The P-47 Thunderbolt was developed from the Seversky P-35, via XP-41, P-43 Lancer, XP-44, and the prototype XP-47. The XP-47B went operational as the P-47B and the plane went on to fame from there. The relatively large plane was designed around the complex turbosupercharger system which, along with Pratt & Whitney's now-legendary R-2800 Double Wasp, was responsible for the fighter's high performance.
Folklore had it that nothing except the Tallboy bombs could outdive a P-47, which was probably true. It was not true enough to make the story about a 840-mph power dive believable.
Less vulnerable to small-caliber fire than its contemporaries with inline engines the oil tank for a radial engine makes a smaller target than the Prestone tanks and radiators of a liquid-cooled engine and armed with 8 wing-mounted .50-caliber machine guns, the P-47 excelled in the ground-attack role and close air support for ground troops.
It is never mentioned in stories or articles about the Jug, but throttle response had to be a good deal slower than that of most of its contemporaries, since there was so much ducting between the engine and the turbosupercharger. It certainly does not seem to have been a handicap, possibly because combat was usually engaged with throttles pushed wide open and left that way.
There was a Design Analysis article [ HTML ] in the December, 1943, issue of Air Tech magazine.
The P-47 was also featured in a Design Analysis article [ PDF, 16 MiB ] , [ HTML ] in the January, 1945, issue of Industrial Aviation magazine.
The article includes a color phantom rendering of the P-47 which was used to develop some wallpaper images.
The P-47 Thunderbolt or Jug was featured in a number of articles:
The Jug was famed for its ability to accelerate in a dive. (See "Dive P-47s at 725 mph" [ HTML ]) This led to problems with compressibility,
- "Portrait of the P-47" [ HTML ] gives a feel-good picture of the P-47, published less than six months after first flight.
- Three news clips [ HTML ] in the October, 1942, Aviation, "Thunderbolts Roar," "More Thunderbolts," and "Quantity Production Of World's Best Fighter" introduce the P-47.
- "Thunderbolts Announced in Action" [ HTML ] announce the appearance of the P-47 in the Air War over Europe.
- "First Analysis of the Thunderbolt" [ HTML ], by Peter Masefield, gives considerable early detail about the design and performance of the Jug.
- "Prize fighters" [ HTML ] describes the inception of the Eighth Fighter Command and its being equipped with P-47s.
This article includes an attribution of the :supersonic power dive."
- "More-Power-Plus Thunderbolt" [ HTML ] is a news clip introducing the bubble-top P-47D.
- "Low Level Thunderbolts" [ HTML ] describes the origins of the P-47 as a ground-support dive-bomber and strafer, for which it became quite famous in 1944 and 1945.
- "'N' 'Bolt Has More Reach" [ HTML ] is a news clip introducing the P-47N.
- "Fabricating the P-47 Wing" [ HTML ] describes Servel, Inc's assembly-line methods as they applied to their subcontract to provide P-47 wings.
- "Compressibility Calls a Challenge" [ HTML ] explains compressibility and uses examples from flight experience with the P-47
which led to a solution:
- "P-47 Dive Flaps Permit Quick and Safe Pullouts" [ HTML ] describes and illustrates the operation of the dive flaps designed to control the effects of compressibility on the P-47.
- The "Have You Seen?" section for July, 1941, shows an XP-47B on the ground, seen from 10 o'clock.
- The "Have You Seen?" section for June, 1942, shows the nose of a P-47 on the ground with a pilot on the left wing.
- A Republic Aviation ad, "The 'Impossibles' of War Come To Pass," shows a P-47 on the firing range. Viewpoint is from under the right wing, just outboard and aft of the landing gear. Empty casings fill the front of the frame and tracer paths show the effect of converging fire.
- A black-and-white Gallery drawing, "P-47" features two razorback Thunderbolts; foreground plane seen from 10 o'clock.
- The "Wing Tips" column for August, 1944, includes a photo showing a razorback P-47, Princess Pat, with a load of fragmentation bombs attached to the belly station. "Cluster of fragmentation bombs adds to the blasting power of Thunderbolt." View is on the ground, looking in from in front of the left wing tip, at about 10 o'clock.
- A Republic ad, "Zero Hour," features a drawing of a bubble-top P-47 shooting down a plane, flying over a stylized view of the east coast of Asia, with Tokyo marked on the image of Honshu.
- A news clip with photo, "'N' 'Bolt Has More Reach" shows a P-47N from 7 o'clock high, gives a capsule description.
- A Republic ad, "Bird's Eye View" shows the panel of a late-model P-47 with reflector sight. The ad includes color thumbnail images of 13 of the Air Force patche