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.
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.
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.
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.
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.