F4U Corsairs in the RAF/FAA...

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Maestro, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Greetings ladies and gentlemen.

    I just found this on a web site and I thought I should share the information with you.

    Taken from : http://www.vectorsite.net/avf4u.html#m5

    CORSAIR IN BRITISH NEW ZEALAND SERVICE

    The British Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) warmed to the Corsair much faster than the US Navy. In November 1943, the FAA received under Lend-Lease the first of 95 Vought F4U-1s, which were given the designation of "Corsair I". The first squadrons were assembled and trained in the US, either at Brunswick, Maine, or Quonset, Rhode Island, and then shipped across the Atlantic. The Royal Navy put the Corsair into carrier operations immediately, well ahead of the US Navy, but wasn't like the British worked miracles with the F4U: they found its landing characteristics just as beastly, suffering a number of fatal crashes, but bit the bullet and did it anyway.

    This initial British batch was followed by 510 Vought F4U-1As under the designation of "Corsair II"; 430 Brewster F3A-1Ds under the designation of "Corsair III"; and finally 977 Goodyear FG-1Ds under the designation of "Corsair IV". It is unclear if the stateside squadron training scheme was retained for all British Corsair squadrons.

    All but initial deliveries of FAA Corsairs had 20 centimeters (8 inches) clipped from the wingtips to permit storage in British carrier hangar decks, with the clipped wings also apparently improving the roll rate. Some sources suggest that at least some of the clipped-wing Corsairs supplied to Britain had the US designation of "F4U-1B". Many FAA Corsairs were fitted with rails for launching British 7.62 centimeter (3 inch) unguided "Rocket Projectiles (RPs)". At its peak, the Corsair equipped 19 FAA squadrons.

    FAA Corsairs originally fought in a camouflage scheme, with a light-green / dark-green disruptive pattern on top and a white belly, but were later painted overall blue. Those operating in the Pacific theater acquired a specialized British insignia -- a modified blue-white roundel with white "bars" to make it look more like a US than a Japanese insignia to prevent friendly-fire incidents.

    FAA Corsairs performed their first combat action on 3 April 1944, with Number 1834 Squadron flying from the HMS VICTORIOUS to help provide cover for a strike on the German super-battleship TIRPITZ in a Norwegian fjord. This was apparently the first combat operation of the Corsair off of an aircraft carrier. Further attacks on the TIRPITZ were performed in July and August 1944, with Corsairs from the HMS FORMIDABLE participating. It appears the Corsairs did not encounter aerial opposition on these raids. A confrontation between a Corsair and the tough German Focke-Wulf FW-190 would have made for an interesting fight.

    Even as British Corsairs were fighting the Germans, they were going into combat in the Indian Ocean against the Japanese, with the first operational sorties on 19 April. Royal Navy carriers would be participants in the final battle for the Japanese home islands. On 9 August 1945, days before the end of the war, Corsairs from HMS FORMIDABLE were attacking Shiogama harbor on the northeast coast of Japan. A Canadian pilot, Lieutenant Robert H. Gray, was hit by flak but pressed home his attack on a Japanese destroyer, sinking it with a 450 kilogram (1,000 pound) bomb but crashing into the sea. He was posthumously awarded the last Victoria Cross of World War II.

    425 (some sources say 370) Corsairs were also provided to the Royal New Zealand Air Force, beginning in late 1943. By the time the New Zealanders had worked up to operational Corsair squadrons in 1944 there was little for them to shoot at in the South Pacific, and they saw little combat. Most of the New Zealander Corsairs were scrapped after the war, as were the British Corsairs.
     
  2. elmilitaro

    elmilitaro Member

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    Pretty nice info. :)
     
  3. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Okay, I made some other searches concerning the use of Corsairs by the RAF/FAA in the European Theater... But looks like I'm screwed up. I mean, there is not a lot of informations about that. All that I found so far is that the first FAA Squadron formed was the FAA Squadron No. 1835, that they were trained in the US (may be in the Maine) and that they helped to sink the Tirpitz somewhere in Norway.

    I found nothing concerning British carriers in the ETO... The few RN carrier names that I found served in the PTO.

    Everyone knows that Corsairs can't have made it from the PTO to Norway, so there must have been at least one Corsair squadron based either on a carrier in the North Sea or in a British airfield.

    Anyone has informations about those Corsairs operating in the ETO ?
     
  4. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    There was a British Carrier that resupplied the RAF in Malta.
     
  5. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    The was more the one... Ark Royal was sunk on returning to Gibrator by a U-boat (forget which one). After this the USS Wasp took over the duties, other than that there was the Glorius sunk of Norway by Scharnhorst and Gneisnau (sp?). Most of the rest served in the Pacific.
     
  6. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    FAA employment of F6F and the F4U off Norway :

    FAA F6F's were used for anti-aircraft suppression on raids against Tirpitz on 3 April 44 (Operation Tungsten). These included - from Emperor - 800 Squadron and 804 Squadron. F4U's also participated in Operation Tungsten with 1834 Squadron and 1836 Squadron, off Victorious, flying high cover for the raid. No aerial opposition was encountered.

    On 8 May 1944, the only fighter-to-fighter FAA F6F action took place. F6F's from 800 Squadron, off HMS Emperor, while escorting a flight of Barracudas off Norway was attacked by a mixed group of Me-109's and FW-190's. Two F6F's were lost, one, probably, to anti-aircraft fire (one source indicates that both F6Fs were lost in a mid-air collision, not to any German fire of any kind); the Hellcat pilots claimed two Me-109's and one FW-190. Available Luftwaffe loss listings show three Me-109Gs lost in this action. On the Luftwaffe side, claims were three F6Fs.

    On 14 May, 800 Squadron added a He-115 to its scoreboard and shared another with 804 Squadron.

    Operation Mascot was launched against Tirpitz on July 17th. Among the participating squadrons were 1840 in F6F’s off Furious and 1841 in F4U’s off Formidable. The strike force consisted of 44 Barracudas, 18 Corsairs, 18 Hellcats, and 12 Fireflies. A largely unsuccessful attack, one outcome of the Mascot operation was the loss of an F4U to capture by the Germans. Flying as escort for a Barracuda, an F4U suffered a mechanical failure, made a forced landing in a field near Bodø, and was recovered by the Germans relatively intact. This was the only F4U lost in the course of the operation.

    Next up was Operation Goodwood, a series of four strikes on the Tirpitz anchorage between 22 and 29 August 1944. There were five carriers involved, Indefatigable, Formidable, Furious, Nabob and Trumpeter. F6F’s of 1840 squadron flew from Indefatigable and F4U’s of 1841 and 1842 squadrons operated off Formidable. F6Fs targeted Tirpitz. F4Us struck at Tirpitz, as well, and performed flak supression. A total of 3 F6F’s and 5 F4U’s were lost in the course of these strikes. Typically for these Tirpitz targeted operations, no aerial opposition was encountered, all Goodwood losses were to AA fire or operational.

    Rich
     
  7. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    the Wasp was in the Pacific, Battle Of Midway?
     
  8. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Wasp left Norfolk NOB on 6 June, 1942 and arrived at San Diego on 19 June. Departed San Diego on 1 July and arrived at Tongatabu on the 18th.

    Rich
     
  9. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    I didnt know that thanks for the info
     
  10. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Thanks for all those informations, guys.
     
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