Bearcat - Vietnam but not Korea?

Discussion in 'Post-War' started by NR61, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. NR61

    NR61 New Member

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    While having a wee look at aircraft used in Vietnam I noticed a Bearcat. I thought this odd as they were not used in Korea.

    Guess I'm missing something here. Why were they not used in Korea but used much later in Vietnam or was the website I was looking at wrong?

    Thanks,
    Nigel
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Yes and no. The Bearcat was replaced with the F9F Panther. It was out of US front-line service by the time the US got involved in Korea. The French purchased quite a few and used them in Indo-China (Vietnam). When the French pulled out, the South Vietnamese Air Force acquired them. They were also used by the Thais.
     
  3. NR61

    NR61 New Member

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    Ah I see - thanks. So Bearcats were used but not by the US.
     
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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  5. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    One addition; Bearcats were still in active USN sdns at the start of the Korean War, just weren't ever deployed there. Most F8F units in the period were in the Altantic fleet. But the Navy had decided in the late 40's to concentrate on the F4U (F4U-4 particularly) as its main prop fighter; USN air groups included prop fighters in addition to jets until after Korea. Those props carried out a secondary role of long endurance CAP (much more endurance than early jets) and ground attack, of course.

    Then also before the Korean War the US had viewed the 1st Indochina War ('45-54) as mainly French colonlialism and insisted anything transferred to France not be used there. After the KW started the attitude changed to viewing it mainly as another front against Communist expansion. So, F8F's flowed out of the USN to the French during the KW period, and were used extensively late in the 1st Indochina war, for example the Dienbienphu campaign.

    Looking at the stats of F4U and F8F we often assume the F4U was preferred because of its performance (like load capability), and that may be true, but standardizing on the most numerous plane seems to have been the main driver: there were lots of F4U-4's compared to F8F's, or 'straight' F4U-5's, which were never used by the Navy in Korea either, (F4U-5N's and F4U-5P's were used by the Navy in Korea, and F4U-5's used briefly by one Marine sdn in Korea).

    Some USN F4U sdns deployed to Korea had converted from F8F's.

    Joe
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    At Chino 2009 Airshow, Evangilder and myself learned that F8F's were used by the Royal Thai AF.
     

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  7. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Nice shot of a sharp craft syscom, that's excelent!!:thumbright::shock:
     
  8. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Came in towards the end of French involvement, supplanting their P-63s in front-line service
    I did a post on the P-63's combat record a while back, it mentioned the arrival of the F8F and when, I'll see if I can find it
     
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