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Thunderbolt. The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt in the Pacific Theater (Aircraft Specials 6079)
By Ernest R. McDowell
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1999 66 Pages
PDF 61 MB
The Seversky Aircraft Corporation was in trouble during the late 1930s. Despite a series of innovative and advanced designs during the middle part of the decade, by 1933 the company's fortunes were waning. US Government difficulties with Alexander de Seversky — the company founder — a degree of mismanagement, and competition from other aircraft manufacturers all combined to force the company into a downward spiral. In April of 1938 the Seversky Aircraft Corporation's board of directors forced Seversky out of the day-to-day operation of the company and elected W. Wallace Kellet company president while Alexander Kartvelli was elected vice president. The company's fortunes almost immediately began to turn around and, by September of 1939, the company was renamed Republic Aircraft Corporation. The seeds that would grow into the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt had already been planted.
The P-47 Thunderbolt can trace its lineage back to the Seversky SEV-1XP of 1936. The US Army Air Corps ordered 77 of these aircraft and designated them the P-35. The Seversky P-35 was of all metal construction, armed with a .30 caliber and .50 caliber machine gun in the nose, and powered by a 14 cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engine producing approximately 850 hp. Foreign orders for an improved export variant resulted in the P-35A with an uprated P&W R-1830 engine producing about 1050 hp and armed with four machine guns — two .30 caliber and two .50 caliber weapons. The P-35A was operated by both the US Army Air Corps and the Swedish Air Force.