Fighters all over England, even from the strategic Eighth Air Force were prepared to do close support work for the period just before, during and after D-Day.
Join me for a look at one such escort fighter all dressed up for earth moving.
The P-47 Thunderbolt was first designed as a high altitude interceptor. The apparent bulk is a combination of a huge R-2800 radial engine and a sophisticated high altitude supercharger in the lower fuselage. That combined with a good overall design meant the Thunderbolt was fast and powerful, and especially capable at altitude.
Early versions were less capable at low altitude, but a new “paddle blade” propeller and water injection (to improve engine cooling) corrected much of this deficiency and later model Thunderbolts would be even better known for their close support work. So after D-Day the type would be best known as a terror to German ground forces.
But the well known 56th Fighter Group only did close support missions as part-time work. This example is the Tamiya kit with Aeromaster decals. This plane was delivered in natural metal, but it had a British style disruptive scheme applied during the run up to D-Day. The black and white invasion stripes where meant as a visual aid, mainly to anti-aircraft gunners to reduce friendly fire accidents. Two weeks after the invasion they were ordered removed from upper surfaces, and result we see here is just Olive Drab painted over the upper stripes. This plane’s name “Stalag Luft III, I wanted wings…” is odd, and fortunately the pilot, Lt Albert Knafelz never experienced the suggested outcome.