The P-47 Republic Thunderbolt was designed by Alexander Seversky and Alexander Kartveli, two Russian engineers, who came to the USA after the October Revolution, and was manufactured by The Republic Aviation Corporation USA.15,700 planes were produced, starting in March, 1942.
The P-47 parked up in a Hanger
The P-47, often referred to as The Jug by its pilots because of its shape, was designed around the Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp 2000 horsepower radial engine, which was the most powerful fighter engine in the USA at the time.
P-47 in flight.
The P-47 engine was also fitted with a powerful turbine super charging unit to get maximum engine torque and with such a powerful combination allowed this plane to out-perform any German fighter even at altitudes of 30,000ft. As a low altitude fighter the plane also did remarkably well, with a good turning circle and fast level flight speed .
P-47 engine with cowling removed
The actual blueprint for the supercharger unit.
Also the P-47 could mete out a lot of damage to its victims due to its heavy duty firepower. (see specifications below) A burst from its heavy caliber machine guns would pulverize any enemy plane in its sights.
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More enemy aircraft were destroyed in aerial combat by the Thunderbolt-equipped Fifty-sixth Fighter Group than any other group in the Eight Air Force. In fact the P-47 shot down over 4000 enemy planes in WWII.
On the down side the P-47 suffered from a poor accelerated rate of climb due to its size, even though it had the worlds most powerful fighter engine, this was made up for however by a fantastic diving ability.
It was a friendly plane to fly and was a popular amongst those who flew her. Reliability and robustness were the planes watchwords. It had the ability to receive a lot of damage to the engine, (being air-cooled) and to the air frame and still continue flying. Most fighters of the day were water-cooled and any hits into the cooling system would cripple the average plane.
Below is a testimonial to this planes toughness by WWII fighter ace R. S. Johnson, who had 27 confirmed kills with the P-47.
One day in late June, 1943, Johnson's Thunderbolt was attacked early in the mission by a Fw 190 and helplessly subjected to its machine gun fire. Somehow, incredibly, the P-47 absorbed this battering from the German guns and made it back. After the injured Johnson had landed his plane at the Manston emergency strip, he surveyed the damage it had taken, and later described the result in his autobiography; Thunderbolt!:By Robert S Johnson.
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Armament..........8 wing mounted .50 caliber Browning machine guns.
note: This is tremendous firepower for a fighter aircraft.
The P-47s machine guns
Onboard Ammunition..........300 rounds per gun.
Rate of fire..........750 rounds per minute.
Muzzle velocity..........2,850 feet per second
Wing span.........40 feet 9 inches
Length..........36 feet 1 inch
Height.......... 14 feet 2 inches
Engine..........18 cylinder Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp R-2800
Maximum speed..........Model C, 419 mph. Model D, 436 mph
Cruise speed..........Model C & D around 275- 285 mph.
Maximum Operating Ceiling..........Model C & D, 40,000- 41,000 feet.
Fuel tank maximum capacity.....Model C, 305 Gallons. Model D, 370 Gallons
Horsepower..........Model C, 2,300hp. Model D, 2,600hp
On my next page you can read about a brave pilot and his P-47 that crashed in 1944.
P-47 wreck discovered...
Page created June 2001. Updated September 29th 2012