Bearcat vs Corsair

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Salim, May 14, 2006.

  1. Salim

    Salim Member

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    Greetings all.

    I was doing some independant research on naval aircraft of world war 2 (and those that COULD have taken part, but didn't get the chance) and I thought that the F8F bearcat was a spectacular aircraft, but some nagging feeling told me that the corsair (and I'm talking the later models of F4U-4 and -5 variants) were better. So here I ask, which one do you folks think is the better airplane over all?

    Also, since I'm asking here, can I have your feedback regarding another aircraft that could have been in world war 2 but didn't (due to the atom bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) is the F7F tigercat, a twin engined aircraft that, at the time of development, couldn't operate off the decks of current carriers (but could off the decks of Midway class carriers that were completed after the conclusion of the war). I really have a facination with these 'what if' aircraft.

    I patiently await your answers. :)
     
  2. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The F4U-4 overall would be superior to the F8F because it had more versatility in it's roles. The Bearcat had the dogfighting capability, but that was about it. The Corsair was still very fast, and was no slouch in a fight. But it could also fly further than the Bearcat, and carry much more equipment and ordnance.
     
  3. Jank

    Jank Member

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    In the air to air role, the Bearcat is the superior performer.

    An armament of four .50's though is pretty marginal though.
     
  4. Bullockracing

    Bullockracing Member

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    World War II ended without the Bearcat having seen operational service. The navy reduced its contracts to 770 aircraft but added an order for 126 F8F-lB Bearcats, with four 20-mm (0.79-in) cannon. Of the original order, 15 aircraft were revised as night fighters, with the designation F8F2N, with APS-6 radar. Navy squadrons continued to re-equip with the Bearcat and by 1948, the type was in service with 24 units.

    Another version, the F8F-2, appeared in 1948 armed with 20-mm (0.79-mm) cannon. There were 293 of these built, as well as 12 night fighters, designated F8F-2N. Other changes included a taller fin and rudder, and the engine cowling was revised. Grumman also produced 60 F8F-2P photographic aircraft.

    Four 20s will turn most any dogfighter into swiss cheese...
     
  5. helmitsmit

    helmitsmit Member

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    Tough call as the F4U also had cannon later on.
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I'd say the F4U was the better of the two. The only thing the F8F was good for was dogfighting. Plus the F4U had the superior range.

    The F7F was marginal. If it couldnt operate off of the Essex class carriers, which comprised basically the whole Carrier fleet, then why bother with it.
     
  7. Bullockracing

    Bullockracing Member

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    I personally love the F7F, what a beautiful plane. Not in the same class as the F8F or the F4U, but gorgeous anyway.
     
  8. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Yeah it is, agreed about it not being in the same class as the F4U and F8F (but then it is twin while the others are single engined....)

    Of these two I would pick the F4U, in a dogfight the F8F may have the advantage but the F4U is able to hang around longer and do more roles (meaning one aircraft instead of multiple aircraft).
     
  9. Salim

    Salim Member

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    Hmm, some good stuff here, but after doing a little more thinking, I think that the F8F might actually have a bigger advantage in some way.

    You guys say that the F4U has more range, but the sources I checked out gave the internal fuel supply of an F4U is enough for 1,005 miles (1,617 km) and 1,560 miles (2511 km) with drop tanks. The F8F had a range of 1,105 miles with internal fuel. It could also carry two 150 gallon droptanks and I'm fairly certain this gave it substantially more range.

    Anyway, in regards to more versatility, I have to say that the F4U really is the winner in this regard since it had a bigger capacity for carrying bombs (it could pack 4,000 lbs of bomb. A load which NO single engine fighter could do at that time) and more rockets. But I still believe that the F8F is still adequate for the ground attack role. Not as much as the F4U, but still good.

    Anyhow, I got another question to ask. Since the F8F was powered by the Pratt Whitney R-2800-34W double wasp engine, and the final engine of the 'wasp' series was the R-4360 Major wasp engine, do you people think that the F8F could have been able to fit that engine? If it could, then I believe that it would give it substantially more performance than the F4U! :D
     
  10. chris mcmillin

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    The current holder of the 3KM World Speed Record for piston powered propeller driven airplanes is 528 mph held by the F8F, though highly modified with a Wright R-3350. The Pratt&Whitney R-4360 was considered for this racer but was thought too long, heavy and complex for the task of 4000hp. In racing practice the Wright R-3350 makes 4000 plus hp and the P&W R-4360 makes about 4500hp for 5 minutes, then fails.

    The practical advantage would be to power the Bearcat with the R-2800, and at WEP it can out do a Corsair, or any other fighter, in a fight.

    With the small size and short moments of the Bearcat, carrying a lot of ordinance is not as comfortable as the Corsair. I never saw a Bearcat carry drops on the wings except in racing. Does anyone have photos of a Navy ship with wing pylon drops? They have a centerline drop like the Tigercat and Hellcat.

    The Bearcat was not as well suited as a fighter bomber, but the French used them for quite sometime in Viet Nam with some success.

    I didn't know that the Essex class carriers weren't able to handle the F7F. Funny, they were able to handle the 14,000 pound and up Panther and Banshee jets. I have a feeling if it were necessary the F7F would have flown off of whatever carrier was available. All it takes is a little testing and the need. I don't think it was an issue after the bomb. Look at the Corsair and all of the attitude change about it on the boat.

    Chris...
     
  11. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    The only thing the F8F was good for was dogfighting




    Which is what made the Spitfire great, remember. If a fighter is excellent when fighting other enemy fighters, then it's doing what fighters do best.


    But bombing is a good asset. Since the Corsair was better at lifting weight then it wins in this area.
     
  12. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Not so much a matter of Essex class carriers not being able to handle the F7F, more a matter of the F7F being less than optimal for carrier operations.

    Of course it could be done, first time in November 1944 aboard Shangri La (the same day they tested the PBJ and the P-51), but it was IIRC considered too stressing on the airframe. I'd have to dig out the info from the files, but I believe that there were problems with the tailhook assembly that raised some eyebrows.

    Also some F8F discussion at

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/polls/bearcat-good-late-war-japanese-fighters-3960.html

    Rich
     
  13. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    And here's Charlie Lane’s F7F (BuNo 80291) aboard USS Shangri-La, 15 Nov 44.

    Rich
     

    Attached Files:

  14. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Nice info RL...
     
  15. helmitsmit

    helmitsmit Member

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    Didn't the later Corsairs get an engine change? the F2G?
     
  16. Salim

    Salim Member

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    Yes, the F2G did get the Major Wasp engine. I was just wondering if it was possible to fit that particular engine into the F8F bearcat frame and make it operational for combat.

    Thanks for the info there. Actually 4000 hp is still tons of power and I would dare say that had this been available to the Allies early in World War 2 it would have made a huge difference to the air war (which would have made a huge difference to the war in general).

    Edit: I just looked something up on the bearcat. It held the world record for fastest climb rate (10,000 feet in 91 seconds) for 30 years before it was broken by the F-16 falcon! Now that's a major plus as a dogfighter.

    But I guess you guys are right about the Corsair being a more versatile aircraft over all. The only thing that the Corsair couldn't do is carry torpedoes... or could it...
     
  17. Jank

    Jank Member

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    Salim said, "I would dare say that had this been available to the Allies early in World War 2 it would have made a huge difference to the air war"

    Early in the war, yes. The thing that made a huge difference in the air war later on was the ability to put up 10, 20 and even 30 fighters for each axis fighter in the sky. With lopsided numbers like that, the extra performance of such engines wouldn't have conferred much of an advantage.
     
  18. Salim

    Salim Member

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    Don't forget that the Allies (except the Russians) not only had superior numbers, but had better quality pilots to boot. Yes I know that there were still many German aces who flew the ME-262 jet fighter and the T-152, but a few good men really can't turn the outcome of a doomed war anyway. Most of the German and Japanese pilots were mostly hastily trained young men who could barely fly the plane they were in, let alone fight, and had practically no combat experiance to boot.
     
  19. red admiral

    red admiral Member

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    That would be because the better axis pilots had already been shot down by far superior numbers of Allied aircraft.
     
  20. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The Bearcat could easily be beat to 10,000 feet by the English Electric Lightning. Because the said plane could easily beat a F-16 to the same altitude.

    The German pilots were not hastily trained. They were remarkable pilots with far and above average skill in a lot of circumstances. But this did not make them invincible, and a lot of the greats were being shot down in 1943. So, come the major offensive in 1944-1945 the German greats were either on the Eastern front or had been blasted out of the air a year before. The victory was a simple matter of economy, the Allies could produce more planes and throw more pilots into the air than Germany.
     
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