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United States' Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter, Nicknames: Razorback, T-Bolt, Jug

Photos

  • Replublic XP-47N prototype
  • Replublic XP-47N prototype
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter

Design

The Republic P-47 was designed by Alexander Kartveli. He drew the basic design on the back of an envelope at a meeting in 1940. Republic designated it the AP-10. The design was supposed to meet a requirement for a light weight fighter. It was rejected by the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) as not being powerful enough. The two designs that were built as a result (XP-47 and XP-47A) were both underpowered. Kartveli decided on using the most powerful engine then available, the 2,000 HP Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp. This design was shown to the USAAC in June 1940 and became the XP-47B.

The P-47 was three times the weight of early Spitfires. The P-47 was also nearly twice the weight of a Mustang. A fully loaded P-47N was heavier than a Dornier Do 17 bomber.

Engine

The Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine was the most powerful engine in a single engine fighter in World War II. With turbo charger it could deliver 2,535 HP. The P-47s turbo charger was located in the rear fuselage. On August 5, 1944 a specially prepared P-47 Thunderbolt achieved a World War II speed record of 504 mph / 811 kph.

Propeller

The propeller was a massive 12' / 3.71 m across.

Cockpit

Eventually the P-47 had a bubble canopy which greatly enhanced visibility for the pilot.

P-47C

The P-47C was made longer to improve maneuverability.

A drop tank with 200 gallons / 909 liters could be installed under the fuselage.

P-47M

To combat the German V-1 rockets that were being fired at Britain, three P-47Ds were converted to have a Pratt & Whitney R-2800-57C Double Wasp engine. These were designated the YP-47M. The engines were water injected and had a bigger super charger.

P-47N

The Republic P-47N was to be a long range fighter to be used in the expanses of the Pacific.

It was similar to the P-47M but it had strong squared off wings and undercarriage. Wings were made wider (11") to carry more fuel (93 gallons). A dorsal fin extension was also added.

  • Speed and Range Compirison

 

Prototype

An order for two prototypes (XP-47 and XP-47A) was placed in November 1939.

The XP-47B first flew on May 6, 1941.

The XP-47J first flew in November 1943.

The XP-47N first flew in September 1944.

P-47C

The first P-47C flew in September 1942.

P-47D

The wings had hard points to allow for ordnance and drop tanks to be carried.

Internal fuel carrying capacity was increased.

Production

By May 1941 orders for 773 P-47s had been placed worth $56.5 million.

Production was cancelled at the end of the war with 5,934 orders still on the books.

P-47D

P-47D deliveries started in early 1943.

80% of the P-47s produced were the D model.

The P-47Ds were produced in Farmingdale, New York and Evansville, Indiana plants. The P-47G was identical to the P-47D but was constructed by Curtiss-Wright.

  • Republic XP-47B: 1
  • Republic XP-47E: 1
  • Republic XP-47J: 1
  • Republic P-47B: 170, 171
  • Republic P-47C: 602
    • Manufacturer: Republic Aviation Corporation
  • Republic P-47D: 12,602
    • Manufacturer: Republic Aviation Corporation
  • Republic P-47G: 354
    • Manufacturer: Curtiss-Wright Corporation
  • Republic P-47M: 130
  • Republic P-47N: 1,800, 1,816
  • Total: 15,675, 15,683
    • Manufacturer: Republic Aviation Corporation , Curtiss-Wright Corporation
    • Manufacturing locations:
      • Republic Aviation: Farmingdale, New York; Evansville, Indiana;
      • Curtiss-Wright Corporation: Buffalo, New York
    • Production: ? - December 1945
  • Production Comparison

Variants

  • Republic XP-47: Prototype. Had Allison V-1710 V 12 engine (liquid cooled).
  • Republic XP-47A: Prototype. Weight of 6,400 lb / 2,903 kg. Had Allison liquid cooled engine.
  • Republic XP-47B: Prototype. Used a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp turbo charged engine (2,000 HP).
  • Republic XP-47E: Prototype. Converted from P-47B. Had pressurized cockpit.
  • Republic XP-47F: Prototype. Converted from P-47B. Had laminar flow wings.
  • Republic XP-47G: Prototype. Two seat trainer.
  • Republic XP-47H: Prototype. Had Chrysler XIV-2220 V 16 engine (2,300 HP). Two P-47D-15 airframes were connected together. Could go 490 mph.
  • Republic XP-47J: Prototype. Had fan cooled, water injected, Pratt & Whitney R-2800-57C engine (war emergency 2,800 HP). Was able to do 505 mph / 813 kph in level flight.
  • Republic XP-47L: Prototype. Internal fuel increased.
  • Republic XP-47N: Prototype of the P-47N.
  • Republic YP-47M: Prototype. Three converted P-47Ds. Had Pratt & Whitney R-2800-57C engine installed. Was supposed to combat German V-1 rockets.
  • Republic P-47B / Thunderbolt Mk I: Speed of 429 mph / 691 kph.
  • Republic P-47C: Longer fuselage. Had under fuselage drop tank.
  • Republic P-47D / Thunderbolt Mk II: Water injection booster. Rear fuselage was cut down and the canopy was bubble shaped.
  • Republic P-47D-22: Large diameter propeller.
  • Republic P-47D-25: Rear deck reduced and bubble canopy installed. Increased fuel capacity.
  • Republic P-47D-27: Directional stability increased.
  • Republic P-47D-30: Mounts under wings for 10 HVAR rockets.
  • Republic P-47K: First test flown in July 1943 using a Hawker Typhoon canopy.
  • Republic P-47G: Identical to P-47D, but produced by Curtiss-Wright.
  • Republic P-47M: Was designed to take down the V-1 rockets. Had better turbo charger. Could fly 473 mph / 762 kph. Entered service in late 1944.
  • Republic P-47N: Long range version. Wings were increased in size and blunt tipped. It was to escort B-29s.

Usage

Between March 1943 and August 1945 the P-47s flew over 500,000 / 546,000 combat sorties. The loss per sortie was under 0.7%.

The P-47 was used by the Americans, Brazilians, British, French, Mexicans, and Russians.

Many pilots thought the P-47Bs were not maneuverable and didn't climb well. They did however, like that it could survive heavy damage.

First Units in England

The 56th and 78th Fighter Groups took their P-47s to England in January 1943. They first escorted B-17s on April 8, 1943.

Burma

There were 16 Royal Air Force (RAF) squadrons in Burma equipped with the P-47.

After World War II

The Army changed them to be called the F-47.

Many Central and South American countries used the P-47s after World War II.

Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Iran, Italy, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Turkey, Venezuela

P-47B

The United States used the P-47B.

P-47Bs started entering service in the last half of 1942.

P-47C

The P-47C was used by the United States.

P-47Cs were first assigned to the Eighth Air Force in July 1943.

P-47D

The P-47D was used by:

  • Britain: 830
    • Thunderbolt I ("Razorbacks"): 240
    • Thunderbolt II (late models): 490
    • Used primarily in South-East Asia starting in September 1944.
  • Brazil: 50, 88
    • Units operated in Italy and the Philippines.
  • France: 446
    • Used from Corsica and southern France
  • Mexico: 25
    • Units operated in Italy and the Philippines. 201st Fighter Squadron.
  • Soviet Union: 196, 203
    • Delivered by the Alaska Siberia route.
  • United States

The P-47Ds used in Europe were more and more used as fighter bomber than escort fighters.

Arrival in Australia

In mid-1943 the 5th Air Force began to be equipped with P-47Ds.

7th Air Force

The 7th Air Force, on Saipan, started using the P-47Ds in late 1944. In the Spring of 1945 some of these units later moved to Iwo Jima and Le Shima.

P-47M

The P-47M was used by the United States.

Originally intended to intercept V-1s, the P-47Ms were produced too late. These were later based in Europe and had some success against the Me 262 and Ar 234 jet aircraft.

P-47N

The P-47N was used by the United States.

The P-47N was only used in the Pacific against the Japanese. They attacked targets in China, Korea, and Japan. P-47Ns also escorted B-29 Superfortresses from Saipan over Japan.

20th Air Force

In the Spring of 1945 the 20th Air Force used three groups of P-47Ns.

Specifications

  P-47 Thunderbolt
Type Fighter
Engine (Type) 1: Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp
Cylinders Radial
Cooling Air
HP 2,000
Propeller blades 4
Dimensions  
Span 41'
Length 32' 8"
Height 13'
Weight  
Loaded 13,000 lb
Performance  
Speed 400 mph
  P-47B Thunderbolt
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-21 Double Wasp
Cylinders Radial 18
HP 2,000
Propeller blades 4
Dimensions  
Span 40' 9.25"
12.43 m
Length 35'
10.67 m
Height 12' 8"
3.86 m
Weight  
Empty 9,346 lb
4,239 kg
Loaded 13,360 lb
6,060 kg
Armament  
Wings 8: 0.5" MG
  P-47C Thunderbolt
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-21 Double Wasp
Later models Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59
Cylinders Radial 18
Cooling Air
HP 21: 2,000
59: 2,300
Propeller blades 4
Dimensions  
Span 40' 9"
Length 36' 1", 36' 1.75"
11.02 m
Height 14' 2"
4.32 m
Weight  
Empty 9,900 lb
4,490 kg
Loaded 14,925 lb
6,770 kg
Performance  
Speed at 5,000' / 1,524 m 353 mph
568 kph
Speed at 30,000' / 9,144 m 433 mph
697 kph
Cruising speed 231 mph
372 kph
Climb 2,790'/minute
847 m/minute
Climb to 20,000' / 6,096 m 11 minutes
Service ceiling 42,000'
12,800 m
Range 550 miles
Range - with drop tanks 1,250 miles
2,011 km
Armament 8: MG
Wings 8: 0.5" MG
Bombs 500 lb
227 kg
  P-47D Thunderbolt
Type Fighter, Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59 Double Wasp,
Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59/63 Double Wasp
Cylinders 59: Radial 18
59/63: Radial 18
Cooling Air
HP 59: 2,000, 2,535
59/63: 2,300
War emergency HP 59/63: 2,535
Propeller blades 4, 4 controllable constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 40' 9", 40' 9.25"
12.42 m, 12.43 m
Length 34' 10", 36' 1", 36' 1.75", 36' 2"
11.02 m
Height 14' 2"
4.3 m, 4.32 m
Wing area 300 ft2
27.87 m2
Weight  
Empty 10,000 lb, 10,660 lb, 10,700 lb
4,536 kg, 4,853 kg
Loaded 17,500 lb, 19,400 lb
7,938 kg
Loaded - later versions 20,700 lb
9,300 kg
Maximum load 17,500 - 19,400 lb
7,938 - 8,800 kg
Performance  
Speed 430 mph
697 kph
Speed at 5,000' / 1,524 m 363 mph
584 kph
Speed at 30,000' / 9,144 m 428 mph
688 kph
Cruising speed 195 mph, 300 mph
314 kph
Climb 3,120'/minute
950 m/minute
Climb to 20,000' / 6,096 m 9 minutes
Service ceiling 42,000'
12,800 m, 13,000 m
Range 475 miles
764 km
Range - loaded 475 miles
Range - max 1,700 miles
Range - with drop tanks 1,800 miles, 1,860 miles
2,897 km, 3,000 km
Armament 8: MG
Wings 8: 0.5" MG
8: .50 cal MG
8: 12.7 mm Browning MG
267 to 500 rounds each
External load - bombs,
napalm, rockets (8)
2,500 lb
1,134 kg
Bombs 2: 1,000 lb OR 3: 500 lb
2,000 lb, 2,500 lb
1,134 kg
OR  
Rockets 10: 5"
10: 12.7 cm
  P-47D-25, Thunderbolt Mk II
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59 piston
Cylinders Radial
HP 2,300
Dimensions  
Span 40' 9.5"
12.43 m
Length 36' 1.75"
11.01 m
Height 14' 2"
4.32 m
Wing area 300 ft2
27.87 m2
Weight  
Empty 10,000 lb
4,536 kg
Loaded 19,400 lb
8,800 kg
Performance  
Speed at 30,000' / 9,145 m 428 mph
689 kph
Climb to 20,000' / 6,095 m 9 minutes
Service ceiling 42,000'
12,800 m
Range 1,260 miles
2,028 km
Armament  
Wings 8: 12.7 mm MG
Bombs 2: 1,000 lb
2: 454 kg
  P-47M Thunderbolt
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-57C Double Wasp
OR Pratt & Whitney R-2800-77 Double Wasp
Cylinders Radial 18
HP 57C: 2,800
77: 2,800
Propeller blades 4
Performance  
Speed at 32,000' 470 mph
Armament  
Wings 8: 0.5" MG
Bombs 2: 1,000 lb
2: 454 kg
OR 3: 500 lb
3: 227 kg
OR  
Rockets 10: 5"
10: 12.7 cm
  P-47N Thunderbolt
Type Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Dimensions  
Span 42' 7"
12.98 m
Length 36' 1"
11 m
Height 14' 8"
4.47 m
Weight  
Empty 11,170 lb
5,067 kg
Loaded 20,700 lb
9,390 kg
Performance  
Speed at 10,000' / 3,048 m 397 mph
639 kph
Speed at 32,500' / 9,960 m 467 mph
751 kph
Climb 2,770'/minute
844 m/minute
Climb to 25,000' / 7,630 m 14.2 minutes
Service ceiling 43,000'
13,106 m
Range 800 miles
1,287 km
Range - with drop tanks 2,350 miles
3,782 km

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, General Editor Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  5. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  6. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  7. American Attack Aircraft Since 1926, E. R. Johnson, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site