During the plight of WWII, an imense arsenal of aircraft was built. Some of these aircraft, such as the F8F- Bearcat, never experienced the harsh reality of battle. However, many of the warbirds constructed during this era did see extensive action. Distinguishing a plane's assignment depended on the capabilities that plane possessed, such as maneuverability, range, armament, speed, and maximum altitude.
One of several 'cat' models manufactured by Grumman Aircraft Corporation , the Bearcat never flew an operation during World War II, as previously mentioned. Instead, it was eventually sold to the French for use in the Indo- Chinese war against the communist Viet-Minh. As you can see, the F8F-1 was designed with folding wings. The original prototypes were crafted with break points in the wings and explosive bolts. This feature was later abandoned, however, and the decision was made to keep the folding wings for obvious reasons such as carrier storage.
The P-47, which was one of America's best fighter planes during the war, made its inaugural flight in 1941. However, the AAF did not receive the plane until March 18, 1942, over three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Almost eleven months later, the P-47 flew its first combat mission, taking off from England for a sweep over western Europe. AAF pilots soon realized the dive capabilities of the plane were unsurpassable in comparison to the German Luftwaffe jets. With an auxilary fuel tank located underneath the fuselage, the P-47's range was aproximately 1,100 miles, which allowed it to escort bombers much farther into German territory. In addition to the extra fuel tank , other features that gave the P-47 more muscle included an armament of eight .50- caliber machine guns, ten 5 inch rockets or 1500 lbs. of bombs, and an Eighteen cylander air cooled 2300 hp. Pratt and Whitney engine. With all of these features, it is no wonder why the P-47 established an impressive record as a high-altitude escort fighter and a low-level fighter-bomber because of its ability to absorb damage and keep flying.
With the need for a fast, high powered fighter containing the armament and armor to outmuscle the elegant and highly maneuverable Japanese fighters, the F4U Corsair was born. Although designed in 1938, the F4U didn't see battle until it was called upon as a fighter escort that was to attack the German battleship Tirpitz at Kaajford, Iceland, in 1944. From there, it went on to become arguably one of the greatest prop fighters ever assembled. With the Corsair wracking up an 11:1 kill ratio, the Japanese airmen nick-named the plane "Whistling Death". The F4U achieved this feat while being used primarily as a land based plane, eventhough it's folding wings make it suitable for carrier operations. In addition to the folding wings, the Corsairs many entangables included and armament of four 20-mm cannons and up to 10 rockets or a total of 1,600 lbs. of bombs. You will notice the inverted gullwing design. This lifted the engine off the ground to allow for the largest diameter propeller to be used in conjunction with the 2,100 hp R2800 Double WASP Radial Engine. The gull-wing design also allowed for low wind drag and enabled a retractable undercarriage to be fitted. The combination of ammunition, armor and engine size was ample proof that the F4U stood head and shoulders above many planes in ground attack capability as well as air-to-air combat.
August 6, 1945... A B-29 nick-named "Enola Gay" dropped the first nuclear bomb in history on Hiroshima, Japan. Only three days later, the call came again to destroy yet another Japanese city, Nagasaki. Again, the B-29 was called upon for what would be the ending of World War II. With 2,200 hp pushing each of the four 18 cylinder dual turbocharged engines, the Superfortress could reach maximum speeds of 375 mph, and cruise at 300 mph. for 4,500 miles without refueling. the B-29's armament included 13 .50-cal magazines in remote controlled turrets and a bomb load up to 10 tons. Being the largest and most sophisticated bomber to enter WWII, the B-29 didn't rely on just armament and speed capabilities. The massive Boeing became a favorite with the crews because of the pressurized and heated crew compartments. After serving our country well in the Pacific during WWII, the B-29 accomplished success in Korea and then in the Strategic Air Command.
My hangar may be small at the moment but renovations and additions are in the near future, so please check back periodically for there are more birds to come.