How significant was the F2A Buffalo?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Pong, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. Pong

    Pong Active Member

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    Sorry if this is a stupid question but what was the significance of the Brewster Buffalo to the U.S Navy? I have heard the Finns and some Brits have success with them but how much success did they achieve with the USN?

    Also, who was the highest scoring American Buffalo pilot? Question's been bugging me...:confused:
     
  2. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    The F2A was the Navy´s first monoplane fighter and it could make more than 300mph. In (capable) Finnish hands it was just terrific in the usually far less capable hands of all other users the Buffalo was terrible. The British got it worst; on top of poorly trained pilots their planes also had defective engines that could not be run at full power.

    Technically it suffered from radical changes in specifications that resulted in massive weight increases. Furthermore Brewster neither met delivery deadlines nor quality control standards.

    More info: http://www.warbirdforum.com/buff.htm
     
  3. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    perhaps its biggest contribution was motivating the realization that Quality Control restrictions needed to be tightened.
     
  4. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    I´m not aware of anyone but Brewster having QC-problems of this magnitude and it seems they were never overcome. Wiki says Brewster made Corsairs lost their wings occasionally. :shock:
     
  5. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    The plant was up in Warminster, Pa. At one point during the war, the Navy took it over, the QC was so bad.
     
  6. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    It was very significant for the Marine pilots at Midway because for most of them, it was the last flight they ever took. In contrast most of the Marine Wildcat pilots survived. Markus, there was a big differnce between the Finnish Buffs and the Marine Buffs. The Marine and USN pilots of 1942 were some of the best trained pilots in the world.
     
  7. LDSModeller

    LDSModeller Member

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    The USMC used the F2A-3 version of the Buffalo at Midway which had a slightly
    more powered engine than it's predecessor the F2A-2.
    From my reading, part of the problem with the Marine pilots was that about a 1/3 of them
    had only finished flight school, not to mention, less experenced officers making bad tactical
    calls did not help in matters either basically condemning many Marines to death.

    Not withstanding as we know there were Marine pilots who despite the odds scored
    against the IJN pilots.

    The unfortunate part is that the Marines and RAF were in the same boat. They needed aircraft to fight with
    and both were shafted by bureaucracy in being given aircraft that were less than desirable

    Another difference between Midway and Singapore, is that the IJN A6M Zero was faced by the
    Marine pilots where as the RAF/Dutch were fighting JAAF aircraft such as the Oscar etc

    The British/Dutch 339 E/D's put up a good fight over Singapore, certainly the
    RAF 339E Buffalo had engine problems due to Brewster using re-manufactured
    R 1820 engines but the RAF/Dutch pilots gave a decent account of themseleves,
    having a 2:1 victory over the Japanese aircraft before being overwhelmed.

    RNZAF airmen such as Geoff Fiskin/Noel Sharp gained ace or close to ace in the Buffalo
    (243/488 squadrons respectivly)

    regards

    Alan
     
  8. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    The facts are that, at Midway, most of the Marine pilots in Wildcats lived and most in Buffs died. Nothing to do with training. The USN and Marine pilots were all well trained. Combat experience however was almost nil. The Buff used by the US in combat was only fit for a trainer.
     
  9. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Renrich,

    That's a very broad statistic upon which to extrapolate. There were only 6 F4Fs at Midway and they were in the last 2 divisions to enter the fray so it's perhaps not surprising that they had a better chance of survival because all the IJNAF fighters had swarmed on the first 2 divisions which were all flying F2A-3s.

    Now, to answer the specific question of the thread:

    The Buffalo was the first modern fighter monoplane to enter service with the USN. The Buffalo had retractable undercarriage, enclosed cockpit, flaps, was better armed than its contemporaries (which were all biplanes) and, due to its large cockpit canopy, had better visibility than many later fighter aircraft. Without the Buffalo, the F4F would not have existed - the Brewster design so comprehensively beat Grumman's initial biplane design and a rapidly-developed monoplane successor that it forced Grumman to come up with a better design which ultimately became the XF4F-3.

    However, like so many "first of breed" deliveries, the Brewster design had problems, some of which were the fault of the aircraft manufacturer (like the undercarriage problems) and some which resulted from other component manufacturers (eg the engines and the guns). The point about QC made in earlier threads is absolutely vital. Brewster had shocking quality control which they never satisfactorily resolved. Labour relations between the management and workforce were poor and there was some intimation that workers deliberately sabotaged aircraft on the production line.

    Hope this answers some of the questions relative to the thread.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  10. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    A5M was not a biplane
     
  11. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Correct, but it had fixed undercarriage and an open (or at least semi-open) cockpit.
     
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