Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
WORLD WAR II
One of the 25 airplanes that won it
still flying 70 years after victory.
AIR&SPACE Smithsonian, May 2015I'd Rather Be Flying From Hangar 18
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
(Featuring some of the Ol'Kunnel's favorite airplanes!)
"The first P-47 combat missions were flown in April 1943; and Thunderbolt pilots found they could out-dive anything in the skies, thus breaking off combat at will. This is a definite advantage, as any fighter pilot will tell you.
"On October 13, 1941, the improved P-47D was ordered. In appearance, the first P-47D's were similar to the "B" and "C" versions with the cockpit blending into the tail via a razorback spine. This spine, although aerodynamically efficient, created a 20 degree blind spot behind the tail which could drastically reduce a pilot's life expectancy in combat. To eliminate this blind area, one P-47 was fitted with a bubble canopy from a British Typhoon. Designated XP-47K, it proved the value of the increased visibility, and bubble canopies were introduced on the production line with the P-47D-25. The cut-down fuselage created some yaw problems which were corrected by the addition of a dorsal fin on later "D's" and subsequent models. At total of 12,602 P-47D's were built..
--From U.S. Fighters by Lloyd S. Jones, 1975
Captain Walker "Bud" Mahurin, from the 56th Fighter Group, and his Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, "Spirit of Atlantic City, N.J." escorted Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 1st Bombardment Division, 8th Air Force during March 1944. Captain Mahurin became a top-scoring American Fighter ace in the European Theater of Operations with 21 victories.
Bovingdon airfield ,,,
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Next to Bovingdon is the disused former World War II, Eighth Air Force and post-war Royal Air Force airfield, RAF Bovingdon.
The airfield was built in 1942. Between 1943 and 1946 it became a B-17 operational training base for units such as 92nd Bomber Group, B-17 Flying Fortress Combat Crew Replacement Centre (CCRC), 11th CCRC, and 8th USAAF HQ Squadron. The RAF resumed control until 1951, then the USAF took over again until 1962 flying B-26 Marauders, B-29 Superfortresses, and B-50 Superfortresses. General Dwight D. Eisenhower's personal aircraft was said to be located here, as Bovingdon was the closest Eighth Air Force airfield to London.
Flying ceased in 1969, though some flying scenes for the film Hanover Street were shot there in 1978. The airfield served as airport for Hemel Hempstead during most of the postwar period.
Several films were made there including The War Lover, 633 Squadron, Hanover Street, an episode of the Persuaders,The Man With The Golden Gun (the flying car scene) and Mosquito Squadron.
The airfield site houses a VOR navigational beacon, code BNN. The airspace above the airfield and nearby Chesham is known as the Bovingdon stack and is a holding area for aircraft approaching Heathrow Airport, 20 miles to the south. At busy times on a clear day a dozen planes circle.
Part of the airfield was used to build The Mount Prison during the 1980s; it was located on the site of the aircraft hangars and administration blocks. The remainder of the site is used for a Saturday market and there is a permanent circuit for banger racing although there has not been any regular racing since 2008. The airfield is also a site for paintballing.
Of the three original runways, the North East/South West runway is still complete, and used for parking on market days.
The North West/South East runway is completely gone. The East/West runway is still complete, the Eastern end of which is used for the weekend Market, the Western end used to be used by the Farmers aircraft. The control tower still exists, but is in a very poor state. A lot of the taxiways, and the 2nd World War Bomb Dump trackways are mostly gone, a victim of hardcore reclamation, a common end of a large number of disused airfields in the UK.
The Ol'Kunnel tips his beanie to Patrick B of the UK for the heads-up on RAF Bovingdon and the 8th Eight Air Force.
Seeking Specific Aircraft Information
I have lots of historical photos from the Burma Banshees that belonged to my father. Is there an historical organization that would benefit from them? My father retired from the Air Force and was a pilot. He was in the Tenth Air Force in Burma (during WWII).
799 Shipwatch Drive
In my late father's memorabilia, he has a picture of a P-47D with tail S/N 228508. Painted just forward of the canopy is the name "Jerry" and at this time, I can't make out the writing just below the canopy. Do you have any data on this particular aircraft or the pilot?
Lenny Lindgren Aurora, MN
"Odds 'n Ends"
If I had anything to do with designing an airplane, it would bear a model number which included "47." Four seven, in that order, is a winning combination. There was the Boeing 247D, the first all-metal, low-wing, multi-engine airliner; it lopped seven hours off coast-to-coast airline schedules and outran the Army's hottest fighters. And North American's O-47, the most widely used prewar observation aircraft. The Boeing B-47, Douglas C-47, Republic P-47, and Boeing 747 are pure gold, of course, not to forget the Bell 47 helicopter, some 5,000 of which were built during 27 years of continuous production. I cannot think of a single flying lemon that bore the number, "47."
--"View From The Cockpit" by Len Morgan, Copyright © 1985.
The Ol'Kunnel comments: Me, two! (grin)
- Republic P-47D Thunderbolt.
- P-47D. Aft supercharger;characteristic razor-back spine.
- XP-47J. First piston-powered aircraft to exceed 500 mph in level flight.
- XP-47H. With Chrysler 16 cylinder liquid cooled engine.
- P-47D-30. KIKI-V with 526th FS, 86th FG in Pisa, Italy.
- Republic P-47D-20, schematic.
- The "Burma Yank" with the 'Burma Banshees'.
- A flight of blistered Jugs.Check for any REUNION notices here!
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