Thunderbolts Triumphant

The 362nd Fighter Group vs Germany's Wehrmacht

Chris Bucholtz

A highly-illustrated history of the 362nd Fighter Group, tracing their air-to-ground missions over Europe in 1944 and 1945.
Date Published :
November 2018
Publisher :
Illustration :
150 black and white photos, 24 color profiles
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612006734
Pages : 272
Dimensions : 10 X 7 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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During World War II the Ninth Air Force comprised air-to-ground aviators, charged with destroying the enemy close to the front and below the clouds, often bringing them face to face with their German opponents.

The 362nd Fighter Group, led by two very different leaders – the tough disciplinarian Col. Morton Magoffin and later the beloved motivator Col. Joe Laughlin – had one of the best track records in the Ninth Air Force. It destroyed over 5000 trucks, 350 tanks, 275 artillery pieces, 45 barges, and 600 locomotives. But this score came at a cost, as over the course of 15 months of combat in 1944 and 1945 more than 70 pilots were killed in action and in June 1944 alone 30 of their P-47 Thunderbolts were lost. The other groups jokingly referred to them as the "362nd Suicide Outfit".

Thunderbolts Triumphant provides a narrative history of the group and gives a glimpse at the fascinating men who flew these missions and maintained the aircraft as they navigated Europe. Starting with the D-Day invasion, the group was the aerial artillery support for U.S. ground forces, first in Normandy, then in reducing the defenses around Brest, then in supporting the U.S. Third Army as it drove across France and Germany.

Special emphasis is given to its most spectacular missions such as the breaching of the Dieuze Dam and its incredible performance during the Battle of the Bulge where it demolished much of the Sixth Panzer Armee as it tried to escape eastward.

Illustrated with 150 black and white photographs and 24 color aircraft profiles, this is a fascinating and detailed history of a group that played a significant part in winning the air war.

About The Author

Chris Bucholtz is an author and aviation expert whose books include 332nd Fighter Group: Tuskegee Airmen, 4th Fighter Group: Debden Eagles and Mustang Aces of the 357th Fighter Group. He has also written articles for Flight Journal and is the managing editor of the International Plastic Scale Modelers/USA Journal. He was the historical advisor to LucasFilm's motion picture Red Tails about the Tuskegee Airmen.


"...'Thunderbolts Triumphant' does a commendable job of accurately recounting the neglected history of this valiant fighter group. Readers who enjoy studying World War II aviation or would like to learn more about the European air war after D-Day would do well to pick this book up. "

- Air & Space Power Journal

" [The author] writes using a tightly efficient prose that flows effortlessly into the many quotations, report extracts, and testimonials that populate his work. His integration of the many photographs does an outstanding job of adding to the narrative. "

- Air Power History

"The author details successes and losses, with illuminating accounts of air to ground missions, including precision dive bombing of an important dam."

- Aviation History

“Illustrated throughout with 150 black-and-white contemporary photographs supported by 24 detailed colour aircraft markings diagrams, a detailed account of WW2 air-to-ground operations of the 362nd Fighter Group of the USAAF Ninth Air Force operating the Republic P-47D Thunderbolt which provided aerial artillery support for US ground forces from D-Day onwards, including the battle for Brest, the Battle of the Bulge and the breaching of the Lac Etang de Lindre dam at Dieuze.”

- Royal Aeronautical Society

"If the air war in Europe during 1944 and 1945 is of any interest to you, this book is a must read."

- The Journal of America's Military Past

"I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the P-47 Thunderbolt or the Air War in Europe during World War Two and it is a moving tribute to the 70 pilots lost from the 362nd during the war."

- Aviation Enthusiast Book Club

"Model builders are well served with accurate drawings and often also the story behind the Thunderbolts. In short: a well-documented war record of the 362nd Fighter Group"

- Aviation Book Reviews

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