P-47 Thunderbolt

#military #aviation #history – The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter was a fast, long-range, sturdy giant, which is only obvious when placed by other fighters. Compare, for instance, the length, wingspan, height, etc., of the P-47D to the Me-109G.  

P-47D: L/W/H: 36’x40.75’x14.7’. Max weight: 17.5K lbs. 2,600 hp. 433 mph. 800 m combat range.

Me-109G: L/W/H: 29.3’x32.6’x8.5’. Max weight: 7.5K lbs. 1,455 hp. 400 mph. 355 m combat range.

I love the power of this aircraft.  Not a great beauty, not terribly beautiful, and yet extremely capable in a variety of roles, able to dish out and absorb tremendous punishment and also blessed with a tremendous range.  It was an all-around excellent performer that's been overshadowed by the P-51 Mustang.  

The founder of Seversky Aircraft Corporation (later renamed Republic) Alexander P. de Seversky and its head of design Alexander Kartveli were both Russian immigrants to the US. Both were born in Tbilisi, Georgia and were connected to Bleriot – Seversky flying one and later Kartveli designing one that set a world speed record. Severski was Russia’s top World War I naval ace. He came to the US in 1918 and was received the first patent in air-to-air refueling and the first gyroscopically stabilized bombsight. The two first met in the 1930s and Kartveli went to work for Severski. Kartveli’s most famous designs include the P-36, P-47 Thunderbolt, F-84 Thunderstreak and F-105 Thunderchief.

To learn more about the P-47's Russian-born designer Alexander Kartveli, see this site's F-84 Thunderjet and F-84 Thunderstreak page.  He designed both and many other great aircraft.  The top (silver) aircraft is at Udvar Hazy.  The olive drag ship is at Le Bourget and has Lafayette Escadrille markings.

Also for comparison, note the late-war Japanese Kawanishi N1K "George" fighter in back of the P-47 in a couple of these photos. She's a beauty and by Japanese standards, she's also very large just as the P-47 was large. But the P-47 is much bigger. http://www.peachmountain.com/airplanes/Kawanishi-N1K-George.html

Jim Golden flew P-47 Thunderbolts and later P-51 Mustangs. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Eighth Air Force flew 1,873 sorties. Jim Golden was the last Allied pilot shot down that day. He loved both, but was a bit partial to the P-47 and became President of the P-47 group that got the P-47 Thunderbolt displayed at Udvar-Hazy. His story of combat and capture is in my non-fiction book, POW Stories. http://www.usaww1.com/History-of-the-United-States-Air-Service.php5#POW.