Hellcat

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by GregP, May 23, 2013.

  1. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    There has been a lot written about the best fighter but not much on circumstances. The P-51 Mustang shot down a lot of enemy aircraft but it was employed a bit differently than the F6F Hellcat.

    In the case of the P-51 it largely, but not exclusively, flew over Europe where there were airfields and targets aplenty. In the case of the F6F Hellcat, it largely flew over water where enemy airfields were not abundant and where coming across the enemy was almost by providence, not by virtue of being over a well-populated enemy airspace.

    I submit that the Hellcat would have done quite better than it did in real life if targets had been more plentiful and if it were primarily flying over land. The ocean is NOT a great place to find the enemy and island air bases are very few and far between.

    Since the two were so close in real life accomplishments, not counting ground kills which the Hellcat had very little chance to make, I wonder how the competition would have gone if the Hellcat were primarily employed over land where targets were MUCH more plentiful. Of course, many will discount it because of numbers such as speed and climb, but it WAS the mount of the most successful Naval aviator in the USA and actually destroyed almost the same number of airborne planes in the event as the P-51.

    With more targets available, I wonder if the tables might have been turned and the F6F might have come out on top. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t tell the tale and we’ll never know. Conventional thinking would favor the P-51 but the Hellcat was a scrapper with very good tolerance to damage and much more maneuverable in a turning fight than the P-51 was ... at least it is TODAY. It might have been interesting if the roles were similar with similar target opportunities. The F6F never did much escort duty but managed very well in spite of it. If opportunities had been similar, I wonder if the end results would have changed materially.

    The theater doesn't matter; it was a great fighter that aquitted itself well whenever asked to perform. Jumping a flight of Hellcats with Bf 109's might not have been a good idea ...

    Suppose Japan had been located on a continent, then the fray would probably have been laregly over land and target opportunities would have been much greater.

    Whuddya' think?
     
  2. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Not many enemy a/c to shoot down over the sea.
    Not many enemy a/c to shoot you down over the sea either.
     
  3. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    What was the total number of USN 'kills'?
    What was the total number of USAAF 'kills'?

    The USN had 2 major fighter a/c, the F6F (predominate) and F4U while the USAAF had 3 fighter a/c, the P-38, P-47 and P-51. The USAAF fighters claimed around 14,000 enemy a/c.
     
  4. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Well put!

    More Japanese aircraft to shoot down and more Hellcats to shoot them down would logically have resulted in the same kill loss ratio with more kills and more losses. Sorry, no relevance to 109s. Unless we can identify some superiority the Hellcat had that the Mustang (or Thunderbolt, or Spitfire) didn't have ...

    I can see only one way to resolve this - touch football. Me and Oldskeptic on one side (Wuzak, you're on the bench) Greg and VMF opposing. Bring it on.
     
  5. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Be careful...their touch football isn't the same as ours.
     
  6. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Or their real football. What's with the tights?
     
  7. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Complements the pads and helmets so much better....
     
  8. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    #8 VBF-13, May 23, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
    Wuzak, you should have saved that for about page 20, because that's the bottom line. Now we can't have our dogfight. :lol:
     
  9. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    #9 VBF-13, May 23, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
    That's VBF. That bad boy was a bomber. Made to order.

    PS: I can't wait until Parsifal gets here. I'm going to say his migraine is going to start before he gets half-way through the question. :lol:
     
  10. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    The average target density was perhaps low over the ocean but tended to be locally a bit denser around aircraft carriers, for as long as the IJN had them.
     
  11. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The Hellcats were usually flying from the biggest bomb magnet in the ocean, the targets came to them.
     
  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #12 GregP, May 23, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
    I had not considered football at all, but it would be fun. I'll pour the iced Gatorade on Cobber after the game ... I suppose this topic has already been beaten to death and I will let it fade into quiet oblivion.

    But the football IS a good idea, Cobber ...
     
  13. Coors9

    Coors9 Member

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    To me , I've always felt that the F6F was on the outside lookin' in. She was a tough old bird and thank God we had her. Usually , the great lookin' girls can't cook worth a dam.
     
  14. altsym

    altsym Member

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    What about the WildCat? Its kinda like the P-40, 'thank God' it was there in the beginning. About women cooking, another 'thank God' moment.. mines HOT and man can she cook!
     
  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    There was an old song that went, "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife, so for my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you ..."

    I don't agree with the song but it is certainlky entertaining to listen to in a group.
     
  16. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    The other factor that's missing in this discussion is the role of tactical intelligence in combat. IIRC, during the Marianas Turkey Shoot, one of the reasons the USN fighters were so successful was because the Japanese formations were controlled by a lead aircraft which maintained high altitude and directed the battle. Unfortunately for the IJN, the radio transmissions by that lead aircraft were intercepted by the CBG and enabled rapid re-vectoring of the Hellcats to be in just the right place at the right time to intercept the Japanese from the most advantageous position. Such close integration of intel and tactical positioning just didn't happen in Europe.

    Now I just need to find the reference where I read the tidbit about intel support in the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. I think it was Layton's "And I Was There."
     
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