Any proof F8F Bearcat used M3 Brownings?

Discussion in 'Weapons Systems Tech.' started by Ottobon, May 8, 2014.

  1. Ottobon

    Ottobon New Member

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    Hi this is my first post here. I have thought about joining before because over the last year i have started finding WWII aircraft much more interesting.

    Anyways i know this might sound like a odd request but i have been playing a game called "War Thunder" which is like "flight-sim light", I'm sure proper flight sim guys may look down on it but its very fun for me, anyways thats not the point.

    The point is there is some raging debate starting about whether the F8F Bearcat ever at any time had M3 Brownings fitted to it, even if only experimentally, everybody over there seems to believe it was only ever fitted with M2 .50 cal Brownings and AN/M2 20mm cannons, as of yet nobody has come up with any proof that they were ever fitted to a Bearcat. Also important is if said M3 brownings where ever fitted during WWII, even if not any evidence that it was fitted with M3s would help.

    I've actually read some positive scuttlebutt around here before i registered as to the F8F possibly being fitted with M3 brownings, but I need some sort of documented proof if possible, people over there don't listen to anything unless its documented.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Is that the .60 cal?
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    No "proof" that it was, but then no "proof" that it wasn't. The pilot's manual and Navy data sheets just say .50 machine guns without saying either M2 or M3. Tony Williams and Dr. Gustin's book "Flying guns of World War II" says they used the M3, the only plane so listed in the appendix but even Tony Williams and Dr. Gustin's normally well researched books are not infallible and don't constitute "proof".
    The M3 was certainly available at the time the F8F-1 was going into service.
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    April 1945 is the date I have for the start of production of the AN-M3.

    The first 'Bearcats' were delivered in February 1945. The first unit with the type was operational around May (I think) and couldn't possibly have been equipped with M3s. Bearing in mind the time needed for testing and proving a new weapons installation, even one based on and resembling a previous one, I find it highly unlikely that any 'Bearcats' flew operationally so armed during WW2. About 3,000 M3s were produced during WW2 so I'm happy to be even more amazed by evidence to the contrary :)
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  5. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Were USN shipped with guns installed? I know that wasn't the case for RAF aircraft - guns, radios, gunsights etc were all GFE and were installed when the aircraft was erected. Dunno if the same was true for USN aircraft...probably not.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    France used F8F for ground attack in Vietnam. Was it armed with American or French built weapons?
     
  7. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

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    As stated above I don't think the F8F had M3s...that being said, the flight model in War Thunder does need some tweaking to keep it competitive with other planes of similar tier...so hypothetical M3's would be nice in game.
     
  8. rdriscoll

    rdriscoll New Member

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    #8 rdriscoll, May 13, 2014
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
    (Typos courtesy of Adobe Acrobat Pro 9.5 Optical Character Recognition)

    From:

    AN 01-85FD-2 1 March 1948
    Erection and Maintenance
    Handbook
    for
    NAVY MODELS
    F8F-1, -1B, -IN
    F8F-2, -2N
    AIRPLANES

    (THE INFORMATION ON THE F8F-2 AND -2N AIRPLANES
    IS PRELIMINARY INFORMATION)
    THIS PUBLICATION SUPERSEDES AN OI-85FD-2
    DATED 1 JUNE 1947

    Pages 313, 315 (314 is a full page drawing)

    b. WING GUNS-F8F-1.
    (I) GENERAL.-Two .50 cal. M-2 aircraft guns
    are installed in each wing aft of the main beam at Stations #93 and #99Y2. All guns are set to converge
    horizontally with the airplane centerline at 300 yards, and vertically with the line of sight at 300 yards. A
    compartment in the wing center section houses the gun receiver bodies, the feed mechanisms, and accessory
    assemblies for each gun. Access to the guns is gained through hinged doors located on the wing
    upper surface. One ammunition box for each gun is installed from the underside of the wing, with the
    bottom panel of the box serving as the wing lower skin. The gun barrels extend forward through the
    main beam and into blast tube fairing assemblies in the wing leading edge. The guns are charged
    hydraulically by operating the gun charger controls located below the main instrument panel. The forward
    gun mounting assembly for each gun permits the gun to be adjusted vertically. The rear gun mounting
    assembly for each gun is provided with a nut and lockpin assembly and permits the gun to be
    adjusted laterally.

    Additionally:
    AN 01-8SFD-4 1 May 1949 did NOT specify a .50 caliber model no.
    Parts Catalog
    for
    NAVY MODELS
    FBF-1 FBF-1B, FBF-1N.
    FBF-2, FBF-2N. F8F-2P
    AIRPLANES
     
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  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    If they didn't have them in 1948 I would bet my house that they didn't in 1945.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  10. Zegera

    Zegera New Member

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    #10 Zegera, Jun 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
    Were browning M2 and M3 guns interchangeable? Maybe that's the reason that sources don't mention the type.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The only difference in in dimensions was that buffer housing on the rear of the gun was bigger.

    Browning_50_cal_Book_TMG_Chinn_T_Model_Number_Images.jpg

    Once the guns were available there was nothing to prevent them form being mounted.
     
  12. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    After the first few F8Fs were produced, they switched to 20 mm cannon. One source said the 20 mm cannon model was "M3." (World of Warplanes forum; I won't vouch for the validity of the information).
     
  13. Gripe

    Gripe New Member

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    You wouldn't happen to have a download link for that manual (he asked hopefully)?

    -Gripe-
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    That was indeed the designation of the late war/immediate post war US version of the Hispano cannon used by the USN.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  15. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    You can be very sure they would mention any caliber or type differences in armament/equipment.

    One reason is for the mechanics and armorers, etc. They need to know what type of equipment they are dealing with for maintenance and safety reasons.

    The other reason, is the U.S. military's obsession with paperwork. Lots of it. So if there was any installation of the M3, or assigned ordnance to the F8F, there would be documents somewhere to reflect that...
     
  16. rdriscoll

    rdriscoll New Member

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    Sorry, no link. I bought the manuals. I then OCR'd them and copied to this post.
     
  17. Gripe

    Gripe New Member

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    Would you consider putting pictures of the relevant manual pages online somewhere? Or even the whole thing if you're feeling extra charitable? And i completely understand if you don't want to, so no worries either way. :)
     
  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Gripe, look here: https://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/38654349 - U.S. Army Technical Manual TM 9-2190 M3 Browning

    The URL keeps defaulting a "mobile" address because of my ipad, but it may redirect in your computer's browser. If it doesn't work for you, let me know.
     
  19. Gripe

    Gripe New Member

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    Thanks, fascinating reading. I'm more interested in the M3 Browning in the Navy however. There are numerous (i think) erroneous mentions of this gun in various Navy airplanes, and i've yet to find any real facts supporting it. I think the M3 stayed an Army and Air Force gun, and Navy never used it, at least in fixed wing installations. The Bearcat F8F-1 is just one example. The later F4U's never had it (even the Marine version), the Tigercat never had it, and the later jets certainly never had it. Navy went the cannon route, and by the time Korea came, the 20mm teething troubles were long past. I'm just looking to prove myself wrong on this :D
     
  20. rdriscoll

    rdriscoll New Member

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