View Full Version : Wildcats

10-07-2004, 09:20 PM



love the old color pics...

10-07-2004, 09:28 PM
Hmmm, I guess in the first picture they only have one drop tank equipped for a certain reason. The range isn't long enough to require two, and so the weight is discarded? I have never seen that before....oh and excellent pictures....I just love that tubby little plane.

10-07-2004, 09:38 PM
great observation Sturmvogel... and only the right tank is loaded... hmmm.. more trim control to counter roll to that side I wonder...or? anyone else ever heard of one external tank config. on the wildcat?

10-07-2004, 10:00 PM
Hmm, that could be it, but why sacrifice a whole extra tank just to counter balance a force that the pilot could easily trim out anyway? Must be because the range they are going only requires one tank and while the tanks are on the plane does not really need to be balanced, so they figured why not just use one? I dunno?

10-07-2004, 10:06 PM
well - what I meant was that maybe they loaded the right tank only - as opposed to the left tank only due to better roll trim to that side.

As to why only one tank is loaded?

Maybe the carriers' onboard supply of Av-gas was depleated to the point where the CAP flights or patrol flights had to make do with less fuel - rather than fewer planes in the CAP or on anti sub patrol...?

I hope someone who has read or heard of this will post because I've never heard of it either.

And I wonder whats burning there off the stern quarter?

10-07-2004, 10:08 PM
Hmmm, I think we need someone in here who knows what they are talking about, as for me, I am a little tipsy right now and not thinking on my best judgment http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif but I think it has to do with the range still.

10-07-2004, 10:11 PM
I love beer...but it hates me.

10-07-2004, 10:25 PM
Wildcats almost never flew with 2 tanks, actually. Not sure about the side offhand, I'd have to check, I read about it once and forgot.


10-07-2004, 11:59 PM
Wow, I never knew that!!! Let us know what you find.

10-08-2004, 12:04 AM
Yea, thats the norm, just the one drop tank. They ouldnt put it on the underside so they wing mounted it. I think the F4F's had no drop tanks to begin with, they were special made, but Im not sure. No bombs allowed with drop tank. Being FM's you think they would have "fixed" the problem.

10-08-2004, 12:06 AM
Well, I just don't understand, I mean yeah I understand the fact that they can't have a single one under the belly, but why only one on one side? Wouldnt that cause a balance issue? Why not just stick another one on, if anything it provides more range a security and balances out the fighter.

10-08-2004, 12:54 AM
Well remember hellcats and corsairs with radar? This is tucked in pretty good. It has something to do with how the engine takes the gas or something.Makes it kinda quirky!

10-08-2004, 01:02 AM
oops got a pic of a F4F4, restored with a left wing drop tank, unless the photo is reversed. The only official Grumman F4F4 in the US? owned by the marines.??

Texas LongHorn
10-08-2004, 02:03 AM
This was a pretty common setup guys. The prop in the Wildcat will tend to drop the port wing from the engine torque. The single external tank set to starboard actually helps to reduce torque until the fuel is burned off. My Uncle told me about this setup a number of years ago. Pretty smart idea when you think of it, huh?
All the best, LongHorn

10-08-2004, 10:17 AM
Yes, Texas LongHorn is right. I have just finished reading "Wildcat", by Barrett Tillman, great book btw, and it states that in later Wildcat variants the increased torque induced a tendency to swing upon take-off. The pilots would try to correct that tendency by going to the right....

10-08-2004, 10:45 AM
Hmmm, okay, well I guess ya learn something new every day. Thanks for the info guys, that is really interesting. Good old American ingenuity!

10-08-2004, 10:48 AM
On the F4Fs (vs the FM-2) they were also very concerned about performance. It was a dog on the climb, and they wanted to get more range without crippling their performance, hence the belly tank moving to the wing root. 2 tanks would have meant slower speeds, and worse ROC. It's not impossible that the combo could have made the extra tank not worth it in terms of any range gained.


10-08-2004, 10:59 AM
Another theory guys. The picture was taken during the Battle off Samar. The escort carriers were under attack by battleships, crusiers, and destroyers at the time. Shell splashes around another ship, I'm assuming another escort carrier of "Taffy 3" in the background. They were in such a hurry to launch planes to attack the Japanese ships, some Avengers were launched with depth charges or with no ordnance at all. Perhaps, though spectulating, there was no time for for anything else.
This was a classic battle. David and Goliath type. There is a book just out, which I read, about this battle. Can't recall the title right now, but its more about the Tin Can sailors (with those words in the title of the book). Extremely good reading. Gives the heroic destroyers and airman their due.

10-08-2004, 11:02 AM
raptor, wildcats didn't use 2 tanks. That's just fact. The only theories in here revolve around one side or another for placing them.


10-08-2004, 11:37 AM
Tater. Not trying to get testy here. Just making a observation is all. Interesting picture here though, wouldn't you agree? Look carefully under both wings.


10-08-2004, 12:06 PM
That being said, the FM-2 flight manual has >2< droptank "handles". So you could fit 2 tanks if you wanted to.

10-08-2004, 12:13 PM
I spy, with my little eye, ANOTHER TANK!!!

10-08-2004, 12:20 PM



10-08-2004, 12:46 PM
I should have said "rarely." I was only talking about grummans in 1942 though, not 1943+, and not FMs.



10-08-2004, 01:54 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tater-SW-:
I should have said "rarely." I was only talking about grummans in 1942 though, not 1943+, and not FMs.



Some say the best way to get out of a hole is to stop digging................ http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/34.gif

10-08-2004, 03:14 PM
Jeep carriers' aircraft were used for two main roles: ground support and ASW. During an invasion, the 'hop' to the target area wasn't that long; extra fuel is needed for loiter time, but in all likelihood, all your ordnance would be expended before you used up the fuel in two tanks (and you drop those tanks as soon as you start taking fire). From the lack of rockets or bombs, and what appears to shell splashes in the background, I'm guessing that these fighters were gassed up for their next sorties when the Japanese battleships showed up, but not bombed or rocketed up when they had to make their hasty departures.

Shipping extra drop tanks is expensive in materials and space aboard ship, so the likely reason for single tanks is that the torque permits it to be done safely (possibly more safely than a 'balanced' loadout), and it is the most effective use of resources at the end of a long supply chain.

If this is supposed to be the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the book Raptor's thinking of is probably "The Men of the Gambier Bay", about the one carrier that was sunk by naval gunfire in that battle; the crew was not rescued for some time after the sinking, and suffered horrificly during and after the sinking.



10-08-2004, 03:51 PM
DO NOT CLICK ON THE PIC LINK IN RAPTOR'S POST. It harbors a trojan. I am thankful I keep my viruscan on and up to date, so it was stopped, but those who don't won't be happy.

10-08-2004, 04:16 PM
Raptor's guess may be the best--it is Taffy 3, a Japanese battle fleet is coming west through Surigao Strait, and all we have is some jeep carriers and some DDs to stop it. Talk about ****storm. A/C did sortie off the carriers with partial ammo loadouts (and maybe partial fuel, single tanks, as well). Some took off with no ordnance at all. Imagine that for a PF single mission--make a Japanese BB do a 180 and turn tail by making dry passes on it

10-08-2004, 04:42 PM
The book I was talking about is "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors", written by James D Hornfischer. Very good book.

Didnt get any indication of a virus from that site Rebel. Had some friends look at it as well and they didn't say a thing, weird.

10-08-2004, 06:33 PM
The use of one wing-tank on the Wildcat was deemed OK since it was located very near the fuselage. The closer to the fuselage, the less effect if had lateral handling. Sticking it further out on the wing would have presented a problem.

You could do that on the Wildcat due to the configuration of the landing gears. They weren't up in the wings, so you could get the racks very close to the fuselage.

Same thing with the Hellcat (and Corsair). The landing gears folded back, parallel to the fuselage, instead of up towards the fuselage. Therefore, it was possible to place bomb-racks between the gears and the fuselage. Hellcats routinely flew with one 1,000lb bomb under one wing, and nothing under the other. The Thunderbolt, Mustang or other similarly configured plane would have had a lot of trouble carrying a heavy load under just one wing.

Of course, the ideal place to put a load is on (or in) the fuselage. But if it has to be on a wing, the closer to the fuselage the better.

10-09-2004, 11:07 AM
I love that first pic!!!
In the background you can see bombs going off around a ship that's under attack.

Talk about being in "the thick of it!"