The Republic Aviation P-47 “Thunderbolt” entered service in May 1942 with the introduction of the P-47B. It had a “Razorback”, a high dorsal spine behind the side-ways opening canopy that reduced visibility. As improvements were made a “D” variant was produced with 12,602 being manufactured. The British developed a sliding bubble canopy for their Typhoon and this was adopted by the USAAF starting with the P-47D-5. With its ability to survive enemy fire along with impressive armament and bomb load the P-47 excelled at ground attack roles.
William. D. “Bill” Dunham was the second leading ace of the 348th FG and the second leading P-47 ace against Japan. Dunham’s first aircraft was P-47D 42-8067 “68” nicknamed “Bonnie” when he was assigned to the 342nd FS. In early December 1944 Dunham received a new P-47D 42-27884 “Bonnie” and added 5 more victories that month. Also in December Dunham’s aircraft received new theater markings of black bands. Dunham finished WWII with 16 victories of which 15 came flying a P-47 and 1 flying a P-51D.