Army Air Force F4U Corsair

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by andy2012, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. andy2012

    andy2012 Member

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    Did the USAAF ever consider using the Corsair in WWII? If they didn't, why not?
     
  2. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #2 oldcrowcv63, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
    Hi Andy, I have never heard that the army considered such a move. I assume there were a number of reasons why it would not have done so. Probably the looming, roughly parallel introduction of the P-47, which possessed a development history (starting with the P-35), that in some ways was more complicated even than that of the Corsair's. There is also the general resistence, overcome on rare occasions, of the army to adopting a USN aircraft designed for carrier ops. The F4U has a devoted following here and I believe that question has come up in past threads, as well as a continual comparison of its performace with land based counterparts. It seems a rich topic for debate and suggesing "what if" scenarios. :D
     
  3. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    For that matter I can't think of any fighter planes that were shared as such between the Departments of the Army and Navy.
     
  4. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    Since Marines and Navy are part of the Dept. of the Navy, they do share aircraft types, and I believe both branches are carrier qualified, wings of Gold eh! I do also believe all types flown by both services were carrier capable. Landing gear design, hooks sticking out the back and all that. There would be no reason for Army to use this type of aircraft, and the role of USAAF was completely different. Also conversion of land based to carrier capable just didn't seem to work out in all cases.
     
  5. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    In general that's true. Although I read recently of a limited production run of hookless F4Us. Hooks were typically retractable and must be released when about to land on the boat. Also, typically airframe structure tends to be a bit more robust (heavier) and so there tends to be a nominal performance penalty.
     
  6. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    But the question would be, did the USAAF use these???? Hookless or not.

    I do also believe the hook was removed from land based Marine Corsairs. No point in having them clanking around back there if there was little chance of them being used.
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I believe a some/large number of the Goodyear produced F4U aircraft were not only "hook-less" but had non-folding wings as well.

    From the Vought Heritage web site: vought heritage


    "Goodyear’s version was designated FG-1. In 1943, Goodyear delivered 377 FG-1’s. In 1944, Goodyear boosted the production rate six-fold to 2,108 aircraft. Another 1,521 FG-1’s were accepted in the 8 months of hostilities during 1945 for a wartime total of 4,006 aircraft. This amounted to over one-third of all Corsairs produced during World War II. Many of these FG-1’s were built with non-folding wings during the period before Corsairs were put aboard carriers, and these aircraft went to land-based Marine squadrons."
     
  8. andy2012

    andy2012 Member

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    Let's say that the air force decided to use the Corsair, would it fair as good in Europe as it did in Asia?
     
  9. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    I know the Navy used aircraft designed for the USAAF - the B-24,B-25; and shared others - such as the C-46 and C-47. I know, also, the B-17 was used as an Air/Sea rescue aircraft but I’m not sure it was used during WWII. And the USAAF used planes designed for the Navy - The Dauntless and Helldiver for sure.

    Question: were all Navy and Marine pilots carrier qualified during this period - even the ones that flew multi engine aircraft?
     
  10. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #10 oldcrowcv63, Jun 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
    IMHO, it would have been a formidable opponent in any WW2 theater. However I would guess pilots would probably have had to make some kind of allowance for the difference in the structural and performance characteristics of its opposition. I am assuming that's another topic that has probably been done in this forum... adversary aircraft by adversary a/c. :D

    e.g.:

    F4U-1 vs Bf-109Z
    F4U-1 vs FW-190-S8
    F4U-1 vs P-51H
    F4U-1 vs Fokker D-7
    F4U-1 Vs Junkers Ju-52
    F4U-1 vs T-6
    and so on... continuing in this vein with all F4U variants and manufacturers and those of any possible opposition. The mind boggles... :rolleyes:
     
  11. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    The hooks were released on approach then shoved back in after they caught and stretched the wire and the aircraft settled back.

    My Dad did target tows for those bombers in an FM2 in Kaneohe in 1945, so I know that's right. Didn't know that about the dive bombers but I see no reason why that crack aircraft armed with their rear guns couldn't easily fulfill that dual deployment.
     
  12. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #12 oldcrowcv63, Jun 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
    Mike. In the old days, it was my understanding that to wear the gold wings with a single anchor you had to carrier qual. That meant everybody USN, USMC, although I am not sure about the Coasties. I suspect they had to as well. I prepared you an answer to your question that included current practice and then thought I better check so I checked. I asked the last P-3 pilot with whom I flew. He was a very good stick (pilot) and became the Squadron Commander after I left the squadron. I should add he came out of the carrier based ASW community flying S-2 and S-3 carrier based aircraft and then qualified as a P-3 plane commander let alone CO of a P-3 squadron which is something that is extremely rare for any out-of-community aviation personnel. I am not sure anyone else has done it. Like me, he is now retired. Here is his reply.

    "Mal, Actually, the Navy progressively changed the Carrier-Qual requirement just as I was coming up for them (~1970ish). A little history first, the Navy first Carr-qualed all students after they completed Basic flight training and just before they started advanced flight training. The order was; Primary, basic, car-qual, advanced, car-qual in advanced aircraft, Rag, car-qual in Rag aircraft, then to the Fleet. Everyone car-qualed under this program." (Note: the RAG stands for Replacement Air Group where one learns to fly the aircraft you'll fly in the fleet. Pilots (Aviators) NFO's (Naval Flight Officers) and aircrewman all go through this permantly land based squadron before going to a fleet squadron.)

    "After primary flight, you were sent to either jets, multi-engine, or helos. I was sent to multi-engine pipeline. Then, while I was at basic, the Navy dropped car quals for guys who were going through the multi-engine pipeline basic phase and only car qualed guys in the advanced multi-engine pipeline who had orders to a carrier squadron. VT-5 was the T-28 squadron who qualed the guys. It was shut down about 2 months before I would have gone through it. So from then on it was only the jet guys who first qualed in the training command. However in my case, I did not qual in T-28's, but did so in advanced training. I was one of the last 3 guys selected to go to a carrier squadron so they car-qualed me and several others on August 15, 1974 aboard the Lexington in the S-2A. What a great day! A parachute in my plane deployed on a CAT shot and went all over the back. Two cans of engine oil broke open and went all through the fuselage. Maintenance was laughing when we came back. They wanted to know what the h*ll went on out there."

    So bottom line, all USN and USMC aviators no longer necessarily car qual in training. It depends on the training pipeline.
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #13 renrich, Jun 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
    In 1938 when the F4U was being designed it was considered by most "experts" that a ship board fighter could never compete with a fighter designed for land based use only. Vought ignored this "truth" and designed the first single engined fighter to exceed 400 mph in level flight in the US. The first production Corsairs went into action from land bases with the Marines in early 1943 with a number of teething problems, like all new aircraft but some of the problems were serious enough that the Corsair was a difficult aircraft to execute carrier landings with for any but an experienced pilot. These issues were gradually eliminated but they would not have precluded the Corsair from being an effective land based fighter which probably could have been deployed in 1942 by the AAF if there was enough production. In 1942, if the Corsair was available in numbers, it would have been superior in performance to all AAF fighters deployed then except for the P38 which had it's own issues in the ETO. However, the AAF would probably have deployed the Corsair only with a gun pressed firmly against the head. The very idea that a ship board fighter would have been superior to an Army fighter was anathema. Later the USAF was reluctant at first to adopt another shipboard F4 fighter, the Phantom but common sense finally prevailed.

    Several of the high ranking admirals in the USN in WW2 wore the gold wings and were not carrier qualified and barely even soloed.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    They shared a few dive bombers during 1941. USN SBD = USA A-24.

    27th (light) Bombardment Group equipped with 52 A-24 dive bombers was aboard Convoy 4002 which departed San Francisco for the Philippines 24 Nov 1941.
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Back in the late 20s and early 30s the Army and navy both used Curtiss and Boeing biplane fighters with only minor differences.

    With the coming of the monoplanes ( and engines with more than 500-600hp) planes became more specialized and for a while it took different airplanes to satisfy different requirements. It was not just the catapult and arresting hook requirements that defined navy requirements. There were also requirements for flotation gear, landing speed requirements, range requirements and so on the caused a divergence. With engines in the 600-1000hp category there was only so much that could be done. As engines grew even more powerful (1500-2000hp) and speeds began to hit some real drag limits the ability of a single design to meet both requirements began to become more realistic again.

    For instance the P-26, while much faster than the biplanes that proceeded it, had a landing speed of 82mph which would have certainly prevented it's use from carriers of the time. Even when fitted ( or retro fitted) flaps the landing speed was still 73mph. These speeds are comparable to the landing speeds of later navy aircraft like the F2A and F4F.

    The Navy did try with the Bell XFL Airabonita, a tail dragger P-39 but it had too many problems.
     
  16. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    Thanks for the info - but what about the WWII era? I was thinking mainly of the 4 engine aircraft, did those pilots in that period have to be carrier qualified?
     
  17. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    At the beginning of the war, I do not think the USAAF perceived the need for a long range escort fighter. They did believe they needed high altitude fighters, possibly because they had the high altitude B-17 and either needed to protect it or certainly attack a similar aircraft if developed by the enemy. I think their perception was that the next war was going to be fought from 20-30k ft. Both the P-38 and P-47 had higher performance envelopes than contemporary Axis fighters. In comparing the P-47B to the non-water injected F4U-1, the P-47 was faster above 5k ft and at 20k ft was a 20 mph faster with a slightly better climb rate. At 25k ft., the B was over 30 mph faster with significantly better climb. True, the F4U would maneuver better below 20k and had longer range, but this didn’t fit into the AAF need concept and the P-47 fit that need quite well. No need to consider the F4U. As the pilots became more proficient with the P-47, by August, 1943, kill ratios improved such that the P-47 was knocking down six Germans for every one lost so it was certainly doing an adequate job.

    By mid 1943, the AAF was starting to see the dire need for a long range fighter. The F4U, still without water, had the range but did not have the high altitude performance of the P-47, and the AAF probably felt it would be easier to incorporate more internal fuel in the P-47 than to incorporate an entirely new aircraft, and a perceived inferior one at that, and a Navy one on top of that. The new F4U-1 “A” with water would narrow the performance at high altitude to the P-47 and would certainly have the range since it still had the wing tanks. However, this version would not be available until January, 1944, and, by that time the nicely performing AAF P-51 was already taking over the job of long range escort. I think they just saw no need.

    Except a 20k where the F4F-4 was faster than the P-47M, there was no model F4U that could outperform the contemporary P-47 above 20k, something I think the AAF thought was important in ETO.
     
  18. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #18 oldcrowcv63, Jun 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
    Sorry I didn't make that clearer.

    "to wear the gold wings with a single anchor you had to carrier qual. That meant everybody USN, USMC, although I am not sure about the Coasties. I suspect they had to as well." I should have prefaced that with "Up to the Vietnam era."
    It was after that (post 1970) that the changes to the traditional practice he described below were made.

    "A little history first, the Navy first Carr-qualed all students after they completed Basic flight training and just before they started advanced flight training. The order was; Primary, basic, car-qual, advanced, car-qual in advanced aircraft, Rag, car-qual in Rag aircraft, then to the Fleet. Everyone car-qualed under this program." This was the pre-war, world war and post war regime.

    I should add that it is my understanding that during WW2, a portion of primary training (through 1st solo, I believe) was performed at hundreds of small fields across the country.

    Probably should also have said the training through the basic phase was generic.
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    With out drop tanks the fighters had no hope of escorting the bombers all the way to the target. Even with drop tanks most WW II fighters could not match the range of the bombers. This is one reason the long range escort mission was not a high priority at the beginning of the war.
    One of my favorite examples is the RAF bombing Genoa Italy using Whitley bombers in 1940. Granted it was done at night with a bomber that had no hope of surviving in daylight but I believe the straight line distance from Brighton to Genoa is 612 miles one way. There were few (if any) 1000-1200hp fighters in 1940 even with drop tanks that could attempt such a flight. This is one of the reasons for some of the twin engine fighters of the late 30s. They were willing to sacrifice some performance in return for longer range. There was no way a 1000-1200hp fighter could be built to have the same range as a B-17 or B-24. The B-17C ordered in 1939 was supposed have a range of 2400miles with 4,000lb bomb load. You could make a single engine plane with about the same range but it would useless as a fighter at any range.

    Once more powerful engines became available (for little more weight) or very powerful engines became available for more weight the possibility for long range fighters became much greater.

    Even if you had a forward thinker who didn't believe "the bomber will always get through" the long range escort fighter was a technical impossibility in 1939-40. It would not be in another 4 years but it needed better aerodynamics, better engines and better fuel. Better fuel allowed for higher cruise power settings (or higher compression/ more fuel efficient engines) and/or more take-off power for little more weight.
     
  20. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    It was thought that it could not be done, so it wasn't even really attempted.



    That is part of the problem. The men in posistions of authority in the AAC weer adament that their bomber (the B-17) didn't need an escort. It would not be until 1943 when the 8th ventured beyond the escort fighters' range that this belief would be changed.

    The other major issue at the time was funding. The amount of money for new aircraft for the AAC was restricted, and the development and purchase of B-17s took funding priority.
     
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