Fleet Air Arm use of the F4U Corsair

Ad: This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules


Sep 30, 2006
For my first post, I'd like to pose a question for the really knowledgable. I have been an afficianado of WWII aircraft for nearly 40 years. I have read and researched.

My father worked on Corsairs during the Korean War and my own research determined that it was one hell of an aircraft. US Navy Air seemed to operate almost entirely in the Pacific. There were anti-submarine operations in the Atlantic, but I have been unable to find evidence of a single air-to-air combat between US Navy fighters and German or Italian fighters in the ETO.

The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm on the other hand, used their variant of the F4F Wildcat, F6F Hellcat and the F4U Corsair. I have read very limited accounts of encounters between the Wildcat (Martlet) and the ME109. If I recall correctly, the Wildcat was tougher, dove faster and could out turn the ME109 (I can't recall at what altitude or speed), but was much slower and couldn't climb as fast. I have been unable to find any accounts of combat between FAA Hellcats or Corsairs vs. ME109, FW190, etc.

It would be interesting to know how they stacked up especially in comparison to the P-47, P-51, etc.

So. Does anyone out there know if any such combat ever took place, or any books that might contain such accounts?
F6F's, yes . . . F4Us, no.

The only fighter-to-fighter FAA F6F action took place in May 1944. On 8 May, F6F's from the Fleet Air Arm's No. 800 Squadron (Lieut. Comdr. SJ Hall, DSC, RN), off HMS Emperor, while escorting a flight of Barracudas were jumped 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 RN pilots were creditied with 2 Me-109's and one FW-190. Available Luftwaffe loss listings show three Me-109Gs lost in this action, werk# 14697 (Ofw. Kurt), 10347 (Uffz. Brettin), and unknown # (Fw. Horst). On the Luftwaffe side, Uffz. Hallstick claimed two F6Fs and Lieut. Prenzler claimed one.

I've found the same info on it.Although Martlets,Corsairs and Hellcat were used by FAA the Hellcats struggled against german fighters only.In addition,in a book about Corsair I've found this.


  • corsair1.jpg
    49.3 KB · Views: 408
Interesting. Because of the lack of direct combat experience between German aircraft and the Corsair, I've been forced to compare performance statistics and comparisons between the Corsair and other US fighters, and those others against the German aircraft.

Very roughly, I believe the F4U-1A had a superior rate of climb than the ME109E models and was much faster. Dive was faster, range and payload greater, though that wasn't really a factor in ACM, and high speed turning was better. I don't know if the F4U-1A had a better climb rate than the F or G models, but I suspect it was slower. Zoom climb however was better.

I don't think it would be really fair to compare the F4U-4 model since it was introduce so late in the war. But if you did, I think the advantages swing to the Corsair in everything except low speed turning. Same against the FW190 though I'm not sure about it's low speed handling.

Anyway, it would be interesting to see how the Corsair would have stacked up in European combat when compared to the P-51, P-47, Spitfire XIV, etc.
Although Martlets,Corsairs and Hellcat were used by FAA the Hellcats struggled against german fighters only

Well, no, that is not exactly so. I only addressed F6Fs and F4Us as those were the point of the inquiry. To be inclusive, the FM-2 version of the F4F also tangled with Luftwaffe fighters as well.

On 26 March 1945, FM-2's from 882 Squadron (Lieut Comdr. GAM Flood, RNVR) off HMS Searcher were escorting a flight of TBMs along the coast of Norway when attacked by a flight of eight III Gruppe JG 5 Me-109Gs. The Wildcats pilotrs claimed to have shot down four of the Me-109Gs at a cost of one Wildcat damaged. A fifth 109 was claimed as damaged. As near as can be determined from available Luftwaffe loss lists, there were three 109's lost, werk# 412398 (Fw. Hermannn Jaeger), 782139 (Uffz. Gottfried Rösch), and 782270 (Fw. Heinrich Dreisbach). One other 109 crashed, (pilot unknown) on landing, however the information available does not indicate if the crash was due to pilot error or from battle damage. Damage to this airplane was noted as 25%. Available Luftwaffe credits lists show no claims from this action.

According to books I've had about Wildcat,Hellcat and Corsair there isn't any info on this.:( But I think that it was ,as you have written.Very interesting info R Leonard.:thumbleft:
Sorry, I wasn't clear when I said "stacking up". I meant in combat with German aircraft when compared to other Allied fighters against the same German aircraft.

Users who are viewing this thread