Republic / Seversky
Dogfights have always attracted attention. Since the First World War, their participants have been considered heroes, stories have been written about nothing, and they have become idols of generations. However, the reality of air combat is much more prosaic. Whatever the motivation of the pilots to fight, there was always a winner on one side and a loser on the other in a crippled or burning plane falling to the ground. This series deals with the struggle from their beginning to the modern age, when the sky is steadily ruled by jet engines.
So far, I have dealt with fights in my articles, in which the technique of western provenance was on the winning side. In order not to look biased, in this article I will focus on the duel in which the roles were reversed.
American pilots of the 5th Air Force USAAF, fighting during World War II against the Japanese air force over large areas of the Pacific, recorded a total of 511 kills on Republic P-47D Thunderbolt planes. The 348th Fighter Group achieved its greatest success, with its pilots reporting 326 kills on Thunderbolts. The group grew a total of 20 aces, including the most successful pilot of the Republic P-47D Pacific battlefield Lt.Col. Neel Kearby. This man shot down 22 enemies on a massive fighter and finally went to the fighter heaven in her cabin.
The robust Republic P-47D Thunderbolt fighters began to operate in American colors in Southeast Asia only during 1944, much later than in Europe, the Mediterranean or the Pacific. Since the summer, they have intervened in fierce fighting against the Japanese on the Burmese battlefield.