Grumman F4F Wildcat
4 - .50 cal.
2 - 100 lbs. ea.
28 ft. 9 in.
The Grumman F4F Wildcat started life as a biplane. It was turned into a monoplane with new wings, tail and a more powerful engine.
The United States, France, and Great Britain eventually all used the fighter. When France fell to Germany in June of 1940, Wildcat aircraft were transferred to Great Britain. The Grumman F4F Wildcat became the primary fighter aircraft of both the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy by the end of 1940.
The British put the Grumman F4F Wildcat to use quickly when they saw action against German and Italian aircraft over North Africa. Other British Wildcats were employed to give air cover to convoys supplying the nation.
When the United States entered World War II on December 7, 1941, the Grumman F4F Wildcat was the primary United States Navy carrier based fighter aircraft. It was also used by a number of land based United States Marine Corps units.
The Grumman F4F Wildcat was relatively under powered and could not match most enemy fighter aircraft in climb or maneuverability. However, its self sealing fuel tanks and heavy armor plating made it a difficult aircraft to bring down. When flown by well trained pilots employing the strengths of the aircraft, they could be a potent adversary.
Although Grumman F4F Wildcat aircraft started being replaced on large carriers by the model F6F in 1943, their production continued. The smaller and slower landing Wildcat was employed on escort carriers, where larger aircraft couldn't be used.
Grumman F4F Wildcat aircraft participated in the battles of Midway, Guadalcanal, the Solomons, and with the British in North African operations. Their war record was 1,327 enemy aircraft destroyed with a loss of 191, for a victory ratio of almost 7 to 1.
A total of about 7,800 F4F Wildcat aircraft were produced by Grumman and General Motors through the end of World War Two.