ALLIED FIGHTERS: P-47D THUNDERBOLT SERIES, SOUTHWEST PACIFIC 1943-1945 is the 10th title of the PACIFIC PROFILES series from AVONMORE BOOKS. This series features erudite analysis original artwork based on photographic evidence.


Pacific Profiles Volume 10 Allied Fighters: P-47D Thunderbolt series Southwest Pacific 1943-1945 is the newest title of the Pacific Profiles range of books from Avonmore Books, authored by Michael Claringbould.   This 108-page softcover book is catalogued with ISBN: 9780645700404.

This book relates how essential and active Republic's P-47 Thunderbolt was in the South Pacific.   It also notes the P-47 squadrons’ known losses compared to victory claims, challenging the Thunderbolt’s legend.    Legends and myths and misunderstandings have been perpetuated for decades.   Fortunately, survivors of the era have emerged with a growing amount of surviving original documents and relics.  An increasing cadre of modelers and researchers privy to such resources, capable of reading and understanding them, and dedicated to analyzing actual colors and markings, are establishing a more homogeneous consensus of the subject.   This new book corrects the record and includes new markings and information.

Avonmore introduces the books as:

The ongoing Pacific Profiles series presents the most accurate WWII profiles of aircraft which served throughout the South Pacific. Volume 10 covers the P-47D Thunderbolt which flew combat missions in the New Guinea theatre until mid-1945, serving with a total of eleven Fifth Air Force USAAF combat squadrons, Fifth Fighter Command and the Combat Replacement Training Center.

Most profiles are presented for the first time, alongside an explanation of markings, including squadron heraldry and identifiers. Frequent airframe reassignments between units resulted in wide-ranging unit markings and nose art. Until now there has been a paucity of material about several units, especially those which entered the theatre after the infamous 348th Fighter Group. This volume also rectifies past misidentifications resulting from the widespread practice of swapping attractively decorated cowls, often commissioned for generous reward.

Each profile is supported by photos and/or documentation, along with a brief aircraft history. Wide- ranging primary reference material is cited including official squadron records, colour movies, maintenance logs, diaries, wreck site inspections and multifarious reference photos including colour slides. A brief summary history of each unit and the rationale of its markings completes the text.  The author is world-renown for his expertise on the Pacific air war. Never before have Pacific P-47s been illustrated with such colourful accuracy and detail.

Mr. Claringbould has authored more than 20 other titles. Most concern the air war in the South Pacific.  His series Pacific Profiles currently offers 10 titles, focusing on Allied and Japanese fighters, bombers, transports and miscellaneous types, and Japanese seaplanes.  You can view this book on the company website here: Pacific Profiles Volume 10 Allied Fighters: P-47D Thunderbolt series Southwest Pacific 1943-1945.

The seeds for Mr. Claringbould’s passion were planted in 1976 when, " irritable priest at Alexishafen, on New Guinea's north coast, reluctantly allowed me to scour and photograph Japanese aircraft wrecks on the mission's land," where he found a Ki-43-II. "Curiosity caused me to start collecting all material on this arcane subject, but it was frustrating.  Few publications, including Japanese-language ones, agreed on interpretations..."  Thus he began decades of research to learn and clarify, including finding wreckage of downed aircraft.

Ironically, while the P-38 was the go-to USAAF fighter in the Pacific but had a jaded reputation over Europe, for the P-47 it was just the opposite.  We will read about that in this book.


Pacific Profiles Volume 10 Allied Fighters: P-47D Thunderbolt is told through 14 chapters along with front and back content:

These chapters are abundantly illustrated with photographs and artwork.   After a brief introduction about the author, the book presents five pages of the history of the P-47 in the Southwest Pacific, including operational and combat records of the P-47.  Glossary & Abbreviations presents common terms and usage, i.e, FS = Fighter Squadron.   In Markings and technical Notes we are immersed into the subject of tactical and technical markings.  These include national insignia changes and propeller markings, to name a couple.

Chapters 2-14 introduces us to the air units.  Pacific Profiles is a wealth of information and each chapter begins with a history of the unit including (when known):

·       Commanding officers

·       Establishment location and training areas if pertinent

·       Base of arrival/operations in-theater

·       Aircraft unit codes

·       Aircraft manufacturer numbers

·       Date of commencement of operations

·       Combat

·       Losses

·       Transfers

·       Re-equipping

When available, each unit history includes the record of losses of pilots and aircraft (with name and cause when known).

Photographs, Artwork and Graphics

If you have looked at other Pacific Profile books, you know they feature an impressive gallery of black-and-white and even color photos to support the text.  This books contains several original color photos.  They span the gamut of professionally exposed and developed images to amateur pictures.  Some are stills taken from motion pictures.  Many show damaged aircraft.  The author chose excellent images that visually confirm insignias and odd camouflage patterns.  I have been amazed by many of the images.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the book is the original color artwork by the author of select aircraft.  As previously mentioned, each profile is supported by photos and/or documentation.  The publisher writes:

Each profile has been produced by citing wide-ranging reference material, including official squadron records, colour movies, maintenance logs, diaries, wreck site inspections and thousands of photos including colour slides.

As in the artist’s other books, weathering and wear is illustrated.  His experience as a pilot allows him to capture the atmospherics of the in-flight illustrations.    

Many profiles are authenticated with a wartime photograph of the aircraft.   Most of the profiles include a a line or two of narrative of the history of the aircraft, some consist of a small paragraph.  Many illustrations are accompanied by photographs of the subject aircraft.


Like the photographs, the illustrations are a treasure trove for modelers.  While the academic and technical research is the brain of this book, perhaps the most impressive part is the original color artwork that visually spotlights what the text imparts. The author richly illustrates select Thunderbolts – 94 profiles - and dozens of supporting illustrations.  I am amazed at some of the unique markings, insignia, and aircraft camouflage and bare metal finishes, i.e., an olive drab/neutral gray P-47 with the rear fuselage scraped to bare metal with a border curving similar to an Euler spiral.  Supporting the deployment of P-47s is a map of the combat area showing P-47 bases.  Many profiles are authenticated with a wartime photograph of the aircraft.  A sampling are P-47s painted with:

Nose art

Unit markings

Personal decorations

The following is the breakdown of illustrations per section and unit.

P-47 Markings: five fuselage national markings; six tails; eight technical stenciling; four tail serials; three propeller markings.

9th FS: eight profiles of P-47s and three of unit or nose art detail.

36th FS: 6 profiles with 3 close-ups of nose art and unit insignia.

39th FS: eight profiles and five close-ups of nose art and unit insignia.

40th FS: four profiles and a close-up of emblem.

41st FS: eight profiles and five close-ups of nacelles and insignia.

69th: six profiles and a close-up of insignia.

310th FS: eight profiles with eight close-ups of nose art and insignia.

311th FS: six profiles with four close-ups of art and insignia.

340th FS: eight profiles with three close-ups of art and insignia.

341st FS: 12 profiles with 12 close-ups of art and insignia.

342nd FS: 12 profiles with five close-ups of art and insignia.

Fifth Fighter Command Headquarters: two profiles with three close-ups of art and insignia.

Combat Replacement Training Center: four profiles and a close-up of nose art.

Action art: four scenes of Thunderbolts over New Guinea.

Map: P-47 airfields, New Guinea, early February 1944.

Aside from the airplanes, modelers will find a wealth of source material for airfield paraphernalia to create and detail dioramas.


Pacific Profiles Volume 10 Allied Fighters: P-47D Thunderbolt series Southwest Pacific 1943-1945 is an exceptional book for enthusiasts and modelers of the P-47 Thunderbolt,  Fifth Air Force fighters, and the South West Pacific air war.  Full of amazing photographs and detail-rich artwork supporting the text of remarkable research, Avonmore Books should be proud of Mr. Claringbould's book.  Fans of the P-47 may not enjoy some of the new historical discoveries but I think this book will make an excellent addition to anyone's SWPA fighter war collection.


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