The Thunderbolt was one of the heaviest and largest fighter planes ever built; it was also only powered by a single piston engine. It was only built from 1941-1945 and was equipped with eight .50-calibre machine guns, four per wing which were absolutely devastating.
When it had a full payload the Thunderbolt weighed around 8 tons; it would carry five-inch rockets or just a single bomb that weighed 2,500 pounds; it could even carry over half of the B-17 which was insane for a fighter plane.
It even out killed the P-51 Mustang during the first three months of 1944, having 540 kills to the Mustang’s 389, but eventually the Mustang over took it in kills, 972 for the Mustang and 409 for the P-47 in the second quarter of the year. The Thunderbolt even flew more attack missions than the P-51s, P-40s and P-38s combined.
Not only was the Thunderbolt one of the main fighters for the U.S. in World War II, but also served with the British, French, and Russians. Brazilian and Mexican squadrons were given the P-47 instead.
The cockpit was roomy and very comfortable, the pilot had an amazing line of sight. Even today the Thunderbolt name lives on with the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.