F4F Wildcat Held the Line During WWII


The F4F Wildcat Saw Service Throughout WWII

Health Editor’s Note: This well armored and difficult to shoot down plane offered the U.S. the ability to rule the skies in the Pacific theater during WWII….Carol


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  1. The successor of the F4F Wildcat was the F6F Hellcat, which were the frontline dominant carrier borne fighters which filled the skies at the time of the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri……

  2. I was interested to meet Larry, 1st Marine LURP Vet from Vietnam War, http://www.nzaa.com Chairman NZ American Association, at Queen Elizabeth Park (formerly Camp MacKay 1942 for First and Second Marines) last weekend and Larry had good stories. He said all the Southern Cross Emblems on Marine Flags came from here. Our family has a house nearby at 8 Jeep Road and Granddad Frank Lynch fought in Greece and Crete (May 1941), the latter as an Open Sights Sniper as the Hitler Youth Paratroopers came falling out of the sky. He had been shooting rabbits off the back of a horse at Queenstown pre-war and the Germans took 6,000 dead from 20,000 dropped. His unit, Composite Battalion, Prison Valley took 80% casualties and a literate survivor wrote a letter to be opened after he died in Old Age. It read: “If there is another war, I hope that it is Nuclear, because I don’t want you to go through what I went through”. They had a “War Room” at the Naenae RSA and drank too much beer after work.

  3. I have taken considerable interest in the Early Campaigns in the Pacific in 1941-42. My father was Conscripted as a Private after the ABC Military Conference in Washington in about February 1941, where the USA committed to a “Germany First and Holding Action Against Japan in The Pacific”, even though the USA was not in the war at that time and he was in Fiji six weeks later. The 2NZEF was in Greece, then Crete and in 1942 was with Indian, Australian, Sth African and useless Hooray Henry British Armour at Alemein, left to guard the oil. By Christmas 1941, dad RNZA 44888, 8 Brigade Group) was a WO2 in the first truck down to the Back Beach. Five rounds of ammo and a Fijian with a Machete (“Firm Friends”) alongside. A thoroughly Laxative Experience. Certainly by Battle of Coral Sea, drawn one carrier apiece, but Japs withdrew rather than risk Troop Ships of Port Moresby Invasion Fleet, enabling Aussies to start Kokoda Trail Campaign and then Midway with Catastrophic Result for Japs, Five Carriers Down to one Yank, the Jap Perimeter was stopped from further expansion.

    • The F4F was USA Front Line Fighter Plane in the early phase of WW2. Although not as fast, manoeuvrable or having rate of climb of Mitsubishi Zero, it had Armour behind the pilot’s seat, I think Self Sealing Gas Tanks (unlike the Zero) and Formidable Six 0.5″ Browning Guns and a good dive and swoop from height, as seen in the video. The Less Than Devastating TBD and the Scandalous Mk13 Torpedo were useless, except to draw the AA fire that shot them down, whereas the Japs had the Good Torpedo Design from Britain that Nice Mr Schiff had Financed. The Code Purple Jap Naval Code was Cracked and, prepositioned for ambush at Midway, a Senior USA Commander Pressed on at risk of running out of fuel and swooped in while the Japs had decided to rearm and had all their fuel lines out on deck. The SBD Dauntless was an effective Dive Bomber.

    • Henderson Field on Guadalcanal was where this Aircraft Really Held The Line. The Japs had to come 600 miles down The Slot from Rabaul and early on the Aussies had Civilian P and T S.W. Radio Operators, “Coast Watchers” to report the early morning transit of Jap Aircraft, transmitting into the night to MacArthur in Melbourne, from where the Wildcats were timed to scramble from Henderson nicely to cut down on Loiter Time and preserve fuel for Combat Intercepts. “Beware of The Hun in The Sun” and these guys got up High in the Morning Sun and swooped on the Jap Fighters and Bombers alike. Unfortunately, the Japs Triangulated the S.W. Burst Signals and gradually started killing the Coast Watchers. None of the Aircraft available; B17s out of Santa Cruz, Dauntless or Wildcats out of Henderson were suitable for Reconnaissance up The Slot. My Maternal Uncle was with No3 Squadron RNZAF, Hudson Light Bombers, which went into Guadalcanal in October – November 1942 after the 8 August Invasion.

    • John McCain’s Grandfather was a USN Admiral and technically in charge of the “Cactus” Air Force on Henderson field, but never went into that place himself. Clausewitz does advocate putting brains into the front line, but of course that takes courage as well as intelligence. A bit like “Silver Star Johnson” aka LBJ, who was flown across the tiniest corner of the safest part of the safest War Zone, so that he qualified for his Silver Star Award. Possibly a Feat of Valour to rival some of the Pampered Princes of The Pentagon today.

      Perhaps the intelligent man stays away from bullets, bombs and shells, incoming. Remember after early losses of fleet units, the USN more or less withdrew, especially the scarce and valuable carriers, dumping minimal amounts of material on the beach and left the Marines to their own devices. The RJN had a free hand for a while at night and the so-called Tokyo Express of Jap Cruisers came close and regularly shelled Henderson Field.

    • John McCain’s father though was an actual WW2 submarine Captain and there is a memorial at the Band Rotunda in Island Bay Wellington, with a bronze plaque engraved with quite a long list of USN submarines lost in WW2, especially vulnerable with the Torpedo Scandal and all the misfires. Island Bay was home of the Italian Community, mostly from Stromboli near Sicily, and Italians were put against Japan in the USN, also into subs that were dangerous and they were often short, good for tanks too in the army. Tunnel Rats in Vietnam too, pretty dodgy. Bit like the Brits putting the Despised Irish into REME Engineering Companies with high casualty rates. General O’Connor rounded up about 300,000 Italians in the Western Desert, leading to the old trope Italian joke: “did you hear about the Italian tank, five reverse gears and one forward in case they get attacked from behind”. Unfair, because they just didn’t want to fight for Mussolini’s Ambition. Rommel was a different Kettle of Fish.

    • The father of Admiral “Harry” Harris, sometime CINCPAC and US Ambassador to Australia, had his Balls on The Line in the USS Lexington on Coral and took a Swim after that carrier sank during the Decisive Battle of the Early Pacific WW2. I wasn’t even a Swimmer in My Ol’ Man’s Scrotum and probably never would have got to swim without the Generous and Courageous Actions of the Sailors on those Carriers; Hornet, Wasp, Enterprise, Lexington, Yorktown are names that spring to mind and there weren’t many of them.

  4. Combined with an 840-horsepower Sakae 12 radial engine, the A6M2 Type Zero could attain speeds of 346 miles per hour, while exhibiting extraordinary maneuverability and high rates of climb that made it a formidable contender. Having said that I still would love to own a Wildcat.

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