The P-47 Thunderbolt, originally designed as a high-altitude interceptor, became the principal US fighter-bomber of World War II. First adapted to the ground attack role by units of the Twelfth Air Force in early 1944, the strength and durability of the P-47 airframe, along with its massive size, earned it the nickname 'Juggernaut', which was quickly shortened to 'Jug' throughout the MTO and ETO. By October 1943, with the creation of the Fifteenth Air Force, nearly half of the Twelfth's fighter groups would be retasked with strategic escort missions, leaving six groups to perform close air support and interdiction missions throughout the entire Mediterranean theatre. The groups inflicted incredible damage on the enemy's transport routes in particular, using rockets, bombs, napalm and machine-gun rounds to down bridges, blow up tunnels and strafe trains. Myriad first-hand accounts and period photography reveal the spectacular success enjoyed by the Thunderbolt in the MTO in the final year of the war.
Jonathan Bernstein is the Director of the National Guard Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and a currently serving AH-64 attack helicopter pilot in the Pennsylvania National Guard. The study of aircraft in the close air support role and the evolution of that doctrine from World War 2 to the present is his passion. He has written two prior volumes for the Combat Aircraft series, both on US Army attack helicopters (COMs 41 and 57) and has also published numerous articles on National Guard history. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two sons. Chris Davey has illustrated more than 30 titles for Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces, Combat Aircraft and Elite Units series since 1994. Based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and one of the last traditional airbrush artists in the business, he has become the artist of choice for both USAAF fighters and RAF subject matter.