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Grumman F4F Wildcat

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The Grumman F4F Wildcat was an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that began service with both the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy (as the Martlet) in 1940. First used in combat by the British in Europe, the Wildcat was the only effective fighter available to the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during the early part of World War II in 1941 and 1942; the disappointing Brewster Buffalo was withdrawn in favor of the Wildcat and replaced as units became available.

With a top speed of 318 mph (512 km/h), the Wildcat was still outperformed by the faster 331 mph (533 km/h), more maneuverable, and longer ranged Mitsubishi A6M Zero. But the F4F's ruggedness, coupled with tactics such as the Thach Weave, resulted in an air combat kill-to-loss ratio of 5.9:1 in 1942 and 6.9:1 for the entire war.

F4F-3Edit

Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcat"
F4F-3
General Historical Information
Place of origin USA
Manufacturer Grumman
Produced In 1940
Speed 531 km/h
Category Fighter
General Ingame Information
Debut Debut in FH Mod
Used by USA
Crew in‑game 1
Guns 6x 12.7 cm M2HB machineguns
(1720 I + APT Rounds)
Bombs 2x 45 kg bombs
Historical Picture
F4F-3real
Movie
Great Planes - Grumman F-4F Wildcat - F-6F Hellcat45:34

Great Planes - Grumman F-4F Wildcat - F-6F Hellcat

U.S. Navy orders followed as did some (with Wright Cyclone engines) from France; these ended up with the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm after the fall of France and entered service on 8 September 1940. These aircraft, designated by Grumman as G-36A, had a different cowling from other earlier F4Fs and fixed wings, and were intended to be fitted with French armament and avionics following delivery. In British service initially, the aircraft were known as the Martlet I. A shortage of two-stage superchargers lead to the development of the F4F-3A, which was basically the F4F-3 but with a 1,200 hp (890 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90 radial engine with a more primitive single-stage two-speed supercharger. The F4F-3A, which was capable of 312 mph (502 km/h) at 16,000 ft (4,900 m), was used side by side with the F4F-3, but its poorer performance made it unpopular with U.S. Navy fighter pilots.

At the time of Pearl Harbor, only Enterprise had a fully equipped Wildcat squadron, VF-6 with F4F-3As. USS Enterprise was then transferring a detachment of VMF-211, also equipped with F4F-3s, to Wake. USS Saratoga was in San Diego, working up for operations of the F4F-3s of VF-3. 11 F4F-3s of VMF-211 were at the Ewa Marine Air Corps Station on Oahu; nine of these were damaged or destroyed during the Japanese attack. The detachment of VMF-211 on Wake lost seven Wildcats to Japanese attacks on 8 December, but the remaining five put up a fierce defense, making the first bomber kill on 9 December. The destroyer Kisaragi was sunk by the Wildcats, and the Japanese invasion force retreated.

In May 1942, the F4F-3s of VF-2 and VF-42, onboard USS Yorktown and USS Lexington, participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Yorktown and Lexington fought against the IJN Zuikaku, IJN Shōkaku and the light carrier Shōhō in this battle, in an attempt to halt a Japanese invasion of Port Moresby on Papua. During these battles, it became clear that attacks without fighter escort amounted to suicide, but that the fighter component on the carriers was completely insufficient to provide both fighter cover for the carrier and an escort for an attack force. Most U.S. carriers carried less than 20 fighters.









Grumman F4F-3S WildcatfishEdit

Grumman F4F-3S "Wildcatfish"
Wildcatfish
General Historical Information
Place of origin USA
Manufacturer Grumman
Speed 388 km/h
Category Reconnaissance Seaplane
General Ingame Information
Debut Debut in FH mod
Used by USA
Guns 6x 12.7 cm M2HB machineguns
(1720 I + APT Rounds)
Historical Picture
F4F-3S Wildcatfish NAN12-70

This floatplane version of the F4F-3 was developed for use at forward island bases in the Pacific, before the construction of airfields. It was inspired by appearance of the Japanese Rufe, a modification of the Zero. BuNo 4083 was modified to become the F4F-3S "Wildcatfish". Twin floats, manufactured by Edo Aircraft Corporation, were fitted. To restore the stability, small auxiliary fins were added to the tailplane. Because this was still insufficient, a ventral fin was added later. The F4F-3S was first flown 28 February 1943. The weight and drag of the floats reduced the maximum speed to 388 km/h. As the performance of the basic F4F-3 was already below that of the Zero, the F4F-3S was clearly of limited usefulness. In any case, the construction of the airfields at forward bases by the "Seabees" was surprisingly quick. Only one was converted.

  • F4 Wild Catfish









F4F-4Edit

Grumman F4F-4 "Wildcat"
F4F-4
General Historical Information
Place of origin USA
Manufacturer Grumman
Produced In 1942
Speed 512 km/h
Category Fighter
General Ingame Information
Debut Debut in FH Mod
Used by USA
Crew in‑game 1
Guns 6x 12.7 cm M2HB machineguns
(2000 I + APT Rounds)
Historical Picture
F4F-4real
Movie
Great Planes - Grumman F-4F Wildcat - F-6F Hellcat45:34

Great Planes - Grumman F-4F Wildcat - F-6F Hellcat


A new version, the F4F-4, entered service in 1942 with six machine guns and folding wings which allowed more aircraft to be stored on an aircraft carrier, increasing the number of fighters that could be parked on a surface by more than a factor of 2. The F4F-4 was the definitive version that saw the most combat service in the early war years, including the Battle of Midway. The F4F-3 was replaced by the F4F-4 in June 1942, during the Battle of Midway; only VMF-221 still used them at that time.

This version was less popular with American pilots because the same amount of ammunition was spread over two additional guns, decreasing firing time. With the F4F-3's four .50 M2HB Browning guns and 450 rpg, pilots had 34 seconds of firing time; six guns decreased ammunition to 240 rpg, which could be expended in less than 20 seconds. The increase to six guns was attributed to the Royal Navy, who wanted greater firepower to deal with German and Italian foes. Extra guns and folding wings meant extra weight, and reduced performance: the F4F-4 was capable of only about 512 km/h at 5,900 m. Rate of climb was noticeably worse in the F4F-4; while Grumman optimistically claimed the F4F-4 could climb at a modest 590 m per minute, in combat conditions, pilots found their F4F-4s capable of ascending at only 150 to 300 m per minute. Moreover, the F4F-4's folding wing was intended to allow five F4F-4s to be stowed in the space required by two F4F-3s. In practice, the folding wings allowed an increase of about 50% in the number of Wildcats carried aboard U.S. fleet aircraft carriers.

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