After losing half its wing, an Injured P-47 Thunderbolt continues to battle on till the very end.
An incredible story of Gallantry and Chivalry. The Crazy Pilot who Nursed his P-47 home
NOTE : The Footage and Thumbnail of this video is the best closest representation to what happened. It is not the actual footage.
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Background information on the P-47 thunderbolt
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt had the distinction of being the heaviest single-engine fighter to see service in World War Two. Parked alongside any of its wartime contemporaries, the Thunderbolt dwarfs them with its remarkable bulk. Despite its size, the P-47 proved to be one of the best performing fighters to see combat. Produced in greater numbers than any other U.S. made Fighter, the story of how it came to exist is at least as interesting as its many accomplishments.
The development of the Thunderbolt was a classic instance of design evolution tracing its origin back to Alexander P. de Seversky and his highly innovative aircraft of the early 1930s. Seversky, a Russian national, was a veteran of World War One. Seversky flew with the Czarist Naval Air Service and suffered the loss of a leg as a result of being shot down in 1915. Unfazed, he managed to convince his commanders to allow him to fly again using an artificial leg. Ultimately, Seversky was credited with no less than shooting down thirteen German aircraft before the Czarist government reached an armistice with the Kaiser Wilhelm in 1917. In early 1918 Seversky was appointed by the Czarist Government to study aircraft design and manufacturing in the United States. While he was in the U.S., the Communist revolution made it exceptionally dangerous to return home. Seversky had heard of the mass executions of his fellow officers and promptly applied for American citizenship. Read more here :
The aircraft was the brainchild of Alexander Kartveli, lead designer for Seversky Aircraft Corp., predecessor of Republic Aviation. In the 1930s, he created the Seversky P-35 for the U.S. Army Air Corps, which served as the model for the P-47. The new fighter made its first flight on May 6, 1941.
“Kartveli, a Russian immigrant, was one of America’s great aviation designers,” Kinney says. “He revolutionized fighter aircraft with the semi-elliptical wing and more powerful engines equipped with turbosuperchargers.”
During World War II, the Thunderbolt flew more than half a million missions and dropped 132,000 pounds of bombs. It had an exceptionally low rate of loss—.07 per mission—while Thunderbolt pilots racked up an impressive 4.6-to-1 aerial kill ratio. Of the 15,683 P-47s built between 1941 and 1945, only 3,499 were lost in combat.
The Thunderbolt on display at the Hazy Center is one of only a few dozen that survived the conflict and the march of time. Built in 1944, this P-47D-30-RA was used primarily as an aerial gunnery trainer in the United States. After the war, it became part of the U.S. Army Air Forces Museum, now the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, before being transferred to the Smithsonian. It was restored by Republic Aviation for the 20th anniversary of the fighter’s first flight in 1941.
Looking at the shiny aluminum fuselage of the P-47, it’s easy to see why World War II pilots relied so much on this aircraft. Large and lasting, she was the beast of the airways and could deliver far more punishment than she took.
In fact, that reputation for durability became the inspiration for another remarkable aircraft: the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. Known affectionately as the “Warthog” for its unusual aesthetics, it followed in the footsteps of its namesake to become one of the most reliable and rugged close-air-support aircraft in the U.S. Air Force.
“The A-10 pays homage to the P-47 as a ground-attack aircraft,” Kinney says. “Both are durable and amazing machines that were and are crucial to our country’s defense.”
Gabreski may have been just as tough as both aircraft. He flew a total of 266 combat missions and survived both a crash landing and internment in a German POW camp. In addition to his 28 kills in World War II, Gabreski shot down six aircraft in Korea, becoming one of only seven American pilots to be an ace in two wars.
In the latter conflict, he flew jets and certainly came to appreciate their speed and nimbleness. However, the turbocharged supremacy of the P-47 Thunderbolt in World War II left a lasting impression with Gabreski, who died in 2002.
Read more here : https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smiths…
P-47 Lands with One Wing.