Affectionately known as “The Jug,” the P47 Thunderbolt is as big as the American Spirit. Ironically the original concept was born in Russia, and can be seen by its rugged and hearty design. Like a gentle giant, the P47 handles with grace but packs an enormous punch.
When British pilots first saw the P47, it was often mocked due to its size. The light, maneuverable Spitfire’s could get on a P47’s tail with ease in test trials. What they didn’t know at that time was the P47 was different type of fighter, and the battles were to be fought at higher altitude where the air is thin, using high-energy tactics. Both the British and the Germans soon found out, in the right hands, the P47 was lethal.
Down low the P47 lumbers along but up high is where it lives and breathes with its high speed and terrific zoom climbs. A quick burst of the eight browning .50 caliber machine guns is powerful enough to shred a fighter, which was essential for a properly executed “boom and zoom” attack. . Being tasked to protect the B17 and B24 heavy bombers up high, and with their ruggedness and power, the P47 performed it’s job with great capability.
Built around a massive Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine, The “Jug” was tough, powerful, and fast. The Wings of Power P47 captures this beauty of the sound, function, and feel of the real P47 like no other. Like the aircraft, the entire Wings of Power P47 Thunderbolt series is enormous and includes many variants from the Razorback’s to the experimental XP72 prototype.
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt holds a unique honor in the ranks of World War II fighters. This plane was much heavier and bulkier than other fighter planes of its day, outweighing aircraft like the Fw 190 by several thousand pounds. Equipped with a large, powerful radial engine, it looked as tough as it was. Known as the “Jug”, this aircraft was a mainstay of the Allied fighter fleet and, with its eight .50 caliber guns, was capable of shredding ground targets and airborne opponents alike. While it could not turn with Axis fighters such as the Fw 190 and Me 109, it could outdive both of these and had a zoom-climb capability that was amazing. This zoom-climb was used to good advantage; it was said that if a P-47 pilot met an enemy Focke-Wulf at 25,000 feet and wanted to out-climb him to 30,000 feet, the P-47 could dive to 20,000, zoom 30,000, and be waiting for the enemy.
The first “Jugs” were fitted with 2,000 HP engines and framed canopies. Later models such as the D-25 were fitted with bubble canopies and engines of increasing horsepower. The final production version, the P-47N, had an engine which would produce 2,800 HP with water injection. The plane’s increased weight offset the power to some degree, but the plane was still very fast, with a top speed of nearly 470 mph. The additional power and strong airframe allowed a lot of ordnance and fuel to be carried, making the P-47N a very long-range fighter that could carry a lot of damage to the enemy.
In all, 15,683 Thunderbolts were manufactured, more than any fighter produced during war.