Corsair vs Lightning

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syscom3

Pacific Historian
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Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
Ok, lets hear your thoughts on the relative merits of either plane, beginning in early 1943.

So far, Id say that both are so evenly matched through the summer of 1945, thats its hard to pick which was the best.
 
I think the F4U had it all over the -38, in just about every aspect except long range missions...

My Grandfather flew F4U's and in mock dogfights, he never met a -38 pilot that could match him, and he self admittedly stated he wasnt the best pilot around...

That being said, the equally qualified Corsair pilot takes 3 outta 5 engagements...
 
Corsair 'cos it can do almost everything the P-38 can do but it can do it from a Carrier.
 
Each plane has its plus's and minus's. Even though the Corsair was carrier capable, the P38 was very successful in the recon version.

If their was one edge I'd give the P38, it would be for armarment. The concentrated MG's was more effective at the medium and longer ranges.
 
Six .50s would only be slightly inferior to the concentration of four 50s and one 20mm. And there was the four 20mm armed Corsair ...I think ...I can't remember anymore. :cry:
 
Didnt the Corsairs with four cannons appear after the war?

But in 1943, it was still six 50's. Having the cncentration of your guns in the nose advoids convergence issues. I dont think any fighter with wing mounted guns could reliably hit planes beyond a certien range.
 
Of course they can. It depends on the pilot. I think you're over-playing the advantages of nose mounted guns compared to wing mounts.
 
lesofprimus said:
I think the F4U had it all over the -38, in just about every aspect except long range missions...

My Grandfather flew F4U's and in mock dogfights, he never met a -38 pilot that could match him, and he self admittedly stated he wasnt the best pilot around...

That being said, the equally qualified Corsair pilot takes 3 outta 5 engagements...

As much as I love the P-38 I've heard the same thing. Mojave Airport (where I used to work at) used to be a Marine base during WW2. First there were F4Fs there and later F4Us. Some Veterans of that unit were still in the area (although getting on in age) and said the same thing. Additionally there were AAF guys stationed at Muroc (Edwards) and they would always try to play with the Marines - they would wind up meeting at Panchos for beers afterwards. The -38 guys who I spoke to about this period said the Marines in their Corsairs were tough and it was usually the better P-38 pilot that would win in these mock scraps.....
 
IIRC, there were cannon armed Corsairs in the Pacific during the War, although in limited numbers.... I'll check into it later if no one knows....

Hey Joe, WTF is ur avatar??? I cant make it out...

As far a nose mounting verses wing, ie convergence, there was a difference, but only the truly excellent pilot could make a use outta it... Plus, the thing to remember about guns in the nose was the muzzle flash....

For a rookie green pilot, wing mounted .50's were where it was at...
 
Hey Joe, WTF is ur avatar??? I cant make it out...
Yeah! Could you tell me that also???

I say the P-38 was great on long range, could carry more bombs and rockets, and i think nose guns were slightly more accurate than wing guns.

Although i hate to say this since the -38 is my bird of choice, F4U Corsair might out class it in a dogfight but the P-38 probably have a chance of punching some bullets into the F4U. It was very useful like PD said that it could fly off of Carrier decks.

It would have been cool to say a Navy Air Corp P-38j fly off the deck of a carrier like what Doolittle did with the B-25!
 
The Model 822 was the carrier version of the P-38 but didnt materialize because the USN thought it too big...

In a dogfight it would be close to call for me...The Corsair probably did have the advabtage but I would still rather be in the -38, twing engine survivability and sheer toughness does it for me, as well as the extra hitting power of that 20mm...Then again the Corsair was mighty tough too...Close to call.
 
One advantage of the Corsair is it would be easier to mass produce and to train pilots.

Having a single air colled engine is also easier on the mechanics than two liquid cooled egnines.
 
I think if you have a Bong or McGuire type pilot who would dump flaps and jockey the engine powersettings , you might turn inside of a Corsair, but that's based on pilot skills and those guys are far and few.

I've spoken about my former neighbor, Mike Alba, a WW2 P-38 and P-51 pilot. After WW2 he worked with the "Military Assistance Program" (MAP) where he would help countries set up combat training schools. Considering Mike was bi-lingual, he spent much of his time in Central and South America. He helpd Honduras set up their first combat training school right after the war. Later he went back when they got their Corsairs. They flew both aircraft and Mike spect considerable time there assiting them in combat training. I remember him saying that the Corsair was far superior than the -38 in his opinion. He also told me of one of his star students named "Soto." This guy shot down 3 plane during the 1969 "Soccer War" with Guatemala.
 

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