Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

The P-47 was (and still is) the largest single-engine piston-engine fighter ever produced. Although it was ill-suited to engage nimble fighters in aerial combat, its firepower and ruggedness made it perfect for ground attack. The P-47 and its British counterpart, the Hawker Typhoon, made close air support possible.

Zemke's Moy Tovarich

1. Colonel Hubert “Hub” Zemke’s P-47C-5-RE, named “Moy Tovarich” (Russian for my comrade). Zemke taught Soviet pilots how to fly the Lend-Lease P-40 Tomahawk in 1941, before being assigned as CO of the 56th FG – the first group to fly the P-47. Zemke scored his first three kills in this aircraft.

Zemke's Moy Tovarich - detail

US, P-47D-5-RE, 42-8487, Spirit of Atlantic City NJ, Capt. Walker Mahurin, 63rd FS, 56th FG

2. This is Walker “Bud” Mahurin’s P-47D-5-RE, named “Spirit of Atlantic City, NJ”. This was a War Bond presentation aircraft in which Mahurin scored most of his 20.75 victories in World War II and in which he was shot down on 27 March 1944. It is interesting to note that the aircraft was modified with a different type of rearview mirror above the cockpit, as well as another one mounted on the fuselage side, just below the windscreen.

US, P-47C-5-RE, 41-6343, Little Cookie, Capt Walter Cook, 62 FS, 56 FG

3. P-47C-5-RE assigned to flight commander Walter Cook in March 1943, who would end the war with 6 victories. With this aircraft, Cook shot down the first e/a credited (a Fw 190) to the 56th FG on 12 June 1943. Major David Schilling (Deputy CO of the 56th FG) also claimed his first two victories with this aircraft on 2 October 1943. This aircraft later received the name “The Sad Sack” and corresponding nose art on the port side. On 20 October 1943, Capt. Cook ground-looped the aircraft at Halesworth, and it was subsequently transferred out of the group.

US, P-47D-16-RE, 42-76076, Touch of Texas,  Capt. Charles Mohrle, 510 FS, 405 FG

4. This P-47D-16-RE was assigned to Capt. Charles Mohrle of the 510th FS, 405th FG, who adorned his mount a superb example of nose art.

US, P-47D-16-RE, 42-76076, Touch of Texas,  Capt. Charles Mohrle, 510 FS, 405 FG - nose art

4 thoughts on “Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

  1. “lthough it was ill-suited to engage nimble fighters in aerial combat”

    Err… Not sure where you got your *facts* but you need to read up on WW2 Aerial Combat in the ETO. The P-47s actually broke the Luftwaffe, not the P-51B/C/Ds….
    You did not have to be nimble if you had speed, high alt performance and good dive characteristics.

    it is getting old copy-pasting old lies…

    1. ” Not sure where you got your *facts* ”

      Mostly from WW2 fighter pilots. From the German pilots, who thought the P-51 was a more dangerous opponent than the P-47. From the P-47 pilots, who struggled to devise proper air tactics combat to maximize the strengths of the Thunderbolt while minimizing its weaknesses. Hubert Zemke has some very interesting things to say about this.

      Also from the pilots and staff of the 8th and 9th Air Forces, who quickly decided that the P-51 was the better air superiority fighter and the P-47 was the best ground attack aircraft, and used the aircraft accordingly. If the pilots of the time thought that the P-47 was better to defeat the Luftwaffe, why were almost all 8th AF fighter units converted to the P-51 while the ground attack units of the 9th AF given mostly the P-47? Were the American pilots and staff too stupid to chose the best aircraft for each role?

      The P-51 had speed, and it had high altitude performance. Its dive characteristics were decent, but this is not particularly useful when in an escort role as you are more or less tied to the bombers.

      I’m not saying that the P-47 was a bad aircraft. It was an extraordinary aircraft in many respects. But in an escort fighter role, or an air superiority role, the P-51 was clearly better. Ill-suited simply means that escort and air superiority were not its strongest points and that it was better used in other roles.

      That being said, you are entitled to your opinion on the subject, and even to calling differing opinions “old lies”.

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