The Republic Aviation F-105 Thunderchief
A design of the 1950s, this Cold War nuclear strike bomber played a pivotal role in the air war over Vietnam
The F-105 in this illustration bears the markings of the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron ("The Chiefs"). The differences between the "B" and the "D" variants of the Thunderchief are apparent in this illustration. All Thunderchiefs were originally flown in a natural metal finish, but later painted in silver lacquer, and then camouflage.
Republic F-105D S/N 61-504, otherwise known as "Memphis Belle II", taken after the WWII B-17F "Flying Fortress" of the same name. This aircraft and her pilots shot down two MiG-17s over north Vietnam. The aircraft is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
This 20 x 30 inch print combines my F-105B "Chiefs" profile illustration with an informative narrative about the history of the Thunderchief.
This F-105B profile depicts a Thunderchief flown by the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron ("The Chiefs"), based at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in South Carolina. The plane is shown in her natural metal finish that pre-dated planes such as these being painted in silver laquer.
The Republic F-105 was the largest and fastest single engine fighter/bomber ever made. It was initially intended as a nuclear penetration bomber, and was able to carry one nuclear bomb within its internal bomb bay. Traveling at supersonic speeds, and at low altitude, its purpose was to strike within the Soviet Union, release its ordinance, and hopefully egress safely to a friendly airbase. It was used much differently in the 1960s during the Vietnam War as a conventional bomber. With its ability to carry a heavier bomb load than the renowned World War Two B-17 "Flying Fortress", the Thunderchief and her crews fought against the most dangerous and heavily defended targets of the air war over north Vietnam. In addition, "Wild Weasel" F-105s flew dangerous missions suppressing surface-to-air missiles (SAM) in support of bombing raids into the north.
"Bringing the Thunder"
"Bringing the Thunder" brings you along with 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron Republic F-105D Thunderchiefs climbing toward their pre-strike refueling tanker before a bombing mission over north Vietnam.
"Four Came Home"
"Four Came Home" is my newest work dedicated to the F-105 Thunderchief. As a companion piece to "Bringing the Thunder," "Four Came Home" depicts post-strike Thuds of the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron coming into the break as they arrive home at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base.