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The P47 Thunderbolt
The largest and heaviest, weighs in at seven tons and is
heavier than any single seat piston engine fighter in history, and the most
numerous American fighter ever produced, the Jug was a hugely successful
high altitude escort and a formidable ground attack aircraft.
The 15,000+ Thunderbolts produced and used in World War II,
saw service in every theatre of operations except Alaska. By the end of 1944 it
equipped 31 USAAF groups and served with many other Allied Air Forces, including
the RAF who took 830 .
It could take almost as much damage as it could hand out,
quickly establishing a reputation for allowing pilots to walk away from all but
the most horrendous crashes and absorbing extraordinary amounts of battle
It was phased out of American service soon after the end of
the war and was dropped from the US inventory in 1953, but was absorbed into
many lesser Air Forces around the world, last seeing combat service in the
Guatemalan Revolution of 1953.