P-47s Did It All
IN THE MONTHS BEFORE Normandy, P-47 Thunderbolt pilots began using their fighters to bomb and strafe targets on the ground. After the P-51 Mustang arrived in England, the 56th Fighter Group, alone among the units of the Eighth Air Force, continued flying P-47s as bomber escorts; it remained the Eighth’ s top-scoring group.
Among the T-bolt’s laurels are the attacks that helped repel the Nazi advance known as the Battle of the Bulge, the World War II battle that proved most costly for Americans. (For the P-47’s contribution to the breakout from France, see “The Day After D-day,” p. 42.)