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The pilots who flew the Republic P-47 “Jug” in WW II think their airplane has had a bad rap. Saddled with the reputation of being all brawn and no brains, Thunderbolts were often portrayed as a big dumb jock that got through the war on the equivalent of a football scholarship. The real American fighter of WW Two as most of the revisionist historians explain, was North American’s P-5 1 Mustang.

The P-5 1 is a beautiful Aircraft and the public relations that went with it seemed at times to obscure the P-47. The P-47 was the first of our fighter aircraft in Europe, did a major job and had more victories. Although it was designed to be an interceptor and used as an escort fighter, by the end of the war the Thunderbolt was primarily a fighter-bomber, and the pilots began to adorn their aircraft with silhouettes of the locomotives and trucks they had destroyed as well as aircraft. As originally conceived, the airplane was supposed to be smaller, powered by a liquid-cooled in-line engine. Jimmy Doolittle, working with the Shell Oil Co. engineers convinced them of a need for 100 octane gasoline to fuel larger aircraft engines. Shell began producing 100 octane fuel and aircraft engine designers began work on larger engines. With the advent of the higher octane fuel, Pratt & Whitney developed the 2000 horsepower - R-2800 radial engine in 1940. Republic then dropped their plans for the smaller fighter plane and designed an aircraft around...

Next...The Other Side Of  The Coin.


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