"Beware the Thunderbolt!" With that motto, the pilots of the U.S. Eighth Air Force's 56th Fighter Group--also known as Zemke's Wolfpack--took to the skies above Europe in their P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, escorting bombers into Germany, dogfighting with the Luftwaffe, and conducting ground-attack missions. The first group to receive the P-47, the 56th pioneered aerial tactics and compiled a staggering record: 665.5 aerial kills, 311 ground kills, thirty-nine fighter aces with five or more kills, two Distinguished Unit Citations, eighteen Distinguished Service Crosses, and twenty-eight Silver Stars.
The late Roger A. Freeman, who wrote more than fifty books on World War II subjects, was a world-renowned authority on the men, aircraft, and operations of the U.S. Army Air Force. His other works included The Mighty Eighth War Manual (978-0-304-35846-5) and The Mighty Eighth War Diary (978-1-85409-071-3).