P-47D Thunderbolt

Late models of the long-range escort fighter and fighter-bomber Thunderbolt (beginning with P-47D-25).
History, development, service, specifications, statistics, pictures and 3D model.

P-47N Thunderbolt
The ultimate P47 Thunderbolt was the P-47N, designed for the Pacific theater. The need here was extreme range, and the fuselage and 2,800 hp engine of the dot-rod P-47M, designed to catch flying bombs, was married to a new long-spang wing which raised total fuel capacity to 954 gallons (ca. 3,611 l), and carried zero-length launchers.

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (late models from D-25)
US fighter-bomber and long-range escort fighter.


P-47D Thunderbolt
The 201st Mexican Fighter Squadron assembles in front of a P-47 Thunderbolt on Porac strip, Clark Field, Luzon.
Production of the P-47 Thunderbolt really hit its stride with the P-47D, the most numerous variant. The P-47D’s engine gave more power at high altitude, and this version could carry a heavier bomb load. These Thunderbolts were built in several production batches and with a host of sub-designations. Beginning with the P-47D-25, they incorporated a modification which had been introduced by the P-51 Mustang: a transparent teardrop canopy that gave the pilot 360° visibility.
The value of the P-47 Thunderbolt was dramatically increased when they began to carry drop tanks and fly all the way to the target. The same capability turned the big and formidable fighter into a much­ feared bomber and, with devastating firepower, vast numbers of P-47Ds strafed and bombed throughout the European and Pacific theaters until the end of WW2.
Republic’s output of D models (12,602) is the largest total of one sub-type of any fighter in history, total production of the “Jug” amounting to 15,660.

The P-47D was the first to go to the Pacific with USAAF units, and was the first Thunderbolt to be supplied to the Soviet Union, Great Britain, Brazil, Mexico and Free French units.

The lightweight M was too late for its role of chasing flying bombs but scored successes against the Me 262 and Ar 234 jets.

The final version, which came too late for extensive employment in the war, was the P-47N. It was designed expressly for the war in the Pacific, and just over 1,800 were built. It had more powerful armament, updated engine and greater range.
The last P-47s were delivered in December 1945. After WW2 the ‘Jug’ was popular with many air forces until well into the 1950s.

Animated 3D model of P-47 Thunderbolt late model with transparent teardrop canopy

Specifications for Republic P-47 D-25 Thunderbolt


Republic P-47 D-25 ThunderboltSpecifications
Power plant one Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59 Double Wasp 18-cylinder two-row radial engine with 2,300 hp
Wing span 40 ft 9.5 in
Length overall 36 ft 2 in
Height overall 14 ft 2 in
Weight empty 10,700 lb
Weight loaded 19,400 lb
Maximum speed 428 mph
Initial climb 2,800 ft/min.
Service ceiling 42,000 ft
Range 475 miles (with drop tanks 1,900 miles)


Republic P-47 D-25 Thunderboltspecification
in the wings Eight 0.50in Colt-Browning M2 machine guns [800 rpm; velocity 2,810 f/s] each with 267, 350 or 425 rounds
external load three to five racks for tanks, bombs or rockets to maximum of 2,500 lb

Service statistics:

Republic P-47 D-25 Thunderboltfigures
XP47-K prototype with transparent teardrop canopyJuly 1943
Service delivery P-47D-25 spring/summer 1944
Final delivery P-47NDecember 1945
Production figures 12,602 P-47D, 1,800 P-47N; Total: 15,683 (from these 195 to Russia)
No. of Sorties in Europe 43-45 (for all P-47) 423,435 (record)
Bomb Tonnage in Europe 43-45 113,963 t (record for fighter-bombers)
US Lost in Combat in Europe 43-45 3,077
Enemies claimed Destroyed in air, Europe 43-45 3,082
Enemies claimed Destroyed on ground, Europe 43-45 3,202

References and literature

The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II (Chris Bishop)
Combat Aircraft of World War II (Bill Gunston)
Technik und Einsatz der Kampfflugzeuge vom 1. Weltkrieg bis heute (Ian Parsons)
Das große Buch der Luftkämpfe (Ian Parsons)
Luftkrieg (Piekalkiewicz)
Flugzeuge des 2. Weltkrieges (Andrew Kershaw)
World Aircraft World War II (Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi)
Kampfflugzeuge (Bill Gunston)
Walk Around – P-47 Thunderbolt (Lou Drendler)

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1 thought on “P-47D Thunderbolt”

  1. I would have bet a $100 the p47 never saw pacific duty. In all all my readings, never saw this mentioned until a show on the Smithsonian Channel. wonder why it was kept such a secret???

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