Warbird Obsession

It’s an addiction. Admitting you have it is the first step.

(John M. Dibbs / The Plane Picture Co.)


(John M. Dibbs / The Plane Picture Co.)

Called “the Jug” because of its milk bottle shape, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was designed to be a high-altitude interceptor, but became an excellent long-range bomber escort. “The Jug was solid and stable in flight and carried a tremendous load of bombs, gas and guns,” 1st Lieutenant Frank Oiler of the U.S. Army Air Forces told James Busha. “It was a hard-hitting, tight-turning, flying truck. It didn’t climb worth a damn, but it sure could dive. As a matter of fact, it dove like a homesick brick!” According to authors Thomas D. Jones and Robert F. Dorr, the P-47’s “brutish fuselage was married to a pair of graceful, semi-elliptical wings mounted with eight heavy .50-caliber machine guns. It derived its power from a 2,000-horsepower, 18-cylinder, Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine with a turbo-supercharger. With full tanks, ammunition, and two 1,000-pound bombs, later models weighed in at a hefty 19,400 pounds, more than any other single-engine fighter of World War II.”

Some 15,600 Thunderbolts were eventually built. The P-47D pictured is part of the Fighter Collection based in Duxford, UK.

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