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Back to WWII warbirds with immense power. 2,000 hp from an 18 cylinder engine in the case of this monster - the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

Monster is the right word - it was one of WWII's heaviest fighters, at 8 tonnes, and was also capable of being both a fighter and a bomber at the same time. Eight 50 caliber machine guns and rockets did the fighter bit, and 1,100 kgs of bombs completed the multitasking. Good at high altitude (up to 42,000') attacking enemy bombers, it also won plaudits as being very robust and capable of surviving enemy fire at lower levels.

After the war 'robust' was put to the test - an Air National Guard P-47 was accidentally flown into the second floor of a factory. The pilot left what was left of the fuselage and simply walked away.

Whilst in the war it was one of the US top four fighters, also used by the RAF and others, today they're very rare. This is the only flying example in the UK. In fact, it's the only flying example outside of the United States. More than 15,000 were originally built.

P47's flew 746,000 sorties in WWII and of the 15,000, 3,500 were lost, but usually not without a serious fight. Heinz Bar, a Luftwaffe ace was more than impressed, noting that the P47 could absorb 'a lot of lead' and paid it perhaps the highest compliment "P-47s had to be handled very carefully".

We've tried to get Nellie, this one, to Old Buckenham before but as is the way with warbirds, sometimes they don't co-operate. We'll hope she can come in 2024 as it'll be the first time a P-47 has been here since WWII.


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