US Troops made good use of large caches of abandoned German drop tanks as Ninth Air Force P-47 Thunderbolt fighter units moved into France in 1944, occupying airfields once used by the Luftwaffe. Empty they must weigh all of 25 pounds!

External drop tanks turned the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt from a short-range interceptor aircraft into a long-range escort and air superiority fighter, enabling it to accompany bombers from British Isles into Germany

Rare color motion picture film shows a German drop tank being mated to the underwing pylon of a P-47. Still images from Air Force files show tanks being gathered. Some apparently were used as fire bombs; others received rudimentary field plumbing modifications to enable their use as extra fuel tanks for P-47s. 

The AAF's 10th Air Depot Group used locally-found half-inch and one-inch aluminum tubing to make fuel and pressure lines that could interface between the German fuel tank and a P-47. Wooden planks helped stabilize the foreign tanks in the shackles of the Thunderbolt. It is not known how widespread this adaptation was. The Germans required found drop tanks to be returned to authorities. 


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