Wildcat in an air to ship role.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Rufus123, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    I started to ask this about naval fighters in general but change my mind to not include those with fairly impressive bomb loads so Wild cat it is.

    If carrier aircraft are going against an fairly impressive surface fleet but here are absolutely no enemy air asserts and it is known beyond a shadow of a doubt do you send the wildcats with bombs even though the bombs are small and very few in number or do you send it guns only to suppress AA fire?

    I at first thought send it with bombs then I thought, while it is carrying those two small bombs it is not suppressing the AA for the better ship killing planes.
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    it may depend on distance to be flown. Wildcats had shorter range than some of the strike aircraft and may need to use drop tanks.

    AA suppression is going to need multiple attack runs so the Wildcats can drop their bombs on the first pass ( and a hit from a 100lb bomb will suppress a few AA guns for a considerable period of time)
     
  3. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Was there any reason why the Wildcat couldnt carry a bigger bomb (or rockets), similar size and power aircraft seemed to carry decent payloads.
     
  4. JtD

    JtD Member

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    Actually, Wildcats were field modded to carry up to 500lb of bombs and late versions were modified to carry 5" rockets. Which, in this scenario, would be my weapon of choice. In any case, it's better to bring bombs than to not bring bombs, even if these are only small 100lb ones. Not every ship is a battleship, and even a 100lb bomb will leave a bigger mark on a destroyer escort than some 0.50 rounds.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Wildcat could not carry a single bomb under the fuselage so bomb load is split. Wildcats mounting points were on the non-folding part of the wing and had to clear the fuselage mounted landing gear. Field "mods" often suited local conditions and skirted ( or ignored) factory/official safety margins. Few records kept of "field mod" landing and take-off accidents? same as un-modied aircraft? 10% worse 20% worse?
     
  6. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    FWIW, the 'America's hundred thousand' lists a bomb-load of 500lbs for the F4F-4, the F4F-3 and F4-F3A were to carry 200 lbs.
     
  7. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    But could in 1942/3 the Pilots of F4Fs be decently trained to use bombs? In those times I think they had more urgent and important tasks to do....
    Also considered that fighter pilots seem to be inclined to consider bombs a load to throw away as soon as possible......
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Why not? Navy pilots were expected to do a lot of things because the number of planes on an aircraft carrier were limited. Now sometimes the duties were not real practical (using SBDs as anti-torpedo planes) But many navy planes were expected to do double duty.The SBDs were scout (reconnaissance) planes in addition to dive bombers and had that "back-up" interceptor role. Devastators and TBDs were not only torpedo bombers but level bombers ( with a bomb aimers station in the belly, not just fly over level and let go the bombs hoping for the best. Navy fighters had carried small bombs for years. Both the older Grumman Biplanes and Curtiss biplanes carrying a 116lb bomb under each wing. Navy had at least a 10 year tradition or experience in using fighter bombers so in 1942/43 they would have been leaving the fighter bombing training out rather than trying to add it by your theory. That is a difference in mindset.
     
  9. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    #9 Elmas, Nov 28, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
    Yes, that for sure. But it was time of peace, with doctrines of aerial warfare that real war did show completely wrong. If I had been the CinC, U.S. Navy........ ( :)) I should have assigned Wilcats to just one task: to get air superiority over the carriers. And to do just that was not easy, in 1942.
    In 1943 or 1944, with Hellcats and Corsairs, things could have been different, of course.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Wildcat needed drop tanks to have the range to escort the strike aircraft on longer missions so the racks and weight capability were already there, no change to the aircraft. In fact it might be the other way around, Desire for by the Navy for the "bomber" role meant that the weight capability (local stress in the wings) and and racks were there for the drop tanks.

    See: http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/f4f/f4f-3-detail-specification.pdf

    Please note that in the "proposed" bomber role two of the .50 cal guns were to be removed leaving only two guns. Never happened in combat but shows that the Navy did not consider the bombing role as an after thought. Even with the size air groups the US Navy carriers had having flexibility and options was a good thing.
     
  11. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    With the Wildcats trying to assist the strike aircraft in attacking surface ships what is the best that can be hoped for with the 100 pound bombs? Of course the Wildcats do not have the damage potential of the strike aircraft. I am pretty sure scoring a hit with those 100 pound bombs will be significantly harder.

    As a side question after the torpedo planes and dive bombers have dumped their load do they come back around and strafe in order to assist the other strike aircraft?
     
  12. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    The Taffy 3 engagement provides some insight –though armament was compromised. FM-2s were able to harass the Japanese battleships and cruisers but did little harm. Torpedoes were required to make a serious impression such as provoking evasive actions.
     
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