Review on Check Six! James Curran flew the P-47 Thunderbolt also nicknamed the Jug in the Pacific theatre. In 293 pages he documented his personal experiences as pilot of this famous and feared fighter bomber that played an important role in the air war over the Pacific. There was no heroic and luxury existence for those pilots. The living circumstance were poor. Bad food, sleeping in tents, nightly Japanese raids that kept you awake, flying in average 2 missions a day and very unstable weather that could lead you into dangerous cumulus nimbus traps.
However the Jug was a sturdy and stable platform that could collect heavy battle damage and still bring its pilot safe back and could take an impressive load of bombs to enemy concentrations. The book gives you a good view of a pilots life in those days were the war started to turn around in the benefit of the American forces in the Far East.
As James Curran flew only the Jug, the plane itself plays an important role also in this book. The handling, technical advantages and disadvantages, the different ordnance it could handle and the multi roll function that the P-47 had to fulfil as fighter, bomber escort and bomber to attack ground targets are detailed described. Jim Curran flew over 200 missions and survived this war but with many narrow escapes as you will read in this book.
As the American Air Force had an air superiority over the Japanese in the last 2 years of the war and many disciplines were manning the skies confrontations with friendly fighters were not uncommon and James described a couple of those situations in which friendly fighters attacked the Thunderbolts during operations which would not be possible with the present air radar support systems.
As the “Jug” was a multi roll fighter bomber their assignments were also changing from bomber escorts to bombing and strafing enemy targets.
The latter was the most dangerous one as ground fire took a lot of casualties. The many stories about the air operations but also the descriptions of their daily living circumstances and how they filled their free time gives the reader a good view of the life of a fighter pilot in the Pacific in those years. Besides Jim Curran is not afraid to share his moments of fear and emotions during the air battles with his readers which gives the book an extra dimension.
A fair amount of black and white photos from that period together with detailed appendixes after each paragraph and 334 pages text (including appendixes) about air operations that Jim Curran flew made the book fascinating reading for me.