Korea Thunder - F-84 Thunderjet

Gallery Article by Mark L. Rossmann on May 25 2009

  USA Memorial Day 2009 


One of the most important combat aircraft to see action in Korea was the straight winged F84 E/G. Its Republic design dating back to the rugged P-47 Thunderbolt of WWII. Most of its wartime missions were in the bomber role, even though initially it was tasked to escort B-29’s, but as with all aircraft except the Sabre, it could not match up to the Mig-15. Although in the end 10 MIG's fell to the Thunderjets guns from pilots Bergtram, Slaughter, Kratt, Oligher, Underwood, Skeen, Fortner, Schirra, Cooley, Hewett and Mitchell.

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The F-84 replaced both the F-51 and F-80 as the premier Air Force ground attack aircraft of the war. Most  Thunderjets were of the “E” variant, however because of the weak clear canopy, a switch over to the “ribbed” canopy was made so it would not shatter, thus “E” types were  misidentified as a “G” type that were originally equipped with the “ribbed” canopies.  

Also another distinction was the first air refueling of combat loaded  fighters on 29 May 1951 when 12 “E” types from the 116th FBW refueled from a KB-29 tanker of the 91st ARS. Thunderjet units consisted of the 27th FEW, 49th FBG, 58th FBW, 116th FBW, 136th FBG and the 474th FBG.  Typical targets were rail cuts, buildings,  vehicles, bridges, tunnels, locomotives, rail cars, tanks, highway cuts, artillery pieces and troops.  The F-84E and G flew  86,400 sorties delivering 55,897 tons of bombs, losing 122 Thunderjets to ground fire.   

This is Revell’s 1/48th “E” model is FS-478-A, “LIL BUTCH”, from the 49th FBG and Tamiya’s 1/48th “G” model is FS-454, “Four Queens”,  of the 474th FBG. Both company’s  models work up to very fine versions of the F84, I will not debate the merits of each, you can find that in other articles. Should be noted the “E” version was slightly longer between the tail and the wings than the “G” version and Revell’s model is slightly longer.  Revell did include a refueling probe on the wing tank, however I could not find any proof of one for this particular aircraft, (see picture on p117 of F-84 Thunderjet units over Korea) therefore I cut it off and sanded it flush.   

References: Osprey Front Line Colour #3, F-84 Thunderjet Units Over Korea, Squadron/Signal Publications MIG Alley, Warbirds Illustrated #11 Air War Over Korea and Jordan Publishing’s WEB site “UN Aircraft”. 

Mark L. Rossmann

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Photos and text © by Mark L. Rossmann