CV fighters of 1942: can Sea Hurricane beat the Zero Wildcat?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    ... albeit not in a 1:1 sense, but all together as a fighter for aircraft carriers. Both for RN and hyothetically for USN IJN - what operations would go better/worse with Hurris aboard instead of one of famed duo?
     
  2. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    #2 muscogeemike, Feb 13, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
    I would think that the RN would have been better off (except for the night fighting capabilities) with the Sea Hurri than the Fulmar. While on the subject of a Naval fighter - why didn't the RN use the F2A 1/2 Buffalo since it was available much earlier than the Fulmar and (on paper anyway) had better performance?
     
  3. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #3 oldcrowcv63, Feb 13, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
    The F4F had the legs that the Hurricane did not. That's critical for its escort and cyclic ops role especially when one is operating twice the number of strike aircraft. You want the CAP to stay up throughout the flight ops cycle. The rest is up for grabs I think. The Hurricane was a sound aircraft and in some ways outperformed thre F4F. I would argue the F2A-1 or -2 (with some combat modifications such as those performed by the Finns) should have stayed in production and the RN should have bought every one produced. The two was a hot handler. (Pilots loved it! until it grew into the F2A-3. The export B339 and B439 had none of the handling and performance of the -2, as I understand it.
     
  4. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    F4F-4 was credited with combat range of 105 nmi (~120 miles) - not much of legs?
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    don't forget that combat range includes form up time, landing time and a healthy reserve for finding the carrier. with only one plane taking off at at a time and landing at at time the rest of the flight/squadron have to circle until all have taken off or landed. 15 minutes of circling is 20 miles radius at just 160mph.

    Work the Hurricane backwards.take out the combat allowance, and a reserve and take out a reasonable form up and landing loiter time, from the Hurricanes 420-480 mile "range" and then cut n half for radius.
     
  6. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    You are right about that, the best figure I was able to find for SH is 505 miles, vs. 830 for F4F-4. Quite a reduction of distance to cover.

    The pluses for SH, vs. Zero, might be the gun firing time vs. Zeros cannons of 1942, better armor protection, should be better in dive. The minuses would include far less range, climb, low speed handling.
    Vs. F3F-4, the Hurri should be better climber (if someone can find whether Hurris were over-boosting their Merlins, please post), slightly better gun firing time, while lacking in range, punch protection. The carrier would be able to carry more Grummans.
    F3F-3 seem to have no weak spots vs. Sea Hurri (unlike vice-versa).
     
  7. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Look at an operation at Midway as an example. 6 F4F led by John Thach who is about to introduce his famous weave flies 175 nm and fights a battle against dozens of zeros. Shoots down confirmed three I believe and returns to USN CV-5. The well-practiced Yorktown unlike the Enterprise and Hornet used a running rendezvous wherein the slowest A/C, the TBD departed first, then the SBDs and finally the F4F escorts. It also launched only one deckload (morning deck spot included CAP, escorts, one VB and one VT quadron or roughly about 40-45 aircraft) at a time which made for much faster plane handling and less fuel consumption. I believe the Hornet and Enterprise each had about 60 aircraft spotted and with defered departure everything launched waited to form up. It didn't work very well because they used so much gas in waiting that ultimately Spruance sent them off piecemeal before the second group could be brought up from the hangar and spotted for launch. I think that's how it went. Combat radius was not 100 nm but more like 175. With drop tanks at Guadacanal the F4F were ranging up to 225 nm for combat with Zeros
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes a "combat radius" was quoted that included an certain amount of time on station. Like a CAP orbiting 105 miles from the carrier for XX number of minutes before returning.
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    I do admire Thach his accomplishments.
    My question: was Tatch's flight managed to pave the way for an incoming strike package?
    The 170 miles surely can be achieved, if pilots can find the carrier timely, ie. with small margin for error. The official table does state 105 nmi (includes considerable reserves).
     

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  10. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Just checked my numbers on Google Earth and found I was in error. Distance from Yorktown to the Soryu was 155 nm and 178 sm so max with drops I expect to be about 225 sm or just under 200 nm
     
  11. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #11 oldcrowcv63, Feb 14, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
    Tomo I've said this before and I'll probably keep saying it till I die I am sure. :( :rolleyes:

    You can't trust the paperwork. it'll just give you a notion. The best way to determine capability is to examine operational records and find out what kind of missions the pilots were actually flying. :confused: : :)

    If you want to see a real poser, Jim Gray took his 10 F4F-4 escorts to the more distant Akagi and orbited for about 10 minutes I believe before returning to the Enterprise. That was after a certain amount of time spent orbiting the Eneterprise waiting for the rest of the strike to form up (probably just the escorts since the TBDs were slowest. He was above the Japanese fleet when VT-8 attacked and did nothing; a feat which caused him some considerable criticism as you might imagine.

    This might mean my original radii were closer to the mark. SR has captured the essence of the problem with respect to interpreting the paperwork. You've got to know what went into setting the number. Lots of assumptions which may not have been assumptions at the time, but rather more like common operational knowledge. Typically it's specified somewhere if not on the actual performce sheet.

    There is some evidence that the Hiryu strike followed the SBDs of VB-3 back to the Yorktown, where they ran straight into Art Brassfield's potent RADAR directed intercept. But the IJN did have a float plane stalking at least a portion of the USN fleet radioing its postion.
     
  12. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #12 oldcrowcv63, Feb 14, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
    I just did a distance sum using the post battle analysys maps published in Lundstrom, First Team. Thach's VF-3 traveled 178 sm to sighting Kido Butai, turned North about 12-13 sm to escort the TBD's attacking Kido Butai, and then returned to the Yorktown's projected point option position at a rough distance of 142 sm. That's a total of 333 miles so the combat radius would be about 167 sm. Fletcher, is represented as knowing that his SBD pilots had plenty of fuel on board and so delayed their recovery to launch 10 SBDs on search patrol. Thach arrived back at about 1133 at the start of this launch and didn't land until after 2 damaged returning SBDs had cleared the wires. His 4 F4Fs then had priority given their low fuel state. He landed aboard about 1150. So he was still orbiting for almost 20 minutes after arriving back at the Yorktown. So we are effectively back in the ballpark of the reasonable or practical combat radius of 175 sm quoted by Lundstrom. This number is born out in earlier combat missions during the first 6 months of 1942. Also, Gray orbited Kido Butai for about 40 minutes not the 10 minutes, I previously posted.

    By comparison, A6M Zero escorts with drop tanks, flew from Rabaul's land-base to Guadacanal a distance of almost 650 miles, and then after battling marine F4F's, had then to retrace their steps. That's an epic combat radius or 650 sm!!! I imagine there was essentially very little reserve. In practice, flying from a carrier without drops allowed a combat raduius of something closer to 300 sm, I believe.

    A land based F4F should have a similarly extended radius of combat. As SR has implied, flying from a carrier, you always gotta leave enough fuel to find your enemy and then find your home plate and then keep enough to await the typical landing cycle. although one thing you always announce when arriving back at the boat is your fuel state. It's a prioritized landing cycle based on fuel state. Of course now, in modern times, there is an airborne tanker hovering about the carrier.
     
  13. slaterat

    slaterat Member

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    The Sea Hurricane performed very well for the FAA as a point defense fighter in 1942. Operations Harpoon and Pedestal being highlights. It has several good qualities for a carrier borne aircraft, good forward visibility, easy to land, wide track under carriage and very reliable. It is also very tough, well armoured and has very good handling throughout the entire speed range. However without drop tanks its range is too short for the Pacific and it lacks folding wings.

    The Zero has very good performance and a very long range but poor high speed handling and lacks armour and self sealing tanks.

    F4F-3 Good performance but lacks folding wings self sealing tanks and armour.

    F4F-4 A little less performance than the F4F-3, and the lowest rate of climb, but 6 x.50s, folding wings ,armour , self sealing tanks and better range than the Cane.

    In the Pacific I'll take the F4F-4, in the Mediterranean I'll take the Sea Hurricane.
     
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    According to the US Hundred thousands, the F4F-3s were retrofitted with pilot armor and self sealing tanks immediately after USA entered the war.
    I'd like to know what was the situation with similar Martlets of FAA?
     
  15. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    I believe they went to war for the FAA fully equipped. Perhaps were outfited when they arrived in UK. Well that's your question isn't it.... Forgive me... Trying to wake up :oops:
     
  16. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I believe Blackburn Aviation did all the modifications to turn F4s into Martlets. It would have been strange if they didnt fit similar protection to FAA aircraft that they were fitting to RAF aircraft. Though this is Navy v Air Force and stranger things happen when interservice rivalry is the main battle and those pesky Germans just get in the way.
     
  17. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Eric Brown (Wings of the Navy) says they were assembled by Scottish Aviation, but isn't specific about exactly what else might have been done besides assembly. I don't believe this (if true) precludes additional mods being performed by Blackburn.
     
  18. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I am sure I read somewhere that Blackburn did the modifications. Perhaps they were project leaders and Scottish aviation did the actual assembly.
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Blackburn was the 'sister' company to Grumman and handled most (if not all) of the modifications to Grumman aircraft in British service, however this may not mean that Scottish Aviation didn't do some assemble work under Blackburn's direction if the Blackburn shops were too full at a given time. A number of small British firms manufactured modification sets or other items to Blackburn drawings for installation by Blackburn and Blackburn supervised a modification center at Roosevelt Field in New York for American built planes destined for the FAA.
     
  20. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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