Grumman F4F Wildcat

F4F-4 (21 kb)
F4F-4 landing on USS Ranger, October 15th 1942

The F4F Wildcat was the main US Navy fighter from 1941 to the end of 1942, when it was replaced by the F4U Corsair amongst US Marines fighting units, and a few months later by the F6F Hellcat amongst US Navy units.
Against its main opponent, the A6M Zero, the Wildcat suffered from a bad power to weight ratio, and average manoeuverability. However, with armor and self-sealing fuel tanks, it was much more resistant to gunfire than its Japanese counterpart.
The US Navy / US Marines obtained a victory/loss ratio of 6.9 to 1 with the Wildcat, a very succesful fighter despite its weaknesses.

Development

F4F-3 (28 kb)
An early F4F-3 of the USS Ranger, in colorful pre-war markings of early 1941

F4F-3S (20 kb)
The Wildcatfish during sea trials at NAS Norfolk, Virginia in June 1943

Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat
Engine Pratt & Whitney R-1830-86 Twin Wasp radial 1,200 hp
Weight empty: 2,674 kg (5,895 lb) - with full load: 3,975 kg (8,762 lb)
Armament Six 12.7 mm (.50 cal) wing-mounted guns
Performance Max speed: 507 km/h (315 mph) Ceiling: 10,400 m (34,120 ft)

In 1942, Grumman lacked the industrial facilities to continue building the F4F fighter and Avenger torpedo bomber and start producing the new F6F Hellcat. Production of the F4F and Avenger was therefore transferred to the Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors, the F4F becoming the FM and the TBF becoming the TBM.

Eastern Aircraft FM-2 Wildcat Eastern Aircraft FM-2 Wildcat
Engine Curtiss R-1820-56W radial 1,350 hp
Weight empty: 2,513 kg (5,542 lb) - with full load: 3,728 kg (8,221 lb)
Armament Four 12.7 mm (.50 cal) wing-mounted guns
Performance Max speed: 515 km/h (320 mph) Ceiling: 10,850 m (35,600 ft)

FM-2 (28 kb)
FM-2s of VC-4 return to USS White Plains (CVE-66), June 24th 1944


Stof's notes about this plane in iMOL's WarBirds

The opinions expressed below are only my own, and nothing more...
The F4F will shine in scenarios against early Japanese planes, when its rugged construction and better control at high speeds will make it a worthy opponent.

Strong points:

Weak points:


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Copyright ©: Christophe "stof" Arribat - last update:
(Plane pictures from Squadron/Signal "F4F Wildcat in action")