We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

America’s P-47M Fighter Had One Goal: To Hunt Down and Kill Hitler's Jets

9 0 0

Sebastien Roblin

Security, Europe

A legend or a total bust?

America’s P-47M Fighter Had One Goal: To Hunt Down and Kill Hitler's Jets

Pilots nicknamed early-model P-47 Thunderbolts the “Razorback,” a reference to the chunky fighter plane’s angular canopy. However, the name was more generally appropriate—like a wild boar, the hulking single-engine “Jug” was tough and hard-charging, and its eight .50 caliber machine guns packed a hell of a punch.

Lugging underwing fuel tanks, Thunderbolts based in Britain could accompany four-engine B-17 and B-24 bombers of the 8th Air Force on dangerous raids deep over Nazi Germany—and still engage German fighters on roughly even terms, especially while diving.

However, starting mid-1944, the Allied fliers grew concerned about new Nazi turbojet-powered Me-262 fighters and rocket-powered Me-163s that could outrun the speediest Allied piston-engine aircraft like the Mustang or British Tempest by 100 miles per hour or more. V-1 “Buzz Bomb” cruise missiles bombarding London, though slower, also proved difficult for Allied fighters to intercept.

On its own initiative, Thunderbolt manufacturer Republic set aside four bubble-canopy P-47Ds from its production line in Farmingdale, New York and fit them with souped-up Pratt & Whitney R-2800-57 Double Wasp engine with a turbo-supercharger. Together, these could generate 2,800 horsepower.

At high altitude, the yellow-painted YP-47M prototypes could attain a climb rate of 3,500 feet per second and a maximum speed of 473 miles per hour in level flight—though some pilots reported achieving 490 to 500 mph when using Wartime Emergency Power. This made the P-47M arguably the fastest piston-engine fighter to see combat in the war—though still slower than the Me-262’s 540-miles per hour maximum speed.

Though Republic produced more radical XP-47H and J prototypes that could go even faster, the YP-47 could be easily put into production, so in September 1944 the Army Air Corps approved a limited run of 130 P-47M-1-RE aircraft. These were delivered in December 1944 and began to be received by their sole........

© The National Interest