By lex, on September 1st, 2009
An interesting take * on fighter superiority from World War II, in which the F4-U comes out on top in the air-to-air role.
The gent that sent it along also provided a comparison between the F4-U and the P-47 as a ground attack platform:
From Grant Goodell. He was Skip’s, Babis’s, and my skipper in VA-741 in the sixties. A great guy, a solid stick and an excellent leader.
I flew both airplanes: about 2500 hours in the F4U 4 including a combat tour in Korea off the Antietam 1951-52; about 800 hours in the P 47D as a test pilot. As a prop air superiority fighter I would take the F4U over the P47, more nimble and great rate of climb.
Capt. Brown, RN who flew almost every thing and had more than 2000 carrier landing didn’t like the F4U because of high stick forces at very high speeds. You could always pick a Corsair pilot out of the crowd at the bar because of the size of his right bicep. The F6F had a better kill ratio than the F4U because the Hellcat met mostly low time Japanese Army and Navy pilots in 1944 whose favorite defensive maneuver was a Luffberry Circle.
On the other hand the P 47 far outclassed the F4U as a fighter-bomber. The Jug was an absolute terror, carried about the same bomb and rocket load, but had 8 (EIGHT) 50 cal guns. In addition the F4U suffered from having an oil cooler radiator in each leading edge wing root inboard of the gull (check the pics). Any ground fire small arms or expended brass from a plane ahead could penetrate that radiator and in 30 to 40 seconds you had lost oil pressure.
The Navy lost more than 360 F4Us in Korea. more than any other type by far, because of this vulnerability. We lost eight F4Us in our squadron and 2 pilots, both to enemy ground fire. Vought never fixed the problem. On the other hand the AF kept sending P-51s to do ground attack and N Korea was carpeted by 51 aluminum and Rolls 12 cylinder inlines built, as I recall, by Packard. Where were the Jugs?
Good stuff, and I’d have loved to get my hands on any of them.
* 09-10-2018 Link Gone; no replacements found – Ed.