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CHANCE VOUGHT F4U CORSAIR

Books on the F4U Corsair !
Books on VF-17 The Jolly Rogers !
Roaring Glory Warbirds DVD - V. 3 - Vought Corsair F4U (1998)
F4U-1 GIF IMAGE
Since joining VF-17, Fighting Seventeen, aka The Jolly Rogers, I have been flying the Corsair (also affectionately known as the Hog) extensively. VF-17 being one of the first squads to receive Hogs in the war and gained their fearsome reputation flying Hogs. The Hog in WB is much tamer than the "Ensign Eliminator" VF-17 flew, the fierce torque seems to have been curtailed severely. The WB Hog is actually quite difficult to put into a spin and even if you manage it, spin recovery is simply to let go of the stick ! The WB hog is a tough plane and can take some severe punishment. Flying the Hog has given me a number of personal firsts among these being the first time I achieved a kills/deaths ratio of greater than 1 :) and the Hog 2.0 has also helped me achieve my personal best killing streak of 9 enemies dispatched without loss :)

WB 2.0R2 F4U-1D Flight Model I've never been in a real Hog, so my comparisons will be with the FW, which I used to fly extensively. Since WB2.0 was released I have been flying the Hog exclusively. Sometimes known as the FW of the Pacific Theatre the Hog shares many of the FW's characteristics including high speed, fast roll rate and toughness. There are a few major differences, the large size of the Corsair (bigger target) and the lack of cannons in the current WB version, the F4U-1D, a significantly better sustained rate of turn and of course the very poor rear view (not as bad as the Hellcat's though !).

In previous versions of WB prior to WB2.0 the Hog had a slow acceleration which forced me to change tactics. For example, speed lost in a FW in getting a really tight "blow all your energy" turn to gain lead on an enemy can be easily (relatively speaking :) restored. Lose too much energy in the WB 1.11 Hog and even a slow Zero can get in range to shoot. However, the Hog turns significantly better than the FW and in the heat of combat this results in some downright dumb moves which generally results in my death :(. All has changed now with the new improved Hog in 2.0. Flight model changes in 2.0 have made the Hog a lethal killing machine with the speed and acceleration needed to get into and out of trouble quickly. The legendary toughness, second only to the P-47, remains making the Hog, in my opinion, the most survivable aircraft in WarBirds 2.0.

Previous versions of WB gave the Hog a severe lack of firepower, the six 50 caliber machine guns might have been plenty against the Japanese aircraft the Hog was designed to fight, but sadly against WB's heavier armoured P38s and P51s, the MGs are not anywhere near effective enough. As a result, outright kills needed concentrated fire on any target, even on flimsy Zeros. So I end up with more assists than kills. During this period, a 100 sortie run flying the Hog exclusively netted a KD ratio of about 1:1. My current KD ratio flying the Hog 2.0 is consistantly above 2.5:1, with a best streak of 9 kills. Other factors have influenced the results. The Hog is a much better gun platform, in that it is easier to get a guns solution on a manuvering target. My current Hog 2.0 gun accuracy is about 13%, a vast improvement over the 4-5% I used to get with the FW190A8 and A4. The new P200MMX CPU in my computer may have something to do with this though :).

F4U-1D Damage Model

The Hog is an extremely tough plane and there are no particularly noticeable weak points, except maybe the elevators. The only times I've been shot down in a Hog is due to severe multiple failures. Losing the elevators isn't immediately fatal, the Hog is landable without elevators, come in relatively fast to keep the nose up, line up with the runway as soon as possible. Do *NOT* deploy your flaps, this will transform the Hog into a lawn dart. It can also maintain level flight without the vertical stabilisers, just don't try to turn :). As soon as you lose the vertical stabiliser, ditch without turning.

The Aviation Enthusiast Corner at Brooklyn College has specifications of the F4U-1D.

F4U Tactics

Generally, I fly the F4U similarly to the FW ... high speed slashing dives from above. I usually keep an eye on airspeed during these dives, exceeding 450 mph is risky and exceeding 500 mph is usually fatal so there is little point in going so fast, anyway, its too fast to get a good guns solution on anything other than a straight and level target. Another thing is that the 50 caliber guns need do work a bit harder to kill things other than zekes. Slashing attacks are the only way to stay alive in a Hog with Ki-84s and P-38Ls in a furball. FWs (especially the Dora) are also very dangerous if there are other better turning aircraft in the mix forcing you to extend (aka running away :) where they can run you down.

Defensive tactics depends on what is on your 6 and if there are other things around. If the pursuer is a P-47, P-51 or any FW, turn and fight them. The F4U out-turns all these with a healthy margin. If any other fighter is with the pursuer or within icon range, keep extending to maintain your speed, jinking and rolling to avoid gunfire and yell for help on the radio :). If the slower aircraft give up the chase and disengage, you can fight the 47s, 51s and FWs. The Ki-84 is probably the greatest threat to the Hog, it turns better, climbs better, accelerates better and has a very similar top speed. This means that unless you have a vast energy advantage, you cannot run from a Ki-84. Enter a fight with Ki-84s present with great care and planning. The only known defence (that I know of anyway :) against a Ki-84 on your 6, is a high speed vertical power dive, roll into a random direction (attempt to force the Ki-84 to roll as much as possible) and pull out of the dive. This uses the Hog's superior roll rate at high speed and takes advantage of the Ki-84's very very sluggish high speed roll performance. If you are too low to dive, all is not lost, make use of that roll rate, yell for help on the radio and hope the Ki-84 runs out of cannon shells :). This technique also works well with other slow rollers. It will not work with other F4Us, FWs and P-38Ls which also have good high speed roll rates.

The key to survival in an F4U is to enter the fight with more energy than the opposition and make sure you also leave the fight with more energy than the opposition. This means taking your time to climb to higher altitudes. I usually enter the fight at no lower than 10K and 15- 20K if the enemy present is at higher altitudes. WB VF-17 has a coveted squad award, the Kepford award, named after VF-17's highest scoring ace, Ira Kepford. This award is given to WB VF-17 members who have achieved a 16 kill streak without a single death, bail or ditch. I have yet to achieve this and the closest I have come is a 9 kill streak, and I keep trying :). Anyone can run up huge scores flying the Ki-84, P-38L and FW 190D-9 but so what ?

Books on the F4U Corsair !
Books on VF-17 The Jolly Rogers !


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Return to WarBird's Aircraft Page This page was created on Tuesday, November 25, 1997 and last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2000