The Grumman F4F Wildcat was the best fighter aircraft available to the U.S. Navy at the beginning of the Pacific Campaign, and U.S. pilots flying the type soon evolved tactics for dealing with the more maneuverable Zero - keeping above the Zero and not attempting to dogfight with it, but diving on it and remaining in the dive to escape. If a dogfight did prove necessary, however, the Wildcat's sturdy construction afforded the pilot good protection and enabled the type to absorb a great deal of combat damage and still be able to reach the carrier.
F4F Wildcat Specifications
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radial, 1,200hpArmament: Six .5 inch machine guns and two 100 pound bombsMaximum speed: 328 mph at 21,000 feet; Climb: 2,265 feet per minuteCeiling: 37,500 feetRange: 845 milesWeights empty/loaded: 5,342/8,152 poundsSpan: 38 feet; Length: 28 feet 9 inches
Vaught F4U Corsair
The Vought F4U series of fighters, named the Corsair, was one of the "greats" of air fighting in the Second World War. Fast, rugged and packing a great punch with its six machine guns and considerable bomb load, the Corsair was at first rejected by the U.S. Navy as a carrier borne fighter as a result of its high landing speed. After its success with the U.S. Marines and carrier use by the Royal Navy, however, the Corsair was accepted by the U.S. Navy. This aircraft was also called "Whistling Death" by the Japanese due to its unique sound in flight.
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-2800, 2,000hpArmament: Six .5 inch machine guns plus two 1,000 pound bombs or eight 5 inch rocketsMaximum speed: 417 mph @ 19,900 feetRate of Climb: 2,890 feet per minuteCeiling: 36,900 feetRange: 1,015 miles normalWeights empty/loaded: 8,982/14,000 poundsSpan: 41 feet; Length: 33 feet, 4 inches