I think what everyone needs to realize is that the performance of the F2A-1(Model 239) is not the same as the F2A-3. Empty, the -3 weighed some 200 kilos heavier than the -1; loaded it was 800 kilos heavier. This seriously effected the -3’s maneuverability and stability. The -3, with a more powerful engine, was some 20 knots faster, but time to climb was not visibly effected between the -3 & -1.
Our Finnish friends are justified when the claim the stellar reputation for the F2A-1, that reputation was earned and deserved by the aircraft. However, the dismal reputation for the F2A-2 & F2A-3 is also equally correct. Those models performed poorly and earned their inferior rating.
Ok, all performance & stats aside. The root cause for the Brewster’s poor remembrance
falls squarely on the shoulders of Brewster Aeronautical Corporation. They created a world class fighter, but dropped the ball in producing a great design. Brewster, through mismanagement and poor production planning, failed to meet the US Navy’s production quotas. The company was awarded their contract for 54 F2A-1s in June, 1938, but during all of 1939, they had completed only 11! Brewster’s failure allowed Grumman to reenter the carrier fighter race with a redesigned F4F. Brewster saw their star being eclipsed by Grumman and struggled to catch up, but their effort was in vain. Their attempts to improve on the F2A-1 only served to denigrate the plane’s overall performance and Brewster’s efforts to increase production numbers failed. In the end Brewster was lucky if it produced 200 F2As (of all types), while Grumman went on to produce several thousand F4Fs. By December 7, Grumman was churning out the F4F-3s, while Brewster still hobbled along producing small numbers of the F2A-3s. So there here it is, NUMBERS. It was easier and logical for the USN to focus on the more numerous F4F and let the Brewster Buffalo keep its dismal record, than worry about how to get a handful of Brewsters to be able to match the Zero.
Hi Harri, thanks for the links on the Curtiss
About the gear problems with the F2A-3.
Landing aboard a carrier puts much more stress on the aircraft and its landing gear than a runway landing. The F2A-3 was much heavier than you Finnish F2A-1s, but the F2A-3 was without improvements to the landing gear to compensate for its additional weight, thus the landing gear failed. Another tale of landing gear woe was with the F4U Corsair. The oleos of its landing gear were too tight, giving the plane a tendency to bounce when it slammed into a carrier deck. Needless to say, after several accidents, the plane was taken off the carriers and handed over to the Marines where it established an excellent record. When theses deficiencies were corrected in April 1944, the Marines retained priority for the F4U and its appearance on carriers had to wait even longer.Sounds strange that the landing gear of Brewster would have been worse than that of Wildcats'?
Any members familiar with the CBI(China-Burma-India) Theater or the Pacific from 1941-1942 can relate very well to your dilemma. The Allies in the Pacific were short of everything until 1943. Even as late as 1944, in China, great lengths were gone to recover downed & damaged B-29s because spares & replacements were so hard to come by.I agree with Mark V and Juha T. Perhaps most people in this forum can't even imagine those problems FAF and its personnel (including pilots) faced during the war. Our resources were really minimal and even the most obsolete planes were so valuable that they were brought back at any cost.
Some Americans did take the AVG’s experiences to heart, Jimmy Thatch and “Butch” O’Hare, to name a few. However, their counter-tactics to the Japanese Zero were approved for their squadron use, but turned down for overall use by members of Admiral Halsey’s staff.
There are many reasons for the rapid loss of Japanese superiority.
- Failure to quickly develop a successor to the A6M Zero, or any other of their aircraft, once more advanced US designs arrived in the Pacific.
- No rotation home for pilots. Thus, the best Japanese pilots could not pass their knowledge on to the new trainees.
- Failure to adapt old tactics or introduce new tactics to meet the changing needs of the aerial battlefield.
- Lack of aircraft production to meet losses, let alone attempt to increase the number of aircraft. Japan was totally unprepared for the attrition warfare of 1942-43. Even before the war the Japanese Zero was not being produced in numbers the Japanese high command expected.
- Inadequate training approaches. Japanese flight schools could produce a small number of excellent fliers, but American flight schools produced tremendous numbers of good fliers.
Those are just a few...
Don’t forget about your mechanics who maintained those engines and kept them running.One thing is for sure.
Those who designed and built those Cyclones at Curtiss-Wright were first class - it is miracle that Brewsters could get into the air at all in mid-1944.
They were just as important as the pilots who flew the planes.