-The F4U Corsair-
The corsair was regarded as a outstanding fighter. At one time it was thought to be used as a
fighter escort for bombers in the European theatre in 1943. The restricted view of the canopy
was one of the determining factors that made it not one of the most favorable carrier borne
fighters. The corsair was still a very formidable fighter. It was the first US warplane to exceed
400 mph in level flight. Deliveries of the Corsair took place in 1942. The original engine was a
2,000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8 Radial. Later in the F4U-1A is was refitted to a 2,250 hp
R-2800. The engine had a water-methanol injection that made it an outstanding fighter with
good performance compared to its Japanese advesaries. Carrier trials in the later part of
September 43 didn't impress the Navy much. In fact it was rejected as a a primary carrier
fighter at first. Later it was re-examined after some changes were made, mainly the bounce
on landing problem the Corsair was first known for. After the trials the Corsair was accepted
and embarked on the first war cruise of January 1944 as a night fighter. The success of the
cruise convinced the Navy to form more squadrons of the bent wing fighter in time for the final
assault on Japan's island bastions.
Marine Corsairs fought ably in all the last Pacific campaigns particularly in Iwo Jima and
Okinawa. Probably the most colorful and well known Marine F4U ace of the time was
Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. Boyington was the commanding officer of the VMF-214 and also
led the Black Sheep and served with the volunteers of the famous Flying Tigers. Boyington
Himself spent a year and a half as a Japenese POW and was later awarded the
Congressional Medal of Honor.
The F4U Corsair Stats
Type: Single-seat ship board fighter
Span: 40' 11"
Length: 33' 8.25"
Height: 14' 9.25"
Weight empty: 8,873 lbs.
Engine: Pratt-Whitney 2250 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8 Radial.
Armament: 6 .50-in wing machine guns. Up to 2,000 lbs of bombs, or 8 HVAR rockets on
Maximum speed: 395 mph
Range: 1000 miles