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Curator's Choice Video Collection

Cradle of Aviation Museum Historian and Curator, Josh Stoff, curates interesting short YouTube videos and provides commentary.

Virtual Museum Home > Curator's Choice > Fighter Squadron

Fighter Squadron

YouTube Channel: Juan Pablo Rossi, posted June 26, 2017

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, built in Farmingdale, was a World War Two fighter aircraft produced between 1941 and 1945. Its primary armament was eight .50 caliber machine guns, making it the most heavily armed fighter of the war and it could also carry rockets or bombs for the ground attack role. It was also heavily armor-plated, making it difficult to shoot down, and it was considered one of the best fighters of the war. The P-47 first became operational in January 1943, and it quickly came to be recognized as being outstanding in both fighter and ground attack roles. The leading Air Corps fighter ‘Aces’ of World War Two all flew P-47s.

With its powerful 2600 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine, the P-47 excelled in rate of climb, dive speed, high altitude, and turning performance. With 15,636 produced, the P-47 is also the most produced American fighter in history. The Cradle of Aviation Museum is fortunate to be able to exhibit a real P-47, a long-range ‘N’ model designed for use in the Pacific, on an airfield scene in its World War Two gallery. Come take a look at the Thunderbolt, considerably larger than any German or Japanese fighter, and see pure American muscle with wings. 

‘Fighter Squadron’ was a postwar 1948 World War Two aviation film starring Eddie O’Brien and Robert Stack. It was loosely based on the activities of the 4th and 56th Fighter Groups prior to the landings at Normandy. Fortunately for us, the film featured no less than sixteen P-47s, then still being flown by several Air National Guard units. Filmed in Technicolor, the film leaves us with the best action footage of P-47s ever taken, far superior to the surviving grainy black and white wartime combat film. Receiving only mediocre reviews, the film’s story is silly with acting little better. However, the flying footage of P-47s is glorious and the appearance of P-51 Mustangs in bogus German markings makes it even more fun to watch. One glaring inaccuracy in this clip (aside from the German Mustangs) is showing all of the pilots not wearing their goggles down. Certainly, they all left their goggles up so the camera could see their faces, however, fighter pilots in combat always had their goggles down in case the canopy glass was shattered in the fight.

Now let's take a look at this action-packed scene from ‘Fighter Squadron’ and you’ll see some of the best footage of Long Island built P-47s ever filmed.