F5F or F4F. Did the U.S. Navy make the right choice?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Draconis, Aug 26, 2019.

  1. RanulfC Well-Known Member

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  2. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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  3. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    A darling of mine is that the 3 remaining Hawkins Class Cruisers are converted to light fleet carriers during the 30s as Maritime Protection Carriers - with the intention that 1 is operational in the South Atlantic and one in the Indian Ocean (with the 3rd in refit etc)

    I imagine that they would have been useful in the early years of WW2

    Peg Leg Poms drawing of such a conversion

    [​IMG]
     
  4. riggerrob Well-Known Member

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    One problem with the CCF Gregor Fighter was its dismal visibility. The upper gull wings were in exactly the wrong place for seeing where you are going while landing-on. The configuration is odd considering that Gregor had previously worked for Seversky??????
    On the “Panic Fighter 1938” thread, Inproposed a monoplane Gregor Fighter specialized for landing-on escort carriers HMS Nabob and Puncher. With the RCNVR protecting Western Atlantic, it is logical for the RCN to have their own FAA.

    Either way they would need to better fair the Gregor Fighters’ bubble canopy into the vertical fin. Full canopies and cockpit heat are mandatory for patrolling the North Atlantic ... and the more windows on the side or belly the better.
    A monoplane would have an advantage in accumulating less airframe ice. The fewer struts and wires, the less ice.
    Why did the RN FAA never adopt a STOL monoplane replacement for Swordfish?
    In 1939, the only similar airplane British service was the STOL Westland Lysander. Lysanders proved too vulnerable to fly over Europe in daylight. Lysander would need a revised pitch/elevator trim system for go-around.
    Perhaps 110 Squadron RCAF could have flown their Lysanders from Dartmouth and later from escort carriers.

    That auto gyro suggestion is amusing. Even 1930s vintage autogiros could pre-rotate their main rotors for almost vertical takeoffs. With a 30 knot wind across the deck, they could land almost vertically.
    Who cares if autogyros could carry torpedos or depth charges? The primary armament installed on convoy escort aircraft was their radios used to call in escort corvettes and dthe strikers to harass U-Boats.

    Speaking of armament ..... how high did FW200 Condors patrol?
    Would a “Shrage Musik” 20 mm cannon chase them off?
     
  5. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    upload_2019-9-10_14-22-22.png
     
  6. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Hate the crane position (motion restricted and swing hazard), aft funnel is botched and so is the lift placement (permanent foul hazard.). Aside from that, beautiful, simply beautiful!
     
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  7. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    AZ Canadian F4F.

    Add a rear view mirror. I notice it does not have one.

    The Albacore used the wrong wing chord plan and was underpowered.

    [​IMG]

    Lysander MARK iii

    General characteristics

    Crew: One, pilot
    Capacity: 1 passenger (or observer)
    Length: 30 ft 6 in (9.29 m)
    Wingspan: 50 ft 0 in (15.24 m)
    Height: 14 ft 6 in (4.42 m)
    Wing area: 260 ft² (24.2 m²)
    Empty weight: 4,365 lb (1,984 kg)
    Max. takeoff weight: 6,330 lb (2,877 kg)
    Powerplant: 1 × Bristol Mercury XX radial engine, 870 hp (649 kW)

    Performance

    Maximum speed: 212 mph (184 knots, 341 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,520 m)
    Range: 600 miles (522 nmi, 966 km)
    Service ceiling: 21,500 ft (6,550 m)
    Climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 8 min
    Take-off run to 50 ft (15 m): 305 yards (279 m)

    Armament

    Guns: Two forward-firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns in wheel fairings and two more for the observer
    Bombs: Four 20 lb (9 kg) bombs under rear fuselage and 500 lb (227 kg) of bombs on stub wings if fitted.
    Actually, not a bad idea for a MAC as long as you hardstand it with no strike below requirement!

    [​IMG]

    The stupid: etc...

    FW Condors would patrol below the North Atlantic cloud layer, about 3000-5000 meters altitude and look for convoy wakes.

    Just low enough to be easy prey for Hudsons. And fragile to go into the drink if a pair of .303 Brownings from the Hudson ventilated the cockpit or a wing spar inboard the outer engine nacelle.
     
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  8. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    Just how good were these cargo subs? I've never seen any reports on their use, how much/what supplies they carried, etc.

    I know the Italians also were building supply subs but IIRC none were launched prior to the surrender in 1943.
     
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  9. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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  10. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    Hudson 1 - Condor Nil

    (Caption reads: A Focke-Wulf Fw 200C of KG 40 sinking in the Atlantic Ocean west of Ireland, after being shot down by a Lockheed Hudson Mk V of No. 233 Squadron RAF 23 July 1941)

    [​IMG]

    Of the 9 'combat' CAM Hurricane launches - .303 armed Hurricanes shot down among other aircraft 4 Condors

    Eric 'Winkle' Brown famously shot down 2 of them in a Martlet (silly name) / Wildcat when operating from HMS Audacity by performing head on attacks into the Condors defensive blind spot

    So I do not think that a 'Shrange muisik' (SP? I don't speak German) style armament is required - the condor was a civilian design pressed into service as a LRMPA and 'doesn't react well to bullets'
     
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  11. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Or rough landings apparently. From what I've read they lost more from that sort of thing than combat. Not that there were all that many out over the Atlantic supporting the Navy to start with. Goering didn't approve.
     
  12. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Getting back a little closer to the original topic, should the RN have opted for the proposed twin engine Bristol 153a (designed for the same spec as the Whirlwind), an aircraft very similar to the Grumman F5F instead of the Fulmar?
     
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  13. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    We've discussed the pros and cons as a naval type. I can see that if it was a non-starter for the USN, then with the more cramped British CVs it might not have seemed a good idea either.

    As for the Fulmar, I have seen pros and cons argued about it. My opinion and your mileage should vary, is that it was a good bird when in the right time and place. That was not against the IJN ever. However it did excellent work in the Mediterranean and should not be discounted ever for the results it achieved there.

    I think it was an excellent recon bird and would have functioned well in the strike coordinator and guid-on role. The use of it as a fighter was probably a mistake in the Indian Ocean.
     
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  14. Dave Shoup Well-Known Member

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    Costly mistake avoided.

    http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_F4F_wildcat_stats.html

    According to the above source, Grumman alone produced roughly 1500 F4Fs of various models between 1940 and 1943, before the GM FM version went into production in 1943. Simply based on the engines, the production total for the F5F in the same period would have been 750, and that's without any delays because of the complexity of a twin-engined aircraft ... which suggests the USN and USMC would have needed to keep the F2A in service longer just to keep numbers up ... which means even fewer F2As for the British, Dutch, etc., and no F4Fs for the RN at all.

    Quantity has a quality all of its own, after all.
     
  15. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    Whats to keep Grumman from expanding their factories, or bringing in GM sooner?
     
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  16. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Engine bottleneck?
     
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  17. Dave Shoup Well-Known Member

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    Peacetime procurement, even in a short of war period (1940-41), is going to be limited. Licensing designs is not a simple process, either.

    The F5F is an intriguing design, but it was not simple and in fact probably pushed the envelope. It's worth remembering that the USN and USMC had frontline fighter squadrons equipped with F2As as late as 1941-42; F5F procurement would not have improved that situation.
     
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  18. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    Don't believe there was ever a shortage of production ability, P&W was able to export bits to Canada, and have them assemble engines, as well to others
     
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  19. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    It got real simple in WWII You built what the government told you, unless you had a far better product.
    That's how N.A.A, avoided being a subcontractor making P-40s
     
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  20. Dave Shoup Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the P-51 came about as a result of a BPC request, not the US War Department, so not quite...

    Most importantly, in the window of 1939-41, when the XF4F-3 was standardized and went into production as F4F-3, trading as solid a design as the Wildcat for a design (the XF5F-1) that would need even more development time and production resources would have been a huge mistake.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 1:36 AM
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