P-47 in the ETO

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WARSPITER

Tech Sergeant
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Oct 23, 2007
I know the P-47 was widely used in the ETO but I haven't been able to get info on how much damage P-47 units did to the Luftwaffe.
I have always seen reference to the P-51 but not the P-47.

Any info would be welcome.
 
As a start and to bump the thread
Serving both in Europe and in the Pacific, the P-47 Thunderbolt flew over 746,000 sorties of all types, claiming some 3,752 air-to-air kills of enemy aircraft. It's loss rate, however, was equally as high ― some 3,499 P-47s were downed during the course of the war.

 
0.4% sortie loss rate. Mostly to flak or operational losses, not air-to-air. Pretty good. P-47 scored less than P-51 and lost much fewer to all causes. This is on comparable missions, same theatre same time. And in the ETO both types did better than the P-38 in both aspects, kills and losses.
 
Thanks gents. I thought it must have done well and it obviously did. I was wondering too as to how much of a danger it was to the Luftwaffe
in Western Europe. I'm also assuming casualties were high for it's ground attack role so it must have been able to hold up in air to air fights.
 
Thanks gents. I thought it must have done well and it obviously did. I was wondering too as to how much of a danger it was to the Luftwaffe
in Western Europe. I'm also assuming casualties were high for it's ground attack role so it must have been able to hold up in air to air fights.
If you look in the "Timeline" section of the Wiki article below of Big Week, the ratio of P-47 to (P-51 + P38) is around 7 to 2, claims and losses also given. People can debate which was the better escort but what cant be debated is that Big Week and other later operations couldnt have gone ahead on that schedule without the P-47. Like the Hurricane its contribution to pilot training and ground crew command training cant be overlooked, if you wait for the arrival of the P-51 and P-38 to start learning it is way too late. For example the first mission of P-47s was a screw up because of radios, the next mission was a month later, there was time at the beginning of 1943 there wasnt at the end.

It was a very effective aircraft, it just didnt have the range of the other two, although its range was also increased with internal and external fuel.
 
According to the 8th Air Force its P-47 units lost 749 on operations, wrote off another 176 as war weary, out of 1,043 inventory losses, but the 1943 figures are operational losses only, so there are more non combat losses. No all war figures for kill claims, the P-47 units would account for most of the 178 fighters lost on operations in 1943 and also most of the 451 kills claimed, figures from the USAAF Statistical Digest. In 1944 the 8th Air Force P-47 units had 396 MIA, 135 Cat E and 37 unknown cause losses on operations, claiming 1,147 kills in the air, from the 8th Air force report for the year.

According to the 9th Air Force its P-47 units lost 1,457 aircraft on operations (743 flak, 195 enemy aircraft, 519 other cause), plus another 653 non operations salvage losses, 91 to second line and 12 to other causes, while claiming 1,127.5 kills.
 
TopSpeed-ETO1943.png
This speed chart is ETO 1943. The graphs are from WWII Aircraft Performance. The top speeds of the Messerschmitt twins are from one of William Green's handbooks.

The USAAF bombers came in at 25,000 to 28,000ft. Which of these aircraft would you like to fly?

The Germans did not have any form of two stage supercharging until they brought out the Junkers Jumo 213 pretty well at the very end of the war.
 
According to the 8th Air Force its P-47 units lost 749 on operations, wrote off another 176 as war weary, out of 1,043 inventory losses, but the 1943 figures are operational losses only, so there are more non combat losses. No all war figures for kill claims, the P-47 units would account for most of the 178 fighters lost on operations in 1943 and also most of the 451 kills claimed, figures from the USAAF Statistical Digest. In 1944 the 8th Air Force P-47 units had 396 MIA, 135 Cat E and 37 unknown cause losses on operations, claiming 1,147 kills in the air, from the 8th Air force report for the year.

According to the 9th Air Force its P-47 units lost 1,457 aircraft on operations (743 flak, 195 enemy aircraft, 519 other cause), plus another 653 non operations salvage losses, 91 to second line and 12 to other causes, while claiming 1,127.5 kills.
To separate Claims from Victory Credits VIII FC - use USAF Study 85 as a base for Dr. Frank Olynyk/USAFHRC running totals.
1943 Victory Credits for P-47 = 402; 1944 VC's =1890; 1945 VC's = 366 VC's ------> Total 8th & 9th AF P-47 VCs for LW aircraft destroyed = 2658 VC (vs 'Claims')
1943 Victory Credits for P-51 = 9; 1944VC's = 3224; 1945 VC's = 983 ------------> Total 8th & 9th AF P-51 VCs for LW aircraft destroyed = 4216VC (vs'Claims')

Note: Comparisons to 1945 EOW totals for VIII and IX Fighter Commands differ from Olynyk primarily due to 2 factors, namely a.) duplication of VCs in some cases for individual pilots an a particular day, and b.) aacounting for claims processed via returning POW Questionnaire, sourced by Olynkand approved by USAFHRC.

I documented the USAF Study 85 for all ETO Fighter units by quarter from 1942 through VE Day in my "Our Might Always; The 355th Fightter Group in World War II", Schiffer, pages 336-339. I documented all Mustang VCs (Commonwealth and US) in my latest book "P-51B Mustang: The Bastard Stepchild that saved the 8th AF", Osprey, pages 295 (Singling out USSAFE 8th and 15th (and 9th AF detatched uits to 8th AF for escort through D-Day), then VIII/IX FC, 15th FC, 12th AF, 10th AF and RAF, pages 332, 333.. The 12th, 10th, RAF totals include Mustang I through IVb, P-51-NA, A-36, P-51A/B/C and various F-6s.


The latter was in collabration with Colin Ford and Steve Brooking - two notable RAF?Commonwealth historians - as well as Dr. Olynyk.
 
It was the most numerous fighter with top notch performance during the toughest time that the Luftwaffe was worn down.. As others have already shown. It was THE fighter that did the hard work!
It was not the P-51 and especially not the P-51Ds..! Though they sure did their part later on.

And the P-47 could have escorted much further, much earlier - had they been given the tools (external tanks) earlier.. And they did once they got them. They just guzzled more fuel than P-51s while doing it.

And try to find any pilot that flew P-47s and converted to P-51s, downtalk the Jug. i have yet to.. The P-47s have several pros over the P-51s, but without proper external tanks - the chance to meet the enemy and get some glory, the P-51s easier did that.. And that is basically the reason many were happy to convert. Not that the P-51 was better..
Which it was not..

And there is another big reason to switch many 8th AF FGs. You got three Mustangs for the price of two P-47s.. The bean counters will love that, especially since the P-51 can go the same escort work for cheaper - but basically have the same performance.
 
It was the most numerous fighter with top notch performance during the toughest time that the Luftwaffe was worn down.. As others have already shown. It was THE fighter that did the hard work!
It was not the P-51 and especially not the P-51Ds..! Though they sure did their part later on.
That would be incorrect. It was a marvelous fighter at bomber altitudes and short to medium range until summer 1944. The LW wasn't 'worn down' in 1943, but was crushed in Jan-May 1944 timeframe by P-51B, not P-51Ds as you said because only a handfull were operational before Overlord.
And the P-47 could have escorted much further, much earlier - had they been given the tools (external tanks) earlier.. And they did once they got them. They just guzzled more fuel than P-51s while doing it.
That would be incorrect. The major limiting factor to combat radius (i.e get home after forced to drop extenals) was the 305 gallons of internal fuel in the P-47 through -23. The -25 with bubble canopy and 370 gallons internal fuel emerged in VIII FC ops in May with full squadron deployment late June 1944. By that time two of the P-38 FGs were in transition toP-51B/D, the third in July and the 4th in September - leaving all LR escort to P-51B/D in ETO.

Wth max internal fuel of 305 gal and max external fuel combat tanks - the P-47D escort radius was extended past Brusnwickin April 1944 - but not tasked to Target Escort in Gemany because the P-51B was better air to air and range.

And try to find any pilot that flew P-47s and converted to P-51s, downtalk the Jug. i have yet to.. The P-47s have several pros over the P-51s, but without proper external tanks - the chance to meet the enemy and get some glory, the P-51s easier did that.. And that is basically the reason many were happy to convert. Not that the P-51 was better..
Which it was not..
Well, yes - it was.
And there is another big reason to switch many 8th AF FGs. You got three Mustangs for the price of two P-47s.. The bean counters will love that, especially since the P-51 can go the same escort work for cheaper - but basically have the same performance.
Cheaper to buy, cheaper to fly, easier to maintain, faster and more maueverable, longer range and wider envlope of top performance from SL to 29,000 feet (for P-51B vs both the P-47 and P-38). Usually combat leaders like those features. Someday read what Hub Zemke had to say regarding why he thought the Mustang was the best of the Big 3 - all of which he flew in combat.

The biggest single issue regarding the role of the P-47D as LR escort as the lack of anticipation that more fuel ad longer range would be key. The P-47D required extensive mid-fuselage modification to put the 70 gal auxilery tank under the cockpit, then modify the wings first for plumbing and wing pylons (D-15) and then P-47N mod to add even more fuel with wing tanks.

Both the Mustang and P-38 were equipped with external bomb/fuel tank racks in 1942, added internal capacity (fuselage - P-51B), (Leading Edge - P-38J) in operations very late 1943. where Republic was struggling to deliver 6 months later.
 
That would be incorrect. It was a marvelous fighter at bomber altitudes and short to medium range until summer 1944.
What is incorrect?

Well, yes - it was.

No really. It does not have any real strenghts over the P-47s except range on internal fuel. But it does have drawbacks against it. Durability and firepower for a start.
And range was pretty good for the N. What makes the P-51 better you mean? (Hint, look at what the actual veterans say.)

The biggest single issue regarding the role of the P-47D as LR escort as the lack of anticipation that more fuel ad longer range would be key. The P-47D required extensive mid-fuselage modification to put the 70 gal auxilery tank under the cockpit, then modify the wings first for plumbing and wing pylons (D-15) and then P-47N mod to add even more fuel with wing tanks.

Both the Mustang and P-38 were equipped with external bomb/fuel tank racks in 1942, added internal capacity (fuselage - P-51B), (Leading Edge - P-38J) in operations very late 1943. where Republic was struggling to deliver 6 months later.

P-51s having external tanks in 1942 is a moot point since there were no Merlin engined Mustangs in service then. They would not be able to do their job at bomber altitude.. And the p-38s we know how they fared..

You buy too much into the "P-51 best fighter roxxor" dude. There are pretty good sources out there if you are actually interested in learning something.

I love this dude clicking "Optimistic" as a reaction. Cool.. No arguments and no knowledge - but needs to feel cool. Yeah, really impressive. You are pretty sad.
 
What is incorrect?



No really. It does not have any real strenghts over the P-47s except range on internal fuel. But it does have drawbacks against it. Durability and firepower for a start.
And range was pretty good for the N. What makes the P-51 better you mean? (Hint, look at what the actual veterans say.)



P-51s having external tanks in 1942 is a moot point since there were no Merlin engined Mustangs in service then. They would not be able to do their job at bomber altitude.. And the p-38s we know how they fared..

You buy too much into the "P-51 best fighter roxxor" dude. There are pretty good sources out there if you are actually interested in learning something.

I love this dude clicking "Optimistic" as a reaction. Cool.. No arguments and no knowledge - but needs to feel cool. Yeah, really impressive. You are pretty sad.
I think it may be a good time for you to find out who you are talking to.
 
What is incorrect?



No really. It does not have any real strenghts over the P-47s except range on internal fuel. But it does have drawbacks against it. Durability and firepower for a start.
And range was pretty good for the N. What makes the P-51 better you mean? (Hint, look at what the actual veterans say.)



P-51s having external tanks in 1942 is a moot point since there were no Merlin engined Mustangs in service then. They would not be able to do their job at bomber altitude.. And the p-38s we know how they fared..

You buy too much into the "P-51 best fighter roxxor" dude. There are pretty good sources out there if you are actually interested in learning something.

I love this dude clicking "Optimistic" as a reaction. Cool.. No arguments and no knowledge - but needs to feel cool. Yeah, really impressive. You are pretty sad.
I don't think you realize who you're arguing with Paramedic Paramedic there isn't much you're going to school him on ETO fighter/bomber ops, just sayin'.

As for sources "dude"...

Amazon product ASIN 1472839668
By the way, he's actually flown P-51s, and you?
 
I don't think you realize who you're arguing with Paramedic Paramedic there isn't much you're going to school him on ETO fighter/bomber ops, just sayin'.

As for sources "dude"...

Amazon product ASIN 1472839668
By the way, he's actually flown P-51s, and you?
Ya' hadda' go ruin it.
I was hoping you guys might have strung him on along a little.
 
What is incorrect?
"It was the most numerous fighter"
- correct by a cople of hundred total vs 15,000 for both the P-47 and the Mustang.
"with top notch performance during the toughest time that the Luftwaffe was worn down.. As others have already shown. It was THE fighter that did the hard work!"
- incorrect. And for the period 1943, the dominant P-47 model were P-47C and P-47D pre Water Injection and Paddle pros. It was easily out manuevered under 20,000 feet by both the Fw 190 and Bf 109. It (P-47C/D was straight line faster from approx. 5K to above 22K and had available HP over HP required to out turn both above 28-30K. It was a dog in climb versus both 190 and 109 until 20K for Fw 190 but easily out rolled by Fw 190 for most of the combat envelope. It had two advantages -1.) It could out dive all LW opponents, and 2.) it was faster above 22 K.

"It was the most numerous fighter with top notch performance during the toughest time that the Luftwaffe was worn down.. As others have already shown. It was THE fighter that did the hard work!"
- incorrect. The LW nearly defeated the VIII BC in 1943 because the P-47 was incapable of target escort in mid to east Germany. The LW could easily avoid combat by using tactics of assembly and attack with mixed T/E and S/E fighters out of P-47 range. The P-47D was performing zero "Hard Work" past Holland until November when it could go to Bremen with 108gal C/L tank. By contrast, the Combat Radius of the P-51B with just 184 gal internal wng fuel and 2x75 gal could go 200 miles further to Stuttgart. The P-47D couldn't get that far until late April 1944 with 2x150 gal exernal wing tanks.

The P-38H and J put pressure on LW deeper into Germany in 1943 but like the Mustang, were too few in numbers to practically affect LW strength in late 1943.

"It was not the P-51 and especially not the P-51Ds..! Though they sure did their part later on."
- incorrect. In the crucial pre-Overlord five months, the very few P-51B/C equipped FG (compared to P-47D equipped FG) destroyed 1,148 compared to 752 for P47D. The P-38FG (VIII and IX FC combined) destroyed 141.

The Single most important factor is that P-51B range and capability as air superiority fighter left no place for LW to assemble unmolested beyond Berlin when the P-47s were turning back at Kassel and Stuttgart in February through May.

The second factor is that the Mustang was equal or superior to the Bf 109 and Fw 190 from SL to 29K with a few small blocks of transition for Merli two stage/two speed supercharger.


No really. It does not have any real strenghts over the P-47s except range on internal fuel. But it does have drawbacks against it. Durability and firepower for a start.
And range was pretty good for the N. What makes the P-51 better you mean? (Hint, look at what the actual veterans say.)
For the moment, lets stick with ETO- neither the P-47M or N had much impact in ETO. So, Durability and Firepower are 'advantage P-47'. Durability important when strafing an airfield, or someone is shooting your ass off. That said firepower not much use unless you can get to the fight? You seem to take 'range wih internal fuel' lightly? That is the difference between P-47 drivers holding their peckers in their hands back around Brunswick and Stuttgart when the air battles were Berlin, Magdeburg, Merseburg, Regensburg, Posnan, Ruhland, Munich.

The P-47C/D air to air ratio for 8th AF was ~7.3:1, The Mustang air to air ratio was 10.3:1. Sources, USAF Study 85, 8th AF Victory Credits Board June 1945, and massive (personal) research into 8th/9th AF MACRs.

Despite the durability question, the Mustang destroyed more LW aircraft strafing airfields per loss (~5.6:1) while strafing compared to P-47 (3.7:1) and P-38 (1.5:1).

As to advantages of P-51/C over P-47D: At Combat Weight at takeoff. Full internal fuel and ammoand oil for longest range:
P-47D-11 and greater through -16 with P&W R2800-63 with WI at 56"MP

P-51B with 1650-3 engine at 67"MP/3000 Hp was faster at ALL altitudes from zero through 30K.
P-51B with 1650-3 engine ROC greatly exceeded P-47D from zero through 38K. (only P-38J with fully functional engines outclimbed P-51B)
The P-51B out rolled the P-47D
The P-51B dived as fast as the P-47D
The P-51B required much shorter runway to take off.
The P-51B was deemed having best flying qualities by AAF
The P-51B was 1/2 less expensive to operate, including fuel and maintenance.
The P-51B cost 70% P-47D with far less labor cost.
The P-47D P&W R-2800 engine was slightly more reliable and had longer time between overhauls.

One or two of those will work for you in combat operations to defeat the LW prior to D-Day.

Sources: AAF Flight Test Data as acquired at Eglin Field and Wright Field May 1943 through June 1944. Spitfireperformance.com has many for you to look at.


P-51s having external tanks in 1942 is a moot point since there were no Merlin engined Mustangs in service then. They would not be able to do their job at bomber altitude.. And the p-38s we know how they fared..
Moot? The A-36 and P-51A were equipped with wing tanks and yes they did escort in CBI - but the discussion is ETO. The point is that when the P-51B arrived in ETO, the P-47D did NOT have wing racks or internal plumbing to move fuel from combat tanks to engine - which is why they sat on the sideline 'wishing and hoping' while the Mustang was getting the publicity. Ya gotta get to the fight, to fight.
You buy too much into the "P-51 best fighter roxxor" dude. There are pretty good sources out there if you are actually interested in learning something.
OH please point me in the right direction Sensai.
I love this dude clicking "Optimistic" as a reaction. Cool.. No arguments and no knowledge - but needs to feel cool. Yeah, really impressive. You are pretty sad.
You have wandered into a Twilight Zone where just about everybody you try to match knowledge with, has you in their hip pocket. Bring your medic kit.
 
I know the P-47 was widely used in the ETO but I haven't been able to get info on how much damage P-47 units did to the Luftwaffe.
I have always seen reference to the P-51 but not the P-47.

Any info would be welcome.
I researched and published quite a few statistical comparisons in "Our Might Always - History of the 355th FG in WWII" pages 337 - 339 in Combined Operations for VIII Fighter Command. I also added much data for "P-51B Mustang: North American's Bastard Stepchild that Saved the 8th AF"

Pages 332-333 as well as Flight test comparisons at Combat Power for Bf 109G, FW 190A-5, P-47D -5, P-38J-10, P-51B-1/-5 w/1650-4, for late 1943 and Bf-109G-6, FW 109A8, P-38J-15, P-47D-10 (w/WI/Paddle prop), P-51-B/D w/1650-7 for April 1944 - Top Speed Clean at WEP, ROC at WEP - full internal combat loads.
 
I am not as up on P-47 operations as in the ETO as a might be.

However the vaunted P-47 firepower/combat duration might need a bit of examination.

Yep, the P-47 had twice the firepower of a P-51B (eight guns to four)

My question is what what happened when they started hanging drop tanks of the wings of the P-47s??
Did the ammo capacity at 425 rounds.......or did they drop the ammo capacity to around 267 rounds per gun.

And didn't the P-51B have 350 rph for the inner guns and 250 guns for outer guns?
Didn't the P-51D 400rpg for the inner guns and the 270 rpg for the outer two guns in each wing?

If the P-47s use reduced ammo for either bombs or large drop tanks then the P-47s just have the extra "firepower" of the 7th and extra machine guns. They have no extra margin of firing time compared to the P-51D.

Perhaps somebody can post some notes on when or how the P-47s began reducing the ammo load?
And it may have varied in distance from target?
 

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