P-47 Thunderbolts of the 56th Fighter Group – The Wolfpack – release their drop tanks as they prepare to engage enemy fighters low over the Rhine, November 1944. The Wolfpack had more Aces and destroyed more enemy aircraft in air combat than any other fighter group in the Eighth Air Force.
Commanded by the legendary Hubert ‘Hub’ Zemke, the 56th Fighter Group became the first fighter group to fly the P-47 Thunderbolt in combat. The unit roared over Western Europe before and during D-Day and the subsequent Allied advance. It soon became known as ‘Zemke’s Wolfpack’ as their formidable reputation grew. And with good reason, the 56th finished the war with more air-to-air victories than any other fighter group in the Eighth Air Force, was the top scoring P-47 group of the war, and recorded the second-highest number of air-to-air victories of any fighter group in the entire USAAF.
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