5 Facts About the P-47 Thunderbolt That Will Put A Smile On Your Face

View of a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of the 8th Air Force in flight over England, ca.1940s. The plane was part of the 78th Fighter Group, 82nd Fighter Squadron. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Even though considered to be aesthetically ugly compared to its sleek contemporaries, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt is still a remarkable aircraft. It served on all theatres of the war and was the preferred aircraft of many flying aces. But what is so special about this plane and how did it help the Allies win the war against Germany?

Here are five fascinating facts about the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt:

1. It Was a Flying Tank

A Republic P-47 “Thunderbolt” fighter plane in flight. This model was commonly used by United States forces during World War Two. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

The P-47 Thunderbolt is a big and heavy fighter. It was one of the largest single-seated aircraft produced by the Allies during the war. Even when generally emptied, it was still two times heavier than the British Spitfire.

2. The P-47 Thunderbolt is Extremely Durable

Lieutenant Q Aanenson, a member of the American 9th Airforce, returns his plane to base with a collapsed undercarriage after being hit by flak, 26th August 1944. The men of the 9th fly P.47 Thunderbolt aircraft in anti-tank missions against German forces in Normandy. Original Publication : Picture Post – 1771 – Holt’s Hunters Go Tangling – pub.1944 (Photo by Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The P-47 was very difficult to destroy. Even after absorbing a hail of enemy fire, the P-47 can remain operational and keep its pilot alive. Due to its ruggedness, only about 0.7 percent of Thunderbolts were lost during combat. The P-47 became a favorite of many pilots mainly because of its ruggedness and roomy cockpit.

3. It Was Fast

A World War II fighter pilot stands by as his Republic P-47 fighter aircraft is prepared for takeoff. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Despite its weight and shape, the Thunderbolt was terrifyingly fast. It was fitted with the powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine, an 18-cylinder powerhouse capable of producing 2,600 horsepower. Later models even managed to break speed records.

4. It Had Terrifying Firepower 

The P-47N Thunderbolt, a fighter-bomber of the US Airforce, 1944. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Equipped with eight .50 caliber machine guns, the P-47 can shred its target down within seconds. With its capacity to carry a total of 3,400 rounds, the P-47 can unleash more firepower compared to other fighters. The Thunderbolts were well known for diving down into enemy aircraft or ground targets with all guns blazing.

5. The Seven-ton Milk Jug

Avion de chasse américain Thunderbolt P47 embarquant pour l’Extrême Orient en février 1945 à Liverpool, Royaume-Uni. (Photo by API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Due to its similarity to a jug of milk, the P-47 Thunderbolt was nicknamed the “Jug.” Initially, many pilots were skeptical and hated the aircraft. However, it quickly became a favorite of many after the discovery of its effectiveness in rolling and diving, which proved to be useful in combat.