

  10. Thank you USA πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ USA Grandpa Beasley World War 2 Army sniper against nazi members from grandson John Robert Bruffett Junior,shot by a german!

  11. Gary Stone says:

    Great video! Loved the music too.

  12. Jarod 1999 says:

    Love to be flying one of those amazing flying machines, also love seeing them stray German and japanese aircraft and supplies

  13. Jeff di Giusto says:

    The American designed and built Lockheed P-38 Lightning had been nicknamed: 'Der Gabelschwanz-Teufel', 'The Fork-Tailed Devil' by German Luftwaffe pilots. The P-38 had distinctive twin-booms and a central nacelle which contained the cockpit and armament. When utilized as a recon-aircraft, the P-38 accounted for 90 percent of all Allied aerial film captured in Europe. The P-38 was used most successfully in the Pacific Theater of operations and the Chine-Burma-India Theater of operations as the aircraft of America's top aces, Richard Bong (40 victories), Thomas McGuire (38 victories) and Charles H. MacDonald (27 victories). Unusual for a fighter of this era, the exhaust was muffled by the turbo-superchargers, making the P-38's operation relatively quiet. The twin turbo-superchargers also provided the P-38 with good high-altitude performance, making it one of the earliest Allied fighters capable of performing at high altitudes. The Lightning figured in one of the most significant operations in the American Pacific theater: The interception, on 18 April 1943, of Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto; the architect of Japan's naval strategy in the Pacific which infamously included the sneak-attack on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. When American code-breakers cleverly discovered that Yamamoto was flying to Bougainville Island to conduct a front-line inspection and to uplift sagging Japanese morale. A total of 16 P-38-G Lightnings were sent on a long-range fighter-intercept mission, flying 435 miles from Guadalcanal at heights of 10–50 ft (3.0–15.2 m) above the ocean to avoid detection. The Lightnings met Yamamoto's two Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" fast bomber transports and six escorting Zeros just as they arrived at the island. The first Betty crashed in the jungle and the second ditched near the coast. Two Zeros were also claimed by the American fighters with the loss of one P-38. Japanese search parties found Yamamoto's body at the jungle crash site the next day. The P-38-G variant, using more powerful Allison's of 1,400 hp (1,000 kW) each and equipped with a much improved radio system. A dozen of the planned P-38-G production were set aside to serve as prototypes for what would become the P-38-J with further up-rated Allison V-1710F-17 engines (1,425 hp (1,063 kW) each) in redesigned booms which featured chin-mounted intercoolers in place of the original system in the leading edge of the wings and more efficient radiators.

  14. Jarod 1999 says:

    You done a great service to soldiers of this war and future generations.

  15. VaughnDJs says:

    61s had to be the scariest looking bird flying in '45

  16. Good video. You added details most ignore such as call signs and unit markings. And not the least, that was a great selection of music. We had the best music that the younger kids can’t equal.

  17. Bill Johnson says:

    Why did they always strafe trains from the side?
    Flying down the tracks would be better?

  18. David Adcock says:

    Let's just recall that the P-51 (with P-38 participation) won the European War, while the P-38 (with P-51 & Corsair participation) won the Pacific War.

  19. Christopher Hollister says:

    The music is great.

  20. Robin Crocker says:

    Absolutely wonderful!

  21. Michael Thomas says:

    I think P 61 was most bad ass fighter of ww2.

  22. Such a beautiful aircraft, I bet as fun as hell to fly. Sitting facing the tail, some training of the stomach, to keep lunch down, from being unable to see in front, diving and rolling, likely required. Great music too!

  23. Carl Helmick says:

    If you think about it . The P-38 back then is like the warthog A-10 is to day. The the troops. It was most definitely an awesome airplane. It does have a unique beauty about it. American ingenuity awesome. πŸ˜€πŸ‘

  24. Wish the younger generations understood and respected this generation of brave Americans who fought for the freedoms we have today.

  25. James Koch says:

    P-38s were the only airship that was in production before,during and after the war.

  26. David Hutchison says:

    I didn't think they still used P-38's in Europe after 1943, as they were more suited to the Pacific. Learn something new every day.

  27. Walter Alter says:

    Scrolling text at 7:09 should read "Droopsnoot", rather than "Droop Snoop".

  28. Steven J Davies says:

    Bit of a surprise at the end with him being shot down and captured.

  29. Erich Reval says:

    sogenannte Terror Flieger

  30. Why not get a lip reader in for the pilot talking scene?

  31. Ian Berry says:

    P38 was the best Allied ground attack fighter of the war. The centrally located guns were more accurate than the wing mounted guns of other planes like the P47 Thunderbolt that had to be zeroed at a certain range and would 'crisscross' the bullet streams at shorter or longer distances than the zero point, and the 20mm cannon was more effective than just the 50s that most others carried.

  32. Ron Gilbert says:

    My grandfather, Willard Volney Gilbert, served in the Pacific as a Chief Pharmacist Mate in the Navy. He was on duty at the hospital on Ford Island the morning of December 7, 1941 and had a front row seat as the Nevada ran aground right outside of his window at the hospital. He lost his leg on the island of Ie Shima (same island that Ernie Pyle got killed on) due to friendly fire from one of the ships offshore as it was firing at the Japanese aircraft during an attack. He was coming out of the Corpsman tent as an anti-aircraft round went through his leg into the tent and exploded killing everyone one in the tent behind him. Sadly, he died in 2005. I miss him.

  33. Kyle Terran says:

    I love the videos but wished they wouldn't post up coming videos inserted at the end. It covers things, in this case writing pertaining to the story.

  34. Dra Williams says:

    God bless all fighters, who gave their lives to give us the right to vote, we will never let them down and we will go to the polls and vote, look at Arlington Cemetery look at the love for God, we will go to the polls and vote, least we not do so we shall come circum, to totalitarian dictatorship

  35. heeder777 says:

    I was assigned to the 474th TFW, 430th TFS at Nellis AFB from 1980-1989. Wing has a lot of history. The patches have changed since WWII. They were the first to deploy the F-111 in Vietnam. I started on the F4-D then transitioned to the F-16A. When the Thunderbirds went to the F-16, the aircraft were assets of the 474th. The wing was decommissioned in 1989 and the aircraft sent to the reserves/guard. I heard it was reactivated but I’m not sure on that one. We had a great time during those years working on the new F-16. Great video showing some of the roots. To all my fellow Buccaneers (428th), Black Falcons (429th) and finally the Tigers (430th) I salute you!

  36. Vince Gedeon says:

    Uh uh uh uh he said back door πŸ˜‚

  37. Teri Farley says:

    USAF screwed up, the F-23 blackwidow shoulda been the predominate 21 century fighter replacing the F-15. F-22 is ok but F-23 better!

  38. Was looking for my grandfather in this video, unfortunately I did not see him.

    According to him, he sat in his treehouse (Germany, 1944 or 45) and the Lightnings came so close he could see those pilots faces. Not in fear, but amazed…

  39. Richard Weston says:

    I have read that the P-38 was a difficult plane to fly, and because the air in Europe was much colder than the Pacific theater, it was much less effective.

  40. atomic punk says:

    As i watch this i see the forerunner of the A-10 Warthog. IMO anyways

  41. massmanute says:

    One of my mother's cousins flew p-38s in World War II. I believe he flew reconnaissence missions. I can't ask to be sure because they have all gone to meet their maker now.

  42. raul gnarf says:

    Dan Dillon My father Meade Dillon was lucky to serve in the Air Transport Command and with other flight crews delivered new Lockeed aircraft out to the Pacific. I remember him telling me the ATC and Lockeed pilots all loved these "lightnings"

    and he said their nickname for them was "Yippy" (Yippie?)
    Due to obvious transport time / size and space problems they had to fly (ferry) new P-38s out to the Pacific theater from U.S. west coast production and staging fields in ATC flight groups via Hawaii and Australia. As I understood him, once Manila and nearby bases were liberated, they could get progressively closer to destinations in the South Pacific. After each delivery, they would all fly back on available transport flights to Calif. He did describe to me having to take evasive action when AA fire was encountered, but (I guess) they carried no ammunition and were sometimes escorted by navy Carrier air cover. Fuel was all the weight they could probably spare. This was all faster and much more practical than say, risking precious war production on shipboard convoys, "Fly 'em out boys, then fly back for more".

    I once read that the casualty numbers were in the many THOUSANDS of test pilots, ferry command pilots, student pilots and trainees, instructors, passengers (men and women) who went missing or were official accident casualties and that is not even counting personell on active duty "combat" status. Probably one of the most famous was band leader Glenn Miller. (Yes, he was a wartime casualty as well, and that is some part of why the music with this war footage rings so true.)

    In college I had a student pilot license and my instructor had been a wartime test pilot for Grumman. He said it was pretty widely cieculated that Charles Lindberg had visited South Pacific airfields with P-38s. Lindy supposedly emphasized to the younger airmen the amazing capability their new planes had with variable pitch props, great firepower etc. He himself took a hand in unofficial sorties in the Yippy; and scuttlebut has it he shot down more than one Zero in just several minutes of air engagement.

    A great, honorable – and vast debt of sober rememberance and grattitude is due the people who did not survive their service to our country.
    Even after the unconditional surrender of all the axis enemy powers, and the return of our parents sons, daughters, and spouses, WW2 continued to link us to the deaths of P-38 heroes like the American "Ace of Aces" Major Charles Bong of Poplar, Wisconsin. Look up his name to read the amazing tally of planes he shot down in his P-38. Bong was killed in the early post – war years in a test flite of a jet aircraft. There is a P-38 in a museum which honors him today in the little Northern Wisconsin town where he grew up.

  43. Paul Mercier says:

    An RP-38 was doing Geodetic Survey work out of Concord, NH Airport in 1963. Impressive aircraft! My uncle was a line machinist on these in the South Pacific.

  44. Well when I was a young boy I would go down to the hardware store and buy a plastic model about every month. I started in the very early 60's and I was 7 to 8 years old. All I would build was WWII aircraft and the new "jets" being used during the Korean War. Those models were very expensive for a young boy to purchase. They usually ran for 29 cents each. That was a whole months worth of turning in Coke and DP bottles for return at 2 to 5 cents each.I remember building a P-38 and the Black Widow (P-61). They were a mean looking aircraft!

  45. David Gray says:

    Why did the yanks.favour front tricycle under carriage as opposed to rear.tail wheel

  46. GoatDriver Ram says:

    Sad, at 11:39 memorial area, ones put into the ground until final site, home or France. : (

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