Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (late models from D-25)
Type: US fighter-bomber and long-range escort fighter.
Table of Contents
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 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 Thunderbolt||Specifications|
|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 Thunderbolt||specification|
|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|
|Republic P-47 D-25 Thunderbolt||figures|
|XP47-K prototype with transparent teardrop canopy||July 1943|
|Service delivery P-47D-25||spring/summer 1944|
|Final delivery P-47N||December 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)
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)