May 6, 1941 - The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (right) first flies. One of the more distinctive aircraft of World War II, the Thunderbolt was the largest and heaviest fighter built that was powered by a single engine. The result of several years of work by Republic's dynamic duo of Alexander de Seversky and Alexander Kartveli, the aircraft entered service in late 1942. Initially derided for its size, the P-47 proved a rugged and effective fighter in the skies over Europe. Dubbed the "Jug" by its pilots, the P-47 is perhaps best remembered as a ground-attack aircraft which shredded German forces in the months after D-Day. Remaining in the US inventory into the early 1950s, it was used by some air forces into the 1960s. Share your thoughts on the Jug or your favorite World War II aircraft.
World War II - American Fighters:
- Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
- Lockheed P-38 Lightning
- North American P-51 Mustang
- Grumman F4F Wildcat
- Grumman F6F Hellcat
Photograph Courtesy of the US Air Force