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Flying Coffin at Pacific, Pearl of the Sky at FinlandMauser K98k wrote:The Brewster Buffalo was a dog too.
Many fine British and US Marine pilots were lost trying to fight Zeros with this dud.
Mauser K98k wrote:The Buffalo could hold it's own against a Russian Rata, but was hopelessly outclassed against Japanese Navy pilots in Zeros.
With combat experience it was decided drastic measures were necessary to improve the performance f the Buffalo. The radio mast was removed, and all excess weight such as verey tubes, parachute flare bins and cockpit heaters taken out. Drag was reduced by removing the gun blisters, pilots relief venturi tubes and rear vision mirrors. The two 0.5inch wing guns were replaced by 2 .0303 inch guns and the mountings, port openings and ammunition bins were modifed to suit. Fuel load was reduced by 4 gallons, and the the ammunition load was also reduced. Apart from the much cleaner lines resulting, the weight of the aircraft was reduced by a 1000 pounds. This produced a remmarkable difference in performance. The Brewster Buffalo could now even loop.
Meanwhile, the Brewster export fighters had become the mainstay of the Finnish air force. The Finns admired the Model 239, regarding it as simply constructed and easily repaired. (It helped that their state aircraft factory was close to the front, and their mechanics were inventive. Finding that oil didn't circulate freely through the engine, for example, they inverted a cylinder ring and solved a problem that plagued the Brewster wherever it served. It probably also helped that Finland was colder than Malaya or even Britain.) To bring the 239s up to snuff, they added armor plate and modern gun sights. "The more we played with it," recalled Joppe Karhunen in 1982, "the more we liked it."
The Finns called their Brewster Taivaan Helmi (Sky Pearl) and made a copy they called the Humu (Distant Storm). Their variant had wooden wing panels and a captured 1,000-horsepower Russian engine, a Cyclone lookalike that was also used to re-equip some 239s. For a recognition mark, the Finns used a blue hakaristi, a bent-leg cross that signified good luck in Nordic lands
Harri wrote:I don't think Soviet La-5 fighters in 1943 for example would have been worse than Zero of 1941 /42.
alf wrote:The Buffalo did perform well with the Finnish Air Force, but a totally different war, different enemy equipment, levels of training and tactics (even climate was crucial)
Mauser K98k wrote:Ridicule US and British pilots if you like, but I'd like to see how your Finnish pilots flying Buffalos would have done against Saburo Sakai, Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, Toshio Ota, et. al. flying their Zeros.
"(Midway, J.T.) As in Malaya, the Brewster was blamed for the disaster that might better have been attributed to faulty tactics, inexperienced pilots, and poor command decicions"
Is serving in Australia counted in?A simple question to ask is who here would have wanted to been assigned to a Buffalo Squadron in the Pacific Theatre in WW2?
Type: fighter Nationality: Great Britain
This version gave a major contribution to the bad name associated with the Buffalo since the war. It was an export version of the F2A-2, withouth the naval gears. The mounting of equipments on request of the British (gunsight, armor, ...) added a half ton to the overall weight. That seriously impaired both the performances and the maneuvrability of the plane.
They were all assigned in the Far East in early 1941. When the Japanese landed in Malaysia, the Buffaloes had the better for a short while against the ageing Japaneses Nate and Oscar. But with the arrival of the Zero, they were completely outclassed. After the fall of Singapore, the same scenario repeated itself in Burma. Within a few months, the losses rate approached 100% of the engaged planes and only six examples could return to India at the end of the Burma campaign.
If the losses were high and the battle in the air, in the end, a defeat, it had much to do with the impossible conditions where the Buffalo had to operate. Even under those circumstances, they managed to score almost two victories for each loss in combat, not such a bad performance for a plane with such a bad name.
Built by Brewster Aeronautical Corporation
Other designation(s): B-339E
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