Designed and built by Brewster Aeronautical Corporation in , the F2A Buffalo aircraft was the U.S. Navy's first monoplane fighter aircraft and was. The F2A was selected to succeed the aging and outmoded line of Grumman F3F fighters and its performance was markedly better than the competing Grumman offering. Designated Model s, the Finnish Brewsters were very similar to the Navy's F2A-1 with Wright Cyclones. Despite the type's dreadful onetime. VULNERABILITY SCANNER RETINA DISPLAY At the same time. In the them can. The port may seem fetching schedule the requests discontinuedand continue the positive pay file.
Most of the pilots of Lentolaivue 24 were Winter War combat veterans. This squadron claimed a total of Soviet aircraft with Bs, while losing 15 Buffalos in combat. Five SBs were claimed as downed. Subsequent attacks were repelled by LLv24 pilots who, by dusk, had flown 77 sorties. Many Finnish pilots racked up enormous scores by using basic tactics against Soviet aircraft. The default tactic was the four-plane " parvi " swarm , with a pair flying lower as bait, and a higher pair to dive on enemy interceptors.
The Soviet Air Force was never able to counteract this tactic. The top-scoring B pilot was Hans Wind , with 39 kills. During the Continuation War, a lack of replacements led the Finns to develop a copy of the Buffalo built from non- strategic materials such as plywood, however the Humu , as they called it, was already obsolete and only a single prototype was built. By late , the lack of spares, wear-and-tear, and better Soviet fighters and training greatly reduced the effectiveness of Finnish Bs, though LeLv 26 pilots would still claim some 35 victories against Soviet aircraft in mid The last victory by a Buffalo against Soviet aircraft was claimed over the Karelian Isthmus on 17 June From , Finland's air force received Messerschmitt Bf Gs from Germany, and this much-superior fighter re-equipped most Finnish Air Force fighter squadrons.
After Finland signed an armistice with the Soviet Union in September, , they had to drive Finland's former ally, Nazi Germany out of the country during the " Lapland War ". Five Bs continued to fly until , with last flights of Brewsters by the Finnish Air Force on 14 September , when they were stored until scrapped in Just before the start of the war, Belgium sought more modern aircraft to expand and modernize its air force.
The G engine had a power output of 1, hp Navy F2A The arrestor hook and liferaft container were removed, and the aircraft was modified with a slightly longer tail. Only one aircraft   [N 7] reached France by the time Germany launched its Blitzkrieg in the West on 10 May The Buffalo was later captured intact by the Germans, and it was partially rediscovered near Darmstadt in Six more Belgian Brewsters were offloaded at the French Caribbean island of Martinique and languished on a coastal hillside, never to be flown.
Facing a shortage of combat aircraft in January , the British government established the British Purchasing Commission to acquire U. Among the U. The remaining 32 B aircraft ordered by the Belgians, suspended at the fall of France, were passed on to the United Kingdom. The Brewster factory removed the Navy life raft container and arrestor hook , while adding many new items of equipment, including a British Mk III reflector gun sight , a gun camera, a larger fixed pneumatic tire tail wheel, fire extinguisher, engine shutters, a larger battery, and reinforced armor plating and armored glass behind the canopy windshield.
It had a less powerful 1, hp The semi-retractable tail wheel had been exchanged for a larger fixed model, which was also less aerodynamic. At Alor Star airfield in Malaya, the Japanese captured over 1, barrels m 3 of high-octane aviation petrol from British forces, which they promptly used in their own fighter aircraft.
Many of the pilots assigned the Buffalo lacked adequate training and experience in the type. A total of 20 of the original Buffalos were lost in training accidents during Although the Mk I had. When the Japanese invaded northern Malaya on 8 December , the BE initially performed adequately. Against the Nakajima Ki "Nate", the overloaded Brewsters could at least hold their own if given time to get to altitude, and at first achieved a respectable number of kills.
However, the appearance of ever greater numbers of Japanese fighters, including markedly superior types such as the Nakajima Ki "Oscar" soon overwhelmed the Buffalo pilots, both in the air and on the ground. Another significant factor was the Brewster engine's tendency to overheat in the tropical climate, which caused oil to spray over the windscreen, usually forcing an aborted mission and greatly complicating attempts to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft.
In the end, more than 60 Brewster Mk I BE aircraft were shot down in combat, 40 destroyed on the ground, and approximately 20 more destroyed in accidents. It is not entirely clear how many Japanese aircraft the Buffalo squadrons shot down, although RAAF pilots alone managed to shoot down at least Additionally, most of the Japanese aircraft shot down by the Buffalos were bombers.
Alf Clare and R. Doug Vanderfield. The Buffalos and Ps carried out air defenses over Rangoon and Mingaladon as well as strafing missions on Japanese airfields. At the outbreak of war [ clarification needed ] , only 71 had arrived in the Dutch East Indies , and not all were in service. A small number served briefly at Singapore before being withdrawn for the defense of Borneo and Java.
Around the same time the Dutch started to use tracer ammunition as well. These two improved their hit ratio. Still, their lack of heavy machine guns. Apart from their role as fighters, the Brewster fighters were also used as dive bombers against Japanese troopships. Although reinforced by British Commonwealth Buffalo Mk I BE aircraft retreating from Malaya, the Dutch squadrons faced superior numbers in the air, usually odds of one against two or three. Timely early warning from British radar would have countered this deficit, especially in avoiding unnecessary losses from raids on airfields, but the British government had decided too late to send these: the first British radar stations became operational only towards the end of February.
Had they been ready two weeks earlier, the outcome of the Japanese invasion here might well have been different read Boer's book. In a major engagement above Semplak on 19 February , eight Dutch Brewster fighters intercepted a formation of about 35 Japanese bombers with an escort of about 20 Zeros. The Brewster pilots destroyed 11 Japanese aircraft and lost four Brewsters; two Dutch pilots died. Only four airworthy Buffalos remained on 7 March.
Jacob van Helsdingen led this flight on its final sortie that day, and was credited with a Zero before he was killed. August Deibel the most successful Dutch pilots on the Buffalo with three victories each. Dutch pilots claimed 55 enemy aircraft destroyed. Fifth Air Force in Australia. All of these USAAF aircraft were lent to the RAAF, with which they were used mainly for air defence duties outside frontline areas, photo-reconnaissance and gunnery training.
Wake Island fell on the following day. Neefus near Midway, the Buffalo's first kill in U. Parks , whose aircraft division did not fly in paired flights of mutually supporting aircraft. After attacking a formation of 30—40 Aichi D3A 1 "Val" dive bombers escorted by 36 Zeros , the Marines, flying in two divisions of aircraft, downed several Japanese bombers before the escorting Zeros reacted; a furious dogfight developed. Thirteen out of 20 Buffalos were lost;  of the six Wildcats, only two remained flyable at the end of the mission.
The losses included the Marine air commander, Major Parks, who bailed out of his burning Buffalo, only to be strafed by Zeros after parachuting into the sea. The Marine pilots who managed to shake off the Zeros used high speed split-s turns or very steep dives. One F2A-3 pilot, Marine Captain William Humberd, dove away from his pursuers, then attacked a Zero in a head-on pass, shooting his opponent down. Other Buffalos had not been fitted with plate armor behind the pilot, making them vulnerable to even a single bullet or shell.
Losses were aggravated due to the Japanese practice of strafing pilots who had bailed out. Charles S. Hughes, whose Buffalo was forced to retire at the start of the raid due to engine trouble, had a ringside view of the aerial combat:. The Zeros came in strafing immediately afterward.
I saw two Brewsters trying to fight the Zeros. One was shot down and the other was saved by ground fires covering his tail. Both looked like they were tied to a string while the Zeros made passes at them. Second Lt. Charles M. Kunz reported that after successfully downing two Val bombers, he was attacked by Japanese fighters:.
I was at an altitude of about 9, ft, and shoved over in a dive trying to shake the plane on my tail until I was about 20 feet from the water. I was making radical turns hoping the pilot couldn't get steadied on me. I glanced out of the rear and saw that it was a Zero fighter. I continued flying on a rapid turning course at full throttle when I was hit in the head by a glancing bullet.
After he fired a few short bursts he left as I had been in a general direction of degrees heading away from the island. My plane was badly shot up In my opinion, the Zero fighter has been far underestimated. I think it is probably one of the finest fighters in the present war. As for the F2A-3, or Brewster trainer , it should be in Miami as a training plane, rather than used as a first-line fighter.
Claire Chennault's report on the Zero and air combat reached Washington in , where it was disseminated to aviation forces of the U. Army and Navy. The Thach Weave was developed for use by Wildcat pilots against the Zero and was later adopted by other Wildcat squadrons in the Pacific.
Navy and Marine Corps fighting squadrons. Surviving F2A-3 aircraft were transported to the U. The Finnish Air Force produced 36 Buffalo aces. The top three were Capt. Jorma Karhunen , with First Lt Lauri Nissinen also had victories in the type Only export models of the Buffalo are preserved. Navy markings. Finnish B serial no. BW flown by Lt. In June , divers discovered the partial wreckage of a Buffalo in shallow water just off Midway Atoll.
The aircraft had been ditched during February , after an aborted landing attempt in bad weather by 1stLt Charles W. Somers Jr. Gerard Bruggink two kills. However pilots also complained of nose-mounted guns failure to fire probably caused by frayed electrical wires in the synchronized propeller mechanism. The absence plate armor caused other losses but the Japanese also commonly strafed bailed out pilots.
Claire Chennault's report on the Zero and tactics were heard in Washington and triggered the development of two-plane mutual defensive formations and tactics, applied by notably Lt. Cdr "Jimmy" Thach. It benefited greatly to Wildcat pilots. Surviving ones were shipped back to the U. The Buffalo with other operators This is more anecdotal as our main concern here is the USAF, but the longevity and widespread use of this fighter was truly remarkable, especially for one with such appealing reputation.
The Buffalo fought in the Pacific, but also in Europe, basically from the snows of the Taiga to east Asia, and strangely enough, became the favorite fighter ace mount for the Finns, but there were reasons for this. First off, as early customers in April , the Finns obtained the very first version F2A-1 BE requiring them to be already operational and use octane fuel. On 16 December the purchase contract was ready for this F2A-1 variant, "de-navalized", lacking self-sealing fuel tanks, cockpit armor but with a more powerful engine than the F2A-1, the hp Wright RG5 and four machine guns.
All and all, these BE had certainly the best power-to-weight ratio of any Buffalo in service and, adding other factors, explained its successes there. Upon arrival, the Finnish Air Force added armored backrests and metric flight instruments.
One of these planes were matched against a Finnish Fiat G. Finnish pilots generally regarded the BE as being easy to fly, had good range and easy maintenance. The first kills came in 25 June They were opposed often to second-rate pilots and planes, the relics of the winter war, as most modern assets were transferred south. Mig-1 and the Polikarpov I made the bulk of these Soviet squadrons, using outdated tactics and often inexperienced pilots.
Brewster B of LeLv 24 in The BE fighters arrived too late to take part in the Winter War however but they shone during the Continuation War: They performed well despite some issues, solved by the local mechanics, playing with inverted piston rings. The cold also addressed the overheating problem. Teaming up with the Fiat G. Among others, the four-plane "parvi" formation was soon successful one pair used as bait, the other diving on interceptors.
Hans Wind was Finnish's top scorer 39 kills, with LeLv Due to the production stoppe din the US and difficult supplies, the Finns tried to replicate locally the Buffalo using plywood, called the" Humu", a single prototype.
By late , these Bs started to suffer fro worn-out components, and facing a getter opposition, but they fought on until mid, scoring a last kill on 17 June They had been all replaced by Bf Gs. The last of them was retired on 14 September Although this is largely anecdotal, Belgium was the second country to order the Buffalo after Finland. It had a 1, hp It also had a slightly longer tail. However, only one reached France on 10 May It never joined an active unit and was later captured intact by the Germans, but apparently studied but never used and it rediscovered near Darmstadt in Six more Belgian Brewsters were offloaded at the French Caribbean island of Martinique and stayed there until they rusted away until the end of war, while the remainder of the order went directly to the RAF.
The Brewster as examined, and there was already a park of 32 B Belgian ordered aircraft, that were never shipped due to the fall of France in May. They were subsequently passed on to the UK. The RAF personnel however quickly criticized its inadequate armament, no armor nor sealing tanks, and general poor performance, plus engine overheating and maintenance problems.
The pilots also complained bout poor cockpit ergonomics. However they still appreciated its handling, room and visibility inside. It was decided to pass it on to the British and Commonwealth air forces, always short of planes, and to this, the government ordered a complement of aircraft, called BE.
Their fighter squadrons were based in Singapore, Malaya and Burma, and were ready by December In addition to the Buffalo I own issues, pilots which had to flew it completely lacked training on their machines, which arrived by crates. In total 20 were lost in training accidents but in circa Buffalo Mark I were serviceable, tasked to defend Burma, Malaya and Singapore, which was quite a stretch.
Aviation historian Dan Ford stated "The performance Duels became one-sided while others were lost on the ground. Their overheating engine under these climates traduced by oil spray over the windscreen, causing many pilots to get back to the airfield shortly after taking-off.
A Buffalo Mark I being refuelled, from the No. The last Buffalo in Singapore was in action on 10 February, five days before the fall. RAAF pilots nevertheless claimed at least 20 Japanese planes, and overall they claimed around 80 planes, a kill ratio of 1. The No. Some pilots of the latter unit were initially impressed with the Buffalo, but Chennault organized a mock dogfight between them and there was no contest.
They fought over Rangoon and Mingaladon and attacked Japanese airfields. Pilots started to adapt their tactics and by February , Japanese air superiority was achieved. Six Buffalos fled to Calcutta and pilots were re-equip with Hurricanes. The first had rebuilt Wright G engines and the second, a new 1, hp kW Wright R engine. Lighter than the British Buffalo I BE and other commonwealth models, they performed better, pilots wilfully engaging with confidence the Ki "Oscar".
But still, pilots wanted them lighter and they halved the fuel and ammo load, allowing them to match Oscars in turns. By February they received new gunsight and tracer ammunition. But their armament stayed light, even against the lightly-protected Zero and Oscar. Some pilots used them as dive bombers against Japanese troopships.
They fought in February-March with a Japanese superiority. To spare fuel and maximize defence, a British radar station was shipped there, but only became operational at the end of February. The Dutch Buffalos obtained successes, like over Semplak on 19 February , when the eight Brewster fighters intercepted a wave of 35 Japanese bombers escorted by 20 Zeros and managed to claim 11 for the loss of 4.
Only four Buffalos had survived on 7 March. No ace, the best pilots had three kills each. B pilot Lt. Dreibel became an ace. The first ones served n the defence of Malaya, Burma and Singapore see above.
It was an incongruous scene.
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|Dragon ss 201||First off, as early customers in Aprilthe Finns obtained the very first version F2A-1 BE requiring them to be already operational and use octane fuel. Used in the initial period of the Pacific War. These two improved their hit ratio. LATER: 2 x 0. No other enemies were in sight.|
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