Reason why the P-47 was a better pursuit aircraft.
• had 8 Browning .50 caliber machine guns, while the comparable P-51 had 6 Browning’s, and the P-38 had 4 Browning’s and 1 20mm cannon. A single 1 second burst from all 8 guns would destroy any Axis fighter.
• carried 2,500lbs of rockets & bombs, while the P-51 carried only 2,000lbs, but the P-38 could carry 5,000lbs of bomb & rockets.
• used an air cooled double radial engine which could stand much more combat damage, than the liquid cooled engines of the P-51 & P-38.
• the turbo-supercharger tubing ran under the aircraft providing cushion for pilots in a crash landing, while the P-51’s radiator ran under the aircraft and often caused it to flip on to the cockpit in a crash.
• The P-47 landing gear was wide and high allowing it to operate from less prepared airfields than the P-51 and was less prone to taxi flip overs.
• was an over constructed aircraft and was able to take much combat damage than the P-38 & P-51.
• being the heaviest single engine fighter of the war could out dive any fighter aircraft, this was used to great advantage by pilots in combat.
• only required 7.7lbs of force for control stick movement while the P-51 required 20lbs, making it a much easier aircraft to fly. (If someone has this P-38 data please post information)
• are accredited in shooting down over 6,000 Axis aircraft during the war (2nd Most of any American Fighter), the P-51 is accredited with over 6,200 (The Most of Any American Fighter).
• combat loss percentage in the European Theater of Operations was .7% while the P-51 was 1.1% and the P-38 1.3% (based on number of sorties)
Important P-47 Information
• They destroyed over 8,000 aircraft on the ground, 9,000 locomotives, 6,000 tanks & armored vehicles, 68,000 vehicles, and 86,000 rolling stock. They only comparable number I could find for either the P-51 or P-38 is the P-51 destroyed over 4,000 aircraft on the ground during the war.
• With Exception of USAAF’s top P-38 pilots in the Pacific the nearly all of the rest of the USAAF’s top 20 aces were P-47 pilots or few the P-47 at some point during the war.
• More P-47’s were made than any other pursuit aircraft and with the exception of the B-24 Liberator all other aircraft in the U.S. during the 2nd World War.
• 56th Fighter Group kept their P-47’s after been told to switch to P-51’s. They ended up being the 2nd fighter group in USAAF in Europe with the most aces, and the 2nd highest scoring fighter group with the most kills over all.
• With the huge R28-2000 & later R28-2800 the engine consumed fuel at a horrendous rate. Initial P-47B’s had a range of only 300 miles. Early external fuel tanks caused high drag and could not carry a full load of fuel. As the aircraft was redesigned this problem was helped by better external tanks, more internal tanks, and larger internal tanks finalizing with the P-47N having a range of over 950 miles.
• Early thin blade style propellers caused the aircraft to have a power climb rate and speed for such a powerful engine. This was solved with the addition of the 4 blade paddle propeller.
• Early razorback cockpits limited visibility this problem was solved with the British bubble canopy being used on the most P-47D’s and later models, this was the same solution for the P-51.
• The P-47 saw decrease in air to air performance at lower altitudes below cruising altitude and especially below 15,000 feet. Later solution was to added water injected war emergency power, and finally with the production of the P-47M which solved the lower performance problem of P-47’s at low altitude.
All of the “Famous 3” were great aircraft and all did a hell of a lot to defeat the Axis during World War 2. All had their own particular flaws and strengths, and the great pilots of the USAAF used those strengths to their advantage in combat in all theaters. While the P-47 may have not been the best aircraft for air to air combat it still did a great job compared to the P-51 & P-38. It far surpassed its two sisters in ground attack role. If looking at each aircraft merits throughout the war the P-47 comes out on top in its contributions to war. It may have not been the prettiest or fasted aircraft but it got the job done overall better than any other pursuit aircraft for the USAAF used during the war.
"It was a perfect attack, Right Height, Right Range, Right cloud cover, Right speed,
Wrong f@%king ship!" Commander Stewart-Moore (HMS Ark Royal)