The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (aka "The Jug") was the largest, heaviest, and most expensive fighter aircraft in history to be powered by a single piston engine. It was heavily armed with eight .50-caliber machine guns, four per wing. When fully loaded, the P-47 weighed up to eight tons, and in the fighter-bomber ground-attack roles could carry five-inch rockets or a significant bomb load of 2,500 pounds; it could carry over half the payload of the B-17 bomber on long-range missions (although the B-17 had a far greater range). The P-47, based on the powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine, was to be very effective as a short-to-medium range escort fighter in high-altitude air-to-air combat and, when unleashed as a fighter-bomber, proved especially adept at ground attack in both the World War II European and Pacific Theaters.
The P-47 was one of the main United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) fighters of World War II, and served with other Allied air forces, notably those of France, Britain, and Russia. Mexican and Brazilian squadrons fighting alongside the U.S. were equipped with the P-47.
The armored cockpit was roomy inside, comfortable for the pilot, and offered good visibility. A modern-day U.S. ground-attack aircraft, the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, takes its name from the P-47.
A Republic P-47D-40-RA Thunderbolt "Wicked Wabbit" (owned by John Shoffner and based at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation). The P-47 44-90438 (c/n 399-55583) at the end of WWII was sold by the US government to the Yugoslav Air Force as #13021. After its service, the Yugoslav Air Force donated it to the Yugoslav Aeronautical Museum in Belgrade. In 1985 it was sold to Doug Arnold (United Kingdom), and in 1986 then sold to John Whittington of Knoxville (Tennessee, USA). In 1994 it was sold to John Shoffner also of Knoxville, TN who had the aircraft restored to flying condition. It returned to the air for the first time since WWII after restoration in 1998 in civilian registry N647D. Wicked Wabbit today (2012) owned by Mr. Shoffner is one of approximately 10 flying P-47's remaining in the world and is housed at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation in Sevierville, TN. It can be viewed at the Museum and at air shows throughout the eastern US along with its squadron mate P-47D "Hun Hunter" (owned by Neal Melton) also based at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation. Wicked Wabbit and Hun Hunter fly the markings of the 9th Air Force, 57th Fighter Group as they were when based in Corsica in 1944.