Classic U.S. Combat Aircraft WWII tells the story, through a series of classic aircraft, of the development of the combat aircraft since the Second World War. Each machine was produced to meet a specific requirement, usually to meet or beat the capabilities of an existing enemy or a potential aggressor. The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, first flown in May 1941, and powered by a single radial engine, had a range 200 miles greater than that of the P-38. The Jug, or juggernaut, became the medium-range fighter to provide the relay of bomber escorts over Europe.