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AlmightyTallest
11-16-2004, 04:36 PM
Source:

Corsair The F4U in World War II and Korea
By: Barrett Tillman


Page 19:

No matter how the F4U stacked up against other American aircraft, it was an unrealistic comparison. The only comparison that really mattered was how the U-Bird stood up against its main opponent, the Mitsubishi Zero series of Japan.

In early January 1943, just before VMF-124 left for the Solomons, Joe Clifton gave a briefing to the Marines. He had flown the A6M2 Zero which was foujd damaged but intact in the Aleutians during June 1942. It was repaired at North Island and used extensively in technical and tactical tests. His findings went a long way towards helping Major Gise's pilots through their first few combats. The Corsair's greatest advantage over the Zeke was speed. Clifton advocated use of that speed to dictate the rules of engagement and disengagement. A hard diving turn to starboard at 240 knots would lose the Zero every time.

In late 1944 a detailed test was run between an F4U-1D and a captured A6M5, or Zeke 52. From sea level up to 30,000 ft the Corsair proved faster by an average of 55 knots, or 64 mph. This was from a minimum advantage of 36 knots at 5,000 feet to a maximum of 69 knots at 25,000. Top speeds were 413 mps (355knots) for the F4U-1D at 20,400 feet, and 335 mps (290 knots) at 18,000 for the A6M5.

Unlike the F4F, the Corsair was capable of matching or exceeding the Zeke's rate of climb. Bought and Mitsubishi were equal up to 10,000 feet, after which the Corsair pulled ahead. In fact, at 18,000 feet, the F4U-1D climbed 750 feet per minute better than its opponent. The best climbing speeds were 135 knots for the Corsair and 105 for the A6M5.

"The maneuverability of the Zeke 52 is remarkable at speeds below about 175 knots, being far superior to that of the F4U-1D," said the report. "Its superiority, however, diminishes with increased speed, due to it's high control forces, and the F4U-1D has the advantage at speeds above 200 knots," Tests showed that in slow speed turns at 10,000 feet, the Zeke gained one turn in three and a half. But the Corsair, by maintaining an airspeed of 175 knots (200mph) could use full flaps to stay with the Zeke for a half-Turn. By that time, however, airspeed was down to 150 knots (173mph) and it was high time to disengage.

The Corsair's magnificent ailerons gave it an important advantage over Zeroes. The two fighters's roll rate was equal at speeds under 200 knots, allowing the F4U to change directions on an equal basis. Above 200 knots, the Zeke's ailerons became heavy while the Corsair's were still effective. The time invested in those engineering test flights to perfect the ailerons paid handsome dividends in combat.

In dive comparisons, both fighters were approximately neck-and-neck in the very early stages. After that, the Corsair was vastly superior as it accelerated with astonishing speed. Few Japanese fighters had andy hope of escaping an F4U in a dive, and even then it was only over short distances.


Since a fighter plane is a gunnery platform, a word is in order about armament. The Zeke employed a typical mixture of weapons found in Japanese fighters. In the A6M5 this consisted of of two 20mm cannon with 200 rounds and a pair of 7.7mm machine guns with 1,400 rounds. The F4U series was mainly armed with six Colt-Browning M-2 .50 caliber machine guns. Between the prototype and production the nose guns had been deleted, and a suggestion was considered for use of four wing mounted .50's. However, the standard American fighter armament of six .50's was the final choice. They carried a total of 2,350 rounds: 400 for the two inboard guns in each wing, with 375 for each outboard ewapon owing to wing contour.

This is a formidable battery. The M-2 fired a bullet measuring .511 inches in diameter, weighing up to 709 grains, or about 1.6 ounces. It was nominally propelled by 253 grains of IMR-5010 powder at a muzzle velocity of 2,840 feet per second. Sighted to converge at 300 yards, six .50 calibers could do terrific damage not only to aircraft, but to light naval vessels as well. As production of specialized bullets increased, a greater mixture of ammunition types became available. By 1943, most American .50 caliber ammo was belted in the ratio of one armor piercing, one incendiary, one armor piercing, one incendiary, one tracer. By efficient use of ammunition, Corsair pilots could and did destroy 4,5, even 6 Japanese aircraft in one mission.

Early in the program, some thought was given to arming F4U-1's with Danish 23mm cannon. In the fall of 1943 limited production began on F4U-1C's, a total of 200 being produced. These were -1A's armed with four 20mm cannon. Using IMR 4831 powder, the 20mm fired a shell over three-fourths inch in diameter which was shorter ranged and of lesser muzzle velocity than the .50 cal. It also possessed a somewhat slower rate of fire, but was more lethal with fewer hits. Later model Corsairs, most notably the F4U-4B and the French F4U-7, also employed 20mm, but the large majority of all Corsairs retained the sextette of .50 calibers.


Snippet from Page 160: Thus, at war's end, Vought's effors were almost wholly devoted to the F4U-4, having produced over 1,900 before Japan's surrender.

-------------End of line----------------------

Ok, my question is where can those of us interested in official documents about these and other aircraft find the official comparisons? One book I have is only about Japanese aircraft, where I quoted the info on the Ki-100 in another thread, and in that book many of the rare Japanese aircraft are photographed, actually marked in U.S. markings for evaluation and comparisons to U.S. aircraft during or after the war. I think that if we could work together and find some of this official flight testing info to compare with other sources, we may be in a better position to help Oleg and his team tweak any of the aircraft or build new ones for Pacific Fighters, that is if there is any tweaking necessary to correct the flight models and such to perform like the actual aircraft.

I think we should take a look at established valid sources, then try the same things they compared and do it with the aircraft in Pacific Fighters. I'd certainly be interested in seeing if there are any differences, and if so, perhaps we could find valid info that may help Oleg and his team out in determining how the flight models should or shouldn't be changed.

At any rate, this all made for some interesting reading for me anyways, hope you guys enjoy it as well, I highly recommend the book. It has some great pilot stories flying the F4U in combat if you interested.

AlmightyTallest
11-16-2004, 04:36 PM
Source:

Corsair The F4U in World War II and Korea
By: Barrett Tillman


Page 19:

No matter how the F4U stacked up against other American aircraft, it was an unrealistic comparison. The only comparison that really mattered was how the U-Bird stood up against its main opponent, the Mitsubishi Zero series of Japan.

In early January 1943, just before VMF-124 left for the Solomons, Joe Clifton gave a briefing to the Marines. He had flown the A6M2 Zero which was foujd damaged but intact in the Aleutians during June 1942. It was repaired at North Island and used extensively in technical and tactical tests. His findings went a long way towards helping Major Gise's pilots through their first few combats. The Corsair's greatest advantage over the Zeke was speed. Clifton advocated use of that speed to dictate the rules of engagement and disengagement. A hard diving turn to starboard at 240 knots would lose the Zero every time.

In late 1944 a detailed test was run between an F4U-1D and a captured A6M5, or Zeke 52. From sea level up to 30,000 ft the Corsair proved faster by an average of 55 knots, or 64 mph. This was from a minimum advantage of 36 knots at 5,000 feet to a maximum of 69 knots at 25,000. Top speeds were 413 mps (355knots) for the F4U-1D at 20,400 feet, and 335 mps (290 knots) at 18,000 for the A6M5.

Unlike the F4F, the Corsair was capable of matching or exceeding the Zeke's rate of climb. Bought and Mitsubishi were equal up to 10,000 feet, after which the Corsair pulled ahead. In fact, at 18,000 feet, the F4U-1D climbed 750 feet per minute better than its opponent. The best climbing speeds were 135 knots for the Corsair and 105 for the A6M5.

"The maneuverability of the Zeke 52 is remarkable at speeds below about 175 knots, being far superior to that of the F4U-1D," said the report. "Its superiority, however, diminishes with increased speed, due to it's high control forces, and the F4U-1D has the advantage at speeds above 200 knots," Tests showed that in slow speed turns at 10,000 feet, the Zeke gained one turn in three and a half. But the Corsair, by maintaining an airspeed of 175 knots (200mph) could use full flaps to stay with the Zeke for a half-Turn. By that time, however, airspeed was down to 150 knots (173mph) and it was high time to disengage.

The Corsair's magnificent ailerons gave it an important advantage over Zeroes. The two fighters's roll rate was equal at speeds under 200 knots, allowing the F4U to change directions on an equal basis. Above 200 knots, the Zeke's ailerons became heavy while the Corsair's were still effective. The time invested in those engineering test flights to perfect the ailerons paid handsome dividends in combat.

In dive comparisons, both fighters were approximately neck-and-neck in the very early stages. After that, the Corsair was vastly superior as it accelerated with astonishing speed. Few Japanese fighters had andy hope of escaping an F4U in a dive, and even then it was only over short distances.


Since a fighter plane is a gunnery platform, a word is in order about armament. The Zeke employed a typical mixture of weapons found in Japanese fighters. In the A6M5 this consisted of of two 20mm cannon with 200 rounds and a pair of 7.7mm machine guns with 1,400 rounds. The F4U series was mainly armed with six Colt-Browning M-2 .50 caliber machine guns. Between the prototype and production the nose guns had been deleted, and a suggestion was considered for use of four wing mounted .50's. However, the standard American fighter armament of six .50's was the final choice. They carried a total of 2,350 rounds: 400 for the two inboard guns in each wing, with 375 for each outboard ewapon owing to wing contour.

This is a formidable battery. The M-2 fired a bullet measuring .511 inches in diameter, weighing up to 709 grains, or about 1.6 ounces. It was nominally propelled by 253 grains of IMR-5010 powder at a muzzle velocity of 2,840 feet per second. Sighted to converge at 300 yards, six .50 calibers could do terrific damage not only to aircraft, but to light naval vessels as well. As production of specialized bullets increased, a greater mixture of ammunition types became available. By 1943, most American .50 caliber ammo was belted in the ratio of one armor piercing, one incendiary, one armor piercing, one incendiary, one tracer. By efficient use of ammunition, Corsair pilots could and did destroy 4,5, even 6 Japanese aircraft in one mission.

Early in the program, some thought was given to arming F4U-1's with Danish 23mm cannon. In the fall of 1943 limited production began on F4U-1C's, a total of 200 being produced. These were -1A's armed with four 20mm cannon. Using IMR 4831 powder, the 20mm fired a shell over three-fourths inch in diameter which was shorter ranged and of lesser muzzle velocity than the .50 cal. It also possessed a somewhat slower rate of fire, but was more lethal with fewer hits. Later model Corsairs, most notably the F4U-4B and the French F4U-7, also employed 20mm, but the large majority of all Corsairs retained the sextette of .50 calibers.


Snippet from Page 160: Thus, at war's end, Vought's effors were almost wholly devoted to the F4U-4, having produced over 1,900 before Japan's surrender.

-------------End of line----------------------

Ok, my question is where can those of us interested in official documents about these and other aircraft find the official comparisons? One book I have is only about Japanese aircraft, where I quoted the info on the Ki-100 in another thread, and in that book many of the rare Japanese aircraft are photographed, actually marked in U.S. markings for evaluation and comparisons to U.S. aircraft during or after the war. I think that if we could work together and find some of this official flight testing info to compare with other sources, we may be in a better position to help Oleg and his team tweak any of the aircraft or build new ones for Pacific Fighters, that is if there is any tweaking necessary to correct the flight models and such to perform like the actual aircraft.

I think we should take a look at established valid sources, then try the same things they compared and do it with the aircraft in Pacific Fighters. I'd certainly be interested in seeing if there are any differences, and if so, perhaps we could find valid info that may help Oleg and his team out in determining how the flight models should or shouldn't be changed.

At any rate, this all made for some interesting reading for me anyways, hope you guys enjoy it as well, I highly recommend the book. It has some great pilot stories flying the F4U in combat if you interested.

Chuck_Older
11-16-2004, 06:27 PM
It's tough to do. Occasionally I see official US reports on things like this in aviation magazines

One place to look might be a forum such as the one at http://www.armyairforces.com/default.asp

these guys are pretty hard-core wartime aviation enthusiasts. I've had some interesting conversations with actual WWII combat pilots there. You could ask where you might find some of this official documentation. Someone must know, somewhere.

Fliger747
11-16-2004, 06:34 PM
Boon Guyton, Vought test pilot covers most of those points in "Whistling Death".

An excellent reference for many of the finer points of fighter technology, thought and comparison can be found in "1944 Joint Fighter Conference". Hosted by the USN, fighters were brought from different services, manufacturers and captured aircraft.

Really interesting reference!

geetarman
11-16-2004, 07:19 PM
Sakai commented once that the US P-38's had such a climb and speed advantage that they could literally dictate a fight. I imagaine the same could be said for the Corsair.

As an exceptional pilot, the bitternss and regret seemed to be drippng from his lips making that comment. Imagaine being a master and really having no chance to control a fight unless you happened to surprise your enemy. How frustrating!

Right or wrong, fly a Zero in PF against a Corsair and you'll get that feeling.