Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

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Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
prototype machining china
Image by ksr8s
Five by Five, 362nd Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, Commander Col. Joseph Laughlin 1945

Renowned for its ruggedness, firepower and speed, the massive Republic P-47 was one particular of the most popular and critical USAAF fighters for the duration of Globe War II. Created in larger numbers than any other U.S. fighter, the Thunderbolt — affectionately nicknamed the &quotJug&quot — served as a bomber escort and as a quite efficient ground attack fighter.

The Thunderbolt was the finish outcome of a series of radial-engine fighters created in the 1930s by Russian émigrés Alexander de Seversky and Alexander Kartveli. Although the P-47 design originated as a modest, inline-engine lightweight interceptor, changing specifications drastically altered the project. The significantly bigger prototype XP-47B weighed more than twice as much as the original concept.

Into Service
The 1st production version, the P-47B, entered service in the spring of 1942. Production and development difficulties restricted the 171 built to training use only. The follow-on P-47C corrected some of the vices of the P-47B, and it began coming off the production line in September 1942.

Hitting Its Stride — The P-47D
With over 12,500 constructed, the P-47D became the most-created and extensively-utilised model of the Thunderbolt. The early P-47Ds were comparable to the P-47C, with the most crucial modify being further armor about the pilot. Although they have been fast and had an outstanding roll price, early P-47s suffered from poor climbing functionality and quick variety.

Over the course of its production, the P-47D was greatly improved. A much more efficient propeller substantially improved the climb rate. Internal fuel tank capacity became bigger and new wing mounts carried droppable fuel tanks or bombs in addition to those on the underside fuselage mount. Late-model P-47Ds received a lot more wing mounts to carry a total of 10 air-to-ground rockets. The Thunderbolt became even quicker with engine water injection, which permitted larger emergency horsepower. The most visible change throughout the P-47D production run was the new &quotbubble-top&quot canopy, which offered a lot much better all-about vision for the pilot.

The Thunderbolt in Combat
The USAAF and numerous Allied nations used the P-47 in nearly every combat theater. Through 1943 in Europe, the P-47C and P-47D equipped the majority of 8th Air Force fighter groups in England (and a single in the 15th Air Force in Italy) as a extended-variety escort fighter. But given that they couldn’t escort USAAF heavy bombers all the way to some targets, longer-ranged P-51 Mustangs gradually replaced them in the escort role (with the sole exception of the 56th Fighter Group). The rugged and heavily-armed P-47D proved to be perfect for ground attack, although, and it became the backbone of the fighter-bomber force in the 9th Air Force in western Europe and the 12th Air Force in southern Europe.

In the Pacific, a number of 5th Air Force fighter groups flew the P-47D against Japanese air and ground forces in New Guinea and the Philippines in 1943-1944. Later, five groups in the 7th Air Force (and, in the closing weeks of the war, the 20th Air Force) flew the considerably longer-ranged P-47N as an escort fighter for B-29s against the Japanese homeland.

The P-47D did not arrive in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater till late spring 1944, but it flew as an efficient fighter-bomber in several units there, which includes the famous 1st Air Commando Group.

A lot of Allied nations also flew the P-47D in combat in WWII, which includes Brazil, Free of charge France, Excellent Britain, Mexico and the Soviet Union.

The Extended-Legged P-47N
Range continued to be a issue for the Thunderbolt until the introduction of the P-47N, which breathed new life into the P-47 design and style. The P-47N had a more effective engine and introduced a new wing which, as opposed to the P-47D’s, carried two 96-gallon internal fuel tanks. The P-47N was 40 mph faster and could fly more than 800 miles farther than the P-47D. The 1st production models appeared in September 1944, and more than 1,800 have been constructed. For the duration of the war, the P-47N was only employed in the Pacific Theater.

Post-War Use
P-47Ds and P-47Ns continued to serve in the USAAF (right after 1947, the U.S. Air Force) as initial equipment for SAC, TAC and ADC squadrons. In 1948 the Thunderbolt was redesignated the F-47. As far more jet fighters came into the inventory, the USAF phased out the F-47 in 1949, but the Air National Guard continued to use it into the mid-1950s.

For the duration of the Korean War, the USAF theater commander, Lt. Gen. George Stratemeyer, requested that F-47s be sent. But, due to the shortage of spare parts and logistical complications, his request was denied. A lot of countries in Latin America, along with Iran, Italy, Nationalist China, Turkey and Yugoslavia continued to operate the Thunderbolt, some into the 1960s.

Of the grand total of 15,683 P-47s constructed, approximately two-thirds reached operational commands overseas and five,222 were lost in action, such as 1,722 non-combat losses. In 1.35 million combat hours flown, the combat loss was significantly less than .7 %, an exceptionally low figure attesting to the strength of the aircraft.

The Museum’s Aircraft
The aircraft on show is a P-47D-40 (S/N 45-49167), and it was built at the Republic plant in Evansville, Ind. In the late 1940s, it was transferred to the Peruvian air force. The aircraft later came to the museum in 1981. It is painted as the P-47D-30 Five by 5 flown by Col. Joseph Laughlin, commander of the 362nd Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, in early 1945.

Armament: Eight .50-cal machine guns and 2,500 lbs. of bombs or rockets
Engine: A single Pratt &amp Whitney R-2800 radial of two,430 hp
Maximum speed: 433 mph
Cruising speed: 350 mph
Range: Approx. 1,one hundred miles with drop tanks
Ceiling: 42,000 ft.
Span: 40 ft. 9 in.
Length: 36 ft. 2 in.
Height: 14 ft. eight in.
Weight: 17,500 lbs. maximum