F2A-1 to the RN FAA in January 1940.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by oldcrowcv63, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #1 oldcrowcv63, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
    In January of 1940 the Finns began to received the initial shipment of de-navalized Brewster F2A-1s it would put to good use in the continuation war. Would these same 45-50 F2A-1s employed by the FAA on Royal Navy carriers have altered the course of the Norway campaign?
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Not much. The Brewster had a problem with the landing gear, It got bent easily in carrier landings and then wouldn't fully retract. A squadron needs several months to work up on a new type of aircraft. Jan to April is skating on the thin edge of actually being combat ready.
     
  3. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #3 oldcrowcv63, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
    IIRC, the landing gear collapsing was a failure attributed primarily to the much heavier -2 and -3 Buffs while the -1 was reasonably sturdy, being relatively light. I think your point about the time required for the work up is certainly a challenge to the notion to be seriously considered. I'd offer two examples of comparable compressed time lines for the FAA to adopt and field a new aircraft: the Fairey Fulmar and the Grumman Wildcat. First flight of the Fulmar was evidently 1/4/40 while fleet introduction was initiated on May 10, 1940. However 1st squadron deployment came about a month later. Actual operational CV deployment was during the summer which suggests the time necessary to accomplish squadron work up for a cruise. So, about 5-6 months seems about the fastest it could be done. I believe, the first Grumman G-36A (Martlett I) was delivered to Britain in August, 1940. By November they were in FAA Squadron 804 service and in December shot down a Ju-88, puported to be the first axis a/c destroyed by an american built fighter. About three months from delivery to service is even faster than the Fulmar although to be fair the first Martletts were flown from landbases and were not embarked. I suspect it might have been just possible with the proper sense of urgency to carry this off but it would have been a stretch. England invaded nazi besieged Norway ~9 April and the campaign lasted until June 10.

    Eleven F2A-1 were delivered to the USN by early December '39. These aircraft were retained by the USN. The remaining 43 of that run were manufactured to B-239 (denavalized) standard and delivered to the Finns beginning in February, 40. I can imagine circumstances wherein, even squadron carrier qualification could have been accelerated by early cross-ocean, close cooperation with the USN with the aircraft in USN Possession to bring about the rapid introduction into FAA and its carriers. However, it is unlikely that such a sense of urgency existed during the phony war especially with the shortcomings of the FAA aircraft not quite fully appreciated. At best, it is (to me at least) an interesting remote possibility but not very realistic.
     
  4. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #4 Juha, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
    Hello
    The real B-239 timetable
    The first shipment of 11 a/c left NY for Bergen Norway on 13 Jan 40, the crossing took 2 weeks, the rest were shipped in 3 lots of which the last one arrived to Bergen on 13 March 40. In the contract Brewster had promised faster delivery and it was later forced to pay compensation to Finland for the delay. The planes were assembled in Sweden and the first 4 were flown to Finland on 1 March 40, before end of the Winter War (13 Mar 40) 2 more were flown to Finland. 3 of the first 4 were flown to Pyhäniemi in Hollola on 5 Mar 40. Pyhäniemi was an ad hoc depot base utilising a frozen lake as the landing area but FiAF began to flow also combat sorties from there, first 2 B-239 combat sorties were flown from there on 7 Mar 40, no contact.. One more combat sortie was flown on 11 March, again without contact to Soviet planes. Not surprisingly, after all the plane was a product of Brewster, there were some critical defects, the anchorages of aileron linkage rods were too weak, there were leakages from integral fuel tanks etc.

    Juha
     
  5. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #5 oldcrowcv63, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
    I much appreciate the detailed delivery and operational information you've provided, but I don't believe it contradicts the essence of what was said above. Eleven aircraft, arriving in Bergan Norway on January 25th makes the proposed schedule a few days less tight than I originally surmised with arrivals in Britain probably a day or so earlier. They would probably have arrived at an English port (assuming they weren't torpedoed in transit) and been immediately shipped to an appropriate base for assembly. Moreover, the process of adoption by the FAA might have commenced in the USA (as did that of the Grumman product) to bring them around to FAA standards before shipment. I have a copy of the acceptance schedule of the F2A-1 by the USN. The last one was accepted (Not delivered) by the USN on 12/11/39. The production line would have continued at a pace to produce the 11 aircraft you cite for them to be shipped by 1/11/40. That leaves a couple of weeks for a very few FAA Pilots to examine and perhaps even get a few hours in type during late November and early December. I believe that was the pattern for most US types delivered to the FAA. While it shaves a few days off the schedule it doesn't really change the basic problem cited above. It seems to me the basic ingredients missing from this very hypothetical scenario from happening was the precognition to predict with certainty the situation over Norway in the Spring of 1940 and the will to make it happen at a time when the entire world seemed in the grip of lethargy awaiting for a war it didn't want to happen.


    A possible source of delay in this scenario is during the adoption process by the FAA. Given the well known problems with the Brewster corporation, I would expect the RN's FAA to have been a bit demanding, cautious and intolerant of Shenanigans by Brewster than was perhaps the Finn AF. My impression is that your Air Force was happier just to get the airframes and more willing to jury-rig light-weight improvements to get planes ready for and into action more quickly. However, this process may have resulted in an uncertain amount of degradation in the B-239's performance. I have the perception (and no hard evidence) that US manufactured aircraft performance suffered a bit when our British cousins brought them up to their standards for European combat.

    That is not meant as a criticism to either sevice. I have huge admiration for both the Finn AF and RN's FAA. I'd be happy if someone could confirm this perception or prove it is false.
     
  6. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Oldcrow
    my message wasn't intented to contradict anything, only as info on not so well known timescale.

    Assembly of planes would have been almost certainly faster in UK than in Sweden, because it suffered from inadequate labour force.

    And yes, Finns were at first fairly cautious on their handling with Brewster, for ex Finns waited for a while before they demanded compensation for the late delivery of most of B-239s simply to maintain good relationship with B as long as it was essential.

    Juha
     
  7. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks also Juha for ignoring my mispelling of Bergen and any other mispellings I may have missed. :oops: Your details were indeed quite helpful in establishing the B-239 time-line more accurately.
     
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