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Gallery & Studio of John Wiseman

 

Republic P47-N Thunderbolt 


             The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was built in greater numbers than any other United Sates fighter in history. That alone attests to the success of this much storied fighter. When it first arrived in England, many pilots scoffed at the huge bulk of the P 47, suggesting that the thing should never actually be able to fly! For its day, the P 47 was a very heavy fighter weighing 8 tons fully loaded and especially looked ungainly when parked beside the nimble Spitfire. But looks could be deceiving. Powered by an 18 cylinder air-cooled Pratt and Whitney engine capable of up to 3,400 HP, the P 47 was no slouch. It was not especially manoeuvrable, but it could match or better some of the fastest fighters of the war, especially in a dive. It was also noted for its survivability, being able to sustain incredible battle damage and still make it home. There are cases on record where severely damaged aircraft made it back to base with complete cylinder heads blown away from the motor. With its eight 50 Cal. machine guns the P 47 could lay down a withering blast of fire and it could be armed with rockets and/or bombs up to 2,500 pounds.

In today's jargon, it seems problematic, even embarrassing to speak in such glowing terms about such efficient killing machines, especially knowing all the death and destruction that left many countries in ruin at the end of WW II.. But it serves us no purpose in denying the realities of war. The history of war remains an enigma facing the human race to this very day. With all our modern knowledge, it is indeed puzzling why so many resources and funds are directed to the efficient manner of killing one another.

This P-47N was piloted by Lt Oscar Perdomo, 564th Fighter squadron. Perdomo, was the last “ace in a day” when on August 13, 1944, he downed five enemy aircraft.