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The Grumman Wildcat

Discussion in 'Allied Fighter Planes' started by Jim, Jun 19, 2008.

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  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The Grumman Wildcat served as the primary fighter of the United States Marine Corps at the outbreak of the Pacific War. By December 1941, Grumman Wildcats were being flown by three of four Marine fighter squadrons then in existence.
    Designed in 1936 as Grumman’s first monoplane fighter aircraft, the Wildcat had retractable hand cranked landing gear, vacuum-powered flaps, and a simple electrical system. Although it lost a design contest to its main competitor, the Brewster F2A Buffalo, in 1938, the Navy nonetheless continued to encourage Grumman in the aircraft’s development. Wildcats were delivered to the Marine Corps in 1941, replacing the obsolescent Grumman F3F-2 fabric and metal biplanes which had been in service since 1937. The all-metal F4F-3 Wildcat was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1830-66 Twin Wasp engine and had four .50-caliber Browning machine guns mounted in each wing. By October 1941, Marine Fighting Squadrons (VMF’s) 111, 121, and 211 were fully equipped with Wildcats; only VMF-221 was equipped with Brewster Buffaloes. A forward detachment from Marine Fighting Squadron 211 flew to Wake Island in December 1941 as part of a Marine Corps air-ground team just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. During the following defence of Wake Island, they fought the Japanese for 14 days and inflicted heavy losses on the attackers shipping and aircraft before losing all 12 F4F-3s.

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    Despite the fact that the Wildcat’s performance was inferior to its primary adversary, the Japanese Zero, its staunch ruggedness and greatly superior firepower in the hands of skilled and determined pilots would enable it to compile a distinguished record during the war. There were 34 recorded Marine Corps Wildcat aces.

    Zero
     
  2. Dave War44

    Dave War44 Member

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    Just to RefBack to Butch O'Hare here who flew a Wildcat in some legendary action.
     

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