F6F or F4U

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by bob44, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    If we could have only have one of these two aircraft in the Pacific War with the US Navy/Marines, which one would we choose?
    This includes on carriers and land. As a fighter, bomber, attacker.
     
  2. KeithA0000

    KeithA0000 New Member

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    I'm a bit biased-- I love the Corsair-- it was a heavy hitter, and could carry more air-to-ground, had a bit better range, was a bit faster than the Hellcat. The Hellcat was a superb and dominant fighter, but the fact is that the Wildcat did most of the heavy fighting up to and including Midway. I think the fact that the Corsair's career was longer than that of the Hellcat pretty much answers the question.
     
  3. alneal

    alneal New Member

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    They shared the P&W R-2800 engine. Corsairs were a bit spongy for carrier landings, and consequently, had more accidents.
    The "hose nose" Corsair had really poor forward visibility on the ground. If you're going to fight with it, you have to take off, and land. Both aircraft were excellent fighters.
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I'd choose the Hellcat hands down. Easy to fly, hits the same, better turning ability, and very similar performance except slower roll for the Hellcat. But in the Pacific, the primary opponents were ALSO slow rolling.

    Last, the Hellcat shot diwn the most enemy aicraft despite being in service for almost the exact same length of time. It also has the best air-to-air kill ratio against enemy aircraft of any fighter in the US inventory. In my mind, no comparison, The service length awas more of a choice of which piston was in a better position to be supported for some time ongoing after the war than of which was more effective in a particular role.

    The Hellcat tooki off and landed shorter, turned better, was slower rolling, and had not quite the same climb. Later, the very late-war Corsairs had a powerplant that made a big difference in speed and climb. If the Hellcat had the same engine and prop as the Corsair, as they did early on, the change in performance for the Hellcat would have been as great, too.

    In point of fact, since the jet age was dawning, the Corsair was probably a better choice for support of ground missions than the Hellcat. For an air superiority fighter, that is no insult, and the Hellcat could have done a credible job the same as the Corsair did in Korea and onward for a time.

    Give me a Hellcat any day.
     
  5. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    When you are basically the only a/c taking on enemy a/c one would expect a better a2a kill ratio.
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hi Milosh,

    What exactly does that mean? I don't understand what you were trying to say. Versus enemy aircraft, the Hellcat was the best the USA had in WWII. What more can you ask than being the best?

    Not trying to fight, just to understand what your post meant. There was not any verified better kill ratio for aircraft versus aircraft. The Finns operated less than 10% of all Buffalos and were VERY good, but highly atypical. A less than 10% sample is NOT a good sample. 60+% is and they were awful when looked at in that manner. The Hellcats, on the other hand, were excellent when looked at with a 75%+ sample.

    The Finnish Buffalos flying against obsolete and udertrained Soviet pilots and planes represented less than 10% of the Buffalos. Taken as group the Buffalos were abysmal and the Finns are not representative of the type in normal combat. A turkey shoot doesn't tell much about the victor ... it tells a lot about the ambush.

    Later in the war, the Finnish Buffalos would have been meat on the table to the Soviet pilots of 1944 - 1945 in Yak-3/9 or La-5/7 aircraft.
     
  7. Cave Tonitrum

    Cave Tonitrum New Member

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    #7 Cave Tonitrum, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
    Naval Air Combat Statistics (NACS) states that "The F6F appears to have had considerable advantage over the F4U when flown under the same conditions. Receiving about the same number of hits per sortie in comparable operations, the F6F had a far lower rate of loss per plane hit."

    The report continued, finding that "The F6F was slightly superior to tie F4U in combat, apparently chiefly because of itsgreater ability to survive damage."

    The data paints the Corsair as being 57% more likely not to return after suffering AA damage. There has been speculation that the different oil cooling layout of the Corsair is to blame.
     
  8. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    I always think that they were both, in different ways, very good planes (though you have compare like to like, ie the later Corsairs vs the Hellcat).

    The choice would have to depend on 'what you wanted them to do'?

    Overall, I'd pick the Corsair as having the better overall design with the longer design lifespan. But that is overall, in many areas of combat you would pick the Hellcat.

    So both good planes, close but not quite the epitome of the US radial engined fighters (that took the later Bearcat).
     
  9. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    What was the only fighter a/c on the American carriers for a long time Greg?
    How many F4Us were at the Turkey Shoot?

    It sure does and that would be the F6F taking on the Japanese naval air force.

    To quote Wiki,
    U.S. Navy and Marine F6F pilots flew 66,530 combat sorties and claimed 5,163 kills (56% of all U.S. Navy/Marine air victories of the war) at a recorded cost of 270 Hellcats in aerial combat (an overall kill-to-loss ratio of 19:1 based on claimed but not confirmed kills).[39] The aircraft performed well against the best Japanese opponents with a claimed 13:1 kill ratio against the A6M Zero, 9.5:1 against the Nakajima Ki-84, and 3.7:1 against the Mitsubishi J2M during the last year of the war.[40] The F6F became the prime ace-maker aircraft in the American inventory, with 305 Hellcat aces. The U.S. successes were not only attributed to superior aircraft, but also from 1942 onwards, they faced increasingly inexperienced Japanese aviators as well as having the advantage of increasing numerical superiority.

    Now what were you saying about the Soviet Air Force vs the Finns?

    In the Continuation War 25 June 1941 – 19 September 1944:

    Finland lost 21 Messerschmitts in air combats but Finnish Messerschmitts shot 663 enemy airplanes down. 31:1
    Finland lost 19 Brewsters in air combats but Finnish Brewsters shot 447 Russian airplanes down. 24:1
    Finland lost 2 Fiat G50 fighter planes in air combats and Finnish Fiats shot 88 Russian airplanes down. 44:1

    The biggest battle for Finnish Brewsters ever was in 21st of April 1943 over the Gulf Of Finland, when sixteen Brewsters combatted 35 Soviets. Four LaGG-3's, four La-5's and eleven Yak-1's were brought down against the loss of two Brewsters. Not a bad score vs obsolete Soviet a/c.
     
  10. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "...Now what were you saying about the Soviet Air Force vs the Finns?"

    :)

    You tell 'em !
     
  11. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Greg also goes on about the Bf109, yet, the Luftwaffe in the early part of the Great Patriotic War was flying against obsolete and undertrained Soviet pilots and was the only fighter for awhile and the predominate fighter, in numbers, on the Eastern Front.
     
  12. Biplane pilot

    Biplane pilot New Member

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    In the 1944 joint fighter conference (at Eglin Field, Florida, I believe) military and industry pilots flew one anothers' aircraft and filled out detailed forms with their impressions. Subjects ranged from cockpit layout to all performance parameters plus personal opinions. The overall winner for fighter-bomber was the Corsair. I knew Col. Rex Barber, best known for the Yamamoto mission, and he joined the majority in favoring the F4U. And that's from a devoted P-38 pilot (but every P-38 pilot I ever knew was devoted!)

    But...

    As noted previously, the Corsair was a handful until tamed in 1943-44, and even then it didn't deploy on carriers beyond 2 night fighter detachments until the end of 44. The Hellcat destroyed Japanese aviation--nothing else came close. In fact, F6Fs were credited with nearly as many aerial kills as all AAF fighters in both the Pacific and CBI theaters.
     
  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    America's One Hundred Thousand review results from all the AAF, USN, USMC, RAF and manufacturer reps (October 1944)
    F4U-1D vs F6f
    F6F best (of all tested) 'all around stability' followed by F4U
    F4U better 'dive stability'
    F4U best Production carrier based fighter (F8F eliminated), F6F next
    F6F best gear and flap controls (followed by F4U and P-51)
    F4U best Fighter bomber, followed by P-47D and then F6F and P-51D
    F4U better all around fighter above 25,000 feet (behind P47 and P-51)
    F4U better all around fighter below 25000 feet (behind 'best' P-51)
    F4U better cockpit canopy than F6F (P-47 Best, then P-51)
    F6F better all around visibility (P-51 best followed by P-47)
    F6F best 'all around cockpit' followed by F4U and P-51
    F4U better ailerons at 350mph (P-51 best)
    F6F best ailerons at 100mph (followed by F4U and P-51)

    Other factors
    F4U acceleration better than F6F - about same as P-63 and much less than P-38, P-47 and P-51D
    F4U dive acceleration better than F6F - P-38 best, P-51 and F4U tied for second)
    F6F limit dive speed better than F4U but P-38, F6F and F4U were well behind P-47/P-51 tied 1st, P63, P-40, P-39..
    F6F turn far superior to F4F
    F6F range on internal fuel better than F4U-1D but far inferior to F4U-1, -1A, -1C.
    F4U (all models except F4U-1D) have shorter take off run - F6F-5 nudged out the F4U-1D
    F4U-4 far faster than all models of F6F
    F4U (all) had about 6% less drag than F6F

    America's One Hundred Thousand didn't post climb comparisons but the F4U should out perform the F6F.

    Superior F4U speed, acceleration, roll, dive acceleration versus F6F better turn -- almost sounds like an F6F to A6M comparison, doesn't it?

    I would give a heavy nod to the F4U
     
  14. pattle

    pattle Member

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    I am not an expert on either the Hellcat or the Corsair but from what I do know about the Corsair it was not in a position to replace the Wildcat at the time the Hellcat did. To add to this the Wildcat needed to be replaced urgently and it is hard to believe that the Corsair could have done any better job than the Hellcat judging by the results that the Hellcat delivered. I think that it would have been a big risk and a mistake to have chosen the Corsair over the Hellcat before the Corsair's use from carriers was perfected because there was to much at stake. I understand that a lot of the Corsairs early problems were not with the aircraft itself but the way in which it was operated from carrier decks
    After the Corsair was perfected it does sound like a better fighter bomber than the Hellcat to me and I think that the fact that it was the design chosen to be retained by the post war authorities is the strongest argument there is to back this opinion up.
    I know even less about the Bearcat than I do the Hellcat, but wouldn't the Hellcat have been replaced by the Bearcat had the war continued, I have always assumed that replacing the Hellcat was the goal of the Bearcat?
     
  15. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Thanks for the effort to sublime and type the comparison, Bill.
    The AHT gives 'times to climb' chart at pg. 597, and the F4U-1D is a tad better when using normal power, than the F6F-5 using military power. No doubt because it weighted some 500 lbs less (weights from the chart); less drag will help, too. Some 10 min will use the F4U-1D to climb to 20000 ft, vs. 12 min for the F6F-5, both using normal power.
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Bearcat was more of a replacement for the Wildcat. The FM-2 Wildcat being continued in production for use on smaller, slower carriers than the F6F was used from. The F8F was designed to offer higher performance than the FM-2 while still being small enough (same wingspan and length as the FM-2) to fit/operate from the smaller carriers. The first prototype flew on 31 August 1944 which means design work started well before the Kamikaze threat came up. The Kamikaze threat may have speedded up acceptance and priority though.
     
  17. GrumpyBadger

    GrumpyBadger Member

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    This is a good discussion, and I've enjoyed reading it. I've been fortunate enough to be around both these old warbirds recently, and even had the opportunity to sit in their cockpits.

    If I had to choose one plane or the other for both the Navy and the USMC during WWII, I'd choose the Hellcat. A pilot needs to be able to take off and land to be able to have him and his plane survive. By all accounts I've read the Corsair was a pain on a carrier deck, but she also had a better time in the dirt than the Hellcat.

    But, then again, that may be why most Marine squadrons flew the Corsair and most Navy flew the Hellcat. Both are excellent planes and I think they both did their jobs fine.
     
  18. l'Omnivore Sobriquet

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    #18 l'Omnivore Sobriquet, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
    A pure F4U Navy would be a strong challenge.. for the Americans !
    Doing away with the forgiving and rooky-friendly Hellcats, would run into difficulties at least for standards for pilot training. And produce a lot of accidents nonetheless, 'attritions' that would play the ennemy's hand.
    The US-Navy without Hellcats 1944 onwards would be a weaker arm. (!)
    But a winning one certainly .
    Most importantly, a superior one, to the the Japanese...

    I think the 'Corsair comfort' is mendatory, it has to be the driving force for the American way of waging war against Japan in the later stages. I think comes 1st rank. Let the Wildcats and Dauntless bear the load of the difficult times... Then swich gear.

    I wouldn't like to be a rooky pilot thrown in hot battles though, operating from '2nd class aircraft carriers' despite all the good training homeland... I mean even B-29 pilots crashed upon landings, at the end of long nerve stirring missions... There would have been a lot attritions in a pure F4U Corsair USNavy.

    The question then would be : would there be enough real large carriers in that era to fullfil alone, the historical role of the USN in 1944-1945 ?
    The rest, small 2nd ranking carriers, would become lesser characters in the game.. I would suspect also a strong F-4F end of career in this scenario...

    Besides, is it possible, to hypothese an iddle Grumman 'new technology' effort at all?
    Is it possible to imagine USNavy's staff overlooking any such one ?
    There had to be a Grumman back-up, at the very least.

    So in this difficult yes-no question I would choose the pure F4U option, despite the fine opposition.
    Because in this late stage war action, what would really work would be, was, an American superiority in every fields, especially quality wise. Exactly what the Japanese cannot stand.
    They would have stood anything else.

    So, B-29s and Mustangs for the USAAF, Corsairs for the USN. This is the way America settles the matter in the Pacific.

    And best regards for the sacrified American youngsters smacking old decks.., and 'kudos' for those late-mark F4F, Avengers, obviously producing much back-up and much presence, much bombing and rockettery and Nip's bashing in a opposition-free environnement.
     
  19. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hi again Milosh,

    Not sure what your points are above.

    I said the Finns were fighting against a woefully undertrained foe and their sucess would seem to solidify that view. The Finnish Buffalos are not even a 10% sample of Buffalos, so they simply count for the quality of the Finns versus their opponents in my mind, and don't say anything about the Buffalo in general. Take any random 50+% sample and see what you get.

    About the kil ratio, I specified in the US inventory when I mentioed the Hellcat.

    For a real kill ratio, I would not take less than a sample of at least 40% of the total production. For the US numbers about the Corsair and Hellcat, we have 85+% of the population, so I believe their numbers are quite valid for drawing conclusion about the aircraft in general.

    I personally care much more about the performance of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 as a type than I do small numbers of Bf 109's in Finnish or any other service. I'm one of the guys who wants a good cross section of the plane's missions on which to base an opinion of the aircraft as a whole, not some specific small sample. That probably comes from an engineering background that includes inferential statistics.

    As to the Finns specifically, they certainly showed their training and skill level were head and shoulders better than their opponents. Good job, Finland! But their good performance with the Buffalo is so atypical of the type as to be almost an abberation that might well be due as much to badly-trained Soviet opposition as much as to the prowess of the Finns ... I don't know. The Finns certainly showed good pilot quality in any case.

    They made somewhere around 580 Buffalos, Take any random sample of any 300 of them and you can get an idea of the real potential of the Buffalo. Random means random, not "just the Fins" or even "include all the Finns." The big problem, at least to me, is really getting the data together, not anayzing it.

    That, of course, applies to the way I think. You are certainly entitled to feel otherwise and yours may well be a more popular view, and that's fine.

    If you want to talk specific numbers, the US Navy's kill ratio versus enemy aircraft was compiled by flying 66,530 combat sorties. That is not sorties, that is COMBAT sorties and is a pretty darned good sample on which to based combat effectiveness. Lest you think the Corsair is getting the bad end, the US Navy flew 64,051 combat sorties in the Corsair over about the same time period, so their combat sorties are nearly identical, and the Hellcat comes out on top by a wide margin. It shot down more than twice as many enemy aircraft.

    So you can some to any conclusions you want and it doesn't change the fact that the Hellcat was a verifiably better performer in combat situations. Pilots of the two types in US service got exactly the same training. The one thing we CAN'T say is what percent of "combat sorties" involved no contact with enemy aircraft but were rather anti-ship or ground attack missions only.

    As I stated above, give me a Hellcat any day. If I can have my choice, you certainly can, too. So give Milosh whatever mount he wants, and good luck to him. It's all fantasy anyway, so I'll assume we win the fight and celebrate with a good, cold beer after we land.
     
  20. silence

    silence Active Member

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    Which one took up less space on a carrier? If the difference is significant, that could be an important consideration.
     
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