The P-47 climbed like a homesick angel and dived for the deck like a rock. This was due to the mighty power of its air-cooled, turbo-supercharged Double Wasp engine, combined with a brutish barrel-shaped airframe. The deadly firepower was totally destructive. The world's largest single-engined fighter when the USA entered the war, the P-47's 18 cylinders vibrated the whole aircraft like it was going to destroy itself. More Thunderbolts were built than any other American fighter in history. In December 1942, the P-47 was the only readily available American-produced high performance fighter. At altitudes up to 15,000 ft, its rival, the Bf 109G, had all-round better performance than the P-47C, most notably in rate of climb. The Thunderbolt's performance progressively improved above 15,000 ft, and between 25,000 to 30,000 ft it surpassed those of the enemy fighters, except for rate of climb and acceleration - the P-47 was double the weight of a Bf 109. Although the latter could initially accelerate well in a dive, the P-47C soon overhauled it and easily out-dived the Messerschmitt from high altitudes. P-47 pilots were advised to avoid combats at low altitudes and slow speeds. Thunderbolt pilots were synonymous with the might of the Eighth Air Force's fighter strength from the summer of 1943 until the end of the conflict, during which time the P-47 was operated in the escort, ground strafing and dive-bombing roles. The P-47 was flown exclusively by Gabby Gabreski and Robert Johnson, the top two scoring American fighter aces in the ETO/MTO. All told, the Thunderbolt was flown by 18 of the top 30 American aces in Europe during the war, while the Bf 109G was the staple Defense of the Reich fighter from 1943 to war's end. The numerous aspects of the pilots' training, the tactics they used once in combat and the leading edge technology employed by these second generation World War 2 fighters is covered in detail, as is the continual development of both fighter types. Finally, the key elements of both fighters - the airframe, engine, armament and flying characteristics -are also explored through first hand accounts from the aces that went head-to-head in the war-torn skies of Europe.
This book, by one of Britain's best known aviation writers, illustrates the history of the various US medium bomber squadrons, their deployment and operations in the period leading to the final defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945. Alongside the enlightening text there are detailed appendices listing operational dates, group/squadron identifying code letters and the transfer of medium bombers to continental bases.
This book covers the last chapter, the decline and fall of the air defense of Germany. It is a diary of losses and a chronicle in which the fighter pilot plays the lead. It tells of the young men who joined their squadrons full of optimism and derring-do, only to give their lives to no purpose in a last desperate endeavour.\nIts focal point is the controversial Operation "Bodenplatte" on the morning of New Year\s Day 1945, an operation in which the German fighter force received its final mortal wound - losing some 230 aircrew in less than 4 hours, the fighter units suffered their most severe defeat. Only now, after years of evaluation of all available sources, can the true figures of fighter losses on January 1, 1945 be reported. \nBut this picture of the sacrifice of fighter formations does not mean that fighter pilots were unable to score successes. The figures for enemy aircraft shot down and the contact reports show clearly that the German pilots could still both parry and deal out hard punches.\nFew people have any real idea of the actual scale of the German fighter force\s sacrifice. The imagination boggles at the tragic events that took place in the skies over Europe as the war neared its end, even in the perspective of history the full extent of the debacle can scarcely be depicted.\nIn Six Months to Oblivion Werner Girbig explains these last months of the Luftwaffe and the fall of a once mighty air force.
Never before has there been a book published on the aircraft, units and exploits of the Israel Air Force in such depth. Interest in the IAF has always been high and seldom are its aircrew and aircraft out of the world's headlines. Previous books have failed to satisfy, either being sensationalist and low on factual content, or lacking in fundamental research. Bill Norton has trawled through thousands of documents, reports, and illustrations to produce a work that is staggering in its depth and knowledge. Those that think they know the IAF will find a wealth of new material and countless previously published 'facts' re-evaluated and righted. Detailed type-by-type coverage supported by a barrage of photographs of the IAF from the mixed bag of aircraft of its formative days, through the Suez Campaign, the Six Day War, Yom Kippur and on to be a sophisticated, well-equipped force, arguably the most experienced in the world. Included for the first time are all of the badges and heraldry of the units of the IAF, in full color.