The World War II Photo of the Week
for 23 July 2001
|Thunderbolt Times Fifteen ...
This strange-looking photo apparently showing over a dozen P-47 Thunderbolts stacked one atop another is actually a time-lapsed photo composite of a single plane test-firing its rockets. (The rocket ignites in the first frame, spewing flame and exhaust to the rear of the wing; by the 15th frame, the rocket is streaking toward its target.) Depicted is a "razorback" model of the Republic P-47C fitted with rocket
tubes, most likely made at the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The P-47D eventually was outfitted to fire 12.7-cm (5-in.) high-velocity air rockets (HVARs), which were carried in two externally mounted racks beneath each wing (five rockets per rack). This additional payload, when combined with a single 500-pound bomb, saw the "Jug" (which the P-47 was nick-named owing to its milk-bottle shape) weigh in at nearly 22,000 pounds, by far the heaviest single-engine fighter of the war. Acme photograph dated 1 August 1944, from the Webmaster's collection.