P-47D "THUNDERBOLT"(Republic Aviation Corp.)


The P-47 was one of America's leading fighter airplanes of WW II. It made its initial flight on May 6, 1941, but the first production article was not delivered to the AAF until March 18, 1942, more than three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. On April 8, 1943, the P-47 flew its first combat mission, taking off from England for a sweep over western Europe. During the next several months, AAF pilots learned that the Thunderbolt could out-dive any Luftwaffe airplane encountered. An auxilary fuel tank was suspended under the fuselage beginning in 1943, permitting the P-47 to escort AAF heavy bombers much farther into German territory.

In addition to establishing an impressive record as a high-altitude escort fighter, the P-47 gained recognition as a low-level fighter-bomber because of its ability to absorb battle damage and keep flying. By the end of the war, the Thunderbolt had been used in every active war theater with the exception of Alaska. in addition to serving with the AAF, some were flown in action by the British, Free French, Russians, Mexicans, and Brazilians.

The P-47D shown here is one of more than 15,600 built and was donated to the U. S. Air Force Museum by Republic Aviation Corporation in Nov. 1964.


The model XP-47J, which did not go into production, was the fastest. On August 4, 1944, the plane reached a speed of 504 miles per hour.





Courtesy U. S. Air Force Museum

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  BEWARE THE THUNDERBOLT;The 56th Fighter Group in World War II


Span: 40 ft. 9 in.
Length: 36 ft. 1 in.
Height: 14 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 13,500 lbs. loaded


Eight .50-cal. machine guns & ten 5 in. rockets or 1,500 lbs. of bombs.


Engine: Pratt and Whitney R-2800 of 2,300 hp.
Maximum speed: 433 mph
Cruising speed: 260 mph
Range: 1,100 miles
Service Ceiling: 40,000 ft.

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