P-47... Origins of the nickname "The Jug"

Ad: This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules


Senior Airman
Aug 20, 2014
Left coast
Like the thread title states, where did the nickname "Jug" for the P-47 Thunderbolt come from? My father who was a USAAF vet in WWII said he only ever heard it called a " 'Bolt" or "T-bolt" and never heard "the Jug" until after the war. (Afraid he's not here to question further on the subject)

This gave me a thought as in another thread a member said it reminded him of a "milk jug with ironing board for a wing" and "not pretty"....

Now I did a search here and found nothing and Wiki (naturally) supports the "milk jug" theory. Other sources state it was the British that called it "Jug" as short for "Juggernaut" due to it's ability to absorb punishment and keep fighting.

Please discuss.
It was called the Jug because it looks like a big jug. The British gave us more literary credit and thought Jug was short for Juggernaut.
I always thought it was derived from Juggernaut, but you have to admit the P-47 looked like a Jug. At this point, we'll probably never know.
It's kind of interesting that after all these years of hearing the P-47 called a "flying Jug" and a "seven ton milk jug", a few websites lately are using the term as short for "juggernaught".

The P-47's size and shape was always noted by Allied and Axis pilots - the RAF pilots were the ones who joked that "if attacked by Jerry's, you could run around the cockpit and hide".

It was my understanding that it was given the moniker before it ever left the state's and saw combat - which would then exclude the "Juggernaught" idea.

Just for those that aren't familiar with a "milk jug" of that day and age, this what one looked like.

I always thought it was nicknamed the Jug because it was big and heavy like an American truck with trailer which itself was a Juggernaut.
I always thought it was nicknamed the Jug because it was big and heavy like an American truck with trailer which itself was a Juggernaut.
The name juggernaut goes back to the 1700s, long before any trucks or even internal combustion engines were in use.
I don't give ANY credibility to that article. For one thing, the comment makes no sense.

"It was not the P-47's milk jug shape that gave the airplane its name, however, contrary to the assertions of some writers. Many of the pilots believed they were to be sacrificed and started referring to the P-47 as a "Juggernaut," a moniker that was naturally shortened to just plain 'Jug.'"

If the pilots thought they were being sacrificed, the last thing they would call the plane was the juggernaut. They'd be calling it the flying anvil or the five ton tombstone or something equally fatalistic. Plus, who has EVER heard of something called a juggernaut having the word shortened to jug? Juggernaut gives the image of power and strength. Shortening it to jug takes all that power and strength away and ruins the nickname entirely.

Here's someone who agrees with the milk jug origin, at 0:28 in the video.

And at 12:20 here.

I guess the only way to actually be sure is to see if anyone can find a video of one of the actual pilots mentioning the nickname while talking about the plane.

Several types had names that were less than gratifying like the F4U which was known as the "ensign eliminator" because of it's complicated landing characteristics.

Another type was the B-26, which earned the nicknames of "widowmaker" and "Baltimore Whore" due to the high frequencies of accidents in the early model.

One of my favorites, by the way, is for the cold-war era Douglas A3D, often called the "Whistling Sh*tcan" :lol:

There's more, but this points out that if there was an issue with the type, Yankee pilots weren't going to call it anything romantic, that's for sure!
Don't forget, the article says it was pilots from the 4th FG who made the comments. They gave up their nimble Spitfires for the P-47
Did any ask for the Spitfires back though?

Users who are viewing this thread