Crowood - F4U Corsair

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    u bl i sh e d i n 2 0 02 byPress Ltd

    S N 8 2 H R

    W . B o wm a n 2 0 02

    edicationThis book is dedicated t o the memory of: Colonel J Hunter Reinburg USMC 5 M ay1918-23 June 1997 Roy D Eric Erickson USNR V BF-10 and t o all form er C orsai rpilots t hroughout t he world. ontents

    knowledgementsts reserved. No part of this publication mayuced or transmitted i n a n y f or m or by anyelectronicor mechanical including

    or any information storagesystem without permission in writing

    publishers.Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

    l o gu e r e co r d f o r t h is book is available fromLibrary.

    I 86126492 5

    Alan A rm st ro n g; M ik e B ai le y; R ob e rtBailey ASAA; Fred Crash Blechman;City of N or w ic h A v ia t io n Museum;Howard Cook; Lee Cook; GrahamDinsdale; Robert Dorr; Owen W. Dykema;the l at e R oy D Eric Erickson; Andy

    Height; Tony Holmes; Philip Jarrett; thelate Colonel J Hunter Reinburg USMC;Gareth Si mons; K elvi n Sl oper; Peter CSmith; Tom Smith; Mark Styling; AndyThomas; Wal lace B ruce Thomson; TerryC Treadwell.

    123456789

    10

    A Dream is BornLand and SeaAerial Combat Escapades]. Hunter Reinburg USMTh e Black Sheep and th e Jolly Rogers Big BootyC orsairs for Kin g and CountryTh e Sweetheart of OkinawaCorsair ModelsTrue Tales of Trial a nd T er ro r re Crash lechmanWa r in the L an d o f Morning CalmKorean Night-Fighter Close Air SUPPOrt] Hunter Reinburg USMWa r and Peace

    by Florence Production LtdDevon

    a n d b o un d in Great BritainNorton Nr Bath

    by Black Cat Graphics Ltd

    Appendix IAppendix IIAppendix IIIAppendix IVAppendix VBibliographyIndex

    US Marine Corps Corsair SquadronsUS Navy CorsairsR oy al Nav y Fleet Air At CorsairsWorld War II: Monthly Acceptances of CorsairsSurviving Corsairs

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    CHAPTER ONE

    rea l orn

    Chauncey iltonVought 20 February 1888 25 uly1930 a t t h e c o n t ro l s o f t h eWright B b i p l an e i n which he learned to fly. Vought

    Iwas ncar I [cn ycarsold on Sunday 4July 1937when my parents t oo k me to an 8irsho\V atFloyd Bcnnc[[ Field in Ncw York City - a navalair s t at i on a t that time. My face was pressedright up against a chain-link fcncc whcn a sm 111group of far vy silvcr and ycllow figh[crbiplancs Acw ovcr [hc f ie ld i n a right echclonpccled off, landcd Ulxicd up, and parkcd nomorc [han fifty fcC[ from mc I wa[chcd widccycdas [he pilo[s, w i t h [ h c i r c l o [ h h e l mc [ s a n dgoggles and flowing white scarves, climbed outof [ h c t i ny c o ck p it s a n d c l am b cr cd d o wn [ h esidcs of [heir chunky figh[crplancs. Isaw [hcmga[hcr [Ogc[hcr, rail a n d h a n d s o m c all, and was[ h ri l l ed w h c n [ h c y a m b l cd o v c r [he crowd at[hc fcnce. O nc o f [ h cm c v cn [alkcd mcWow I thought I wanna bc o n e o f [hosc guys.

    Whcn I grow up I m gonna be a vy fighterpilo[ A[ [ h a t r i m e i[ was just a dream ... IrcadAying books, huil[ solid balsa-wood and s[ickand-papcr Aying models, a n d d c v ou r cd cvcrything I could find abour Aying. Throughou[World War II I followcd [he cxploi[s of [heAycrs,always planning [hmonc day, whcn Iwasold cnough I d join up AI

    Frcd Blcchman future Corsair pilo[

    Dreams c a n s o me t im es c o me true, especially t o t ho s e w h o h a ve vision, ambitionand a purpose. Pedigree, too, always tellsin the long run . [n the 1930s the stubbylittle Grumman biplanes, such as the F3Fsthat young Blechman saw, dom inat ed t heAmerican Navy scene . Boe ing was a lsomak ing a name for i t se lf in the field ofmilitary aviation. There seemed little likelihood of a shipboard f ighter b e ing conceived in the 1930s that could challengethe big two - but t here w a n ew k id onthe block: ultimately t he V ought Corsairseries would earn i ts rightful place in theannals of aviation and in t he A m eri canhall of fame.

    Born of a family w i th m arit i me leanings, C h au n ce y M il t on V ou g ht marriedhis boyhood interest inall th ings mechanical t o a l ov e o f t he sea a nd t he air top roduce a long ser ie s of successful aerop la n es . I n fact this was o n ly n a tu r albecause the young aviation pioneer lovedto raceboats throughout his short life, andhe devoted a l ar ge proport ion of it tocham pi oning naval avi at i on in America.

    This young m an s dream balthough sadly, he wouldA me r ic a n a v ia t io n d o mi nstage. When he d ied in [9Vought s influence lived onwhen war c ame, h is g if t wthat wou ld serve h is belowell indeed, especially in tt h en a n d for many years to

    C hauncey V ought wasIsland, New York C it y o1888. His parents G eorgand Annie E Vought, ownfamily business designingquali t y sai li ng boats. A ffrom elementary school inyoung V ought ent ered t heof Brooklyn; but, ever anspecialized knowledge, bymoved t o N ew York Univeput hisenergies i nto t he stunal com bust ion engine. Tpublic did not however, shengineering and more espenauti cal engi ne developmfeeling would change rapidlcesses o f t he W ri gh t Bro1903 and 1908, a n d A mbecome more aviation-minthe first international air min t h e U n it e d S t at e s t oo kYork a t t he B el mo nt ParkLong [sland. An avidChauncey Vought who hing around for better enginan d fou nd th em a t thePennsylvania.

    Shortly after the race Vout of university a n d j o iMcCormick as an engineeMcCormick was treasurern at io na l H ar ve s te r C oChicago o ne o f t h e foundeC l ubof Illinois, and a vice-A e ro C l ub o f A me r ic a . Mproject at th is t ime was anumbrella plane, a craftwitharound t he fuselage inventS. Romme which McCorwou ld o ff er a v ia bl e a l te

    7

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    A DRE M IS ORN A DRE M IS ORN

    Vought bought the Northrop XP 948 or Northrop 3A design afterthe prototype was lost on atestthe Pacific on 30 July 1935 and builta newaircraft calledthe V 141. The smallesttype in theit Competition (won by Severskyl. it suffered from tail vibrations and was rejected by the Army.

    3 (picturedl was an exportversionwith a longerfuselage and newtail and was flown on 18 Junepowered by a 750hp R 1535 SB4G engine. and was armed with apai rof .30 calibre machinecould carry up to 300lb (136kgl of bombs. The Japanese Army bought the prototypein 1937. via

    lyman A. BullardJr, thechiefof f l ighttest atVought-Sikorsky Aircraft ,aloft intheyellow-and-silver-painted XF4U 1 thatfirst flew fromthe BridgeportMunicipal Airport, Stratford,Connecticut on 29 May 1940. Vought

    The Corsair s mainwheels couldeasily be retracted backwards. as theydid on theSB2U 1 Kingfisherscout bomberthen in production. and swivelledthrough 87 degreesflat intothewing (which foldedupwardsfor stowage aboardcarriersl. Vought

    O n 3 0 June 1938 the US Navy ordered theGrumman XF5F 1 (picturedl and theVought XF4U 1. while athird aircraft, the Bell XFl-1. wasorderedlater.on 8 November. Grumman

    In 1938 the U S N avy had decided that thetime was long o ve r du e t o bring carrierbased aviation up t o t h e same performancelevel as land-based aircraft. On 3 0 J un e

    Enter th e F4U Corsair

    330kmph) at 8,900ft 2,700m). V ought sfirst monoplane design was the X S B 2U -I,which in Navy s e rv i ce b e ca m e theSB2U-I Vindicator, the Navy s first ::tll-metal, low-wing, carrier-based s c ou t a n ddive-bomber. Fifty-four SB2U-Is wereordered on 26 October 1936, a n d t h e firstexample flew on 2 May 1 93 7. Th eVindicator was first delivered to B ombingSquadron 3 VB- 3) a bo at d t he U SSSaratoga in December 1937. In January1938 the U S N a vy o r de r ed f i ft y -e i gh tS B 2U-2 V indicators, and la ter followedt h is w i th a n o r de r for fifty-seven SB2U-3examples in September 1939. T hese, andfifty Vindicators ordered by France, werediverted to G reat Britain when war brokeout in Europe that same month. In Britishservice the type b ec a me k no w n as theV-156B Chesapeake.In the meanwhile, Vought s long expe

    rience in build ing scout and observationaircraft for t he U S Na vy l ed f ir st to thedevelopmentof the X O S N -I in 1936, andt he n to t he more successful XOS2U in1937, t o m ee t a new observation-scoutspecification. The m a n uf a ct u r e o f theXOS2U-l was the responsibility of a te amof engineers led by Rex B Biesel, and itwa

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