F4F's in Europe

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, May 27, 2010.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    If F4F's with 2-stage superchargers had such good high altitude performance, why were they not used to a greater extent in Europe?
    I've read that the British were unsatisfied with the high altitude performance of the Allison-powered P-40 and non-turbo P-38. The F4F was not a viable option?
     
  2. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    #2 Thorlifter, May 27, 2010
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
    1 word

    Spitfire

    But you do bring up a good point. Instead of using the P-40 and early P-38's, the F4F's might have been a better plane to supply. Could it have been that the F4F was designated as a Navy plane and the British wanted land based planes?
     
  3. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    But there weren't enough Spitfires, so the Brits were eager to receive US fighters.
     
  4. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    There weren´t that many F4F either. In ´41 Grumman made ~30 per month, they did not hit the 100 mark before May ´42. Just enough to satisfy the USN´s demand I guess. Plus the Wildcat was both slow and slow climbing.
     
  5. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Weren't enough Spitfires when?
    The USN didn't accept the F4F until July 1940, the Battle of Britain was already at its height so eagerness wasn't going to get the RAF far with the F4F. At the point where Grumman were beginning to crank them out in respectable numbers, the Spitfire Mk IX was coming on line.

    When the F4F (might) have been needed, it wasn't available, when it became available, it wasn't really needed.
     
  6. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Terry might know.....
     
  7. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    THAT'S why they didn't use them. Terry HATES them with a passion. He would not allow them to use them.:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  8. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Hehehehe
     
  9. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    Wasn't this discussed ad nauseum here recently, or another forum, or both! :D Anyway the availability question was pretty much determined by decisions on US side. One key set of three words is 'Army vs. Navy'. I think a credible argument could be made that the F4F would have been at least as effective a fighter in European/Med theater as the P-40, just as it demonstrably was in the Pacific, despite being slower. But the Army had their fighter programs and the Navy had theirs. And, the Army presumably didn't see any great flaw in the limited atlitude performance of the P-40 (in most models) and P-39, or they would have made it a higher priority to avoid that weakness. And if you're talking quite early in the war, then as mentioned the US just wasn't producing a lot of fighters of any kind, yet. A little later, still prior to US entry, the US had fighters to spare for Lend Lease, but there obviously would have been more F4F's if there weren't separate Army fighter programs. Of course the British did receive F4F's in limited numbers as carrier fighters, used in a few cases (from UK and North Africa) in combat from land bases.

    You can''t really compare the P-38 and F4F. The P-38 had its teething problems, and is perhaps an overrated airplane in general, but what it could potentially accomplish in terms of speed, range, and altitude performance with turbochargers can't be compared to the F4F. That would be about like considering the P-38 as subsitute carrier fighter for the F4F :D

    Joe
     
  10. Knegel

    Knegel Banned

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    #10 Knegel, May 28, 2010
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
    Hi,

    i doubt the F4F would have done as good as the P40 in Europe. The speed/climb performence was just as good as that of the HurriII. The P40 was way faster, specialy in a dive and additionally the P40 had excelent high speed handling.

    Even the FM-2 was poor in relation to the 1941-43 German fighters, no matter what altitude.

    It was a good carrier plane and specialy in the pacific, where it did face most of the time planes like the Zero(not to talk about the Japanese bombers), which had no real protection and which also had a rather poor performence, it could shine (somehow).

    Vs the MG151/20 armned planes in europe, even the toughness wasnt a real bringer anymore and easy snapshot kills like vs the Japanese paperplanes also wasnt as easy in Europs.

    The F4F could shine in the pacific cause its thoughness(in relation to the japanese guns), the japanese paperplanes and good teamfight. The F2A would have done same good, if they would have used the same tactics.

    How different the performences in the Pacifc and Europe was you can acttualy see, if you look to the P38.

    Even the early P38F and G´s was so much more fast than any japanese plane of that time(1941/42), they could act somewhat like the 262 in 1944/45 over europe. Of course with the same turnfight problems. Her, in the pacific, it was vastly superior.

    In Europe even the P38H and J had bad trouble, cause vs the 109G and FW190A they dont had a real speed advantage, neighter they could turn better, as result the P38 did not count as superior, rather as disadvanced in combat.
    The not to bad results of the P38´s over Europe was then rather related to good pilot training/tactics and tot the fact that many german fighters was overloaded(still the P38 had trouble with them, unlike to the single engined fighters).

    Greetings,

    Knegel
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The F4F and the P-40 had rather different performance envelopes.

    The P-40 being rather faster at altitudes below 15,000 ft or so with the F4 closing the gap and showing better performance the higher into the 20,000ft range you go.

    And as far as a time line goes, by the time the F4F was available in any numbers, spring of 1941, The British had the MK II Hurricanes with Merlin XX 2 speed engines and the MK V Spitfire was coming into service with the Merlin 45.
    Germans were also introducing the 109F at this time which is beyond the ability of the F4F to deal with on a consistent basis.
     
  12. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    But the British were still taking delivery of P-40's and P-51's.
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #13 renrich, May 28, 2010
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
    The F4F versus P40 was discussed ad nauseum in another thread, as JB said. The fact is that the F4F was in pretty short supply even in early 1942. The British took over an order of F4Fs for the FAA which was originally intended for France. But the USN, in early 1942 actually had some mixed squadrons of Buffaloes and Wildcats because the F4Fs were not available. They also operated mixed squadrons of F4F3s and F4F3As which had different performance characteristics. The USN was operating on a shoestring in 1942. The F4F did pretty well for itself in the Med, being credited with 26 kills as well as two kills in the ET0. It was more than adequate against LW aircraft at sea.
     
  14. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    true, but they didn't intend to use either one for high altitude work, as in anything over 15,000ft.

    I believe that was your original question.

    The F4F was in very short supply.

    While the F4F performed better at 20,000ft and above than some P-40s it didn't perform better than what the British already had available (which the US did not available in the Pacific).

    The F4F didn't perform as well below 15,000 as the P-40 or early P-51s.

    No need to introduce another type of aircraft to the theater (naval use excepted) if the available planes already have both high and low altitudes covered.
     
  15. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #15 vanir, May 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2010
    Plus as someone touched on, France and Greece purchased F4F's for land based operation. But iirc Grumman was basically taking whatever orders it could get whilst waiting for the USN order they really wanted. Once that came in it got priority...but GB did get both diverted batches meant for France and Greece and apparently liked them so much they turned around and ordered some for themselves. Again by this time though the USN was the production priority for Grumman and the best paying contract.

    So I think the entire thing is wholly circumstantial, had Grumman unlimited instantaneous production capacity in a fantasy universe, then I dare say you would've seen Wildcats alongside Spits and Hurris all over the place operating from RAF land bases through 41-42, in all theatres. As it was they just got a small batch which they mixed in with the Wright engined Martlet I's and gave to the FAA who sorely needed something better than Fulmars and Gladiators.

    Also from what I've heard the Brits were actually disappointed with the P-40 altitude performance and lack of appointments, they had fully intended using it as an interceptor but backstepped it to second echelon roles (overseas sqns and fighter-bomber or tactical recon locally). Their initial order was reduced after they got the first deliveries, even though Curtiss made modifications by request. In late 41 they were actually trying to give them away, and were more than happy to supply the AVG with their entire initial lineup plus spares (all the first Flying Tigers were ex-RAF aircraft).
    Probably didn't help the Brits had a habit through 41 of swapping .50's out of Tomahawks for .303's or just leaving the nose armament deleted (most, but not all Brit Tomahawks had either 4 or 6 .303 brownings, which isn't exactly sparkling armament for 1941 but good enough against the Japanese).

    But the F4F, I think if the US was out of the picture and thus production availability was there, the RAF would've loved having them. They were really impressed by the French/Greek Martlets they got.
     
  16. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #16 vanir, May 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2010
    Plus as someone touched on, France and Greece purchased F4F's for land based operation. But iirc Grumman was basically taking whatever orders it could get whilst waiting for the USN order they really wanted. Once that came in it got priority...but GB did get both diverted batches meant for France and Greece and apparently liked them so much they turned around and ordered some for themselves. Again by this time though the USN was the production priority for Grumman and the best paying contract.

    So I think the entire thing is wholly circumstantial, had Grumman unlimited instantaneous production capacity in a fantasy universe, then I dare say you would've seen Wildcats alongside Spits and Hurris all over the place operating from RAF land bases through 41-42, in all theatres. As it was they just got a small batch which they mixed in with the Wright engined Martlet I's and gave to the FAA who sorely needed something better than Fulmars and Gladiators.

    Also from what I've heard the Brits were actually disappointed with the P-40 altitude performance and lack of appointments, they had fully intended using it as an interceptor but backstepped it to second echelon roles (overseas sqns and fighter-bomber or tactical recon locally). Their initial order was reduced after they got the first deliveries, even though Curtiss made modifications by request. In late 41 they were actually trying to give them away, and were more than happy to supply the AVG with their entire initial lineup plus spares (all the first Flying Tigers were ex-RAF aircraft).
    Probably didn't help the Brits had a habit through 41 of swapping .50's out of Tomahawks for .303's or just leaving the nose armament deleted (most, but not all Brit Tomahawks had either 4 or 6 .303 brownings, which isn't exactly sparkling armament for 1941 but good enough against the Japanese).

    But the F4F, I think if the US was out of the picture and thus production availability was there, the RAF would've loved having them. They were really impressed by the French/Greek Martlets they got.
     
  17. Knegel

    Knegel Banned

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    The F4F was a ready carrier plane, thats the main reason why the RAF took it.
    An it was very good here as carrier plane, specialy cause it was able to operate from very smal carriers.

    I doubt the RAF would have used it as land based plane. Although the high altitude performence was better than that of the P51A and P40, it was still worse than that of even the Me109E4.

    So there was two low level planes with at least a little advantage over the german oponents(highspeed manouverability and at least in case of the P51A the speed itself), but specialy the pritish planes of that time (HurriII and SpitV was very slow in low level) and a plane that was worse in all altitudes even vs the oldest german fighter. While at same time there was the Spit2a and SpitfireV with a way better altitude performence than even the later FM-2 had.
     
  18. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    They operated Martlets from land bases in Egypt. They were FAA but I think assigned to RAF control there (a similar way to the Sea Gladiators that defended Malta until Hurris and later MkV's could be shipped). Until those Martlets were sent they only had one operational Gladiator near Suez (which was famously flown around between several airfields day to day to give enemy spotters the impression there were more Gladiators than they actually had, which was one, more funny wartime tales).
     
  19. Knegel

    Knegel Banned

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    In egypt they had a VERY smal probability to face german fighters, to intercept bombers even the Gladiator could be used.
     
  20. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    Italian G50's I think, or CR40 and SM79 but I don't think they ever wound up attacking, the Brits were just worried about it (can't remember, did SM79's ever wind up attacking Suez? or just midget subs?). The idea was to fool the spotters/observers.
     
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