The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
"The Big Beautiful Jug"
Guns could be removed, this photo
taken during training in 1943 with only
2 guns per wing
Browning M2 Aircraft .50 caliber machine gun
M2 Aircraft .50cal.  Click to enlarge
P-47 Thunderbolt Armament
The P-47 Thunderbolt was typically equipped with eight .50 caliber M2 aircraft machine guns.  
The chart to the below explains the difference between the standard M2 and aircraft M2.  
The main differences were the weight and rate of fire.
The P-47 was armed with eight wing mounted Browning .50 caliber machine guns.
These eight .50's firing together could deliver apx. 13 lbs of lead per second.  
Spent cases and links were ejected from the bottom of the wing.  
When loaded with armor-piercing incendiary (API) rounds the .50 caliber did considerable damage to light armored
vehicles, trains, and aircraft.

The P-47D-25 could carry 2500 lbs of external stores; this variety of HE bombs, incendiary bombs, napalm, and rockets gave
the thunderbolt a hard punch
The P-47D-25 could carry 2500 lbs of external stores; this variety of HE bombs,
incendiary bombs, napalm, and rockets gave the thunderbolt a hard punch
Staggered design for ease of feeding
ammunition.
Gun camera still shows the amount of rounds hitting
the target area and the pattern of hits.
Loading right wing guns
Types of .50 Caliber Ammunition
Click to open full size
.50 Caliber Ammunition
The most common .50 caliber load for the P-47 was the Armor Piecing (AP) , Armor Piercing Incendiary (API),
Armor Piercing Incendiary Tracer (API-T) or a combination of AP, API and API-T.
WW2 Era
Browning HMG
M2 Aircraft
.50 Cal
M2 HB (Heavy Bbl)
.50 Cal
Overall Length
Barrel Length
56.25 inches
36 inches
65.1 inches
45 inches
Weight
61 pounds
84 pounds
Muzzle Velocity
Ball Ammo
2840 fps
2930 fps
Rate of Fire
750-850 rpm
450-550 rpm
P-47D Thunderbolt Ordnance
The most common bomb used
was the AN-M64 500lbs and
AN-M65 1000lbs.
P-47 armed with 2 AN-M65 500lbs
General Purpose Bombs
Bomb carts also worked well to
transport beer barrels.
P-47's loaded with 3 AN-M57 250lbs GP bombs.
Bomb carts loaded with bombs
Cutaways of AN-M64 and AN-M59
Click to see full size
Rockets on the Thunderbolt.  
Following the success of the British Typoons with rockets the AAF experimented with
placing rocket tubes designed to fire the 3.5" M8 rocket.  These proved to be very difficult to
use and inaccurate.  
The HVAR High Velocity Aerial Rocket was developed and fired from a pylon, these proved
to be more reliable and accurate.
Rocket attachment pylons
Rocket launcher tubes