| Continued from above… must-have for your collection! This one will provide you hours of study as you explore and enjoy the clean lines and construction details. |
CARRIER FIGHTER SUPREME
No one can argue with the Hellcat's combat record in the Pacific. In that theater, it shot down 75 percent of all enemy aircraft destroyed by the U.S. Navy. Superior U.S. tactics played a big part, but the F6F was also a sturdy machine, capable of sustaining a great deal of punishment at the hands of Japanese guns before being "downed." Perhaps its most famous exploits occurred in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, better known as the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot." During that two-day action in June 1 944, a huge force of Hellcats rampaged through an attacking force of Japanese fighters and bombers, inflicting far more casualties on the enemy than any other aircraft.
The Hellcat was designed for one primary purpose – to outperform the Mitsubishi Zero, and both Japanese and American pilots agreed that it succeeded. Its enormous wing size gave it extra lift, accommodating the slow take-off and landing speeds on aircraft carriers. To compensate for their size, the Hellcat could "fold" its wings for hangar and deck storage. At one point, Grumman was manufacturing one Hellcat per hour – an aircraft production record that has never been equaled.
History: The F6F Hellcat had the highest Kill/Loss ratio of any American fighter plane in Army, Navy, Marine or Air Force service during WWII. The F6F Hellcat was the successor to - and a logical evolution of the capable F4F Wildcat series of carrier-borne aircraft fielded by the United States Navy in the Pacific Theater of WWII.
The F6F was a low-wing monoplane with wing-mounted, rearward-retracting landing gear. The cockpit was above the main fuel tank which placed the canopy high on the fuselage. Down-thrust of three degrees for the engine and propeller improved the forward visibility. While many details changed as improvements were made, the configuration changed very little for all the production Hellcats overall.
Grumman F6F Hellcats saw World War II action for the first time in a September 1, 1943, attack on Marcus Island, flying from the carrier Yorktown. More aerodynamic and better armored than its Wildcat predecessor, the Hellcat took a frightful toll of Zeros.
Design of the F6F followed closely the lines of the F4F. Where the F4F was originally intended as a biplane design - and therefore developed the stout look to the fuselage. The F6F was entirely a monoplane fighter from the start. The cockpit was situated just above the low-mounted large wings (as opposed to the mid-mounted ones found on the F4F) and forward in the design, though just aft of the engine placement, and offered up adequate visibility through a framed canopy. Power came from the mighty Pratt & Whitney R-2800 series radial piston engine delivering some 2,000 horsepower and providing speeds in excess of 375 miles per hour. The engine cowling dominated the front of the design while a conventional single-vertical tail surface rounded out the empennage. Landing gear were unique in that they retracted in a backwards fashion.
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Grumman F6F Hellcat
Excellent shipborne fighter / bomber and night fighter
The Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat began to appear in service with the British Fleet Air Arm in July 1943 and with the US Navy a month later. Operating predominantly in the Pacific, this aircraft was the first US fighter capable of defeating the Japanese Zero. The F6F was bigger and more powerful than its forerunner the F4F Wildcat, and beat the Zero by virtue of its superior speed, altitude and dive capability. The F6F-3 had a maximum speed of 376 mph at 22,000 feet, could climb 15,000 feet in less than eight minutes and operated easily up to 37,000 feet. In addition to its six Browning ,M2 machine-guns (three on each wing), the aircraft could carry two 1,000 lb bombs plus a 167 gallon drop tank. This extra fuel enabling the F6F-3 to fly 1,500 miles made it a valuable reconnaissance aircraft and long-range escort.
Altogether 4,646 F6F-3s, including 18 F6F-3Es and 205 F6F-3N night fighters were delivered to the US Navy, a further 252 being supplied to the Royal Navy as Hellcat Is. Improvements were made by Grumman before the F6F-5 entered production in 1944 and it was able to operate in the fighter-bomber role with under-wing weapons. Of these some 6,436 were manufactured, nearly one-fifth of them being F6F-5N night variants and approximately 930 were Royal Navy Hellcat IIs.
Hellcats in the Pacific were credited with nearly 5,000 victims - some 80 per cent of all enemy aircraft destroyed in air-to-air combat in that area. The 19:1 kill-to-loss ratio for the same theatre of operations was a phenomenal success story. Even when compared to the faster P-51 Mustang and F4U Corsair, the Hellcat was considered a more effective fighter by the Japanese. The F6F-3 was powered with one 2,000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 Double Wasp radial engine. Span: 42 ft 10 inches (13.06 m). Length: 38 ft 7 inches (10.24 m). Height: 14 ft 5 inches (4.39 m). Normal range in fighter role: 1,090 miles (1,754 km). The production of Hellcats ceased after the war on 19th November 1945, though they continued in service after the war and some were used as pilotless 'flying bombs' in the Korean War, 1950-53, launched with control aircraft from carriers.