Used as both a high-altitude escort fighter
and a low-level fighter-bomber, the P-47 quickly gained a reputation for ruggedness.
The B-24 Liberator "Witchcraft" sortied yesterday from Barnstable Airport in the company of "Betty Jane," a P-51 Mustang escort fighter
. Also on the mission was "Nine O Nine," a B-17 Flying Fortress.
Although the crisis of the unescorted bomber in the fall of 1943 opens the film, portrayal of efforts to develop a long-range escort fighter
force leaves the impression that the problem was solved almost overnight.
(15) Introduction of the P-51 Mustang as the critical long-range escort fighter
enabled US forces to resume bombing raids deep into German airspace and quickly sweep European skies of German aircraft.
Fortunately, the day was saved by a technology previously dismissed--the long-range escort fighter
. When P-47s and P-51s began escorting the bomber formations into Germany, the tide turned.
Yet, repeated attempts to build a suitable escort fighter
(6) Moreover, in 1940 Arnold's agents told him that the German twin-engine Me 110, designed as an escort fighter
, was a failure in the battle, even requiring escorts of its own to survive.
His treatment of the long-range escort fighter
of World War II is one case in point: competent but conventional.
Graft emphasizes the fact that the Thunderbolt was the most numerous American escort fighter
during the crucial period of 1943 through the first half of 1944 despite not having the long range of its successor, the Mustang.
He was concerned about the advancing Soviet armies (whose advance would not have been slowed by the absence of a long range escort fighter
) capturing all of Europe.
The other escort fighter
was the twin engine P-38H Lightning, which had first arrived at Eighth Air Force bases in England in August 1942.
Notably absent is the perspective of the escort fighter
pilots who after 1943 were an indispensible part of the equation and a major component of the Eighth Air Force.