*** World War II -- fighters Republic P-47 Thundrboldt

World War II Fighters: American Republic P-47 Thunderboldt

World War II fighters
Figure 1.--Here we see a P-47 Thunderboldt in Italy after the War. The press caption read, "On Armed Forces Day in Italy, Nov. 4, which is the observance of the anniversary of the victory and the Allies in World War I, all military establishments are open to the public. Field massess are held, exercises with various weapons are performed and the Air Force makes available a certain number of planes for an 'air baptism' for members of the public who have never tried a flight. Here, on that holiday occassion, two Roman boys, Maurizio Attennki (right) and Gianpaolo Brancher, admire one of the military planes at the Guidonia Aitport, about 20 miles east of Rome." The photograph was taken November 8, 1951.

The P-47 Thunderbolt was a monster of a fighter, the heavies single fighrer oriduced in the War. It not only carries huge p=yload for griund support, but coukd take on the Germn fighters. It wasThe most important plane built by Republic Aircraft in World War II. Test flights began before Pearl Harbor (May 1941). It was was designed as a large, high-performance fighter/bomber, utilizing the powerful large Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine. This massive engine give it noy only excellent performance, but a large load-carrying capability. The P-47 was delivered to the Army Air Corps building up in Britain (June 1942). The P-47 was an excellent aircraft from the beginning, but a series of improvemets added power, maneuverability, and range. The Thunderboldt was not a sleek fighter, it fact it became know as 'the Jug'. The massive engine, hwevr, gave it the caability of taking on the Germn fighters. As the war progressed, the Thunderbolt gained a reputation as a reliable, powerful, and extremely plane. Again and again pilots returned safely after sustaining incredible damage. What the Allies neded in 194 and '43 was an escort fighter with an extended range. This the P-47 was not capable of, although refinemts gradually did extend the range. It was only after D-Day when the P-47 cae int its own. It massive size ad guge engine gave it the abiity to carry an enrmous load of ordinance to support the ground troops. The P-47 thus excelled in the ground-attack role. And after D-Day there was not only ground units to support, but airfields in France meant that the P-47s could be deployed close to the front lines. P-47 pilots strafed and bombed German positions as the Allied grond troops presed ahead toward the Reich. To the dismay of German soldiers, the Luftwaffe which had been a critical component of Blitzkrieg, was no where to be seen. But despite this ground-support role role, the P-47 unlike the German Stuka was capable of taking on the German fighters. The Germans had used the Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers to support their ground troops, but the Stuka was vulnerable to fighters and could only be used in areas where the Germans had air superiority which by 1944 was nowhere. The P-47s were capable of delivering enormous payloads against German ground positions. The P-47's payload was fearsome. A fully loaded P-47 , weighed nearky 8 tons. A when prepared as a fighter-bomber ground-attack role could carry 5-inch rockets or a bomb load of 2,500 pound. It had the ability to carry over half the payload of the B-17 flying fortress on long-range missions. The B-17 of course had a far greater range. And unlike many ground support aircraft, the P-47 could take on fighters which might appear. The plane that wrote the book on ground support was the German Ju-87 Stuka. The Stuka was, however, a flying coffin unless the German had control of the skies. The P-47 was more than capable of confronting German fighters, although this became less and less common as the War progressed after D-Day and the continued destruction of the Luftwaffe. The key to the sucess of the Germany Army at the beginning of the War was mobility. The P-47 played an important role in denying the Germans Army ground mobility. A Canadian reader tells is that one of his friends was the sone of a Lugwaffe ground support mrchnic who emigrated to Canada after the War. Hrembders fascinting conversations. "They were mostly general comments on some repairs that he did wondering how the dmaged plane got back to base. Probably the same feeling of mechanics in most air forces. And the three of us would compare planes and I was almost always 'out gunned'. He did mention that some pilots said they feared going up against the P-47 the most. Because of how hard it was to shoot one down and how destructive those 8 wing guns were. One burst could take off a wing. Of all the talks I had with his dad the one that I remember best is his escape from Tunisia cramped into the back of a Me 109 cockpit. He was captured by British in Germany and I can't remember how long he was a POW. He met his German wife in Germany after he got out. Then in mid 50s emigrated to Canada. He was born in eastern German, but I don't remember what place. They were living in the west when they moved here. I had many of the 'wurst' meals."


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Created: 1:55 PM 10/11/2014
Last updated: 11:53 AM 11/14/2019