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horseback
08-14-2005, 01:41 PM
I was visiting the San Diego Aerospace Museum with a friend yesterday, and was disappointed to learn that their once formidable aviation books section in their gift shop had been greatly cut back in the year since I last visited. But I did investigate the used and donated books shelf and found a long out of
print gem: Roger Freeman€s Thunderbolt: A Documentary History of the Republic P-47, printed back in the €˜70s. This particular volume had been donated by the estate of one of the Museum€s librarians, and is in practically new condition. There were two other copies in similar condition for only $10 each, and my
buddy glommed onto one of them when he saw what I had scored. For those of you in the San Diego area, there€s still one left€¦

As you can imagine, my buddy and I parted soon after lunch in order to examine our new-found treasures. Along with the expected brief combat histories and descriptions of the various models, there are chapters with titles like €˜Quest For Performance€, €˜The €˜N€ and the War in the Pacific€, €˜Engineering and Performance Data,€ €˜Production Details€, €˜The P-47 Power Unit-the R-2800,€ €˜Mods and Odds,€ and €˜Pilot Opinion,€ all contained in approximately one hundred fifty 8-1/2 by 11 inch pages (I believe that corresponds to A4 size; please correct me if I€m wrong).

I suspect that Mr. Freeman was severely limited by the publishers€ costs and the €˜niche€ market his book was addressed to (things have changed radically over the last 20 years), but he squeezed in some significant information and quotes from primary sources. A great many of the actual participants in the P-47€s history were still alive and available to Mr. Freeman when he began writing the book in the late 1960s, and he clearly made the most of it.

While personally a great admirer of the P-47, Freeman was quite even-handed about the information he presented. In the Pilot Opinion chapter, he asked three pilots, all combat veterans in other types who also flew the Jug during their combat careers: Witold Lanowski (Spitfires), Jim Double (Hurricanes), and
Urban Drew (Mustangs-modelers may be familiar with his P-51D Detroit Miss). Each compares and contrasts the P-47 with his previous ride. Unfortunately, he was unable to find a former Messerschmitt or Focke-Wulf pilot with P-47 combat experience (at least while flying a Thunderbolt€¦).

I€m going to start by sharing Lanowski€s section. Hopefully, this will stir up some responses, and then, tomorrow or Tuesday, I€ll have had enough time to transcribe Ben Drew€s comments, and then I€ll post them in this thread for you to compare and contrast.

EUROPE: WITOLD LANOWSKI

€œWhen I was flying Spitfires in the Polish Air Force in 1943 we occasionally met Thunderbolts and had friendly €˜fights.€ This was at low altitudes and we could out-climb and out-turn them€"it was easy to get on their tails. We laughed about them and said, €˜This is not a fighter, it is a flying barrel!€ At the time I would not have been very happy if someone had told me I would one day be flying a Thunderbolt on operations. That such a big aircraft could be considered a fighter was silly in my opinion.

€œIn autumn 1943 I was assigned to a desk job---to my disgust. By then I had completed 97 operational flights. There were many other experienced Polish pilots being similarly placed and many of us had no intention of being grounded if we could possibly help it. The question was resolved when the Americans invited us some of us to fly with them and eventually permission was obtained from Air Ministry for six of us to go on short-term loan to the 56th Fighter Group. It was reciprocal gesture of friendship that had begun in 1919 when American fighter pilots (the originators of the first Kosciuszko Fighter Squadron) flew in Poland in her defense against the Bolsheviks; and later, in 1941 and 1942 American Poles trained and flew in the Polish Air Force under British Command. Francis Gabreski was one of these American Polish pilots and later as a USAAF Lieutenant Colonel commanded the 61st Fighter Squadron in the
56th Group. So in May 1944, we went to Boxted and formed a Polish flight in Gabreski€s squadron. I was going to fly the Thunderbolt! But Thunderbolt or whatever, at least I was going to fight.

€œMy immediate reaction was amazement at the size of this single-seater. Climbing up the enormous fuselage and getting into the wide cockpit, it was hard to believe I was in a fighter. It was just like sitting in an armchair, I had space everywhere, fantastic visibility. (The pilot fitted like a hand in a
glove in the other fighters I had flown€"in the French Caudron C714 the Perspex was a half-inch (12.7mm) from my shoulders and there was hardly room to turn my head.) At the same time there was satisfaction in being in such a large, powerful machine. I had laughed at it once but the Americans had shown what it could do: and in no time at all she gained my complete respect and admiration.

€œThere wasn€t any time for a conversion course. Everyone on the aerodrome was too busy. They said here is the aircraft, explained what is what, and off I went. All six of us were experienced and had flown many types of aircraft, so the Thunderbolt was one more and was no problem to fly once you knew where everything was in the cockpit. The Spitfire was relatively simple; the amount
of clocks and gauges you had were negligible; the supercharger was automatic and from a simplicity angle piloting was easy. In comparison, the Thunderbolt was complicated, but in many ways easier to fly. When you took-off or landed the Thunderbolt never really swung and you could lock the tail wheel to keep it straight down the runway. The undercarriage was set very wide and, really, you had to be a bloody awful pilot to have an accident in a Thunderbolt --- if there was nothing mechanically wrong. With the Spitfire with its narrow track undercarriage take-off and landing required a lot more skill, especially in
winter in snow and on the ____ (missing word-hb) it could be held on a steady course. Another thing that was good was the cockpit heating. We didn€t have this in the Spitfire which made it more difficult to be efficient if you were half frozen.

€œThe biggest disadvantage of the Thunderbolt was its weight and we knew that we would have to fight in a different way to that in Spitfires. On the other hand it possessed the capacity to give an extra 400 hp by means of water injection, for use in an emergency, but only for a few minutes otherwise you blew your
engine to pieces. I don€t think there was any aircraft at the time that would dive so fast as the Thunderbolt. First time I dived after an enemy plane I came up with him so quickly it was a bit of a shock. The Germans nearly always dived to escape: just flip over and down. So we could easily catch them with
the superior speed of the Thunderbolt --- but it gained so quickly I am sure there must have been some collisions. Later models even had dive brakes. The Thunderbolt could turn quite well at speed but it was not safe to try to turn too far with a 190 or 109. It was best to go only a half circle, shoot, and then pull out; or three-quarters of a circle at the most. I had several engagements with German fighters at heights of between 5,000 and 10,000 ft. Dogfighting with them in a Thunderbolt needed care, it was not for the inexperienced. It was better to clear your tail, make a swift attack, then dive away. The only Thunderbolt pilot I saw hit and go down in a dogfight didn€t check his tail. I shot the German off him but it was already too late. I considered the 190 a better aircraft than the Messerschmitt; it could give you a tougher fight. The problem was that in a mix-up you sometimes had difficulty at long range telling which was a P-47 and which was an Fw 190 as they both had radial engines. In fact, I once mistakenly fired on another Thunderbolt. Luckily, I didn€t hit him.

€œThe most impressive thing about the Thunderbolt was the armament. There was no time for gunnery practices when I joined the 56th so I had no experience of what the heavy Browning machine guns would do in combat. The very first time I got on the tail of a Focke-Wulf and gave him a very short burst he absolutely exploded! It was fantastic! Nothing like this had ever happened in Spitfires due to the wide setting of the cannons (2) and machine guns (4), and small amount of rounds per cannon. Sometimes the enemy fighter would smoke but I had never seen one explode. The concentration and punch of bullets from those eight €˜Point-Fifties€ in the Thunderbolt was tremendous. You could see where you were hitting which you rarely saw with other fighters I flew. And if you saw where you were hitting all you had to do was pull your deflection, and there it was--- explosion! I have always believed the principal reason the
Thunderbolt did so well in air fighting was its firepower.

€œI would say that there was very little difference between the flight behavior of the various Thunderbolt models I flew. The bubble hood gave a vast improvement in visibility, and the hood, being electrically operated, was simple to ease open a few inches, enabling you to get a breath of fresh air in the cockpit. Because the engine had a big appetite the cry was always for bigger tanks to carry more fuel. The first bubble hood P-47Ds were given to the leaders and we then had a problem because these aircraft had a bigger internal fuel tank. Some leaders would be busy chasing Germans and forget that they had more fuel than the other pilots.

€œI never had any real mechanical problems on my Thunderbolt; the standard of American engineering was very good and our mechanics were excellent. Another good thing was that Republic had a permanent representative on the aerodrome who was constantly interested in what we wanted improved or modified. Because the 56th was such a successful group --- and in my opinion a lot of this success was due to Hubert Zemke: he was the best leader of any nationality that I served with --- it often got new equipment to try out. We tested the rocket tubes fitted under the wings. Nobody liked them. There was a story that when some fellow fired his rockets they did a 180? turn and came back at him! We were one of the first to try napalm --- I think it was Schilling who dropped some on the field at Boxted to see what would happen.

€œNear the end of the war we got the very fast P-47M which we polished up to get extra speed. It had the very good gyroscopic gunsight only I must admit that we were not really happy about the change as we had become so used to the old sight. Then there was the two-seat Thunderbolt which was fitted out with a radar set and had antenna sticking out form the wings. The idea was to try and find German aircraft in the air while we were over Germany. It wasn€t successful as the radar did not function very well and the aircraft was so much slower than the rest.

€œThe Thunderbolt was well known for the punishment it could take. I have seen one come back to Boxted with a top cylinder and piston blown completely off with a shell. No liquid cooled engine fighter could take such punishment (I had a friend who was shot down in a Spitfire by a single rifle bullet in the
cooling system --- on maneuvers in England!). Between 1935 and 1959 I flew more than forty different aircraft. The Thunderbolt wasn€t the best propeller driven type I flew but during the war I never felt safer than I did in a Thunderbolt. It could take more and give more than any other single-seat fighter of its day.

€œTo make comparisons between the Thunderbolt and any other aircraft, such as the Spitfire, is not really justifiable in that its capacity and ability were totally different. Therefore it is somewhat unfair to make such omparisons. The Spitfire was a short range --- per one battle, aircraft --- Paris and back. The Thunderbolt was a long range (and with later models, a very long range) aircraft --- 2 to 3, or more, battles per mission --- Berlin and back. Even so, this exceptional aircraft demanded greater experience plus additional training of its pilots to do it justice. But due to the progressive speed of the war itself and the demand so placed on the pilots, the US 8th Air Force had no option but to replace the Thunderbolts with the less demanding long range P-51 Mustang.

€œHowever, the 56th Fighter Group, on their own request, were permitted to keep the Thunderbolt. As the top scoring American Group*(in air-to-air combat) it seemed fitting they should retain the remarkable Thunderbolt that had helped to make them one of the most famous fighter units of the war.€

*354th €˜Pioneer Mustang€ FG of the 9th AF had higher air-to-air scores, despite an extended tour flying ground support missions in both P-51s and P-47s.---hb

cheers

horseback

FoolTrottel
08-14-2005, 02:26 PM
Thank you!
Great read!
Keep it up!
(At yer own pace of course!)

Stigler_9_JG52
08-14-2005, 03:38 PM
This is a familiar theme with (ex) Jug pilots.

I remember once attending a talk by a Tuskegee Airman, who recounted flying P-40s, P-47s and of course, P-51s in his service time and had great stories to tell flying each of them.

During the Q&A, somebody asked him which plane was his favorite. He explained that, although he knew the "politically correct" answer for a Tuskeegee Airman was to vote for the P-51, he had to grudingly vote for the Thunderbolt. Pressed as to why, he pointed at his backside and said, "It was all that armor the Jug had protecting this".

berg417448
08-14-2005, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by Stigler_9_JG52:
This is a familiar theme with (ex) Jug pilots.

I remember once attending a talk by a Tuskegee Airman, who recounted flying P-40s, P-47s and of course, P-51s in his service time and had great stories to tell flying each of them.

During the Q&A, somebody asked him which plane was his favorite. He explained that, although he knew the "politically correct" answer for a Tuskeegee Airman was to vote for the P-51, he had to grudingly vote for the Thunderbolt. Pressed as to why, he pointed at his backside and said, "It was all that armor the Jug had protecting this".


I had a similar experience.Back in the late 60's a WWII vet lived across the street from me. He had flown both the P-47 and P-51 on combat missions. He liked the P-51 but really, really loved the P-47. His kids told me he had acouple of kills in the war but he never mentioned them to me. He told me a few stories about the ones that got a way though. interesting stuff.

DmdSeeker
08-14-2005, 03:52 PM
Great read, thx!

Kocur_
08-14-2005, 05:17 PM
Nice reading!
anowski forgot to mention what brought him to the desk http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gifHe mistakenly almost shot a plane with Churchill onboardhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

danjama
08-14-2005, 05:29 PM
Very nice read mate, Thankyou. I am currently reading johnny johnsons book(who was also in 56th) and he speaks of Gabreski and the like as if they are normal friends, because i guess they are to him. The Thunderbolt really is a beautiful and extraordinary plane. Its a shame that the way he describes its amazing dive capabilities is not modelled accurately in the game e.g. acceleration.

BigKahuna_GS
08-15-2005, 05:34 AM
S!



I was visiting the San Diego Aerospace Museum with a friend yesterday, and was disappointed to learn that their once formidable aviation books section in their gift shop had been greatly cut back in the year since I last visited. But I did investigate the used and donated books shelf and found a long out of print gem: Roger Freeman€s Thunderbolt: A Documentary History of the Republic P-47, printed back in the €˜70s. This particular volume had been donated by the estate of one of the Museum€s librarians, and is in practically new condition. There were two other copies in similar condition for only $10 each, and my
buddy glommed onto one of them when he saw what I had scored. For those of you in the San Diego area, there€s still one left€¦


Great read Horseback ! Thanks

I wonder if I can call the museum to purchase the book and have them ship it to me. Worth a call.



Lanowski---"I don€t think there was any aircraft at the time that would dive so fast as the Thunderbolt. First time I dived after an enemy plane I came up with him so quickly it was a bit of a shock. The Germans nearly always dived to escape: just flip over and down. So we could easily catch them with the superior speed of the Thunderbolt --- but it gained so quickly I am sure there must have been some collisions. "


Only if it was that way in IL2


___

Abbuzze
08-15-2005, 05:41 AM
Originally posted by 609IAP_Kahuna:

Lanowski---"I don€t think there was any aircraft at the time that would dive so fast as the Thunderbolt. First time I dived after an enemy plane I came up with him so quickly it was a bit of a shock. The Germans nearly always dived to escape: just flip over and down. So we could easily catch them with the superior speed of the Thunderbolt --- but it gained so quickly I am sure there must have been some collisions. "


Only if it was that way in IL2


___

You mean serverrooms full of german rookiepilots
that trying to escape while diving straigt down? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

BigKahuna_GS
08-15-2005, 06:24 AM
S!

__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________
Abbuzee-You mean serverrooms full of german rookiepilots
that trying to escape while diving straigt down?[/quote]
__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________



[quote]Originally posted by 609IAP_Kahuna:

Lanowski---"I don€t think there was any aircraft at the time that would dive so fast as the Thunderbolt. First time I dived after an enemy plane I came up with him so quickly it was a bit of a shock."


Only if it was that way in IL2


___

I removed the part about germans diving straight down for you http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Even though Gunther Rall did the same thing and got shot down by P47's. But he was only a 275 plane ace.

I hope you understand that I am refering to dive acceleration in the P47 mate. Something that is sorely missing from this sim as both the 109/190 can out dive the Jug. A very non-historical feature and one of many in the P47 flight model.


___

p1ngu666
08-15-2005, 07:42 AM
he thinks 190 was better than 109, he wouldnt be popular here would he http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

geetarman
08-15-2005, 08:44 AM
Great read and thank you. I live 5 miles from Republic Airport in Long Island. There is a static P-47D in the back garden of the bar located at the airfield(aptly called "The 56th Fighter Group"). Great bar, decorated like a WWII USAAF base in England. Tons of momentos of P-47's all over the walls.

Just yesterday I was going out to pick up breakfast for the family, waiting at a red light. I heard a thunderous roar and looked up. There was a P-47D coming in low and pretty fast heading for the American Airpower Museum at the airfield. What a sight!

Immeadiately thereafter, a F4U-4 came screaming over my car. Last but not least, a quieter sound, but still impressive, approached from
the north. I look up and there is a beautiful P-40E, decked out in early USAAC colors!

Not a bad "free" flyby.

woofiedog
08-15-2005, 09:26 AM
horseback... Excellent article!
Thank's

asgeirr73
08-15-2005, 09:56 AM
Thanks horseback very nice reading I just love to hear the stories from those who realy was there and did that http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

DxyFlyr
08-15-2005, 02:24 PM
Originally posted by Kocur_:
Nice reading!
anowski forgot to mention what brought him to the desk http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gifHe mistakenly almost shot a plane with Churchill onboardhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

I believe you're thinking of "Killer Mike" Boleslaw. He and Lanowski were close and their careers are very similar. A fantastic book about these guys is A Question of Honor (http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=0375411976)

Great movie material there.

Kocur_
08-15-2005, 02:43 PM
You are right! Guy to almost kill Churchill was Boles"aw G"adych.
anowski merely told some general he was an a..hole http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Good book, I have it too! You could also check "Uprising'44" by Norman Davies.

DxyFlyr
08-15-2005, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by Kocur_:

...anowski merely told some general he was an a..hole http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ...


http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif You've got to love these guys. Why their story isn't a blockbuster on the big screen is beyond me. Last I heard, Gladych is still alive in Seattle. I'm hoping for an autobiography out of him.


Looking forward to hearing Ben Drew's comments, horseback. Nice thread.

Abbuzze
08-16-2005, 02:00 AM
Originally posted by 609IAP_Kahuna:


___

I removed the part about germans diving straight down for you http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Even though Gunther Rall did the same thing and got shot down by P47's. But he was only a 275 plane ace.

I hope you understand that I am refering to dive acceleration in the P47 mate. Something that is sorely missing from this sim as both the 109/190 can out dive the Jug. A very non-historical feature and one of many in the P47 flight model.


___

Of course, I simply couldn´t restist to do some kidding http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif. For Rall, yes you are right, being a 275 kills ace didn´t save you from doing stupid things. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Edit: Beside I´m pretty sure that an increase of dive acceleration for the P47 will lead to a lot of whining when the first guys are trying to follow in a split-S with zero throttle, or even worse if they follow at low alt http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif. If I remember a number of RL pilots where killed when they try such a move at too less altitude.

Cajun76
08-16-2005, 03:04 AM
Thanks a lot horseback, I love to hear these kinds of stories from the guys who were there, especially the converts. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

horseback
08-16-2005, 11:29 PM
Okay, here€s the second installment: Urban L. €˜Ben€ Drew, best known as the pilot of €˜Detroit Miss€, European ace and victor over 2 Me 262s on a single sortie. I actually met Mr. Drew, who lived in Imperial Beach, literally just down the road from me. He was a shameless Mustang honk. Like a number of British pilots of the same era, he had one love and one love only, and every other aircraft was measured against it. The Brits had their Spitfire, and Ben Drew had his Mustang and the unshakeable belief that he was unbeatable in it.

I heard parts of this account from the man himself, when he accosted me while I was bicycling past his yard wearing a T-shirt bearing the image of €˜his€ P-51. I stopped, we talked, and occasionally chatted when we saw each other again. I got the distinct impression that he never felt as though he did anything as important as fighting in that war.

I also got the impression that he felt a bit cheated that he couldn€t find enough enemy aircraft to allow him to beat Bong€s score €" he definitely had a classic fighter pilot€s ego. But it would be awfully hard to go up every day looking for a fight to the death without the belief that you could beat anyone you came up against. He was a tough old bird.

This is what he told Roger Freeman about his experience with the P-47:

€œFirst time I flew a Thunderbolt was during advanced fighter training at a Mustang base in Florida. We used P-47s to tow targets for air-to-air gunnery practice and thought of them strictly as tow-target ships. Compared to the P-51 it was something of an old truck. Admittedly, the models we had were P-47Bs that had seen better days. And I never did get much experience of the total flexibility of their performance while towing a target around - my attention was more taken up with not getting shot down by the other students!

€œAfter returning from my combat tour on P-51s in Europe, I was assigned to a pilot pool and headed for an instructional unit down on the Texas border. I didn€t fancy instructing, particularly as the outfit had the slow AT-6 (Harvard/Texan), and I fretted to get back into combat. The only way was to gain the ear of somebody with influence, and hearing that my old P-51 group CO was not far away I called him for help. He left me in no doubt that there was no chance of getting back to Europe, but he did have a friend who was taking a P-47 group to the Pacific and might be able to use someone with my experience. With no other options I accepted his offer and soon received orders to proceed to Wilmington, North Carolina, where the P-47 group was based.

€œI was to find that the group, the 414th, had already started to move to the Pacific theater, as it turned out the last US fighter outfit to go to war. Only one P-47 remained on the base and that was the CO€s - Colonel Thorne€s. He asked me how long since I had flown a P-47 and when told of my experience in flying school said, €˜Well, this is a much later version and I think you€d better get at least a couple hours on it. Only it€s my airplane and I want it back here in the same condition as you find it now.€ So out I went, checked things over with the crew chief and studied the manual. Looked much the same as the earlier models. Took off and flew around for about thirty minutes and was just settling in when a couple of Marine Corsairs decided they€d like to mix it up a bit. It was soon obvious they could hold a tighter turn than I could and I decided the only way I was going to shake them was to bring in extra power by pushing the throttle full open. In about 30 seconds the engine started to bang and black smoke poured out. Too late I realized that it wasn€t getting the water-methanol and had over-heated. I had real difficulty in getting it back to base, which was around a hundred miles away, and once or twice thought I would have to bale out when the banging and coughing engine seemed like it was going to quit. All I could think of was what the Colonel was going to say and whether I had just lost myself the trip to the Pacific. Sure enough when I taxied up to the ramp he was there; the noise from the engine and the black smoke it was throwing out told him all he wanted to know. Before I had time to get out of the cockpit he was up on the wing and with a few well-chosen words reminded me of his caution. They had to change the engine but I was in part exonerated because the water-methanol tank was empty and there had been no indication of this on the Form 1 (aircraft status sheet handed to the pilot by crew chief before a flight). Still, in the Colonel€s
opinion I had sinned by engaging in unauthorized maneuvers and as a punishment
I was sent on ahead of the rest of the Group pilots to help with getting the camp ready on Iwo Jima.

€œThis small island was about halfway between Japan and the Marianas where the B-29s were based. At 660 miles to the nearest point on Japan it was at extreme range for the P-47N and we wondered why we were not based on Ie Shima where the other three Thunderbolt groups were -- only about 325 miles from Japan. As any time spent over Japan was going to be limited to about 15 to 20 minutes maximum it didn€t make sense from a tactical standpoint. The rumor that we were on Iwo Jima ready to move to Japan as soon as the invasion force acquired a strip seemed justified. As things happened we never found out as after only a few operations from Iwo in August 1945 the Japs quit.

In flying the P-47N I was naturally going to use the Mustang as a yardstick for comparison. We had two P-51 groups on Iwo and the differences were the more sharply obvious to me when we tangled in mock dog fights. Above all, I missed the responsiveness of the P-51: the P-47N was plain sluggish. I couldn€t turn
with the Mustangs or carry out any maneuver without they had a head start. It was soon forcibly impressed on me that if my group was going to get into anything with the very tight turning Japanese fighters then we€d have to go back to the old bounce and zoom system that the P-47s had used quite effectively in Europe. Of course, the P-47N did have this tremendous dive
capability and you could outdive a Mustang. Being a much heavier machine the P-47 needed more stick pressure. It rolled quite nicely, and would go through most maneuvers without exhibiting any vices -- once I flew it upside down for an extended period. View from the cockpit was good in the P-47N and and only
forward over the big nose was visibility more restricted than with the P-51D. Surprisingly, the cockpit of the P-47 was quieter than the Mustang€s €" in my opinion €" so I assume it was better insulated. The Thunderbolt was definitely more stable than the P-51, it didn€t bounce around so much in rough air and as a gun platform it was superb. I much preferred it for ground strafing and those two extra 50-caliber guns seemed to make all the difference in chewing up a target. The wide-tread undercarriage was another good point and I would say a novice pilot would have an easier time taking-off and landing than if in a Mustang. A Mustang always had a tendency to swing on take-off if you didn€t lead rudder into it €" violently if you applied power too quickly. The P-47N was much more stable on take-off €" at least you were far less likely to get into trouble, and the same went for landing; it was an easy airplane to bring in despite the restricted view over the nose.

€œThat said, take-offs on operations were another matter because to make the round trip of more than 1,300 miles the airplane required full internal tanks, a 165 gallon (US) tank under each wing and 110 gallon tank under the belly for a total of over 900 gallons, giving a gross weight in excess of over 10 tons. The runway at North Field, Iwo, was over a mile long but with a full load the P-47 accelerated so slowly you wondered every time whether you were going to make it €" there was a drop off a cliff into the sea beyond the far end. It needed full power to get off and from then on everything was done to conserve fuel. A single orbit of the field was sufficient to get us into formation and then we would begin to climb out on course until we reached 20,000 ft for optimum fuel consumption. For safety, take-off was always made using the main tank. Then we would go over to the drop tanks for the sooner they were drained the sooner we would be getting rid of some of the drag on the airplane. In the 15 to 20 minutes it took to climb to our operating altitude the P-47 would use all the fuel in the belly tank. Cruise would be at around 185 IAS and all the drop tank fuel would be gone by the time we reached Japan.

€œMonotony was a problem, with nothing but ocean below for three or four hours at a stretch. The cockpit was roomy and you could shuffle about to relieve your bottom. Every pilot took drinking water in a big Thermos jug which we stood on the cockpit floor; you sure needed it. Being on oxygen for most of the time added to the discomfort. The P-47N had an automatic pilot, the first I€d ever seen in a fighter. The idea was to take away some of the fatigue on these long hauls. It tended to be unreliable and wasn€t easy to set up. If you didn€t get the coordinates set properly and turned the auto-pilot on the airplane would flip or dip. Most of us didn€t bother with it and preferred to fly by hand. The Thunderbolt was easily trimmed out and then needed only light pressure on the stick in a level cruise.

€œOur missions were mostly ground strafing airfields or some briefed military installation. The 414th never engaged any enemy fighters on these flights. What few aircraft the Japs did put up usually intercepted when you were starting the trip home, knowing that if they could keep you busy for a while you might not make it back to Iwo. Fact, finding the island was our biggest worry. We had a B-29 navigational plane to lead us back, but you couldn€t always find it. On Dead Reckoning alone there was plenty of room for error with 600 miles of ocean to cross. On my last mission my wingman was hit by ground fire while we were strafing. His P-47 was smoking as we climbed off target and he radioed that he might have to bale out. He managed to keep going for about 200 miles then the engine began to quit. In baling out he hit the tail, breaking both legs. I put out a distress call and circled over him for about 30 minutes until a B-29 arrived and dropped a raft. Then I set a course for Iwo, only when it should have shown up it was nowhere to be seen. The gauges showed fuel for only a few minutes, so I started calling €œMayday€. I was more than relieved to pick up a very faint signal from Iwo giving me a vector €" I was way out to the west and had to turn 90 degrees. You hear stories of guys who didn€t have enough fuel left to taxi off the runway before the engine cut out; well, in my case, this is exactly what happened. Sad thing was that although the Navy picked up my wingman he must have had head injuries because he died when they got him to the hospital. The few people we lost went down chiefly through running out of fuel. The P-47N was pretty reliable and I never had any malfunctions on mine. With the heavy loads and the heat we had a few tire bursts. The engine was very dependable and I can say that I felt as safe as I€ve ever felt in combat when flying the Thunderbolt. Even so, have got to be honest and say that good airplane that it was, I would rather have been flying a Mustang.€

Sorry I took so long.

cheers

horseback

Cajun76
08-17-2005, 03:48 AM
Gruding respect is good too! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

He seemed like a "TnB" type of guy, so I can understand the frustration of the transition and patience needed to fight in a Thunderbolt. The relative dive differences really stand out compared to this sim/game.

Thanks for taking the time to post it, horseback.

F19_Ob
08-17-2005, 04:35 AM
Thanks horseback. very interesting. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Another important thing that jugpilots seem to favor was the ability to absorb hits and especially in the engine and still be able to fly over France and the channel and land at home.

Jagdklinger
08-17-2005, 04:38 AM
Thanks - a good read! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Cajun76
08-17-2005, 11:19 AM
I think it deserves a bump.

geetarman
08-17-2005, 11:32 AM
Thanks! Spoken like a true Pny driver. I gotta agree with most of his comments. Still love the 47 though. Here are some other pilot impressions of the 51 vs. 47 all from "Victory Roll:"

William Whisner: 21 victories (14.5 P-51) 352FG (15.5 WWII and 5.5 Korea)

"We exchanged our Thunderbolts for Mustang B's in Aprill 1944. The P-51 was the better of the two fighters. It was faster, had a smaller turning radius, had better acceleration and rate of climb, far outclassed the P-47 below 25,000', and a longer combat range."

"Even in a dive, for which the Thunderbolt was renown, the Mustang could hold its own. In the initial pushover into the dive the Mustang was faster, and thereafter it could keep up with the heavier Thunderbolt, which fell like a rock. The P-47 did have a better rate of roll, and with its high altitude supercharger was slightly better at altitudes above 25,000'. Although it was more heavily armed with eight .50 cal. machine guns to the Mustang B's four, in aerial combat this was no problem, as most kills were from 10 degrees or less deflection and within 250 yards - can't miss territory."

"Our guns were a continual source of frustration. Anytime we pulled more than 1.5 to 2 Gs they would jam. [We] had to take our chances with the guns whle manuevering in combat, or confine our firing to straight and level flight!"

"The flight characteristics of the Mustang were great. It gave ample warning of a stall, and generally had no sever handling faults.


James Tapp: 8 victories 15FG (PTO)

"Through the end of the war I flew 33 hours in the P-39, 788 in the P-40, 267 in the P-47D, 218 in the P-51D(all 8 kills were recorded in this type) and even 1 hour in a P-38L.

The most important instrument in the cockpit for the fighter pilot was the gunsight. The P-51 was far superior in this respect. By the end of May 1945, replacement aircraft began to arrive equipped with the K-14 computing gunsight installed. Very scrimpy information was supplied with this sight on its use, and we had little opportunity to train with it. Fortunately, it had a fixed sight mode which we could use until w figured it out. Once we did figure it out it made the average pilot a great shot (editor - yeah if your target doesn't move!).

When we transitioned to P-51D's, I was making claims about its superiority over the P-47s we were still flying. An argument rose: "Yeah, but the P-47 outperforms the P-51 above 30,000 feet." The Republic tech was particularly sensitive about this. Our engineering officer, based on what I was claiming, bet the tech that the P-51 could outrun the P-47 above 30,000. The Group CO, Lt.Col. Jim Beckwith, had a P-47D28 with a bubble canopy specially readied to race the Mustang. The Thunderbolt's wing racks were removed and it looked like it had been waxed. The P-47 was flown by vice CO Maj. Emmett Kearney, while I went out to the line and jumped into one of the Mustangs there and taxied out behind Kearney.

I flew on his wing and had to hold the P-51 back while we climbed to 30,000 feet. After we reached altitude and leveled off, he signalled that he was going full power. I stayed with him for awhile and asked, "Is that all you have?", to which he nodded. I then pushed the throttle full forward to 3,000 RPM and ran off and left him. TO rub it in, I dove for base, knowing that because of the P-47's compressability problem, she could not follow. I landed, grabbed a coke and a folding chair, and waited for him to taix in.

The P-52 was a "crusier," due to its low drag, efficient airframe and engine, and increased fuel capacity. the P-40 and P-47 flew at relatively low cruise air speeds. The N model P-47, which came on line in late July 1945 with the 414th FG, was modified to extend its range. It had more wing area, clipped wings, reduced load limit factor, and increased internal fuel. But, as a consequence, the "N" lost the legendary ruggedness of its forerunners. Their cruise speed for long range missions was 185 mph at 10,000 feet versus the P-51's 210 mph. We were able to take off after them, spend more time over the target area, and then beat them home. They did have the advantage of an autopilot and folding rudder pedals, which allowed their pilots to stretch out their legs.

In the category of flight characteristics (stability, control, compressabiltiy, and load factor), all AAF fighters had problems of some sort; some more serious than others. The static and dynamic stability of the P-51 about all axes was excellent when the fuselage tank was down to 25 gallons. Unfortunately, on our longe range missions we entered the combat area with a fuselage tank that had been used only for take off, and then we had to switch to the external drop tanks, which we did not want to have hanging on during combat. This led to a stick reversal situation that the elevator control system bob could not compensate. At redline (505 mph) the fighter would become unstable in pitch. this created the "JC manuever" situation: when you tried to make corrections in pitch you would aggravate a tendency for the plane to porpoise. The P-40 had similar problems. I don't recall any stability problems with the P-47.

The P-51D had superior control characteristics compared to the P-39, P-40, P-47 and unboosted P-38. It trimmed well, and trim did not change with air speedas it did with the others, particularly the P-40.

The [P-51] controls remained light and responsive at all speeds, perhaps too much so in pitch. The others stiffened up quite a bit as the speed increased. With the P-40 it was primarily the rudder that took considerable attention . The P-47 was probably the worst in this respect. At high speeds it took considerable effort to move the aileron and elevator.

Based on air-to-air and air-to-ground engagements, I strongly felt that we needed bigger guns with explosive projectiles. the Germans cocnluded the same."

Slickun
08-17-2005, 03:39 PM
My Dad flew both, and echoes most of the comments here. According to Pop:

The P-51:
accelerated better
rolled better
turned better
zoom climbed better
dove better. Like the other post, Dad said it got a slight lead, then was able to hold it. He also said that P-47 pilots KNEW their plane would hold up in the dive, P-51 pilots HOPED theirs would.
Was much more maneuverable at high speeds.

The P-47:
Was generally a match overall at 25,000 feet
Was better by about 30,000 feet.
Had much better firepower
Was a better gun platform
Took much more of a beating
Was roomier in the cockpit
Was more comfortable to fly long missions in
The N was longer ranged.
For reliability the 2800 was tops.

Despite the disparity, I could always tell that Dad liked and was exilirated by flying the Mustang, but loved his Jug.

As I've posted often, in mock dogfights with Corsairs, the P-47 was generally better above 15,000 feet, worse below.

Other comments:

The Photo recon P-51 always flew like the fuselage tank was full, due to the camera weight.
Visibility was better in a Mustang, even though it was fine in a P-47.
One wore gloves in a P-51, due to unfinished metal edges, thus the "Spam Can" nickname.

He was disappointed that he was to be assigned to P-47's, all the guys wanted to fly the glamorous Mustang.

The standard joke was that to take evasive action in a Jug you just dodged around in the cockpit.

In a stall, if you let go of the stick, the Mustang would just mush outwards, like it is described in the P-38. If you kept horsing the stick, you went into a spin that you needed to get out of before it "set in".

Spins in the P-47 were violent. Not much difference in spins in the two.

P-47 gave a nice stall warning. The P-51 much less, but adequate if a bit of experience was put on the bird.

To relieve oneself in either type was difficult. To pee you used the cold, cold, relief tube, after shedding the requisite layers of clothing. Much easier in the Jug, BTW. Sometimes the tube would be clogged. We can all visualize...well, never mind. To defecate, more clothing had to be shed, and plastic bags were used. Yikes. Very very difficult in a Mustang.

A wingie of Pops went in for a emergency landing in a P-47N, came up short on the approach, and hit 18 trees. Knocked all of them over with the wings, and stayed intact.

Robert Johnson was greatly admired in the P-47 community. Don Gentile was greatly admired in the Mustang community.

Gentile could do this trick in a P-40:

On takeoff, he would raise one wing so the wheel was off the ground. He'd hit the gear lever. With just one leg to raise, the hydraulic pressure would just ram the wheel into the well, instead of the slow, steady rate one normally got in the type.

He'd then lift off, and the other gear strut would also slam into the wheel well. According to Pop, more than a few props were chewed up in P-40's as others tried to duplicate this.

arcadeace
08-17-2005, 04:55 PM
This is a fascinating thread. I usually don€t have this depth of interest but to those of you contributing raw pilot experiences, thanks. It goes to show on the one hand some apparent generalities and on the other significant differences, from pilot to pilot. Nothing against Oleg and his extensive efforts but for members to make judgment on the real thing compared to their sim experience, is narrow-minded.

horseback
08-17-2005, 05:30 PM
Interesting story about Gentile, Slickun. Even more so in light of the fact that as a former RAF trained 'Eagle', Gentile had much less (as in almost none) opportunity to fly P-40s before returning to the States in April 1944.

Oh, yeah, the boy could fly...(with apologies to Dire Straits)

cheers

horseback

DadeBoy
08-17-2005, 05:53 PM
Great read, thanks.

wayno7777
08-17-2005, 05:59 PM
Keep 'em coming, Horseback. Love it! Just finished An Ace of the Eighth by Bud Fortier. He flew both also...

Slickun
08-17-2005, 06:56 PM
A lot of US pilots in the later war years had opportunities to fly the P-40. My Dad got to do it as sort of a reward for doing well in, ummm, advanced, I think. I'd have to pull out the tape.

Gentile's kids lived about 5 houses down from us when I lived at Lockbourne (then Rickenbacker) AFB in the mid 60's. They looked just like him.

ElAurens
08-17-2005, 09:22 PM
I find the comments about the .50" BMGs on the P47 very enlightening.

horseback
08-17-2005, 09:45 PM
I found a few things very striking about both pilots' descriptions.

1. Both agreed that the P-47 was very fast to build up speed in the dive. Lanowski, having come from Spits, appears to have found this capability almost unnerving, and mentions the dive brakes, quite similar to those on the late model P-38s, installed in D-27s and later models.

2. Both agreed that the 8 X .50 constituted tremendously destructive firepower. Again, Lanowski seems to have found it much more impressive than the 2 x 20mm Hispanos in his old Spitfires.

3. Can you say "Stable gun platform" boys and girls? No shake, no shimmy, rock solid. Loud, yes; some vibration - yes; pipper bouncing off the target - hell, no. They were quite clear that the pilot could easily keep his guns on target. Drew mentioned that it was more stable than the Mustang, which still was his preference for air to air.

4. Complicated cockpit. Lanowski states that the P-47 required more pilot attention to operate, and a bit of skill and time in type to get good results. Sounds oddly like what some of his contemporaries said about another large, ungainly fighter...

5. Handling. Pilots of the P-38, P-47 and the Mustang often use terms referring to American luxery (but still very powerful) cars of the day - Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, the big Chryslers. Since most examples of this style of car were built prior to 1970, some of you will miss the meaning.

I learned to drive in a 1962 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, a valid point of reference in this case. It was large, comfortable, and smooth. It went where you pointed it, reliably and predictably, sometimes quicker than the uninitiated would expect. And it could flat out haul @ss, especially once the inertia of all that steel and leather had been even slightly overcome. It was quick from 0 to 30, not bad from 30 to 60, and unbelievable from 60 to 90 (Thank God gas cost 19 cents a gallon when I was in high school...).

I understood immediately why US fighter doctrine called for staying fast.

My friends called it the Great White Whale.

cheers

horseback

wayno7777
08-17-2005, 10:15 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Gibbage1
08-17-2005, 11:36 PM
Originally posted by p1ngu666:
he thinks 190 was better than 109, he wouldnt be popular here would he http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Thats like someone saying the P-47 was better then the P-51! Wait. 3 pilots just said that....

The problem is people automatically ASUME "better" means more manuverable. WWII pilots had differant criteria. Mainly getting home alive, not getting the kill. FW-190 A and P-47 were MUCH better then the P-51 and 109 in that respect.

SnapdLikeAMutha
08-18-2005, 07:26 AM
WC 'Dizzy' Allan DFC devotes a couple of pages to his flight in a Jug in his book 'Battle of Britain', he flew mostly Spits during the war but flew the T-Bolt while introducing the USAAF to Fighter Command interception techniques. He rates it as having poor climb and accln, but with excellent dive and very light controls, with a good roll rate. He also says he landed at 130mph airspeed http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

Cajun76
08-18-2005, 08:30 AM
Originally posted by SnapdLikeAMutha:
He also says he landed at 130mph airspeed http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

That seems rather high for the Jug, unless he had a lot of fuel or stores...

Cajun76
08-18-2005, 08:47 AM
Found this poking around teh interweb...

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3897/is_200310/ai_n9324510

SnapdLikeAMutha
08-18-2005, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by Cajun76:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by SnapdLikeAMutha:
He also says he landed at 130mph airspeed http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

That seems rather high for the Jug, unless he had a lot of fuel or stores... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

"Then I decided to land; then I realised I had no idea of her approach and landing speeds. But she was fat, she was big, and she was a very heavy aircraft, so I opted for an approach speed of 170mph - which would be saef against a stall on the approach, probably much too fast in fact, I put her down on the runway on to her main wheels at 130mph and hoped that the brakes were going to stand the strain"

Cajun76
08-18-2005, 02:23 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif With flaps (of course) the landing speed is around 100mph...


I wasn't doubting he did, but I also knew it was too high... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

An example from the article I posted:


Stall evaluation

Remembering the Pilot's Handbook rebuke as I set up to do a stall, I very slowly reduced the P-47B's airspeed with the flaps and landing gear retracted. At 120mph, (@ 10,000ft) it started to buffet, and at 110, it stalled. Surprisingly, it had very little wing drop, so I recovered and rechecked it several times with similar results. I then tried an accelerated stall at 125mph and found that even when I pulled the stick fairly hard, its stall was also preceded by a pronounced buffeting and very little wing drop. It seemed too good to be true. With the wheels and flaps down, it again stalled very gently, and the stall was preceded by an even stronger buffet warning and with absolutely no wing drop.

I was amazed because its stall characteristics were better than the Hellcat's, but its stall speed was 21mph higher. I was even more impressed when I returned from the flight and inspected the wing's leading edge expecting to find stall "fixes" such as a cambered leading edge or leading-edge spoilers that would give it these great stall characteristics. There weren't any. The P-47 stalls' only drawback was that it required a more rapid and larger throttle motion during the recovery to minimize altitude loss. Its heavier wing loading was quite noticeable during stall recovery.