P-47 Thunderbolt

Rugged, reliable and powerful, the P-47 Thunderbolt not only was a monster of a machine (being the tallest and heavier single seat Allied fighter), it was the most numerous US fighter of World War 2 – more than 15,700 P47 units were produced in the United States. The P-47 was a flying paradox. Designed by ALexander Kartvelli, it was originally created as a light weight inline engine fighter. However, experiences in Europe indicated that fighter airplanes had to be better armoured and better armed, and give better performance at high altitudes.

With this in mind Kartvellie literally went back to the drawing board and completely redesigned the P47 around the most powerful engine available, the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp air cooled radial. Flight testing showed that the new fighter, in addition to being big and heavy, was also fast and manoeuvrable, reaching speeds in excess of 400 mph and climbing at a rate of 3,000 ft per minute, both astounding feats in an aircraft that had a take-off weight of well over 5 tons.

With its eight machine guns, the P-47 had a considerable firepower that could reduce an enemy fighter in pieces in a matter of seconds. Besides, with its high payload capacity, it was just as great a threat to ground forces. Tanks, in particular. Exceptional diving capabilities gave the P-47 a serious advantage over fighters flying on a lower level, since they couldn’t escape in a dive, and allowed the Thunderbolt to destroy several ground targets, among which many armoured trains.


Type: Fighter
Powerplant: One Pratt & Whitney R-2800-77
Max speed: 467 mph (762 km/hr)
Ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,105 m)
Range: 800  miles (1297 km)
Weight (empty): 11,000 lbs (4990 kg)
Max. T/O: 20,700 lbs (9389 kg)
Wingspan: 42′  7″ (12.98 m)
Length: 36′ 1″ (11.0 m)
Height: 14′ 7″ (4.44 m)
Armament: Eight.50 cal machine guns
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4 thoughts on “P-47 Thunderbolt

  1. Ty Boshae

    I just wanted to thank you for all the info on the p-47. My grandfather flew a Thunderbolt in ww2. He was shot down over Italy and has an amazing capture, escape, and survival story. His stories about his plane and adventures in it are my favorite memories of him. Anyway, thank you for keeping this great piece of history alive.


  2. Dgparker

    My father flew with the 510th in Europe.
    He flew 101 missions mostly as ground support from 3-1944 to 3-1945. He was shot down seven times, always getting back behind our lines and never bailing out. The Jug was was a tough machine and dad said the government guaranteed the planes against all perils
    Because if one was damaged beyond repair they would just give him a new one.

  3. Joe McKee

    I saw a tail number on a P-47 in a carrier going to the Pacific campaign and wondered
    where it was assigned. The number 489572 and it looked like all of them had
    4 blades props.


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