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  P-47D-23-RA Thunderbolt Serial Number 42-27608  
USAAF
5th AF
348th FG
342nd FS

Click For Enlargement
1973

Click For Enlargement

David Pulley 1982

Click For Enlargement
Phil Bradley 1990

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2000

Aircraft History
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in Evansville, IN. Constructor Number 1770. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 348th Fighter Group (348th FG), 342nd Fighter Squadron (342nd FS). No known nose art or nickname. In New Guinea, this P-47 was field modified by the 5th Air Force with a "Christmas tree fuel tank" installed behind the pilot into the turtle deck and nicknamed because it had a triangular shaped.

Mission History
On December 16, 1944 during take off from Dobodura No. 7 Airfield (Girua) this aircraft suffered an accident, pilot unknown. Afterwards, this aircraft was written off and stripped for usable parts including the engine and armament then abandoned nearby. The lower surfaces of the tail and fuselage had aluminum removed, possibly during the war when repairs were attempted or to strip the aircraft of usable parts. The lower side of the wing had all the inspection panels removed, possibly for use as spare parts during the war.

Wreckage
This P-47 remained in situ upside down in kunai grass in the Dobodura area until the early 1970s.

At some point after 1974, this aircraft was moved to Girua Airport and displayed right side up near the terminal as a memorial. As the upper side of the wings had been face down in the kunai grass between 1944 until the early 1970s, the olive drab paint and U. S. star and bar marking we preserved.

In the early 1980s, this P-47 was placed on its nose in a vertical position on the firewall mounted in a concrete pad with both landing gear legs extended. At this time the tail vertical was missing or not installed on the aircraft. This P-47 remained on display near the terminal until 1999. Nearby was B-25D "Bar Fly" 41-30593.

Salvage
During 1999, this aircraft was removed by Robert Greinert / Historic Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) and placed into a container with other aircraft parts and exported to Australia. This aircraft was placed into storage at at HARS near Sydney Airport (Mascot) in Sydney.

Restoration
At that time, Robert Greinert stated his goal was to use it as a template and model to aid in his restoration of P-47D 42-8066 but also stated that he planned to restore this aircraft to flying condition as the last Thunderbolt he planned to restore.

Between 1999 into the early 2000s, this aircraft was deskinned and parts swapped with two other Thunderbolts: P-47D 42-27609 and P-47D 42-8066 that he also salvaged and had under restoration at the time. Also, it is possible parts from this aircraft were offered for sale or used to make templates for newly manufactured parts and fittings.

During the 2000s, Published information about this aircraft including including those friendly to the owner often confuses it with P-47D 42-27609. Other articles including Classic Wings Issue 78 Vol 17, No. 5 have incorrectly listed this aircraft to be P-47D-2-RE Thunderbolt 42-8310 [sic]. It is unclear if these are mistakes of fact or deliberate efforts by the owner or publishers to obfuscate this aircraft's true identity and contemporary history.

Today
This P-47 is believed to be is still in the possession of Robert Greinert or an asset of his company Historic Aircraft Restorations Pty Limited and might be at Historic Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) at Albion Park Airfield (Illawarra Regional Airport) in storage. Alternately, it is in storage at Bankstown Airport or elsewhere in the Sydney area. Possibly, this aircraft was onsold. Parts and pieces are likely now part of both P-47D 42-8066 and P-47D 42-27609.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-47D-23-RA Thunderbolt 42-27608
"42-27608 (348th FG, 342nd FS) w/o at Popondetta Dec 6, 1944. Recovered by Historical Aircraft Restoration Society."
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - P-47D Thunderbolt 42-27608
PNG Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Final Report September 2006 List of Aircraft Salvaged P-47D 42-27608
PNG Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Final Report September 2006 Excerpts Mentioning "Robert Greinert" "Historical Aircraft Restoration Society" or "HARS"
Classic Wings Issue 78 Vol 17, No. 5 "Return to Thunder Alley" pages 22-25 Vol 17, No 5 2010 lists serial number as [P-47D-2-RE Thunderbolt] 42-8310 [sic, P-47D 42-27608] Page scans via OttoCarter - P-47 Recovery transcript: "At Popondetta, a P-47D thought to be 42-8310 [sic], had been tipped up on its nose and hand its firewall concreted into the ground in a bizarre display that did anything but pay homage to the battles fought by the old warhorse many years earlier... This aircraft is Robert's [Greinert] own personal P-47 and it was intended that this would be the second and last to go through the [HARS] facility."

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Last Updated
April 20, 2020

 

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