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The P-47 was one of the toughest Allied planes during WWII and had the most firepower from its eight .50 caliber guns in its wings (3,400 rounds.) It was even more effective as a ground attack aircraft; it was capable of carrying as much as 3,000 pounds of external ordnance. When fully armed, a P-47 Thunderbolt could deliver about half the payload of a B-17 Flying Fortress.

Designed by Alexander Kartveli, and built by Republic Aviation (Curtiss built 354 “G” models late in the war), the first prototype flew in June 1941. Nicknamed the “Jug” (short for “Juggernaut”) by its pilots, it was very tough to shoot down. Yet, because of its outstanding turbocharger, the P-47 had a service ceiling of over 40,000 feet—yet it was the heaviest single engine fighter of WWII.

More than 15,600 Thunderbolts were manufactured between 1941 and 1945. They served in every theater of the war, performing a variety of missions from bomber escort to close air support. They also served with the British RAF, French Free Forces, and the Soviet Union.

Even though the P-47’s combat debut wasn’t until April 1943, it flew more than half a million sorties in Europe and the Pacific. The P-47s would claim nearly 4,000 enemy aircraft, 9,000 trains, 86,000 trucks and 6,000 armored vehicles; all is evidence of its great air-ground role.

After Japan’s surrender, Thunderbolts (re-designated the F-47) continued to serve for years (and in some cases decades) after WWII. The U.S. pulled the plane from front line service in 1949, but NATO allies like Turkey, Portugal and Italy maintained squadrons of Thunderbolts into the 1950s. Latin American countries flew them until the 1960s; Peru didn’t retire its Jugs until 1966.

This P-47D-40 RA was delivered to the USAAF in July 1945 and served with various National Guard and Air Force Reserve units until it was sent to Peru. The aircraft was purchased by a collector from Peru in 1969 and was sent to Harlingen, Texas, for restoration. This aircraft had two crashes and, after the second, was restored. It is one of only 3 P-47s with a working turbocharger.

The National Museum of WW II Aviation features WWII-era veterans!!


There are few WWII-era veterans left, and the National Museum of World War II Aviation is providing an opportunity for the community to meet-and-greet some of these honored WWII veterans.

Sunday, August 16, 2020 - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The National Museum of World War II Aviation
775 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, 80916

Scheduled to appear are:
Ed Beck—Army POW captured during the Battle of the Bulge who escaped from captivity.
Marilyn Doenges—Army nurse who served in the UK and Northern France
JJ Inman—P-51 pilot who flew missions in China
Noe Romero—Served on the U.S.S Yorktown at the Battle of Midway
Bill Roche—B-17 waist gunner who was shot down by German aircraft twice.
Cole “Junior” Griego—U.S. Navy Medic in the Battle of Iwo Jima

Advance admission purchases are advised for this event because advance ticket holders will be given priority to enter the museum. Appropriate social distancing and face masks will be required and strictly enforced.**

Historic note: 75 years ago on August 14, 1945 the Japanese surrendered, and hostilities in WWII ceased. The formal surrender of Japanese forces was signed Sept. 2, 1945.