The brain child of Alexander Kartveli and Alexander P. de Seversky - two Russian immigrants who had escaped to America during the Bolshevik Revolution, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt weighing in at almost 8 tons was one of the largest and heaviest fighters of WWII.
The P-47 was designed around the same Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine that powered both the Grumman Hellcat and the F4U Corsair and was primarily used as a short to medium range high-altitude bomber escort and ground attack aircraft in both the European and Pacific theatres.
The first impression of its new pilots, previously used to the compact confines of the Supermarine Spitfire and P-40 Warhawk, was its enormous size with a cockpit many joked you could run about in to escape enemy bullets.
The massive cowling wrapped around the turbo charged Pratt & Whiney engines soon earned it the nickname of the ‘Jug’ (because its profile was similar to that of a common milk jug of the time).
Arriving in England at the end of 1942 it was first allocated to two of the most experienced squadrons who had been flying the Spitfire and P-38 Lockheed Lightings with the first combat mission taking place in March of 1943 when the 4th Fighter Group flew a sweep mission over France. A few weeks later it scored its first air victory over a Focke-Wulf Fw 190.
By mid-1943, the Jug was also in service with the 12th Air Force in Italy and against the Japanese in the Pacific and the 348th Fighter Group flying missions out of Port Moresby, New Guinea. By 1944, the Thunderbolt was in combat with the USAAF in all its operational theatres except Alaska.
Although the North American P-51 Mustang replaced the P-47 in the long-range escort role in Europe, the Thunderbolt still ended the war with 3,752 air-to-air kills claimed in over 746,000 sorties of all types, at the cost of 3,499 P-47s to all causes in combat.
In its role as a ground attack fighter it excelled and became the USAAF’s most successful fighter/bomber carrying 500lb of bombs and 8 4.5 High Velocity Rockets under its wings From D-Day until VE day, Thunderbolt pilots claimed to have destroyed 86,000 railroad cars, 9,000 locomotives, 6,000 armoured fighting vehicles, and 68,000 trucks.
At the close of hostilities over 15600 P-47s had rolled of the assembly line at a per aircraft cost of 83,000 US per unit (1942)
All P-47 Thunderbolt Instruments listed below come complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.
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