Republic P 47 Thunderbolt: Fighter, Bomber, And WWII Escort Aircraft

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Republic P 47 Thunderbolt: Fighter, Bomber, And WWII Escort Aircraft


This was actually much better balanced and objective P-47 discussion.

Couple of points for those interested in 8th AF 'Frag Order' decomposition.
1. The external tank fueling op for next mission was performed the day/evening before the next mission. All missions were escort/belly tank missions by Oct 2nd and the 75 gal tank was in abundance compared to the new 110 gal. The exception to this rule was pre-filling 110gal Paper/composite tanks which deteriorated over a short time. The guns were cleaned post mission, a/c inspected by Crew Chief, and reloading occured the day/night befoe next mission.
2. If you look at the mission briefing, a couple of things stand out.
SE = 1443
T/O = 1449-1458
Orbit/form up/Begin climb = 1458-1503
Climb/Cruise to R/V= 1503-1548
Escort to Target (Emden) = 1548 to 1600
RTB/Land= 1600 to 1722

Comments - 90-100 mph wind out of the West at escort altitude with comment to return below jetstream to conserve fuel.
Total elapsed time between Start Engine and Land = 2:39
Total elapsed time from T.O. to Land = 2:33

3. The 8th AF assigned the 4th and 56th to Penetration and Target escort 1TF comprised of 3BD force of 2 Boxes ~ 4BG each. Not mentioned was that 78th, 352nd, 353rd and 355th escorted the 2TF/1BD comprised of three boxes. The 352nd and 355th flew Withdrawal Support from Borkhum Islands at 1630 for RV. From that you know when the 56th and 4th (and 78/353rd Break Escort).

4. The escort mission (~300mi) with 75 gal tank exceeded 'paper' Combat Radius (275mi). Not shown was a probable discussion to conserve fuel, meet attack but don't chase, etc.

5. The P-47s illustrated on T.O. were largely D-4 and D-6-RA, historically correct for the Series operational at that time.

Historically incorrect
  • P-38s of 55th FG not operational Oct 2, 1943 on strike to Emden. Didn't begin ops until Ot 15.
  • The 56th didn't 'want' the Mustang. Partially true as Schilling and Landry turned down convesrion while 56th Boss - Zemke, was on leave in US. Zemke was livid over the decision - and was delighted when the 479th converted from P-38 to P-51. In his biography he stated a preference for th P-51 over both the P-38 and P-47..
  • B-24s were not on the October 2nd Mission. The 2BD was still recuperating from loan to 12th AF Ploesti mission.

Interesting by the irony
  • Much was said about the toughness of the P-47 and correspondingly 'flimsy' P-51. Yet there is a discussion with Clayton Gross, and ace of the Pioneer Mustang Group (354th) describing being hammered by a P-47 accidentally - yet flew home and landed with over 100 holes in his P-51B.
  • Dismay that the Mustang was shown in Saving Private Ryan, complaining that the P-47 was more representative of Operation Overlord. That said, all of the 8th and th AF Mustang groups at that time were nearly equal in strength to combined P-47 FGs. Everyone was performaing CAS until June 20th.

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