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June 30'42-Admiral Nimitz sums up the situation as: "Our F4F- is markedly inferior to the Jap Zero in speed, maneuverability, and climb. These characteristics must be improved, but not at the cost of reducing the overall superiority that, in the Battle of Midway, enabled our carrier fighters to shoot down about three Zero fighters for each of our own lost. However much of this superiority may exist in our splendid pilots, part at least rests in the armor, armament, and leakproof tanks of our planes. (America's 100 Thousand).
A. I have done no fighting above 14,000 feet. It's been as close as 25 feet off the water. The average, I would say is in the neighbourhood of 8,000. I don't say that won't change, however, but I believe that the majority of it for some time to come will be below 20 000 feet. (Jimmy Thach interview 26 August 1942)
Of course the Fulmar carried the heaviest armament of any naval fighter in 1940, it had armour and SS tanks, and folding wings which is the recipe to which Nimitz attributed the F4F-4's success.
Nimitz should have also mentioned the folding wings which enabled more of them to be carried.
the Fulmar carried the heaviest armament of any naval fighter in 1940, it had armour and SS tanks
"Our F4F- is markedly inferior to the Jap Zero in speed, maneuverability, and climb. These characteristics must be improved, but not at the cost of reducing the overall superiority that, in the Battle of Midway, enabled our carrier fighters to shoot down about three Zero fighters for each of our own lost. However much of this superiority may exist in our splendid pilots, part at least rests in the armor, armament, and leakproof tanks of our planes.
armouredcarriers wrote:ah, if only flag-waving and chest-beating actually won wars...
On the whole, the Wildcat was a very good fighter.
It just wasn't at its best in 1940 and 41 in the European theatre when pitched against German and Italian types.
It reached ascendancy over the Fulmar and Sea Hurricane in 1942 when it finally gained adequate pilot armour, self-sealing tanks, folding wings and a powerful enough engine to compensate for all this added weight over its original models.
By 1943, however, it was obsolescent in the face of the Hellcat and Seafire.
It's called development.
In this case, the Wildcat/Martlet learnt from experience in the European September 1939 through December 1941 war, before the US was compelled to fire shots in anger.
The Hellcat was the ultimate embodiment of these lessons.
Like the Swordfish, even the obsolete 1944 Wildcat remained useful enough to remain active aboard escort carriers.
Likewise, the USN had the opportunity to learn from 'observers' such as Lieutenant Commander John N. Opie III, USN, who was aboard HMS Illustrious when she experienced the first intensive anti-carrier dive-bomber attack of any war (as well as during the surprise attack on the harbor of Taranto - a lesson he failed to get his superiors to listen to).
This favour was returned in 1943 (HMS Victorious/USS Robin) and in 1944 (Operation Diplomat with Saratoga and Illustrious) when the RN was 'schooled' in Pacific-style warfare.
Boemher wrote:it's worth chipping in anyway. 4 x .50 cal is not the magic number. Any increase in armament is desirable if the effect on performance is negligible.
Boemher wrote:The 4 x .50 cal being superior to 6 x .50cal and the importance of firing time argument is erroneous. If you are such a good shot that 4 x .50 cal is preferable then why is firing time important ? And why did every other nation on earth focus on increasing weight of fire over fire time ?
jlyons97 wrote:The F4F-3 did not have folding wings....hmmm. Held to a higher standard???
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