Brewster F2A-4 Buffalo, the worst US fighter that fought in WW2?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by oldcrowcv63, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #1 oldcrowcv63, Jun 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
    I found a BuAER document, dated January 25(?), 1941, that discusses an upgrade to the F2A-3 to make it more competitive. Upgrades to include:
    1. wing modification to incorporate a full span NACA slotted flap and attached aileron slot lip ailerons.
    2. installation of an R-2600-12 engine to a fuselage lengthened by 18 inches. wing to remain standard F2A. However entire airframe to be stregnhened accordingly.
    3. New F2A wing to be folding with accomodation of two .5 inch HMGs in each one.

    A maximum speed estimate of 403 mph.

    Modifications expected to produce a gross weight of 8,185 lbs.

    Attached was a copy of a BuAer letter of Feb 17, 1941 rejecting the proposal as unattractive. Thank GOD!

    Stall speed calculated to be 80+ mph, range 975 miles with extension to 1085, below the desired 1,500.


    Also found the transcipt of an interview with Gordon Firebaugh: http://www.warbirdforum.com/fire.htm

    "GF: Now, while I was with the Chiefs (VF-2) I flew simulated dogfights and whipped F4F's, probably the F4F-3 with no folding wing, but I could also outfly the F2A when in an F4F as well - it all depended on who was in the pilot's seat. I flew the F4F after we got switched around [when the VF-2 NAP's were spread around with other squadrons -jm] in early 1942. I got shot down over Santa Isabel [7 August 1942 during the Guadalcanal operation -jm]...and I've often thought that, I wish, I'd been better off in a Brewster. I think it would have matched the [Mitsubishi] Zero - the F4F was heavier and didn't have the turning radius. During that fight, I met up with five Zeros, shot down three before I got shot down. I spent a long time in the water, until I got to land and met one of the [Australian] coastwatchers...

    You felt the F2A was a better aircraft than the F4F?

    GF: Well, remember, I'm thinking of the F2A-2. We had the F2A-3 for a couple of months, that was a different aircraft. It had too much fuel. I remember we could fly five hour patrols....

    Q: Did you ever get an explanation for the extra tankage in the F2A-3?

    GF: They had put in a wet wing - you were able to purge it with CO2 into the main tank, but it meant extra weight. That was maybe the reason we had strut failures - these wheels, the landing gear, landed pretty hard, negative 3 G's. The struts had a tendency to move forward. When you retracted the gear on the next flight, the box strut scraped on the wheel well. You couldn't have that happen, the gear not retracting, so the mechanics would file some off and get closer to the rivets..

    Q: And if you did that enough times...

    GF: Exactly, you have a gear failure. I loved the F2A-2, and wasn't as impressed with the -3 and the F4F. Now you know, VF-3 got the first batch and then we got more.
     
  2. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting!
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Neither aircraft performed well compared to CV fighter aircraft such as the A6M and Me-109T that were operational during December 1941.

    The USN did well to rush the F6F into mass production. Unfortunately for us the F2A and F4F were all our CVs had during 1942.
     
  4. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #4 oldcrowcv63, Jun 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
    To be fair, at Guadacanal Firebaugh was flying the F4F-4, which had degraded performance compared to the F4F-3, which he evidently felt either comparable to or inferior to the F2A-2.

    I am not familiar with the performance or handling qualities of the Kriegsmarine Bf-109T although I realize it was designated for use aboard the Graf Zepplin. My concern about that aircraft, aside from whatever penalties might have accrued by adding naval specific hardware and modification was the impact of its low endurance on the air ops cycle. The problem with short ranged aircraft operating from a carrier is that they tend to drive the whole air ops cycle That's very destructive to combat effectiveness of the carrier and airwing as a whole. However, it must be said that the RN FAA overcame that issue with both the Hurricane and the Spitfire, so it seems the Bf-109 could have been no less effective in that role. I don't believe any of these with the exception of the A6M Zero represented an improvement over the F4F-3 or perhaps even the poorly regarded F4F-4. Legs make that much of a difference in a naval fighter and compared to the other aircraft mentioned here and in your post. The Grumman had them and the other (excepting of course the A6M) simply didn't. Beyond that, it was indeed well that the USN expedited introduction of the F6F (or F4U for that matter although one could wish for a far quicker gestation for the latter.)
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Thank heaven we didn't have to fly Brewsters for too long ...
     
  6. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Too true. As a company Brewster was on a course for self destruction. I've always wondered what happened to the highly regarded Dayton T. Brown chief designer of he F2A and other Brewster aircraft. I found this on the web:

    DTB.com - Our Business is YOUR SUCCESS - Dayton T. Brown Inc

    whose CEO is DTB Jr.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Me-109T was just an interim aircraft produced in small quantities. It allowed testing of catapults and CV arresting gear from expedient platforms such as converted barges. I don't think it was intended to operate from the two German CVs.

    Me-155 would have been the primary German CV based fighter aircraft. It appears to me development was timed to have the Me-155 operational at the same time CV Graf Zeppelin entered service. If German CVs had a higher priority the Me-155 would also have a higher priority. Hypothetical 1941 version of the Me-155 would be based on the Me-109F fuselage rather then the Me-109G. Even with a tail hook and other such naval equipment it's going to have a 50 mph speed advantage over both USN fighter aircraft.
     
  8. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, I hadn't heard of the Me-155 but given its 109 heritage I suspect it would as you say have that sort of speed advantage until the advent of the F6F or F4U.
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Interesting and true comment. Almost always overlooked.
     
  10. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The Me 155 and me 109T were never operational, so you are talking a "what if." It never happened, as you know. Fiction is usually entertaining, but not real.
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    #11 GrauGeist, Jun 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
    The Bf109T was actually produced and flown operationally (in small quantities), but with the delays in the Graf Zepplin, production was cancelled, and the naval 109 was dispersed to land-based units.

    Primarily 1/Jg77 in Norway
     
  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I know that. They were not a factor in WWII at all.

    some were converted back into standard ME 109's. Some were left as-is.

    None were notable in any action I know of. Ergo, they were a non-factor, as was the carrier that was never completed but was sunk and later raised and sunk again.

    A real non-event in WWII history.
     
  13. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Interesting info on the Bufffalo Mal!
    Wonder how ours (488 (NZ) sqn fighting in Singapore) would have faired in more even odds - 300 Ki-43 against 23 Buffalo Mk.I and 2 Hurricane Mk.IIB is not much of a fair fight!
     
  14. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #14 Vincenzo, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
    300 Ki-43? is a missprint for 30?
     
  15. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    AFAIK this was a problem already in the much lighter the F2A-1. Even the Finnish Brewsters, operating from land bases, not subjected as harsh landings, had some landing gear failures. Literally the weak spot of the F2A...
     
  16. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #16 oldcrowcv63, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
    Timppa, I believe you are correct although it may have been more a hint of what was to come as later versions gained weight. One of the first F2A-1's delivered to the navy evidently landed hard (in late 1939 or early 1940) on a flight deck and suffered a gear failure, so it's easy to believe the airplane demanded gentle touch-downs even in its youth.
     
  17. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    A R-2600 powered fighter in that time period could be quite interesting.
     
  18. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #18 oldcrowcv63, Jun 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
    First flight of the F4U with its P&W R-2800 was 5/29/40. First flight of the P-47, a year later, so an engine in this class was out there and being installed in single engine aircraft as was the Wright R-2600 at roughly the same time. With Brewster's apparent preference for Wright engines it's perhaps not too surprising. I don't know why that engine didn't end up in a fighter except of course the increased hp of the heavier P&W.
     
  19. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the R-2800 is another matter.
    The F4U and P-47 were somewhat specialized.
    Can't help but wonder how much earlier a simplified, land-based R-2800 powered fighter could have been fielded.
     
  20. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #20 oldcrowcv63, Jun 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
    Did you mean how much earler an Wright R-2600 powered fighter?

    Unlike aircraft "first flights" dates, engine development doesn't seem to have as definitive published "first run" info on the web so I don't know which engine was an earlier development or how much earlier to allow contemplating the design and development of a fighter to accomodate it. I would guess the F4U may have been as early an example of when one could have been developed and perhaps, had its value as a land based fighter been initially recognized, could have been fielded earlier than any other?
     
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