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WWII Fighter Comparison II Corsair v Mustang.

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  • #76
    All I can find from British service is 800 Squadron F6Fs shot down 2 ME-109Gs and a FW-190A during the Tirpitz raid of 8 May, 44. Then a HE-115 on 14 May. Those are the only British F6F kills recorded in the ETO. The Germans say they lost 3 ME-109G.

    F4Us had flown missions on the Tirpitz prior but met no opposition from the air.

    FAA Wildcats also claimed 4 ME 109s off the coast of Norway 26 March 44.

    I've go the books Wildcat Aces of WW2. And Corsair Aces of WW2. I'll dig them up and see if I can find anything else.

    I do know that US F4Fs shot down a few aircraft during Torch. I'll see what I can find.


    • #77
      It is an interesting question, AR ... the Corsairs mainly saw action with the British Pacific Fleet, but there's some info here:

      Fleet Air Arm use of the F4U Corsair


      • #78
        Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
        A bit off topic....

        Does anyone know of any combat stories of Martlets and Corsairs against the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica Italiana? I assume they would all be FAA actions. I know some Condors did not fare well against some Martlets but wonder about the rest...particularly against FW-190s and ME-109s.

        My standard response to this question:

        Not Just in the Pacific - US Designed Carrier Aircraft in Air Combat against European Adversaries
        © 2011

        The names Wildcat, Hellcat and Corsair conjure for most visions of the Pacific Theater, the big carrier battles – Coral Sea, Midway, Eastern Solomons, Santa Cruz, and Philippine Sea; tropical island battles – Guadalcanal and the long march up the Solomons; and desperate battles against the Kamikazes off Okinawa and the coast of Japan. These were the fighter planes of the US Navy and Marine Corps through their battles and campaigns of the Pacific. There is, however, another side to their story. Wildcats, Hellcats, and Corsairs were also in other theaters, notably Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean and US naval aviators flew other fighters in Europe beyond these mainstays.

        Employment of US designed and built carrier fighters by both the Americans and the British in the European and African Theaters pertains to three aircraft types. The navies of both countries fought using the F4F (or, its later variant, the FM-2) and the F6F. The Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm also employed the F4U in the European waters (operating off carriers some eight months before the Americans made a practice of it), but the US Navy did not, sending all their F4U's to the Pacific. There were numerous aerial clashes between the British and American US built carrier fighters and their German, Italian, and Vichy opponents, but very few fighter-to-fighter duels, especially against the Luftwaffe.

        US Navy F4F aerial actions, and where most fighter-to-fighter duels took place, were concentrated in Operation Torch against Vichy aircraft. There were some 109 Wildcats assigned to four carriers: VF-41 (Lieut Comdr CT Booth, USN) and VF-9 (Lieut Comdr JA Raby, USN), USS Ranger; VGF-27 (Lieut Comdr TK Wright, USN), VGF-28 (Lieut Comdr JI Bandy, USN), and a detachment from VGS-30 (Lieut Comdr MP Bagdanovitch, USN), USS Suwannee; VGF-26 (Lieut Comdr WE Ellis, USN), USS Sangamon; and VGF-29 (Lieut Comdr JT Blackburn, USN, later of VF-17 fame), USS Santee. VGS-30 was the training squadron assigned to USS Charger which operated in the Chesapeake Bay. VF-9 was from the forming CVG-9 later to be assigned to USS Essex.

        On 8 November, over Cazes, VF-41 brought down 13 Vichy aircraft: four Dewoitine D.520's, eight Hawk 75A's (export version of the Curtis P-36), and one Douglas DB-7. Lieut (jg) Shields accounted for a D.520, two 75A's (plus one damaged) and the DB- 7; Lieut August brought down three of the 75A's; and the CO, Booth, also scored a 75A. It wasn't all VF-41's way however, of 18 Wildcats engaged, six were lost, mostly to ground fire, including Shields and August. Five pilots were captured and one recovered from off shore.

        Near Port Lyautey, VF-9’s skipper, Raby, knocked down a Potez 63. VGF-26 pilots found themselves later that morning also over Port Lyautey, where the ran up against several twin engine bombers and five fighters. They accounted for one D.520 and three Martin 167's with no losses. VGF-27 pilots, unfortunately, intercepted and shot down a RAF Hudson, mistakenly identified as Vichy. Only one member of the four man crew survived.

        On 9 November, VF-9 went into action again and claim d five 75A's, including one fro Raby (plus one probable) though French records only recorded four losses, at a cost of one F4F (pilot captured). VF-41 claimed the shoot down an 'intruder' over the invasion beaches as darkness fell, but this may have been a photo-recon Spitfire that turned up missing that night. French and German records did not indicate any aircraft in the area at the time.

        10 November found a last contact with VF-29’s Ens Jacques shooting down what he reported was a Bloch 174, but was later confirmed as a Potez 63, near Safi.

        Overall, US F4F losses were fairly heavy, over 20%. There were 11 combat related losses (5 losses in aerial combat) and 14 operational losses. US pilots claimed 22 victories, not including the Hudson and the probable Spitfire. The French reported losing 25 aircraft in combat.

        On 4 October 1943, Ranger participated in Operation Leader, a strike on the harbor at Bodø in Norway. During this action VF-4 (Lieut Comdr CL Moore, USN), the redesignated VF-41, pilots Lieut (jg)'s Mayhew and Laird together shot down a Ju 88 and Laird followed up with an He 115 on his own. With five later victories over Japanese opponents, Laird was the only confirmed USN ace with German and Japanese Theater victories. This was the last US F4F aerial action in the African-Atlantic-European theaters.

        German loss records show both a Ju 88 (#1682, Ltn Hoss, from 1(F)/22) and a He 115 (#1866, Ofw Schultz, from 1/406) as missing. One source indicates that the Ju 88 was indeed lost to VF-4.

        After the F4F came the F6F as the mainstay of USN carrier fighter operations. For the F6F the only action over Europe transpired during, Operation Anvil/Dragoon, the invasion of southern France in August 1944. USS Tulagi with VOF-1 (Lieut Comdr WF Bringle, USN) and USS Kasaan Bay embarking VF-74 (Lieut Comdr HB Bass, USN), both squadrons, operating F6F-5s, provided coverage for the landings. VF-74 also operated a 7-plane F6F-3N night fighter detachment from Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. On the day of the invasion, 15 August, VF-74 flew 60 sorties, VOF-1, 40 sorties, all ground support missions.

        On the morning of 19 August, the first German aircraft, three He 111's, were spotted by a four-plane division of VOF-1 pilots. The Americans were too short on fuel and could not attack. Two of the Americans were forced to land on HMS Emperor due to their fuel state. Later that day, two He 111's were spotted by another VOF-1 division and were promptly shot down, this occurring near the village of Vienne. Lieut Poucel and Ens Wood teamed up to bring down one and Ens Robinson brought down the second. Soon thereafter, in the same vicinity, a third He 111 was shot down by Ens Wood.

        That same morning, a division of VF-74 pilots led by Lieut Comdr Bass brought down an Ju 88 and in the afternoon another division attacked a Do 217 with split credits to going to Lieut (jg) Castanedo and Ens Hullard.

        On 21 August, pilots from VOF-1 shot down three Ju 52 transports north of Marseille. Two were credited to Lieut (jg) Olszewski; one went to Ens Yenter. Operating for two weeks in support of the invasion, these two squadrons were credited with destroying 825 trucks and vehicles, damaging 334 more and destroying or otherwise immobilizing 84 locomotives. German aircraft shot down: VOF-1: 6, VF-74: 2.

        Although the two navy squadrons lost some 17 aircraft, combined, all were to ground fire or operational accidents. None were shot down by German aircraft. Among the 7 pilots lost (2 from VOF-1 and 5 from VF-74) was the CO of VF-74, Lieut Comdr H. Brinkley Bass, awarded 2 Navy Crosses from early actions, killed by antiaircraft fire while strafing near Chamelet on 20 August.

        The Royal Navy was to employ F4F types in combat long before the US Navy. The first FAA Martlet I’s (export F4F's, model G-36A's, originally earmarked for France but transferred to the Royal Navy after the collapse of France) were active almost a year before Pearl Harbor. First air-to-air victory was on 25 December 1940; flying out of Hatson, Lieut Carter and Sub-Lieut Parke from 804 Squadron (Lieut Comdr BHM Kendall, RN, commanding) intercepted a Ju 88 over Scapa Flow and shot it down near Loch Skail.

        Later land based victories were scored in the Mediterranean Theater. On 28 September 1941, Sub-Lieut Walsh, 805 Squadron (Lieut Comdr AF Black, RN) operating out of Sidi Haneish shot down an Italian Fiat G-50. Walsh and Sub-Lieut Routley claimed a probable victory over a Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 on 11 November. By 28 December, 805 was operating out of Tobruk. On that day Sub-Lieut Griffin attacked four SM.79’s that were conducting a torpedo attack. He forced two of them to jettison their payloads and evade, shot down a third and was, in turn, shot down by the gunner of the fourth. 805 Squadron later accounted for a Ju 88 in February 1942 and two more SM.79s in July.

        At sea, 802 Squadron (Lieut Comdr JM Wintour, RN), seemingly specialized in FW 200's. Operating off HMS Audacity escorting Convoy OG-74, the first encounter was early on 21 September 1941, when one was brought down under the combined attack of Sub-Lieut's Patterson and Fletcher. Later, in the early afternoon, a Ju 88 was driven off with damage. Shortly thereafter another section chased down a radar contact only to find the Lisbon to Azores Boeing 314 Clipper … they let it go. This was the interception where Sub-Lieut Brown was photographed by the Clipper’s pilot flying in formation with his section, with his Martlet inverted. On 8 November, now escorting Convoy OG-76, Lieut Comdr Wintour and Sub-Lieut Hutchinson attacked and shot down another 200, but, in the process, Wintour was killed by return fire. Later that day, Brown shot down a second FW 200 in a head-on pass and Sub-Lieut Lamb drove off a third.

        At sea again with still another convoy, HG-76, 802 was now commanded by Lieut DCEF Gibson, DSC, RN. On 14 December, Sub-Lieut Fletcher was shot down and killed strafing surfaced U-131. His action, however, enabled three escorts to close range and take the submarine under fire until her crew was forced to abandon ship. On 19 December, in another head-on pass, Brown brought down his second FW 200, Lieut Comdr Sleigh, using Brown’s proven head-on method, shot down another, and Lamb, again, drove off a third with damage. Audacity was torpedoed by U-751 on 21 December and sank with heavy losses, including many pilots.

        During the British invasion of Madagascar, Martlets from 881 Squadron (Lieut Comdr JC Cockburn, RN) off HMS Illustrious accounted for two French Potez 63's (one shared between Lieut Waller and Lieut Bird) and three Morane Saulnier 406C's (one to Lieut Tompkins, one shared between Waller and Sub-Lieut Lyon, and one shared between Waller and Tompkins) between 5 and 7 May 1942 with the loss of one of their own. The actual strength of Vichy air forces on the island, though, were meager; their combat aircraft strength consisted of but 17 MS 406s, of which only 11 were operational, and 6 Potez 63’s, with only 4 operational. Illustrious and HMS Indomitable, together, mustered totals of 20 Martlets, 13 Fulmars, 20 Swordfish, 6 Sea Hurricanes and 24 Albacore, so things were a bit lopsided.

        On 7 August 1942, in a side-show effort to distract Japanese attentions from Guadalcanal in the Solomons, HMS Formidable allowed herself to be spotted by Japanese patrol reconnaissance in the Bay of Bengal. In the process, Sub-Lieuts Scott and Ballard, from 888 Squadron (Capt FDG Bird, RM) splashed a Kawanishi H6K 'Mavis' flying boa t piloted by Lt (jg) Yokoyama Tetsuo.

        May was also a busy month the Mediterranean. On the 12th, during Operation Pedestal, six Martlets from 806 Squadron (Lieut Comdr JN Garnett, RN) on HMS Furious were part of a force rounded out with 30 Sea Hurricanes and 18 Fulmars which took on a mixed force of German and Italian attackers, numbering about 100, going after a Malta bound convoy. The Grummans pilots accounted for two SM.79s, one Ju 88 and one Reggianne Re.2000. One Martlet was lost.

        In November 1942 came Operation Torch. 888 Squadron and 893 Squadron (Lieut RG French, RNVR) with a total of 24 F4F's were deployed on Formidable. Illustrious carried 882 Squadron (Lieut ILF Lowe, DSC, RN) with 18 F4F's.

        On 8 November, Lieut Jeram, 888 Squadron, shot down a Bloch 174. On 9 November, Jeram shared another Ju 88 with Sub-Lieut Astin; meanwhile, a division of 882 Squadron brought down a He 111 and drove off, with damage, a Ju 88. With Jeram's victories, 888 Squadron was the only Allied squadron able to claim kills on German, Italian, Japanese, and Vichy opponents.

        Unfortunately, on the 11th, a four-plane division from 893 made the same identification error as did VGF-27 on the 9th and shot down another RAF Hudson that they mis-identified as an Italian SM.84.

        In July 1943, 881 Squadron (Lieut Comdr RA Bird, RN) and 890 Squadron (Lieut Comdr JW Sleigh, DSC, RN), while operating off Furious, shot down 3 Blohm and Voss BV 138 seaplanes. Available loss records show two BV-138 as probably falling prey to the Martlets, #310028 (Obltn Schumacher) on 8 July and #310098 (Uffz Feddersen) on 28 July, both from 2/406.

        September 9th during Operation Avalanche saw 888 off Formidable score again, bringing down a Cantieri Z.506B float-plane. 842 Squadron (Lieut Comdr LR Tivy, RN), HMS Fencer, scored an FW 200, splashed by Sub-Lieut Fleishman-Allen, on 1 December to round out 1943.

        1944 saw FAA F4F scores at about the same rate. On 12 February Convoy OS-67/KMS-41, protected by 881 Squadron (Lieut Comdr DRB Cosh, RCNVR) and 896 Squadron (Lieut Comdr LA Hordern, DSC, RNVR), HMS Pursuer, was attacked by seven He 177s from II.KG 40 carrying the Henshel Hs-293 guided missile. Defending F4Fs shot down a He 177, a snooping FW 200, and drove off the remaining He 177s.

        Lieuts Dimes and Erickson, 811 Squadron (Lieut Comdr EB Morgan, RANVR), HMS Biter, shot down a Ju 290 on 16 February.

        Providing escort for Convoy JW-58 were 819 Squadron (Lieut OAG Oxley, RN), HMS Activity, and 846 Squadron (Lieut Comdr RD Head, DSC, RN), HMS Tracker. 819’s Lieut Large and Sub-Lieut Yeo shared a Ju 88 on 30 March and between 31 March and 4 April the two squadrons together brought down three BV 138 's and three FW 200's with no losses. German records record a Ju 88D-1, #430563 (no crew noted) from 1(F)/22 as lost in this area on 30 March and three FW 200C’s from 3/KG 40 on 31 March, #62 (Obltn Klomp), #220 (Ofw Weyer), #224 (Uffz Göbel). There is only one corresponding BV 138 loss, for 1 April in this operating area, #311043 of 3(F)/130 (Obltn Kannengiesser).

        On 3 April some 40 Martlets from Pursuer and Searcher flew flak suppression for Operation Tungsten, the raid on the Tirpitz. These included: from Pursuer, 881 Squadron and 896 Squadron and from HMS Searcher, 882 Squadron (Lieut Comdr EA Shaw, RN) and 898 Squadron (Lieut Comdr GR Henderson, DSC, RNVR).

        While escorting Convoy RA-59 from Activity, following vectors for a nearby Swordfish, the team of Lieut Large and Sub-Lieut Yeo, 819 Squadron, on 1 May, scored again, bringing down BV 138 that was snooping their convoy.

        The Pursuer and Searcher squadrons also supported Operation Anvil/Dragoon in August, but their activities are confined to patrolling, strikes, and air-to-ground support.

        In November and December, new Wildcats (Grummans of the F4F family were by now called “Wildcat” instead of “Martlet” as the FAA had adopted the USN names for carrier aircraft) off HMS Nairana, 835 Squadron (Lieut Comdr FV Jones RNVR), and HMS Campania, 813 Squadron (Lieut Comdr SG Cooke, RNVR), were on Arctic convoy escort with Convoy JW-61A. On 3 November, Lieut Leamon and Sub-Lieut Buxton brought down a BV 138. A second BV 138 was shot down by 813 Sub-Lieuts Machin and Davis on the 13th. On the return trip, Sub-Lieut Gordon, of 835, bagged still another BV 138 on 12 December.

        In Arctic convoy escort duty in January and February 1945, flying from Nairana, 835 Squadron, and from HMS Vindex, 813 Squadron, Wildcats accounted at least five more scores and probably nine in total. On the 6th, an 813 section shot down a Ju 88. On the 10th, another 813 section intercepted three more Ju 88's, claiming one probable and two damaged. On the 20th, 835's Sub-Lieut Gordon struck again, teaming with Sub-Lieut Blanco for a Ju 88. Another section on the other side of the convoy formation claimed a probable on another Ju 88. Luftwaffe losses reported in the area included: On 10 February, from 1/KG 26, 2 Ju 88A-17’s #300069 (Obltn Breu) and #801600 (Ltn Hühner) and from 2/KG 26, #884626 (Uffz Eigendorf); on 13 February, one BV 138 from 1/SAGr 130, #1004 (Ltn Sindermann); on 20 February, one Ju 188D-2 from 1(F)/120, # 230423 (Ofw Conradi) and 2 Ju 88A-17 from II/KG 26, #142060 (Fw Löckher) and #800631 (Uffz Allhoff).

        On 26 March 1945, in a last action near Trondheim, during Operation Prefix, Wildcat VI's from 882 Squadron (Acting Lieut Comdr RA Bird RN) off Searcher, escorting a flight of HMS Queen’s 853 Squadron (Lieut Comdr JM Glaser, RN) Avengers along the coast, were jumped by a flight of eight III Gruppe JG 5 Me 109Gs. The Wildcats pilots claimed three of the Me 109Gs shot down and two damaged at a cost of one Wildcat damaged. Bird, who had previously shared in two victories with 881 Squadron (as noted above, ½ credit for a Potez 63 on 6 May 42 near Diego Suarez operating off Illustrious and ½ credit for a BV 138 on 8 July 1943 while operating off Furious), was credited with one 109 shot down and one damaged. This brought Bird’s wartime total to 2 victory credits and 2 for credits for damaged aircraft. Also credited individually for downing a 109 in this action was Sub-Lieut AF Womack. Sub-Lieut’s *** Harrison and RF Moore split an additional credit for one more 109 plus and Harrison claimed an additional damaged. Credits appear to match losses in this action. As near as can be determined from available Luftwaffe loss lists, there were indeed three 109’s lost: #412398 (Fw Jaeger), #782139 (Uffz Rösch), and #782270 (Fw Dreisbach). Rösch and Dreisbach were rescued; Jaeger, who had survived an earlier crash on 16 February, was killed when his plane went down. One other 109 crashed, (pilot unknown) on landing, however the information available does not indicate if the crash was due to pilot error or from battle damage; damage to this plane was evaluated as 25%. Available Luftwaffe credits lists show no claims from this action.

        The FAA also employed the F6F and the F4U. The only fighter-to-fighter FAA F6F action took place in May 1944. On 8 May, F6F's from the Fleet Air Arm's No. 800 Squadron (Lieut Comdr SJ Hall, DSC, RN), off HMS Emperor, while escorting a flight of Barracudas was attacked by a mixed group of Me 109's and FW 190's. Two F6F's were lost, one, probably, to anti-aircraft fire (one source indicates that both F6Fs were lost in a mid-air collision, not to any German fire of any kind); the Germans lost 2 Me 109's and one FW 190. The FW 190 was claimed by Sub-Lieut Ritchie. Luftwaffe losses in the area for this date were noted as three 109G’s, #14697 (Ofw Otto) and #10347 (Uffz Brettin) both from 10/JG5, and another from 8/JG5 #unknown piloted by Fw Berger; there no record of an FW 190 loss. On the Luftwaffe side, Uffz Hallstick claimed two F6Fs and Ltn Prenzler claimed one.

        On 14 May, 800 Squadron's leading scorer, Sub-Lieut Ritchie (now with 4.5 victories) added an He 115 to his tally and the shared another He 115 with the CO of 804 Squadron, Lieut Comdr Orr, giving him a total of 6 victories for the war. Others from 800 and 804 combined to claim three more 115s. Luftwaffe losses noted as specifically to F6Fs numbered five, all He 115 from 1/406; these were #2738 (Obltn Gramberg), #1879 (Obltn Zimmermann, #2085 (Fw Jänisch), #1867 (Ltn Carstens), and #2721 (Obltn Ladewig).

        Prior to these actions, FAA F6F's were used for anti-aircraft suppression on raids against Tirpitz on 3 April 44 (Operation Tungsten). These included - from Emperor - 800 Squadron (Lieut Comdr Hall) and 804 Squadron (Lieut Comdr SG Orr, DSC, RNVR).

        FAA F4U's also participated in Operation Tungsten with 1834 Squadron (Lieut Comdr PN Charlton, DFC, RN) and 1836 Squadron (Lieut Comdr CC Tomkinson, RNVR) off Victorious, flying high cover for the raid. This was a role the FAA Corsairs of 1841 Squadron (Lieut Comdr RL Bigg-Wither, DCS & bar, RN) would repeat, flying off Formidable in Operation Mascot on 17 July and with 1841 joined by 1842 Squadron (Lieut Comdr AMcD Garland, RN) in Operation Goodwood in late August. No contact was made with any German aircraft.

        One outcome, however, of the Mascot operation was the loss of an F4U to capture by the Germans. Flying as an escort for a Barracuda piloted by Lieut Comdr RS Baker-Falkner, DSO, DSC, RN, (Wing Leader for No. 8 TBR), an F4U piloted by Lieut HS Mattholie made a crash landing near Bodø and was captured intact. Mattholie spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft III. Baker-Falkner and his crewmen, Lieut GN Micklem, and L/A AM Kimberley, 827 Squadron, were lost in this incident.

        Indeed, the FAA F4U's never did tangle with any German aircraft, though not for lack of trying. After the summer of 1944, FAA F4U's were largely operating in the Indian and Pacific Oceans . . . pretty far away from the Germans.

        In summary, outside of the Pacific Theater, there were a total of 93 aircraft shot down by F4Fs, or F6Fs flying in either USN or FAA service, versus 8 losses, a ratio of about 11.6 to 1.

        In USN service, F4F pilots were credited with bringing down 25 to 5 losses (5 to 1): 12 Curtis 75A's; 5 D.520's; 3 Martin 167's; 2 Potez 63, and 1 each DB-7, Ju 88, and He 115. The USN F6F pilots were credited with bringing down 8 enemy aircraft, 3 He 111; 3 Ju 52; and 1 each Ju 88 and Do 217 with no air combat losses.

        In Fleet Air Arm service, Martlet/Wildcat pilots were credited with bringing down 54 aircraft to 4 losses (13.5 to 1): 11 Ju 88, 13 BV 138 ; 10 FW 200; 4 SM.79, 3 Me 109G; 3 Morane 406C; 2 Potez 63; and 1 each G.50, Z.506B, Re.2000, Bloch 174, He 111, He 115, He 177, Ju 290, and H6K. The FAA Hellcat pilots were credited with bringing down 5 aircraft to 1 loss (5 to 1): 2 He 115; 2 Me 109G; and 1 FW 190. The F6F loss was in the 8 May 1944 FW 190/Me 109 engagement. FAA F4F/FM's and F6F's, together then, had a score of 62 aircraft shot down with 5 losses (12.4 to 1).

        An on-going research project, since about 2003.


        • #79
          That's your standard reply? Boy, oh, boy weclome. Welcome.


          • #80
            R Leonard,

            We are excited to meet you, please drop over to the new member intro forum, start a new thread and introduce yourself. That is some great info above, I look forward to studying it.
            sigpic"If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
            If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."


            • #81
              welcome, hell of a reply.


              • #82
                Nice to be here.

                Note that's the standard reply only for that particular question. Other replies might be so short as to lead one to believe he's the recipient of some rather short shrift. All depends on the subject at hand.

                I note we're the victims of an auto censor. Regarding the above mentioned Sub-Lieut Harrison's initials, I spell Jig Able Prep - or for those of a more modern bent Juliet Alfa Papa.



                • #83
                  Thanks for the comprehensive rundown, R Leonard!


                  • #84
                    I have enjoyed reading this blog, but I have noticed a number of interesting things. First we as human beings all have bias, its inescapable. The result of bias is that it tends to lead us down a path in which we construct events in order to say and mean what we want them to mean.

                    We ignore unfavorable data and select data that embodies what we want to believe. For instance, we compare a FW 190A4 with a Spit Mk9 and say that it is "fair" because the easy, cheesy quantitative data says that they are (of course with the Mk9 having the decided edge), ignoring such facts as operational time frames. In this case, the A4 flew against the Mk5, not the Mk9, and bested it in every way, including turning performance (which as we all know is measured in 2 ways, rate and radius/diameter and both are affected by speed, altitude, load, and even pilot skill). So to we pick our best breed of Corsair (F4u4) and compare it to the older P51B or even the aging (in development cycle years, lol) P51D and say well the Corsair was better! Why; because of our bias. Why was one plane able to outperform the other is a better question then quoting non-correlated data and saying which is. If you really want that data you only need to look at the combat reports from both sides to draw some good conclusions.

                    False Correlations:
                    Quoting stall speed figures is another false paradigm as it doesn't unequivocally correlate into either turn rate or turn diameter as there are a number of fighters that had great combat turn performance but higher stall speeds than other aircraft (109 E versus F, Spit 9 versus 5, etc.). Of course carrier based aircraft were going to have lower stall speeds, they had to in order to perform their job, assuming that this inevitably correlated into turn-rate or radius advantages however simply isn't well researched data as the Ki84 had a higher stall speed then the F4u1D and yet it could out-turn it. Considering that the u1D was roughly 1K lighter than the u4 it's safe to conclude that it didn't have a higher stall speed than the u4, although you never know. By the way, the stall speed of the 51D was about 99 mph compared with 81mph for the Corsair, that's not as big of a difference as we might like to believe, especially considering that the Ki84 was around 86mph. Things like wing position make incredible differences in flight performance and behavior, and stall characteristics, not specs, has saved or doomed many a pilot.

                    Unconsidered Data:
                    We often do not even take into account the reality that different types became legendary for their performance but it may have been limited to only certain situations. The Zero for instance was found to only be a super great turn fighter in ONE direction, the other direction allowed Hellcat's, P38's, and Corsair's to actually turn with it under favorable circumstances. That's why math alone will not allow one to "model" predictive flight envelopes alone.

                    A wildcat could turn with a Zero (to it good side) and stay with it for 2-3 "Spirals" as Saburo said from his combat reports, but when the Hellcat came out he realized that the Zero was done...even though it still held the advantage in turn diameter (to its good side); why? Because dog fighting is a multifaceted dimensional exercise, played out over a host of environmental factors (altitude, etc.).

                    What do we say to A. Galland, who was able to out-turn Spitfires during the Battle of Britain according to his memoirs? It's a good thing for him that he didn't know about our tests that showed conclusively that he couldn't. How does something like that happen? Because when Galland out-turned those Spits he shot down he was at a particular elevation, speed, and circumstances, flying his Emil to the limit with consummate skill, avoiding those darn automatic slats from banging open...because he knew what HIS plane could do when flown to the limit and how to get it their. Others German stars would start to out-turn their Spit foes but backed off because they were afraid of pulling the wings off...or...having those darn leading edge slats bang open (Deighton's Battle of Britain). Of course Johnny Johnson was "easily" able to out-turn any German foe...until he ran across the "new" 190A4...and it almost cost him his life. So how was a heavier but faster Spit 9 all of a sudden able to out-turn the A4/A8? Bias, circumstance, performance envelope, skill, turn rate and radius all converging.

                    Internal Validity Testing Errors:
                    Do you REALLY think that these captured aircraft were flown as well in these test? Do you really think that their quirks were figured out and explored to full advantage like that nation's pilots would do? Do you know if the Corsair pilot deployed combat flaps within it's best speed range but didn't do so for the Mustang? No, we don't to be honest, we assume not because of...bias.

                    So we rig the test, sometimes without even knowing it (internal validity errors), just because we WANT our own plane to be "Top Dog", we WANT to tell our guys/gals that they are flying the best stuff...we also don't want to die trying to figure out a plane that we haven't trained in when we do something "stupid" for that plane. So they got flown, but according to our rules, our procedures, and at something less than their measure in the process.

                    For instance, virtually the same naval comparison doc is thrown around as if it is THE most accurate, all encompassing information, with accurate control measures...sorry but it isn't.
                    Saying that the Corsair was able to "out-maneuver" the P51 and the FW190 that were tested against it, and to do so "easily" at all altitudes is as general as the day is long, highly suspect. It is well known about our military forces "sibling rivalries", when I was a grunt, the Navy were "Squids", its intense, but of good nature as we are all on the same side, for the same country. Bias DOES exist folks, hey I have it also.

                    Anderson was able to out-turn any German fighter he went up against, including some aces, yet some claim that the Mustang couldn't do that, or could barely do so and only under certain conditions. It's probably not realized that different airplanes could deploy their landing flaps to different degrees at different speed ceilings to decrease their turn radius; how much of this was "tested" with the different airplanes? You better believe that the good to great PILOTS of those planes in combat knew!

                    The good and great pilots knew what their planes idiosyncrasies were, where their sweet spots were in altitude, speed, trim, etc. and they stayed as close to those as possible, or got into those situations whenever they REALLY had to dogfight someone who didn't back down. These don't show up in the few "comparative tests" that people like to hold as their holy grails. Heck, Mustangs didn't drain the fuselage tank because the plane was a pig, they drained it because the plane needed the fuel for its mission and that was about the only place to put the extra needed, but putting it there created an they drained it first.

                    Point for this conversation is that the information for the Corsair is presented with a lot of bias and emotion. Guess what? That's great! There is nothing wrong with that one plain, we each have what we like and why we like it, it's a shame however when we try to sully the other fellow to make us look better. The Corsair doesn't need that, it was/is a great plane, and the bias doesn't mean that it wasn't able to do what is claimed, just that the comparison models are very suspect.

                    As for me, I must also admit that I like the Mustang the most, of ALL aircraft. Guess what though? The Mustang wasn't the best at everything, it was a culmination for a much needed, complex performance task, but that's not the reason that I like it, I like it best...simply because I do, and I don't have to try to sully the Corsair to do so. I don't have to start inventing things, putting things way out on limbs about the Mustang like I've read so much with fans of the Corsair until it get ludicrous to like the Mustang best. Really, its gotten to the place were the Corsair could literally do everything (that counted at least, lol) better than anything else, especially the Mustang, heck, it could even fly to the moon, lol! Just poking a little fun.

                    Just remember, if you can't have a null hypothesis, you don't have a test (makes you think about how everything is because of global warming doesn't?).

                    So, which was better; the Mustang or the Corsair? It depends...upon where, when, under what conditions, and with whom was doing the fighting. I would like my chance in both...depending, however my favorite is still the Mustang...just because it is.


                    • #85
                      Chance Vought F4U Corsair vs North American P-51 Mustang, Usually this type of comparison is for the most used models. It's late dash one Corsair that raised cabin equipped type, and Merlin engined Mustang. and also tend to focus purely on their ability as air superiority fighters. If only consider flight performance for air combat in this comparison, and pick the advantages of both models one by one, the Merlin Mustang has the speed and the dash one Corsair has the maneuverability. since both aircraft were on the same side in reality, the comparison is largely a scenario.

                      The dash one Corsair was considered also a fast aircraft, but a bit slower at most altitude than the Merlin Mustangs. according to curves of USAAF and USN reports, dash one Corsair faster than some Merlin Mustangs at medium altitude that supercharger shift altitude of the V-1650. But most all-out situations, Merlin Mustang was obviously faster and especially it could use 150 grade fuel as first class ETO fighter. It proved better performer in anything involving speed.

                      Whereas, Corsair had excellent handling and combat abilities at combat speed. due to boost tabs on control surfaces with light stick force, non-deformable stiff and light plywood ailerons and tougher airframe that 7.5G limit load factor for 12,000 lbs which equivalent to full overload fighter condition, making it was great machine in high-speed air combat. and Corsair was not a just high-speed fighter, It was basically better turner than many land based fighters and capable of deal with to tight turn fighting with low stall speed and effective NACA slotted type combat flaps. Corsair proved out-maneuver the Mustang in various contact, despite Mustang had good maneuverability in army fighters.

                      according to October 1944 Report of Joint Fighter Conference, Among the US production model fighter aircrafts, Merlin Mustang was voted best all-around fighter below 25k with 29% of total 51 voters, and directly behind, dash one Corsair 2nd place with 27%. It was a difference of only one vote. but above 25k, Mustang was clearly superior to dash one Corsair. For handling and maneuverability, Corsair showed superior to Mustang and other USAAF fighters in most case, It showed nicest harmonization of control forces, best elevator, 2nd aileron for both test speed(100 and 350 mph) and best control and stability in dive. Mustang showed best aileron at 350 mph and out-turn other USAAF fighters except King Cobra, but Corsair out-turn them. evaluated in an AAF pilot, Corsair was a tough competitor in anything involving maneuvering. and some British pilots who tested American Planes, seemed like the Corsair than Mustang and other army fighters for it's excellent high speed handling and combat ability. One thing I think should be noted about JFC is that Army planes were predominantly tested by Navy pilots, and vice-versa; with contractors getting to check out the competition. Due to the composition of the participants, the Mustang was given more evaluation and voting opportunities than the Corsair, which may have influenced the results. The response rate was 75%(38/51 = Army-1; Navy-19; British-3; Contractors-15) for Mustang and 55%(28/51 = Army-13; Navy-4; British-3; Contractors-8) for Corsair. The largest percentage of contractors was Vought.

                      The content of the TAIC report also draws the smiliar conclusion. according to TAIC report No.17 and No.38 for comparison with captured A6M Zeke, Merlin Mustang showed again it's superior speed to Corsair and other USN fighters. in turning comparison, Zeke caught the advantage or firing position with a just one turn for Mustang and other army fighters at 10000 ft and 25000 ft. but against Corsair, three and one-half turns were needed at 10000 ft, and at 30000 ft, there was only a slight margin in turn performance between Corsair and Zeke. in addition, with combat flaps, only the Corsair could stay with Zeke in turn until 150 knots in the report.

                      Other evaluators were RNZAF and RAAF, according to Pacific scrapbook 1943-1947 by Bryan Cox, After the war, there's three Commonwealth squadron deployed southern japan. They quickly became bored and began to hunt each other. Aussie's Merlin Mustang was proved it's superior speed and engage or disengage at will and Kiwi's dash one Corsair showed out-turn the Mustang and could evade it's attack. The two aircraft were reguarded as being fairly equal.

                      Like many great fighters, the Corsair sometimes reversed an totally adverse situation in real combat. considering Corsair's high speed handling and maneuverability, it's no surprise that two retreating VBF-10 dash one Corsairs separated from their squadrons, have won over then powerful 343 kokutai's ten Shiden-Kais that around them. The Japanese pilots were overwhelming in altitude and number, confirming the situational superiority and diving to attack. But the Corsair's pilot pull up sharply and shot down a Shiden-Kai at once. It was a violently maneuver that put him in a blackout for a while, even with a G-suit. The Corsairs keep their sharpness, covered each other and shot down two more Shiden-Kais without any damage and returned. In the racing situation, their speed would have remained high, and that seemed to be the key to their success. Also, because they engaged without wasting time for misidentification and could not miss the initiative. unlike Marine Corsairs that day. according to USN action report of VBF-10 and Genda's blade by Henry Sakaida and Takaki Koji, it was 19 March 1945.

                      The dash one Corsair was a different type of aircraft than any German or Japanese fighter the Mustang fought. It's worse than the Merlin Mustang but also fast, and advantage of the high-speed maneuverability that the Mustang enjoyed against axis fighters is limited for Corsair. There were fighters like Zeke out-turn the Mustang, but Mustang could handle it without problems with superior speed and high-speed maneuverability. However against dash one Corsair, it would not be so easy. If not carefully, Mustang's attacks could be exposed to unexpected counterattacks by fairly maneuverable speedy target which also g-suite equipped as Mustang. The war-time Mustang had a limit load factor of 6.7 at 9500 lbs combat weight(8.0G for 8,000 lbs design weight) and an increase in stick force due to bobweight, seems hard for violent pitching like the Corsair which had boost tab equipped elevator. But of course, engagement is determined by the Mustang pilot's intention, so the tactical advantage is firmly in Mustang overall.

                      Another type of comparison is a comparison between final models during a war. In this case, the dash four Corsair comes up. according to VMF-223 action report and F4U Corsair vs Ki-84 Frank by Edward M. Young, it showed superior performance to Ki-84s of 47th Hiko Sentai and outclassed them. dash four could also surpass the war-time Mustangs by improved speed and high altitude performance for last few months of the war to new Mustang's full military service start. The new 'H' Mustang was produced during the war with a new airframe and engine, but they did not combat ready for until war was over, although some have deployed to the PTO. It's seems water injection in V-1650-9 was troublesome, according to T-2 Report on Frank-1(Ki-84), November 1946, P-51H was still considered non-water injected and showed out-climbed by war-time Japanese plane and only slight faster than that. Of course, the water injected P(F)-51H, which was later revealed in SAC, was much better.

                      The last type of comparison is to compare each using the best production models. my old post can be used for this.
                      according to the F-51H SAC, F4U-4 SAC and F4U-5 performance summary and flight test data curves, all clean conditions with full internal loads.

                      gross weight : 12480 lbs
                      supercharger : 2 stage 2 speed
                      engine ratings : 2800 BHP for 70"hg, 2100 BHP for 54.5"hg
                      water supply : 12 minutes for combat power

                      gross weight : 12901 lbs
                      supercharger : 2 stage variable speed sidewheel type
                      engine ratings : 2760 BHP for 70"hg and 2380 BHP for 64"hg
                      water supply : 12 minutes for combat power

                      gross weight : 9430 lbs
                      supercharger : 2 stage 2 speed
                      engine ratings : 2270 BHP for 90"hg, 1520 BHP for 67"hg
                      water supply : 7 minutes for combat power

                      as you can see, the F-51H does not have a one-sided advantage over Corsair.

                      Corsairs have much lower stall speed and boost tabs in ailerons and elevator both(F4U-5 had boost tab in rudder also), It is considered to be a better dogfighter.

                      In terms of performance,

                      F4U-4 was better climber for most altitudes and slight faster at medium altitude.

                      F4U-5 also slight faster at medium altitude and above 25k, it shows advantages for speed and climb both.

                      and except for those, the F-51H.

                      each fighter has its own advantages, so it can not be said that which is simply better.
                      Interestingly, in the final models, the superiority of both models based on below and above 25k was reversed that compared to first comparison, and in conclusion, Corsair seems well matched with last Mustang in overall performance. then now let's go beyond just comparing flight performance. the Corsair's improvements for flight performances were useful in comparison with other propeller driven aircrafts, including the Mustang, but don't seem to fit the jet age. The propeller driven aircrafts of this period were given valueas low altitude emergency interceptor, mud carriers and night fighters etc. This is evident from the fact that AU-1 the Corsair's ground attack variant and F4U-5NL night fighter got a new production contract in the 50s. Anyway, since they were not the primary planes of the 50s Korean War, let's go back to World War II.

                      The Merlin Mustang was far more influential than the dash one Corsair. It was because it had the performance that was really needed at the time. high performance which is maintained even above 25k, and long range to escort bombers. The Corsair was powerful and versatile, but didn't meet the performance it needed most when it needed it. -- all around carrier stability. Many pilots praised the Corsair's outstanding combat capacity, but the influence of the Corsair tied to the shore base was limited. as spear-head, forward deployed marine Corsair squadrons deny all enemy activity in their range, helped to secure control area. It had a reputation as a fighter-bomber because it could take off from rough, short airfields, had a good range and high payload. When the airfield was well prepared, army planes, including the Mustang, deployed. then the Mustang takes a long shot than Corsair. according to Mustang's tactical chart, Corsair's ACP and british aircraft cards for both models, Corsair's range was about 90% of early type Merlin Mustang which have no auxiliary tank in fuselage and could use only 75 gal drop tanks. but only about 50% compared to late Merlin Mustang with auxiliary fuselage tank and 150 gal drop tanks. Corsair could only do such a long shot with the help of an carrier fleets -- mobile base for tactical advantage, after the begun operations on aircraft carriers. Of course, the Corsair wsn't such a short range fighter like many ETO fighters, just Mustang was so great.

                      And there was also a limit on payload, Corsair known for showed 4,000 lbs payload, but it was not practical. because in many cases the weight ratio of the drop tank was large due to lack of range. according to VF/VMF action reports, some Carrier based navy Corsair squadrons often used a combination of 500lbs bomb, 150gal drop tank and 8 x HVAR rockets which external payload of about 2,700 lbs over. but as you can see, with a drop tank of 1090 lbs, bomb load is only about 1,600 lbs. High bomb load of over 2,000 lbs was mainly used by Marine Corsair squadrons, they sometimes used 3 x 1,000 lbs bombs or combination of 2 x 1,000 lbs bombs and 8 x rockets but lack of range. as land based fighter-bomber with 2 x 1,000 lbs bombs and centerline drop tank, Corsair's range seems about 600 miles and fuel remained about 140 gal after returned because theres no air threat, considering that it took 155 gallons to take off, climb to 20k, combat power for 15 minutes, and cruise at 2k for 20 minutes, there seems to be enough fuel for air combat. however, it doesn't look very attractive considering that the late Merlin Mustang was able to fly 1200 miles in fighter-bomber mission with 2 x 500 lbs bombs, including 15 minutes for combat power, even more so, considering that the Mustang can carry 2 x 1,000 lbs bombs.

                      In my opinion, to conclude overall, The Corsair was obviously one of the best reciprop fighter that was powerful in many respects and had its own uniqe advantage, but overall it didn't seem to be as effective as the Mustang. of course there were fundamental irreplaceable advantages for carrier based naval fighter and land based long range escort fighter each, but the Corsair was ground based fighter in many case, and the Navy considered buying a carrier-based variant of the Mustang. If want to win a single aerial combat or In the rough stages of battle, looking for a squadron to be forward-deployed as an spearhead with short and unfinished frontline airfield, Corsair would be good choice. But will need the Mustang to 'closed' on enemy from above and ensure the safety of the bombers that will destroy the enemy's heart for the final victory of the war. and the speed and range of the Mustang allow it to truly 'dominate' the sky. Enemy air activity will be attacked at every stage. so lastly, to express my impression in one sentence : Corsair could win the combat, but the Mustang won the war.

                      ps. Unfortunately, the case for the "Soccer war" was intentionally excluded. It's some sort of last legend and great victory, but as mentioned in the above, the comparison method what used in post was between the most used or the latest model in the war, or the best of all models. So I didn't mention the Birdcage Corsair and Allison Mustang, or the gap between the models is not match for comparison method because this is 'vs' thread.

                      ps2. Another excluded example is the modern comparison between the Goodyear's dash one Corsair and the D Mustang(+Thunderbolt and Hellcat), in 1989 by STEP. It was excluded because it was not a military condition, but the conclusion was similar. The Corsair got the "weapon of choice" title with best air combat capacity against rivals in test, but based on various considerations, the 'BEST' was the Mustang for overall, so it's similar to many other evaluations. Interestingly, in this comparison, the Mustang and Corsair had seems practical weight(equivalent to 50% ammo and internal fuel excpet auxiliary tank - unoffical emergency interceptor condition?) even compared to military condition, but others was not, they seems much lighter than any combat loading condition offical or not. It caused me, to wonder about the restoration or modernization process for old warbirds.

                      ps3. There is a book that is often mentioned. Francis H. Dean's Americas Hundred Thousand, which borrowed a lot from Joint Fighter Conference figures. the book described the Corsair as less capable of turning than the Mustang, Lightning and Thunderbolt, because calculation using IAS - without PEC or any corrected speed. It's a good book to recommend, and the examples of US fighters are well introduced, but it's important to note that this kind of self-calculation has errors. as explained above, the actual result was the opposite.


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by darnold View Post

                        False Correlations:
                        Quoting stall speed figures is another false paradigm as it doesn't unequivocally correlate into either turn rate or turn diameter as there are a number of fighters that had great combat turn performance but higher stall speeds than other aircraft (109 E versus F, Spit 9 versus 5, etc.). Of course carrier based aircraft were going to have lower stall speeds, they had to in order to perform their job, assuming that this inevitably correlated into turn-rate or radius advantages however simply isn't well researched data as the Ki84 had a higher stall speed then the F4u1D and yet it could out-turn it. Considering that the u1D was roughly 1K lighter than the u4 it's safe to conclude that it didn't have a higher stall speed than the u4, although you never know. By the way, the stall speed of the 51D was about 99 mph compared with 81mph for the Corsair, that's not as big of a difference as we might like to believe, especially considering that the Ki84 was around 86mph. Things like wing position make incredible differences in flight performance and behavior, and stall characteristics, not specs, has saved or doomed many a pilot.
                        Lower stall speed means a tighter maneuver is possible at same energy. It's a clear advantage in dogfight if the pilot and a/c CAN handle it.

                        It's simple mathematics, a smaller turning radius reduces the circumference of the circle and reduces the flying distance required to complete the circle. This is advantageous not only in terms of firing angle but also in terms of turn rate. but tighter maneuvers generate more drag, So from the perspective of sustained turn rate, power loading is also important.

                        Thus, lower stall speeds do not mean better turner, but It is not a characteristic that can be dismissed as meaningless.

                        ps. according USN ACP and SAC, F4U-4 was just 245~305 lbs heavier than F4U-1D for both full internal(ammo and fuel) load.