367th Gallery II
The Dynamite Gang
"Thunderbolt & Lightning"


The Thunderbolt was a massive airplane, the biggest and the heaviest single engine, single place fighter ever built. The engine, a Pratt & Whitney 18 cylinder twin-row radial, developed 2,000 HP, was the most powerful engine at the time. However, in turn, it needed a highly efficient duct system for its super charger. The designer, Alexander Kartveli designed the duct system first, then built the fuselage around it.

The heavy fighter was not an instant winner with pilots that initially took it to combat. The American Ex-Eagle Squadron pilots hated it from the beginning, but the 56th Fighter Group pilots, who initially trained on the P-47 loved it! Low-altitude air-to-air combat remained a problem until a baddle blade propeller was added, but high altitude combat was a different story. The short range of the P-47 was a distinct handicap until auxiliary fuel tanks were added. When it came to strafing and dive bombing, the P-47 excelled. Following D-Day, in France, the Thunderbolts performed magnificently in ground support until the end of the war.

The two top fighter pilots of the war in Europe flew Thunderbolts, bearing testimony to it's success in combat. The Thunderbolts durability was another well known asset. It could withstand an extraordinary amount of battle damage and still fly.

Today, very few Thunderbolts survive. Yet, the old P-47, T-Bolt, Thunderbolt, or Jug, whatever you care to call it, left many fond memories with the men it carried to victory and to the many "Dog Faces" down in the mud whose lives it saved.


"Duck Butt" Piloted by Arthur Witters

"Jenny" Piloted by Lt. Clark Egan

"Just Bess"

"Just Bess" Piloted by 2nd Lt. Bruce Q. Baize
(Damaged when it hit a radar truck during landing)

P-47 Piloted by Lt. Dick Brennan

 

  
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