30 Images of the Jug

Colorized by @reneecolours

The Republic P-47 is one of the most iconic American aircraft from World War Two. Forming the backbone of the U.S. Air Force, it was the most produced U.S. fighter, with well over 15,000 being built.

The P-47 was not only the most produced U.S. fighter, it was also the heaviest. A fully loaded weight of 8 tonnes meant it was 2 and a half tonnes heavier than the P-51 Mustang, or the equivalent of strapping an entire empty Bf 109 to a P-51. From the side the P-47’s large and unique silhouette resembled a milk jug, leading to its nickname, the “Jug”. The fighter had eight .50 cal machine guns in the wings, and could carry 5 inch rockets or 2,500 lbs of bombs.

A P-47 Thunderbolt during take off.
A P-47 Thunderbolt during take off.

Its varied capabilities meant it would often be used in bomber escort or ground attack missions, something it particularly excelled at.

The P-47 first entered service in November 1942 with the 56th Fighter Group under the 8th Air Force, and were station in England. There first mission was in March 1943, which ended in failure due to a radio malfunction over occupied France.

Lead image colorised by the talented Renee Chan

Consequently, the P-47s stationed in England were refitted with new, English-made radio equipment, and returned to active service.

P-47 Thunderbolts from the 318th Fighter Group taking off from East Field on Saipan, Marianas Islands in October 1944.
P-47 Thunderbolts from the 318th Fighter Group taking off from East Field on Saipan, Marianas Islands in October 1944.

After this the aircraft proved to be an excellent platform and a formidable enemy. Even Luftwaffe Ace Heinz Bäer specifically noted the aircraft qualities, especially its ability to withstand large amounts of damage, and that they had to be handled carefully in combat.

When under fire, the large, strong airframe of the P-47, combined with cockpit armour plating to protect the pilot often meant they could stay in the air for far longer than contemporary fighters. The 2000 hp air cooled Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp could have multiple cylinders shot out and still continue to function.

366th FG P-47 Machine Gun Maintenance at Saint Pierre du Mont Airfield A-1, 1944
366th FG P-47 Machine Gun Maintenance at Saint Pierre du Mont Airfield A-1, 1944

The P-47 was a true workhorse, serving with the US Air Force, the British RAF, the Soviet Air Force and the French Air Force. It flew over 746,000 missions of all types over Europe and the Pacific, where it also picked up 3,752 aerial victories, although 3,499 Thunderbolts were shot down during the war.

Eventually the P-51 Mustang started to replace the Thunderbolts, but the 56th decided to continue with them until the end of the war.

P-47s continued to fly after the war when it was exported all around the globe, including South America, Yugoslavia, the Middle East and China.

F-47 Thunderbolts in 1947.
F-47 Thunderbolts in 1947.

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, a modern ground attack aircraft also known for its ability to absorb damage, was named in honour of the P-47 Thunderbolt.

More Photos

P-47 of the 325th Fighter Group
P-47 of the 325th Fighter Group

 

345th Fighter Squadron, 350th Fighter Group, 12th Air Force.
345th Fighter Squadron, 350th Fighter Group, 12th Air Force.

 

Colonel J.L. Laughlin, of the 362nd Fighter Group, smokes a cigar with his dog mascot “Prince” inside the cockpit of his P-47D serial 44-33287 “Five By Five” (coded B8-A)
Colonel J.L. Laughlin, of the 362nd Fighter Group, smokes a cigar with his dog mascot “Prince” inside the cockpit of his P-47D serial 44-33287 “Five By Five” (coded B8-A)

 

A two-seat P-47 Thunderbolt nicknamed “Astra” of the 365th Fighter Group.
A two-seat P-47 Thunderbolt nicknamed “Astra” of the 365th Fighter Group.

 

Thunderbolts in France, 1945.
Thunderbolts in France, 1945.

 

P47 43-2773 ‘Bird Ass Bird II’ of the 406th Fighter Group flown by Howard Park.
P47 43-2773 ‘Bird Ass Bird II’ of the 406th Fighter Group flown by Howard Park.

 

P-47 Thunderbolts, including (2N-U, serial number 42-25904) nicknamed “Lethal Liz II”, of the 50th Fighter Group, with cows at Carentan Airfield (A-10), France, Summer 1944.
P-47 Thunderbolts, including (2N-U, serial number 42-25904) nicknamed “Lethal Liz II”, of the 50th Fighter Group, with cows at Carentan Airfield (A-10), France, Summer 1944.

 

62d Fighter Squadron P-47 Thunderbolts on an escort mission, 1943.
62d Fighter Squadron P-47 Thunderbolts on an escort mission, 1943.

 

The ground crew servicing the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt flown by Captain Johnson. Sergeant George Baltimore is working on the petrol tank, Corporal Jack Kazanjac on top of the engine, Sergeant Howard Buckner by the cockpit, and Private Albert Asplint on the wing.
The ground crew servicing the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt flown by Captain Johnson. Sergeant George Baltimore is working on the petrol tank, Corporal Jack Kazanjac on top of the engine, Sergeant Howard Buckner by the cockpit, and Private Albert Asplint on the wing.

 

9th Air Force mechanics refill the compartments for the 4 12.7 machine guns on the left side of a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.
9th Air Force mechanics refill the compartments for the 4 12.7 machine guns on the left side of a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

 

Cletrac in front of a P-47 Thunderbolt of the 406th Fighter Group.
Cletrac in front of a P-47 Thunderbolt of the 406th Fighter Group.

 

A line of 82nd Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group P-47 Thunderbolts at Duxford airbase.
A line of 82nd Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group P-47 Thunderbolts at Duxford airbase.

 

Captain Harold E. Stump and Second Lieutenant George J. Hays of the 78th Fighter Group with a P-47 Thunderbolt nicknamed “Bad Medicine”, 15 October 1943
Captain Harold E. Stump and Second Lieutenant George J. Hays of the 78th Fighter Group with a P-47 Thunderbolt nicknamed “Bad Medicine”, 15 October 1943

 

F-80s and F-47s of the 36th and 86th Fighter Wings over Germany.
F-80s and F-47s of the 36th and 86th Fighter Wings over Germany.

 

Republic F-47N-5-RE Thunderbolt 44-88566 along with an F-86A Sabre and T-33 Shooting Star trainer, 1954
Republic F-47N-5-RE Thunderbolt 44-88566 along with an F-86A Sabre and T-33 Shooting Star trainer, 1954

 

P-47 firing its M2 machine guns during night gunnery
P-47 firing its M2 machine guns during night gunnery

 

1940’s Republic P-47N Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt flies its first combat mission a sweep over the Pacific. Used as both a high-altitude escort fighter and a low-level fighter-bomber, the P-47 quickly gained a reputation for ruggedness. Its sturdy construction and air-cooled radial engine enabled the Thunderbolt to absorb severe battle damage and keep flying. (U.S. Air Force photo)
1940’s Republic P-47N Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt flies its first combat mission a sweep over the Pacific. Used as both a high-altitude escort fighter and a low-level fighter-bomber, the P-47 quickly gained a reputation for ruggedness. Its sturdy construction and air-cooled radial engine enabled the Thunderbolt to absorb severe battle damage and keep flying. (U.S. Air Force photo)

 

Newly arrived USAAF Republic P-47 Thunderbolts lined up in a maintenance area at Agana Airfield, Guam, Marianas Islands on 28 March 1945.
Newly arrived USAAF Republic P-47 Thunderbolts lined up in a maintenance area at Agana Airfield, Guam, Marianas Islands on 28 March 1945.

 

USAAF P-47D “Razorback” configuration.
USAAF P-47D “Razorback” configuration.

 

RAF Thunderbolt Mk.II readying for a sortie over Burma. January 1945
RAF Thunderbolt Mk.II readying for a sortie over Burma. January 1945

 

Mexican P-47D Thunderbolt over the Philippines.
Mexican P-47D Thunderbolt over the Philippines.

 

P-47Ds of the 48th Fighter Group at an advanced landing ground in France.
P-47Ds of the 48th Fighter Group at an advanced landing ground in France.

 

Two ground crew add the finishing touches to the nose art of a 352nd Fighter Group P-47 Thunderbolt nicknamed “Dallas Blonde”. Handwritten on slide casing: ‘P-47, 352nd F.G.’
Two ground crew add the finishing touches to the nose art of a 352nd Fighter Group P-47 Thunderbolt nicknamed “Dallas Blonde”. Handwritten on slide casing: ‘P-47, 352nd F.G.’

 

A ground crewman works on a P-47 Thunderbolt beside P-51 Mustangs, (5Q-O, serial number 42-106886) nicknamed “Swede” and (6N-O, serial number 44-14776) nicknamed “Arrow Head”, of the 339th Fighter Group at Mount Farm.
A ground crewman works on a P-47 Thunderbolt beside P-51 Mustangs, (5Q-O, serial number 42-106886) nicknamed “Swede” and (6N-O, serial number 44-14776) nicknamed “Arrow Head”, of the 339th Fighter Group at Mount Farm.

 

An 8th U.S. Air Force Republic P-47D Thunderbolt attacks a tower on a German airdrome in occupied France, in 1944.
An 8th U.S. Air Force Republic P-47D Thunderbolt attacks a tower on a German airdrome in occupied France, in 1944.

 

When a squadron of P-47 Thunderbolts attacked a gunpowder storage depot, the ensuing explosion destroyed one of their aircraft. The grave for the pilot was made by a refugee French couple, with .50cal ammunition for a border.
When a squadron of P-47 Thunderbolts attacked a gunpowder storage depot, the ensuing explosion destroyed one of their aircraft. The grave for the pilot was made by a refugee French couple, with .50cal ammunition for a border.

 

The U.S. Navy escort carrier USS Barnes (ACV-20) underway in the Pacific Ocean on 1 July 1943, transporting U.S. Army Air Forces Lockheed P-38 Lightning and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft.
The U.S. Navy escort carrier USS Barnes (ACV-20) underway in the Pacific Ocean on 1 July 1943, transporting U.S. Army Air Forces Lockheed P-38 Lightning and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft.

 

A deckload of U.S. Army Air Force Republic P-47N Thunderbolt fighters on the flight deck of the escort carrier USS Casablanca (CVE-55) in 16 July 1945. The planes were loaded at Naval Air Station Alameda, California (USA) and were bound for Guam.
A deckload of U.S. Army Air Force Republic P-47N Thunderbolt fighters on the flight deck of the escort carrier USS Casablanca (CVE-55) in 16 July 1945. The planes were loaded at Naval Air Station Alameda, California (USA) and were bound for Guam.

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Destroyed P-47s at Y-34 Metz-Frescaty airfield.
Destroyed P-47s at Y-34 Metz-Frescaty airfield.