Wildcat night fighters?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Smoke, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. Smoke

    Smoke Member

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    #1 Smoke, Jun 8, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2010
    Was there a night fighter variant of the Wildcat? I've not been able to find any reference to it on the internet, but the caption on a picture of my great Uncle says the plane he's standing next to is a Wildcat night fighter.

    Could it have been a mistake on the part of the writer or just a little known variant? Perhaps a night fighter without radar, so it wouldn't be listed as a variant?


    Any photos would be greatly appreciated!
     

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  2. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    I have not found any mention of F4F nightfighters in "America┬┤s 100,000" but F4U nightfighters were already operational a year before the Peleliu campaign and were joined by F6F squadrons in 1944.
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I can find no references to a F4F Wildcat night fighter. My guess it's a mistakes on the author's part. Either way, nice pics of your great uncle.
     
  4. Smoke

    Smoke Member

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    #4 Smoke, Jun 9, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
    Okay, thanks!

    Is there any way to find out if he was a night fighter pilot? I've been able to find a lot of information on him (I never met him), but this is the only reference to his being a night fighter pilot I've seen.

    Here are some picture of him with his F4U-4 Corsair.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Yes I did some reading and I found nothing either.
     
  6. Snautzer01

    Snautzer01 Well-Known Member

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    #6 Snautzer01, Jun 11, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
    Not a designated nightfighter but the Wildcats on the carrier USS Wasp (CV-7) were night qualified ( as the only of the 3 carriers,see operation watchtower 7 Aug 1942 supporting invasion Guadalcanal)

    qoute from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Wasp_(CV-7)

    "Wasp and her airmen worked intensively practicing day and night operations to hone their skills to a high degree and, by the time the operations against Guadalcanal were pushed into high gear, Captain Sherman was confident that his airmen could perform their mission. "D-day" had originally been set for 1 August, but the late arrival of some of the transports carrying Marines pushed the date to 7 August. "

    So he is standing next to a regular wildcat probably used in a night fighter role as well a day fighter.
     
  7. Smoke

    Smoke Member

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    #7 Smoke, Jun 11, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
    Thank you! That probably makes the most sense.

    I would love to be able to confirm that that's what it was, I find night fighting extremely facvinating and would love to have a family connection.

    Am I correct in assuming that it would not have radar?
     
  8. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    dont think the US got airborne radar till 43. USN had no real need for NF's in 42. Both IJN and USN trained for night ops (Japanese more so) but these involved regular carrier operations. Neither side really employed it though. Too risky for CV ops + no radar made finding a target impractical. (RN of course had AI radar allowing their Swordfish to operate at night in a strike capacity out on the open sea)
     
  9. Snautzer01

    Snautzer01 Well-Known Member

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    #9 Snautzer01, Jun 13, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
    Caption says Peleliu campaign. Find the task force involved look up carriers and help carriers find wich planes they carried and there you have it.

    to start you of

    "Air support prior to and for two weeks following the landing was furnished by the Navy: the carriers of Task Force 38 and Task Group 32.7 from D-minus 8 to D-minus 1; escort carriers of TG 32.7 augmented by units of TG's 38.4 and 38.2 from D-Day through D-plus 3; and by the escort carriers exclusively from that date until D-plus 13. Altogether more than 300 missions, planned and called, were flown during this period, dropping a total of 620 tons of bombs of all types, including Napalm."

    http://www.ibiblio.net/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-Peleliu/USMC-M-Peleliu-E.html
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    In that photo, can you see any ID markings on the F4F to help pin down where it was out of?

    That might help...especially if it was assigned to the Carrier Ops that Snautzer mentioned.
     
  11. Smoke

    Smoke Member

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    I can't make out any markings on the Wildcat, but I don't think it's on a carrier. That looks like mud on it's wheels. It looks to me like it's on a remote airstrip on some island.
     
  12. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Could be on Guadalcanal...purely guessing here, of course...
     
  13. Johnny Signor

    Johnny Signor Member

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    Some of the "Wildcats" were part of the "Composite" Squadrons known a VC's it could possibly have been one of these units.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I know that most nations experimented with single seat night fighter aircraft during WWII. But did any of these aircraft amount to a hill of beans? Flying a WWII era fighter aircraft was a full time job. I can scarcely imagine the pilot operating radar and/or other blind flying aids while mameuvering within 200 meters of the enemy for a gun kill.
     
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