Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIB vs. Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by DAVIDICUS, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    I don't know how accurate the data is that I have presented for each aircraft. (Consider the source and whatever knowledge you can bring to bear)

    So how would these two allies fare in a head to head dogfight?


    [​IMG]

    From: http://www.warbirdalley.com/hurry.htm

    Engine: 1,280hp Rolls-Royce Merlin XX 12-cylinder V piston engine
    Weight: Empty 5,500 lbs., Max Takeoff 7,300 lbs.
    Wing Span: 40ft. 0in.
    Length: 32ft. 2.5in.
    Height: 13ft. 1in.
    Performance:
    Maximum Speed at 22,000 ft: 342 mph
    Cruising Speed at 20,000 ft: 296 mph
    Ceiling: 36,500 ft
    Range: 480 miles
    Armament:
    Twelve 7.7mm (0.303in.) wing-mounted machine guns
    Two 250 or 500-lb bombs

    For further details see: http://www3.mistral.co.uk/k5083/TECHDATA.HTM

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [​IMG]

    From: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/ac-usn22/f-types/f4f.htm

    # Dimensions: Wing Span, 38 feet; Length, 28 feet 9 inches; Wing Area, 260 square feet.
    # Weights: Empty, 5785 pounds; Gross, 7975 pounds
    # Powerplant: One 1,200 horsepower Pratt Whitney R-1830-86 double-row radial engine.
    # Armament: Six .50 caliber Browning machine guns; Two 100-pound bombs.
    # Performance: Maximum Speed, 320 m.p.h. (@ 19,800 feet weight of 7975 pounds).
     
  2. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The Hurricane Mk.IIB was a better performer in a dogfight but the armament leaves a lot to be desired when facing off against Grumman brick houses.
     
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    It would be very close, I think. They were both pretty rugged. The armament does give the edge to the Wildcat, but I am not sure with manueverability. There were stories of Wildcats shot full of holes still making it home. I don't know if that is the case with the Hurricane, but it wouldn't surprise me.
     
  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Close one, I's go withthe Wildcat because of the Radial engine
     
  5. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    I know that the Wildcat was outclassed in manueverability by the Zero but suspect that the Hurricane would have been outclassed in manueverability as well. I don't think the Wildcat was an unmanueverable plane per se, it's just that having the Zero as your opponent does everything to develop and nothing to combat that impression.

    The Wildcat, I have read, did have a superior dive rate and roll rate against the Zero.

    Does anyone have climb data on both these aircraft?

    Perhaps to further even the contest, we could compare the Hurricane IIB to the fixed wing F4F-3 model which had four .50 cal's and was a little lighter, faster and more manueverable.

    Perhaps we could substitute the IIC for the IIB which would afford the Hurricane four 20mm cannons. The FM-2 Wildcat is a consideration as well with its better performance vis a vis the F4F series.
    .
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Good Point!
     
  7. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Chronologically, an F4F-3 s a fairer comparison to a Hurricane IIB, rather than the F4F-4.

    Answer to the F4F v A6M2 question is tactics, tactics, tactics.

    Rich
     
  8. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    Ok, based on that representation, why don't we go with the F4F-3 and Hurricane Mk. IIB.

    The only difference I think is that the F4F-3 had four .50 cal.'s and was a little lighter, faster and a manueverable than the F4F-4.

    From: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/ac-usn22/f-types/f4f.htm

    "The heavier F4F-4 was not as nimble nor as fast as the F4F-3 ..."

    From: http://www.microworks.net/pacific/aviation/f4f_wildcat.htm

    Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat
    Length: 8.77 meters / 28.8 ft.
    Wingspan: 11.58 meters / 38 ft.
    Crew: 1
    Weight Empty: 2423 Kilograms / 5342 lbs.
    Weight Loaded: 3176 Kilograms / 7002 lbs.
    Weight Maximum: ?
    Armament: 4 x 12.7mm / 50-caliber machine-guns, two in each wing, two 45 Kilograms /100 lbs. bombs
    Top Speed: 532 km/h / 331 mph
    Range: 1383 km / 860 miles
    Ceiling: 8839 meters / 29.000 feet
    Climb Rate: 701 meters per minute / 2300 feet per minute
     
  9. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    well if you're gonna perposefully pick a better version of the wildcat surely we can go for a hurry Mk.IIC??
     
  10. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    Actually I first picked the F4F-4 Wildcat which had poorer performance than the F4F-3 Wildcat. I only said why don't we go with the F4F-3 because of R Leonard's statement that the F4F-3 vs. Mk.IIB would be a fairer comparison as they were contemporaries which I thought made some sense.

    If I wanted to pick a superior Wildcat, I would have just gone straight for the FM-2.

    At any rate, what do you think of a match up between a Mk. IIC and whatever Wildcat you wish to pick?
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    the -3 of course!
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    This is really close. If its the Hurrie 2B against a Wildcat F4F3 I would go with the Wildcat because the 303 lacked penetration and the Wildcat was rugged. In performance there is little between the two.

    If its the Hurrie 2C vs FM2, frankly I really don't know.

    After having chewed this one over for some time I would go for the Wildcat FM2 over the Hurrie 2C
    The reason is a little odd but the logic is as follows.
    The FM2 was an improved aircraft with a number of changes over and above the change in weapons. Overall its performance was improved.
    The Hurrie 2C was a 2B with heavier guns and a small decrease in performance.

    That said this is one that goes dwon to the pilot behind the controls.
     
  13. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    F4F-3 was straight wing, F4F-4 had folding wings

    Most importantly, because the -4 had both folding wings AND three guns per wing it carried only 240 rounds per gun. The -3, with only two guns per wing carried 450 rounds per gun

    F4F drivers at the time were as critical of this change as those brought about by increases in weight without increases in power. BuAir tried to sell the gun change as an ability to put more rounds into a target per burst, but the pilots recognized that first you had to hit the target.

    Lieut Comdr JS Thach, CO VF-3, from transcript of a BuAir interview, 28 August 1942, after return from Pacific duty including the Battle of Midway and earlier actions:

    “Air battles are won by hitting enemy planes with bullets. “

    “The pilot who will miss with four .50 caliber guns won’t be able to hit with eight. Increased firepower is not a substitute for marksmanship.”

    “In a fighter I would like to have 500 rounds per gun, but would be satisfied with 400.”

    “We would rather have six guns, but there is no use carrying around six or eight guns if you can’t bring those guns to bear on the enemy.”

    Lieut NAM Gayler, VF-3, VF-2, from transcript of a BuAir interview, 17 June 1942, after return from Pacific duty including the Battle of the Coral Sea and earlier actions:

    “If you hit with four guns it’ll bring down whatever you’re hitting. I don’t say that I don’t think six guns are desirable, if you don’t have to cut down too much on your ammunition.”

    “I should say that, in general, the four .50 calibers are a swell armament for a fighter plane. Personally I wouldn’t trade them for anything I’ve seen so far or heard of. They bring down anything they shoot; they’re rugged and apparently fool–proof and comparatively few stoppages and very little maintenance trouble or anything else to do with them. They’re very effective.”

    “As far as I personally am concerned, I think the four caliber .50’s is excellent armament and that a couple of more would be nice if you can carry the ammunition. If you can’t, I think the four .50’s is adequate.”

    Having flown both in combat, my resident F4F pilot preferred the -3 to the -4.

    Rich

    Rich
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Great stuff - I like the quote from Thach “The pilot who will miss with four .50 caliber guns won’t be able to hit with eight. Increased firepower is not a substitute for marksmanship.”
     
  15. alejandro_

    alejandro_ Member

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    Does anyone konw the victory/loss ratio of the Wildcat against the Zero? Overall the victory ratio for the F4F is ~5:1. Apparently it is close to 1:1.

    Regards.
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I think you'll find its way higher than that, more like 7 to 1. Against the Zero it would be about 5 to 1.
     
  17. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    I would like to add to this that although I agree that .303 cal do lack hitting power - during Operation Torch Hawk-75s of the Vichy French managed to shoot down a fair few Wildcats of the USN and they only had six .303 cal MG.
     
  18. alejandro_

    alejandro_ Member

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    Are you sure you are not mixing the Wildcat with the Hellcat? IIRC the victory ratio for the Wildcat is 5.2:1, you can check it in this forum, in the request section, where there is a topic on kill ratios.

    I would be especially interested in the F4F kill/loss ratio against the Zero, especially during the first months of the Pacific War. Most people argue the Zero was a superb fighter but it never achieved full supremacy against the Wildcat, which is considered to be totally obsolete. I just dont agree with this.

    Regards.
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    No - Depending who you want to believe the Hellcat Kill ratio was between 10 to 19 to 1! Hellcats claimed 6000 air-to-air kills.

    A kill ratio of 6.9 to 1 was claimed for the Wildcat in the pacific: 178 lost, for 905 'confirmed' kills. The most successful Wildcat pilot was Joe Foss, with 26 kills, all on the Wildcat.
     
  20. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Claims to losses is a sticky subject. If you’re looking for an analysis of actual, verifiable victories to actual verifiable losses, that’s real hard to do. That being said, when talking about F4F’s vs A6M2’s in the first year of the war in the Pacific, the best place to go is two books written by John Lundstrom, “The First Team – Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway” and “The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign”. Both are pretty thick books with real small print. John was probably the last researcher to get to most of the USN and USMC pilots while they were still with us. As an example, from VF-42 he was able to speak to ten of the squadron’s pilots who flew at the Battle of the Coral Sea. There’s only two left today. John went to the Japanese records to reconcile claims to actual victories. I have not personally gone through the books page by page and made a stick count, but I can think of a few of guys who have and all agree that the ratio of F4Fs to A6Ms is damn close to about 1 F4F lost for every 1 A6M in the first year.

    Personally, I like to work with the official reports. If you look at the roll up reported by the USN in 1946, you quickly find that it divides aerial victories into enemy bombers and enemy fighters, which, of course leaves out quite a few other players (float planes and the like) and leaves us wondering which fighters are they talking about. The only way to determine who is who is to look at the actual reports from the squadrons. I can do that with the Navy squadrons, I don’t have the information from the reports of the Marine squadrons.

    Overall it looks like this (and just for F4F’s; FM-2’s are another story all together, with one of the highest kill claim to loss ratios of the war):

    Carrier based F4Fs flew 1,104 combat sorties. Within these combat sorties, 17 F4Fs were lost to AA fire and 47 to enemy aircraft. There were 32 combat related operational losses (that is losses that occurred during a combat sortie but were not caused by combat damage; these are usually due to fuel exhaustion or flight deck accidents), 49 losses on non-combat related flights, and 22 were lost in the sinkings of Lexington, Yorktown, Wasp, or Hornet. On the claims side, there were a total of 302 enemy planes reported destroyed in combat, 190 bombers and 112 fighters.

    USMC land based F4Fs flew 1,074 combat sorties. Within these combat sorties, 4 F4Fs were lost to AA fire and 75 to enemy aircraft. There were 11 combat related operational losses (these are usually due to fuel exhaustion or airfield accidents), 34 losses on non-combat related flights, and 26 were lost on the ground, at Wake or Guadalcanal. On the claims side, there were a total of 356 enemy planes reported destroyed in combat, 175 bombers and 281 fighters.

    USN land based F4Fs flew 450 combat sorties. Within these combat sorties, 3 F4Fs were lost to AA fire and 56 to enemy aircraft. There were 7 combat related operational losses, 29 losses on non-combat related flights, and 20 were lost on the ground, at Wake or Guadalcanal. On the claims side, there were a total of 147 enemy planes reported destroyed in combat, 53 bombers and 94 fighters.

    So, from the USN statistics, there were a total of 178 F4Fs lost in aerial combat versus about 905 claims, of which 487 were fighters. As much as I am an F4F booster, those numbers are a little hard to swallow, although I was interested to read in Herbert Bix’s “Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan” on page 461 reports 892 airplanes and 1882 pilots (and, one presumes, crewmen) lost between August 1942 and February 1943 in the struggle for Guadalcanal. General Yamada Otozo who was on Hirohito’s staff noted that this was “ . . . two and a half times the number of planes and fifteen times the number of pilots lost at Midway.” Certainly the F4F pilots did not shoot down all the Japanese planes lost during that period, but they did shoot down a goodly number, if not a majority. Gives one some pause to think, anyway.

    Navy statistical records indicate that F4F’s were out of combat by October 1943, but the last two squadrons in action were VF-11 and VF-21 operating out of Fighter I on Guadalcanal. They left combat in July 1943. There may have been some F4F-4s mixed into with FM-1 squadrons operating from CVE’s between July and October, but they scored no victories of which I am aware.

    So much for the gross numbers. If you look at the results culled for reports you can get a better feel for actual types shot down. Since I only have the information on Navy squadrons, you can draw your own conclusions on the Marines. The results I have tabulated for the Navy F4F squadrons looks like:\

    Navy F4F-3 pilots were credited with 68.5 victories/10 Probables/7 damaged. Navy F4F-4 pilots were credited with 453/74/34, for a total of 521.5/84/41. Also of interest is that only 494 of these credits were for Japanese planes. Two of them were for German types and 25 for Vichy French (all from the F4F-4 total). If you compare the USN victory credits from the 1946 statistical report you can see that the statistical report has 449 credits for USN F4Fs for just enemy fighters and bombers in the Pacific. That would mean that some 45.5 of the Japanese aircraft shot down were NOT included in the statistical study as they were neither fighters (VF) nor bombers (VB). Counting up the non VF and non VB types listed gives a total of 33 victory credits or 12.5 less than the calculated value. On the other hand, the by squadron count shows 226 Japanese VB types credited and 233 Japanese VF types compared to the 1946 statistical report’s 243 and 206, repectively. My list of enemy types shot down by Navy F4Fs, based upon what was actually reported by squadrons, looks like this:

    Japanese:
    219/33/19 - A6M Mitsubishi A6M series Type 00 Models 21, 22, 52 VF (Zeke)
    6/0/0 - A6M2-N Nakajima Type 2 Float VF (Rufe)
    1/0/0 - A6M3 Mitsubishi A6M series Type 00 Model 32 22A VF (Hamp)
    58/14/6 - B5N Nakajima Type 97 VTB (Kate)
    115/22/14 - D3A Aichi Type 99 VB (Val)
    4/0/0 - E13A Aichi Type 00 2/Float VSO (Jake)
    4/1/0 - E7K Kawanishi Type 94 VSO (Alf)
    1/0/1 - E8N Nakajima Type 95 Float VSO (Dave)
    7/1/0 - F1M Mitsubishi Type 0 Float VSO (Pete)
    60.5/5/1 - G4M Mitsubishi G4M series Type 01 2/E VB/VR (Betty)
    14/0/0 - H6K Kawanishi Type 97 4/E VP FB (Mavis)
    2/0/0 - H8K Kawanishi Type 2 4/E VP FB (Emily)
    1/0/0 - U/I 4/E VP Unidentified Japanese Patrol Aircraft
    0/1/0 - U/I aircraft Unidentified Japanese Aircraft
    2/2/0 - Me-109 Pacific Action Mis-ID, Probably A6M Mitsubishi Type 00 VF (Zeke, Zero)
    494.5/79/41 – Japanese Total
    German:
    1/0/0 - He-115 Heinkel S/E Twin Float VSO
    1/0/0 - Ju-88 Junkers Ju-88 Series 2/E VB
    2/0/0 – German Total
    Vichy French:
    1/0/0 - B.174 or P.63/11 Bloch Type or Potez Type 2/E Lt VB
    4/1/0 - D.520 Dewointine Type VF
    8/0/0 - D.520 or H.75 Dewointine Type VF or Curtis P-36 type VF
    8/4/0 - H.75 Curtis P-36 type VF
    1/0/0 - LeO.45 Loire et Olivier Type 2/E Med VB
    3/0/0 - Martin 167 or LeO.45 Martin 'Baltimore' or Loire et Olivier 2/E Med VB
    25/5/0 – Vichy Total
    521.5/84.0/41.0 – Grand Total

    For what it’s worth.

    Rich
     
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