Best naval fighter

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Dec 20, 2003
Naval fighters are something of a breed apart from their totally land-based cousins of the world's air forces. WW2 saw the first use of large scale carrier operations, as well as the debut of carrier vs. carrier battles. Of the many types to see service with the navies of the war, which was best? My pick is the rugged, versatile, and supremely deadly Chance-Vought F4U Corsair, which the Japanese pilots nicknamed "Whistling Death" after both the sound it made and what so very often happened to them when they mixed it up with the Corsair.
Here. Here .Corpcasselbury I think you hit the nail on the head picking the F4U Corsair, tough,manouverable, fast, and with good hitting power.
The only drawback was the poor visability available for landing on a carrier flight deck. This was overcome however by approaching the flightdeck from the stern quarter rather than the standard head on approach then turning to line up with the arrestor at the last moment , a skilled manouver but it saved pranging the aircraft as had occured numorous times before the introduction of this type of approach.
It was used by the Royal Navy as well as the United States Navy and much of it's development as a carrier based plane was a collaberation between these two services.
After the not very successful SeaFire (a variation of the Spitfire) the Corsair proved itself a popular craft with the Fleet Air Arm.
obviously there's little debate here, and I'm only 13, who am i to dissagree. :rolleyes: the corsair runs away with the title, with the japanese zero, coming a not very close second
the lancaster kicks ass said:
obviously there's little debate here, and I'm only 13, who am i to dissagree. :rolleyes: the corsair runs away with the title, with the japanese zero, coming a not very close second

But the Grumman F6F Hellcat was in most areas far superior to the Mitsubishi Zero.
I'm gonna have to agree here. The F4U Corsair beats out all contenders.

After that, corp hit the nail on the head again with F6F Hellcat.


If it had gone into service during the war, the Vought XF5U Flying Pancake might have taken the title. I'd like to thank the Lancaster kicks ass for bringing it to my attention :D


A word does have to be said for the Grumman F4F Wildcat. While not exactly the greatest fighter ever to fly off a carrier deck, it did hold the line against the Japanese for the first year of the Pacific War until newer and better replacements could make it out into the fleet and USMC. Many pilots blessed this plane because of the incredible amount of punishment it could absorb and still come home. This led to Grumman being nicknamed the "Grumman Iron Works". Comments?
Likewise. However, I know some about the Wildcat's history, and I agree with corpcasselbury. It held out very well until the newer replacements got there. As for "Grumman Iron Works", I'd say they were right. But I don't have much room to talk, as they were the ones flying, not me.
Both had very limited ranges IIRC, thus making them pretty bad naval fighters since they couldn't strike out too far or stay on station or patrol for long periods.

I'd say the Corsair was the best carrier fighter, the Hellcat a fairly close second. The Wildcat gets honourable mention for holding the Japanese off until more modern fighters could enter service. And the Zero also gets best early-war Carrier fighter.
The was maneuverable, but the US planes could take a beating and still keep going. I just finished a book about the Pacific that had many first-person accounts, and a couple Japanese pilots were amazed at how much damage the Wildcats could take and not go down when they first came into service. The Thatch Weave was also a very effective maneuver to counter the Zero's maneuverability advantage.

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