The RAF was the second largest user of the P-47 Thunderbolt, receiving 830 of the giant American fighter. The first 240 of these aircraft were designated as the Thunderbolt Mk I, and were early Razorback P-47Ds. The remaining 590 aircraft were designated as Thunderbolt Mk IIs, and were similar to the P-47D-25. The Thunderbolt eventually equipped sixteen RAF squadrons (Nos. 5, 30, 34, 42, 60, 79, 81, 113, 123, 131, 134, 135, 146, 258, 261 and 615), all in Burma.
The Thunderbolt reached the RAF in Burma during 1944, in time to take part in the re-conquest of Burma. In combat they used the same “cab rank” system used with the Hawker Typhoon over Europe, flying standing patrols close to the front line. Ground controllers close to the fighting could then call in the Thunderbolts to attack Japanese targets as and when required by the troops on the ground.