P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

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Kyler
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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby Kyler » Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:02 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:For many years I knew a person that flew P-51's in combat in the ETO. He told me once that he originally hoped to get assigned to Jugs. He said his desire to fly Jugs was extreme as he thought them the ultimate at the time, plus it was considered "life insurance" among the young pilots. He finished up his advanced training in P-40's in Florida and then transfered to NY state to check out in both the P-47 and the P-38. He was assigned to a P-38 Group in the 8th and was very dissapointed about not getting assigned to a P-47 Group. After crossing the pond, his Group was changing from P-38's to P-51's. He told me that he very quickly got over his dissapointment about missing out on flying Jugs. He remained a strong P-51 devote for the rest of his life. When ever I would bring up any other fighter planes, and he eventually flew most of them, he would look at me and say "your joking right?"


From my experience talking to USAAF pilots, they all were pretty particular about the aircraft they flew during the war. A pilot who flew mostly P-51's or P-47's will often state that they wouldn't fly anything else.

A friend of my family was an instructor pilot for the WASP program. He flew nearly every plane you could think during the war. He always liked the P-47 the most of the all fighters, knocked the P-51 a bit but I think thats cause he had a problem with Chuck Yeager. His favorite airplane was a little trainer aircraft, that he said was great to just fly around in. Though he wasn't a combat pilot so he was just talking about having fun and general flying abilities of different aircraft.
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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby tommy303 » Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:06 pm

Kyler, even Yaeger said that he would have preferred a P47 for ground attack had he been offered one.

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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby Byron Angel » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:12 pm

Kyler wrote: A friend of my family was an instructor pilot for the WASP program.



..... Many years ago I worked with a WASP pilot who had ferried P51's from the US to the UK via Greenland and Iceland. Very classy lady. IMHO, they are among the unsung hero(ine)s of the war. Something tells me there is a great story to be told about their service as well.


Byron

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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby Kyler » Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:21 pm

tommy303 wrote:Kyler, even Yaeger said that he would have preferred a P47 for ground attack had he been offered one.


No doubt, your right

My friend's problem with Chuck Yeager had more to do with personal reasons due to an encounter they had with each other during the war not the quality of Chuck's piloting ability.
"It was a perfect attack, Right Height, Right Range, Right cloud cover, Right speed,
Wrong f@%king ship!" Commander Stewart-Moore (HMS Ark Royal)

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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby yellowtail3 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:54 am

tommy303 wrote:Kyler, even Yaeger said that he would have preferred a P47 for ground attack had he been offered one.


Well, Chuck would be making a good point there.

P-47... I think it's odd the P-47 gets thought of as a ground support aircraft. As you know... it was really a high-altitude air superiority fighter, that is where it was better than anything else; it did ground support because it was available, and relatively tough. I think that a Grumman F6F or an F4U would have been as good or better than T-bolt for ground work, and at lower cost.
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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby Kyler » Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:47 am

yellowtail3 wrote:
tommy303 wrote:Kyler, even Yaeger said that he would have preferred a P47 for ground attack had he been offered one.


Well, Chuck would be making a good point there.

P-47... I think it's odd the P-47 gets thought of as a ground support aircraft. As you know... it was really a high-altitude air superiority fighter, that is where it was better than anything else; it did ground support because it was available, and relatively tough. I think that a Grumman F6F or an F4U would have been as good or better than T-bolt for ground work, and at lower cost.


That maybe true of the F6 or F4U but they are USN aircraft, so were not included in this comparison
"It was a perfect attack, Right Height, Right Range, Right cloud cover, Right speed,
Wrong f@%king ship!" Commander Stewart-Moore (HMS Ark Royal)

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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby alecsandros » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:56 am

I think the P-47 did ok in air battles, adn very well as a ground-attack plane. His most important advantages compared to other US aircraft (P-38, P-51, F4U, F6F) was it's diving speed (up to 880km/h), firepower (8x12.7mm M2 + bombs/rockets) and very good resistance against light arms fire. That's why I think It was in many aspects similar to the Hawker Typhoon...

As for the current debate "best pursuit aircraft", I'd argue that in terms of technological capabilities, the P-51D+ was the better chaser, but in terms of historical importance over the (aerial) battlefield, the P-47 takes the lead.

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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby chcrawfish » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:29 am

A longtime neighbor of my family's flew the A-36 version of the Mustang and transitioned to the P-47. He definitely preferred the Jug. Most of his missions were interdiction, not air-to-air.
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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby tommy303 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:47 pm

My cousin flew Spitfires in 1939-1943, including the high altitude recon version until an inner ear infection limited him to lower altitudes. After that he transitioned to the A36 which he liked as a ground attack aircraft; however he said it was a widow-maker if you tried to mix it up with enemy fighters above its best altitudes. He did like the Merlin engined P-51 tremendously though.

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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby yellowtail3 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:57 am

I like the P-47. It was expensive, but it was a wonderful hi altitudfighter - was anything better at that time up high? - with great firepower. I think the P-47N would have been an interesting matchup against late model FWs, had the mustang not been around to do the long distance job. My money would be on the magnificent -47N... .
Last edited by yellowtail3 on Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:11 am

I think the P-47N would have been an interesting matchup against late model FWs, had the mustang not been around to do the long distance job. My money would be on the magnificent -47N... .


Georg Peter Eder shot down 10 P 47s in his FW 190
Kurt Buhlingen shot down 9 P47
Heinz Bar shot down 10 P47
Anton Hakl shot down 6 P47
Walter Dahl shot down 2 P47
Egon Meyer shot down 12 P47
Heinrich Bartels shot down 9 P47
Siegfried Lemke shot down 8 P47
Rolf Gunther Hemichen shot down 3 P47
Hans Ehlers shot down 3 P47

And so on, I got tired to copy the names and tallies but there are many more. It's likely that at least those P 47 drivers would not share such optimistic and expert opinion.
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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:20 am

I discovered that one great group of US air aces (5 kills or more) fought not in Europe but in the Pacific. Many of them got killed.
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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:20 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:I discovered that one great group of US air aces (5 kills or more) fought not in Europe but in the Pacific. Many of them got killed.

:ok:

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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby yellowtail3 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:15 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:I discovered that one great group of US air aces (5 kills or more) fought not in Europe but in the Pacific. Many of them got killed.

What is the bearing on the subject of the P-47?

Don't know which one great group that was, but US aces weren't any more immune to casualties that aces. They flew tough aircraft, so had better chance of survival in dire circumstances than did Japanese top guns flying relatively flimsy aircraft.
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Re: P-47 Thunderbolt: The USAAF's Best Pursuit Aircraft

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:21 pm

:pray:
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