Another Navy Wings article...

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FD2
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#381 Post by FD2 » Fri May 06, 2022 8:17 pm

Royal Navy



Enhancement for carrier suitability
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FAA Corsair Is at NAS Quonset Point, 1943.

In the early days of World War II, Royal Navy fighter requirements had been based on cumbersome two-seat designs, such as the fighter/dive-bomber Blackburn Skua (and its turreted derivative the Blackburn Roc) and the fighter/reconnaissance Fairey Fulmar, since it was expected that they would encounter only long-range bombers or flying boats and that navigation over featureless seas required the assistance of a radio operator/navigator.[N 3]The Royal Navy hurriedly adopted higher-performance single-seat aircraft such as the Hawker Sea Hurricane and the less robust Supermarine Seafire alongside, but neither aircraft had sufficient range to operate at a distance from a carrier task force. The Corsair was welcomed as a more robust and versatile alternative.[69]

In November 1943, the Royal Navy received its first batch of 95 Vought F4U-1s, which were given the designation "Corsair [Mark] I". The first squadrons were assembled and trained on the U.S. East Coast and then shipped across the Atlantic. The Royal Navy put the Corsair into carrier operations immediately. They found its landing characteristics dangerous, suffering a number of fatal crashes, but considered the Corsair to be the best option they had.

In Royal Navy service, because of the limited hangar deck height in several classes of British carrier, many Corsairs had their outer wings "clipped" by 8 in (200 mm) to clear the deckhead.[70] The change in span brought about the added benefit of improving the sink rate, reducing the F4U's propensity to "float" in the final stages of landing.[70] Despite the clipped wings and the shorter decks of British carriers, Royal Navy aviators found landing accidents less of a problem than they had been to U.S. Navy aviators, thanks to the curved approach they used: British units solved the landing visibility problem by approaching the carrier in a medium left-hand turn, which allowed the pilot to keep the carrier's deck in view over the anhedral in the left wing root. This technique was later adopted by U.S. Navy and Marine fliers for carrier use of the Corsair.[71]

The Royal Navy developed a number of modifications to the Corsair that made carrier landings more practical. Among these were a bulged canopy (similar to the Malcolm Hood), raising the pilot's seat 7 in (180 mm),[72] and wiring shut the cowl flaps across the top of the engine compartment, diverting oil and hydraulic fluid spray around the sides of the fuselage.[25]
Deployment

The Royal Navy initially received 95 "birdcage" F4U-1s from Vought which were designated Corsair Mk I in Fleet Air Arm service.[73] Next from Vought came 510 "blown-canopy" F4U-1A/-1Ds, which were designated Corsair Mk II (the final 150 equivalent to the F4U-1D, but not separately designated in British use).[74] 430 Brewster Corsairs (334 F3A-1 and 96 F3A-1D), more than half of Brewster's total production, were delivered to Britain as the Corsair Mk III.[75] 857 Goodyear Corsairs (400 FG-1/-1A and 457 FG-1D) were delivered and designated Corsair Mk IV.[76] The Mk IIs and Mk IVs were the only versions to be used in combat.[77]

The Royal Navy cleared the F4U for carrier operations well before the U.S. Navy and showed that the Corsair Mk II could be operated with reasonable success even from escort carriers. It was not without problems; one was excessive wear of the arrester wires, due both to the weight of the Corsair and the understandable tendency of the pilots to stay well above the stalling speed. A total of 2,012 Corsairs were supplied to the United Kingdom.[78]

Fleet Air Arm (FAA) units were created and equipped in the United States, at Quonset Point or Brunswick and then shipped to war theaters aboard escort carriers. The first FAA Corsair unit was 1830 NAS, created on the first of June 1943, and soon operating from HMS Illustrious. At the end of the war, 18 FAA squadrons were operating the Corsair. British Corsairs served both in Europe and in the Pacific. The first, and also most important, European operations were the series of attacks (Operation Tungsten) in April, July, and August 1944 on the German battleship Tirpitz, for which Corsairs from HMS Victorious and HMS Formidable provided fighter cover.[79] It appears the Corsairs did not encounter aerial opposition on these raids.[citation needed]

From April 1944, Corsairs from the British Pacific Fleet took part in several major air raids in South East Asia beginning with Operation Cockpit, an attack on Japanese targets at Sabang island, in the Dutch East Indies.[citation needed]

In July and August 1945, Corsair naval squadrons 1834, 1836, 1841, and 1842 took part in a series of strikes on the Japanese mainland, near Tokyo. These squadrons operated from Victorious and Formidable.[80] On 9 August 1945, days before the end of the war, Corsairs from Formidable attacked Shiogama harbor on the northeast coast of Japan. Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve pilot, Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray, of 1841 Squadron was hit by flak but pressed home his attack on the Japanese destroyer escort Amakusa, sinking it with a 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb but crashing into the sea. He was posthumously awarded Canada's last Victoria Cross, becoming the second fighter pilot of the war to earn a Victoria Cross as well as the final Canadian casualty of World War II.[81] [N 4]


FAA Corsairs originally fought in a camouflage scheme with a Dark Slate Grey/Extra Dark Sea Grey disruptive pattern on top and Sky undersides, but were later painted overall dark blue.[citation needed] As it had become imperative for all Allied aircraft in the Pacific Theater of World War II to abandon all use of any "red devices" in their national insignia — to prevent any chance of misidentification with Japanese military aircraft, all of which bore the circular, all-red Hinomaru insignia (nicknamed a "meatball" by Allied aircrew[citation needed]) that is still in use to this day, the United States removed all areas of red color (specifically removing the red center to the roundel) and removed any sort of national fin/rudder markings, which at that time had seven horizontal red stripes, from the American national aircraft insignia scheme by 6 May 1942. The British did likewise, starting with a simple paintover with white paint, of their "Type C" roundel's red center, at about the time the U.S. Navy removed the red-center from their roundel. Later, a shade of slate gray center color replaced the white color on the earlier roundel. When the Americans starting using the added white bars to either side of their blue/white star roundel on 28 June 1943; SEAC British Corsairs, most all of which still used the earlier blue/white Type C roundel with the red center removed, added similar white bars to either side of their blue-white roundels to emulate the Americans.[citation needed]

In all, out of 18 carrier-based squadrons, eight saw combat, flying intensive ground attack/interdiction operations and claiming 47.5 aircraft shot down.[82]

At the end of World War II, under the terms of the Lend-Lease agreement, the aircraft had to be paid for or to be returned to the U.S. As the UK did not have the means to pay for them, the Royal Navy Corsairs were pushed overboard into the sea in Moreton Bay off Brisbane, Australia

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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#382 Post by FD2 » Fri May 06, 2022 8:22 pm

Royal New Zealand Air Force


Equipped with obsolete Curtiss P-40s, Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) squadrons in the South Pacific performed impressively, in particular in the air-to-air role. The American government accordingly decided to give New Zealand early access to the Corsair, especially as it was not initially being used from carriers. Some 424 Corsairs equipped 13 RNZAF squadrons, including No. 14 Squadron RNZAF and No. 15 Squadron RNZAF, replacing Douglas SBD Dauntlesses as well as P-40s.[84] Most of the F4U-1s[N 5] were assembled by Unit 60 with a further batch assembled and flown at RNZAF Hobsonville. In total there were 336 F4U-1s and 41 F4U-1Ds used by the RNZAF during the Second World War. Sixty FG-1Ds arrived late in the war.[85]


The first deliveries of lend-lease Corsairs began in March 1944 with the arrival of 30 F4U-1s at the RNZAF Base Depot Workshops (Unit 60) on the island of Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides. From April, these workshops became responsible for assembling all Corsairs for the RNZAF units operating the aircraft in the South West Pacific; and a Test and Despatch flight was set up to test the aircraft after assembly. By June 1944, 100 Corsairs had been assembled and test flown.[84] The first squadrons to use the Corsair were 20 and 21 Squadrons on Espiritu Santo, operational in May 1944. The organization of the RNZAF in the Pacific and New Zealand meant that only the pilots and a small staff belonged to each squadron (the maximum strength on a squadron was 27 pilots): squadrons were assigned to several Servicing Units (SUs, composed of 5–6 officers, 57 NCOs, 212 airmen) which carried out aircraft maintenance and operated from fixed locations:[86] hence F4U-1 NZ5313 was first used by 20 Squadron/1 SU on Guadalcanal in May 1944; 20 Squadron was then relocated to 2 SU on Bougainville in November.[87] In all there were ten front line SUs plus another three based in New Zealand. Because each of the SUs painted its aircraft with distinctive markings[88] and the aircraft themselves could be repainted in several different color schemes, the RNZAF Corsairs were far less uniform in appearance than their American and FAA contemporaries.[89] By late 1944, the F4U had equipped all ten Pacific-based fighter squadrons of the RNZAF.[85]

By the time the Corsairs arrived, there were very few Japanese aircraft left in New Zealand's allocated sectors of the Southern Pacific, and despite the RNZAF squadrons extending their operations to more northern islands, they were primarily used for close support of American, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers fighting the Japanese. At the end of 1945, all Corsair squadrons but one (No. 14) were disbanded. That last squadron was based in Japan, until the Corsair was retired from service in 1947.[90]

No. 14 Squadron was given new FG-1Ds and in March 1946 transferred to Iwakuni, Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.[91] Only one airworthy example of the 437 aircraft procured survives: FG-1D NZ5648/ZK-COR, owned by the Old Stick and Rudder Company at Masterton, New Zealand.



RNZAF Corsairs with a Royal Australian Air Force CAC Boomerang on Bougainville, 1945.
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#383 Post by Hydromet » Wed May 18, 2022 8:26 am

FD2, 55 years ago I was on a working holiday in NZ, and had a job at a bike shop in Auckland. The owner flew Corsairs with 21 Sqn, and did two tours to Bougainville. He was about to return from leave for his third when the war ended.
He was a wonderful person, good to work for and took me flying around Auckland, Hamilton etc.

Some of his photos are http://www.warbirdinformationexchange.o ... hp?t=31907.

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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#384 Post by FD2 » Wed May 18, 2022 10:22 pm

Thanks Hydromet - I'll check out the website.

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