Fighter: Hellcat - United States (Pacific 2001)

Fighter: Hellcat - United States (Pacific 2001)

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Part Number:PA01_USHC

Grumman F6F Hellcat

Name

Length

Wingspan

Weight

Max Bomb-load

Armament

Speed

Ceiling

Range

Grumman F6F Hellcat

33’7”

42’10”

9,200 lbs.

2000 lbs.

6x .50 mg’s

380 mph

37,500’

1,040 mi.

 

Grumman F6F Hellcat Fighter

 

ID: Plastic “fighter” gaming piece: Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter from the game Axis & Allies Europe 40 & Pacific 40.

 

The Story of the Hellcat Fighter: The Grumman Corporation had already had an extensive history of producing tough and effective carrier-borne fighters for the US Navy.  Nicknamed the “Grumman Iron Works” for for its hardy designs with armored protection for its pilots and innovations like self-sealing fuel tanks, which were invaluable in helping their planes to bring their pilots home.  In the first half of the war, it was the Grumman F4F Wildcat that carried the bulk of the load.  Not quite as fast or as maneuverable as the Japanese Zero, it was nevertheless a good plane, with good protection for its pilots.  Rookie mistakes or dangerous situations that would have been fatal to a Japanese pilot in his more fragile craft were often survivable in a Wildcat, and meanwhile the US pilots were gradually learning how to compensate for the Wildcat’s flaws and exploit those of the Zero to come out on top.  Nevertheless, the Navy thought it was possible to do better, and since the Zero’s speed and maneuverability were considered its chief advantages, the solution that Grumman arrived upon was fairly straightforward: give the Wildcat more power.  For the air-cooled radial engines that the Navy preferred more power meant a larger engine, but fitting in a larger engine meant scaling up nearly every dimension of the plane just a little.  The end result of these efforts was the F6F Hellcat, a plane that had all of the strengths of the Wildcat, plus a much higher speed than the Zero.  The new fighter was just what the Navy wanted and it quickly piled up an impressive record in air-to-air combat.  Even the Brits began using them, no small endorsement since by this point in the war the British Fleet Air Arm was also making extensive use of navalized versions of the Supermarine Spitfire (the “Seafire”), Hawker Hurricane (“Sea Hurricane”) and the Hellcat’s US arch-rival, the excellent Vought F4-U Corsair.  Among the squadrons of the US fleet carriers, however, the Hellcat became the standard carrier-borne naval fighter (with the Corsair mostly relegated to Marine squadrons) forming a triad with Grumman’s own TBF Avenger Torpedo-bomber and the Douglass Hellcat Dive Bomber as the striking arm of the US Navy’s massive fleet of new Essex class aircraft carriers.

 

Usage Notes: Use this piece for “Global 1939” and “Invasion of Italy” Variants as a fighter unit.  Other US aircraft of interest may be: the Lockheed P-38 Fighter, the Douglass SBD Dauntless Tactical Bomber, & Boeing B17 “Flying Fortress” Strategic Bomber.

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