“BUFFALO” AGAINST THE “SEAGULLS” AND “DONKEYS”

Carrier-based fighter BREWSTER F2A Brewster company was the first fighter monoplane taken into service by the Navy of the United States. Designed in 1937, the beginning of the Second world war he was already considered outdated. Japanese aircraft were superior to it in flight characteristics and firepower. However, the plane was successfully used not only in the US but in other countries, and its combat use by the pilots of the Finnish F2A puts in one number with the most outstanding fighters of the Second world war.

 

The firm of Brewster, specialized in the manufacture of horse-drawn wagons and carriages, was founded in the XVIII century. At the end of the XIX century it began to develop the production of cars, and after the First world war came in the aviation market and received my first order — the manufacture of floats for seaplanes. The beginning of “Great depression” put the company on the brink of bankruptcy, and then, in February 1932, James Wark, formerly employed as engineer at the naval aircraft factory in Philadelphia, brought together a group of investors and bought the moribund firm.
 
In October 1934, the firm was able to obtain a contract from the Navy to build a scout-bomber of its own design XSBA-1. It was an all-metal monoplane with retractable landing gear and the bomb Bay to 227 kg of bombs. The first copy was built April 1936. In 1937, the plane showed the maximum speed 423,2 km/h. All built 13 cars. Until 1942 they flew in the combat squadron VB-3, and then they were transferred into the category of training machines (squadron VT-8).
 
In 1935, the leadership of the Navy has offered the firm of Brewster to participate in the competition to design a new fighter to replace the GRUMMAN F3F biplane. As a result of competition, the fleet wanted to get a new plane with a maximum speed of not less than 482,7 km/h. the competition was also attended by such famous companies like Grumman and Seversky.
 
The new fighter received the designation b-139, looked pretty unusual for American cars — he looks like the famous Soviet fighter N.Polikarpov I-16. In-139 had a very short barrel-shaped fuselage and cantilever wing. Main landing gear — retractable. The wheels were hiding in the fuselage, and the stand — in wing. The design of the fuselage and wing all-metal. Control surface tight fitting cloth. The most original element of the structure was a transparent window in the floor of the cockpit. The aircraft was intended to use engines Wright XR-1690-02 or a Pratt and Whitney XR-1535-92. The screw is three-bladed variable pitch. The main armament consisted of two synchronised 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine guns. In the future, the wing provided space for the installation of two 12.7 mm machine guns.
 
In 1936, the Navy ordered the firms to competitors one prototype fighters for comparative tests. The Grumman aircraft company received the designation XF4F-1, Brewster — XF2A-1 and Seversky fighter company called NF-1. During the development on the XF2A-1 decided to put a more powerful nine-950-horsepower engine, single-row Wright R-1820-22 CYCLONE — equipped and NF-1.
 
Assuming that the biplane XF4F-1 is unlikely to have a chance for success in the competitive rivalry with the fighter-monoplanes, designers of the firm Grumman immediately began the development of the monoplane. On his set chetyrnadtsatiletney engine Pratt and Whitney R-1830. The second of September 1937 under the designation XF4F-2, the aircraft rose into the air. During tests it reached a speed 466,6 km/h. Following, September 24, 1937, flew NF-1. Its maximum speed has not risen above 402,3 km/h. the Pilots complained about low lateral stability and, in the end, the Navy rejected the car. Fighter of the firm of Brewster pulled away from the runway the latest — December 2, 1937. But its top speed was 16 km/h lower than the XF4F-2.
 
Constant problems with the power plant from the XF4F-2 would give the firm Brewster some slack time for fine-tuning your plane. XF2A-1 was sent to Langley for studies in full-scale wind tunnel. Purge showed that the maximum speed can be increased to 48.3 km/h by improving the cooling circuits of the engine, carburetor air intake and closing of niches fairings of the landing gear. The design of a fighter modified by selecting all of the recommendations of the most simple to implement. It turned out that the only alteration of the carburetor air intakes and oil cooler will significantly increase the maximum speed (up to 489 km/h at an altitude of 4877 m) and climb rate (up to 838 m/min). Pilots raved about the maneuverability of the aircraft. Thus, the requirements for a new carrier-based fighter, was fully satisfied. The first series of the fighters of the firm of Brewster F2A-1 of the 54 aircraft, the US Navy ordered 11 Jun 1938. It was the first fighter monoplane to be adopted by the armament of carrier-based aircraft.
 
Production aircraft F2A-1 differed more powerful engines of the company Wright R-1820-22 with a capacity of 950 HP and a lot of changes in the design. To improve visibility has been changed cabin Windows, and enlarged Windows in the floor, was installed telescopic sight, the front of the radio antenna moved to starboard. The first two machines had the keel is of elliptical shape, but others used triangular keel larger area.
 
The first aircraft became available to the fleet in June 1939, and by November the firm was transferred to the fleet of only five cars. In parts revealed the unpleasant feature of the new fighter — the cab got engine exhaust and sailors demanded remedy this serious drawback.
 
At the beginning of 1939 the governments of several European States, considering that the next war can not be avoided, began to show an interest in American military equipment. Did not remain without attention and American planes. In August 1939, the Polish government ordered 250 fighter F2A-1 Brewster company. But aircraft deliveries for this order has not begun.
 
In September 1939, the representatives of Finland appealed to the US state Department with a request to allow the purchase of American aircraft. A military conflict between the USSR and Finland has accelerated the harmonization of the details of the Treaty, the Americans agreed to sell the Finns 43 F2A-1, previously intended for its carrier-based aircraft. Firm Brewster has committed to replace these aircraft on the decks of aircraft carriers in the same number of new F2A-2. However, because of sabotage in Finland was only eleven F2A-1.
 
In 1940 the leadership of the Navy was required to install additional 12.7 mm machine guns in the wings before F2A-1. After work began it became clear that the chassis potjazhelevshie machines can not withstand loads during landing and the aircraft returned to the company for improvements.
 
Fighter BREWSTER F2A BUFFALO
 
Fighter BREWSTER F2A BUFFALO
 
Fighter BREWSTER F2A BUFFALO:
 
1 — Kok sleeve screw; 2 — blades; 3 — removable panels (hood) of the engine; 4 — cable the radio antenna; 5 — telescopic sight; 6 — sliding part of the canopy pilot; 7 — protivokapotazhnoy frame; 8 — keel (first series); 9 — keel strut antenna; 10 — rudder; 11 —trimmer of the rudder; 12 — the tail wheel in the retracted position; 13 — foot pegs; 14 — hook fastening starting cable; 15 — glazing the bottom of the cab; 16 — wheel main landing gear in the retracted position; 17 — exhaust pipes; 18 — standard keel (all series and modifications, except the first one); 19 — a modified tail fairing; 20 — the tail wheel is fixed on the rack; 21 — propeller Hamilton standard; 22 — the hinge of the rudder; 23 — container for rescue equipment; 24 — rail; 25 — visor canopy pilot, 26 — removable access panels for the fuselage machine guns; 27 — front of the radio antenna; 28 — rod LDPE; 29 maintenance hatch compartment radio; 30 — standard fairing; 31 —antenna radio compass; 32 — drill the fuselage fire; 33 — the tail of the ski; 34 — variant non-retractable ski landing gear; 35 — propeller Curtiss Electric; 36 — dust protective cover; 37 — standard tail wheel in the released position; 38 — hatch compartment of the station in the open position; 39 — of the movable part of the lamp in open position; 40 — seat pilot, 41 —German reflex sight Revi C12/D; 42 — option the retractable ski landing gear; 43 — the panels that cover the lower glass of the cockpit; 44 — unit radio; 45 — the tail wheel is increased in size; 46 machine — gun ports; 47 — rear view mirror; 48 — a modified sliding of the lamp; 49 — Broneslavovich; 50 — operational hatch; 51 — shortened cable the radio antenna; 52 — propeller Hamilton standard; 53 — flap main landing gear; 54 — wheel main landing gear in the released position; 55 — drill the wing lights; 56 — wing of ANO; 57,69 — Aileron; 58 — detachable panel-mounted machine gun; 59 — stabilizer; 60 — the steering wheel height; 61 —trimmers rudder; 62 — the hinge of the Elevator; 63 trimmer Aileron (only on the left); 64 maintenance access doors control system Aileron; 65 — tail ANO; 66 — landing lights; 67 — lower operating panel and wing machine gun; 68 — flaps-flaps; 70 — up maintenance hatches; 71 — fuselage machine guns Browning of 12.7 mm caliber; 72 — the air intake of the carburetor; 73 — the intake for the oil cooler; 74 — pull retract main landing gear; 75 — main landing gear

 
Fighter F2A-1, sent to Finland, has received the designation b-239. All the equipment characteristic of carrier-based aircraft, it was dismantled. In addition, with fighters removed the telescopic sight and is motor company Wright R-1820-22 has put the same power export engines R-1820-G5. The maximum speed of the “Finnish” version was 478 km/h at an altitude of 4749 m, service ceiling — 9906 m. empty Weight was 1771 kg, and maximum takeoff weight reached 2642 kg. the vehicles have been transported by sea to Sweden, where after assembling the Norwegian and Finnish engineers American pilots ferried them across the border. By March 1940, Finland received the first six aircraft. However, by this time the war was over. In total, the Finns got 44 fighter-239.
 
In June 1941 Finnish-239 on the side of Nazi Germany have engaged in battle with Soviet aircraft. The main opponents of these aircraft were “donkeys” And-16, the Chaika I-153, Yak-1, Yak-7, LaGG-3 and American cars supplied to the USSR under lend-lease. Although-239 and gave most of their opponents in flight characteristics, but this did not prevent individual pilots confidently to win them victory. The highest number of wins on the b-239 was the pilots H. Wind — 39 downed aircraft and E. Juutilainen — 34.
 
Spare parts for In-239 America is not supplied, and operation of used cars has become a big problem. Until the end of the war, only held eight planes. According to Finnish statistics, one downed At-239 had shot down 26 enemy aircraft. Apparently, this is one of the best results for the fighters of the Second world war.
 
In early 1939 plane XF2A-1 (side number No. 0451) installed the engine Wright R-1820-40 with capacity of 1,200 h. p. in addition, modified the hood and reduced the length of the fuselage by 127 mm to ensure proper alignment when installing a heavy engine. The prototype of the new aircraft received the designation XF2A-2. The maximum speed amounted to 547 km/h. air propeller with a diameter of 2700 mm was installed over the modern screw company Curtiss Electric with a diameter of 3070 mm. more a window in the floor of the cockpit. Under wing bomb racks secured to 45,4-kg bombs. The mass of the airframe and installed equipment reached 2079,3 kg and a curb weight of almost 3200 kg. It is an “improvement” ate up all the extra power of the new engine, so the flight characteristics have not changed. Moreover, decreased rate of climb.
 
The fleet was looking forward to the start of deliveries of fighters of the second modification, instead of those that were transferred to Finland, but the state Department has already promised the first 40 cars to the Belgian government. “Belgian” fighters received the designation IN-339В. The constant delays in the supply of deck-based fighters forced the Navy to raise the issue of the inability of the leadership of the Brewster company to adjust their production. The President of the company D. Works resigned, and in his place came Dr., Champlain, however D. Works retained the seat of Chairman of the Board of Directors and the chief Treasurer. The first two carrier-based squadrons VF-2 and VF-3 moved to the F2A-2 only in early 1941. Aircraft engines were prone to failure and require frequent checkups. The most unreliable place turned out to be the bearings. The weakness of the chassis design inherent in the first modification, remained on the new plane. Despite all attempts by engineers to improve their design, the broken chassis was pursued by fighter F2A prior to its removal from service. Marine pilots, however, took the aircraft well and considered the second most successful modification. At the end of 1941, the engineers squadron VF-2 is a high radio antenna on the fighter F2A-2 has set a little, which improved communication and reduced vibration.
 
The fate of the aircraft from the Belgian order were different. First-339В civil registration number NX-56B was on the way to Belgium when the Germans overran the country. The ship transporting the aircraft, was in France, and after its occupation the plane, most likely, was captured by the Germans. The following six IN-339В transported to Canada, where together with the planes SBC Helldiver was loaded aboard the French aircraft carrier “béarn”. The surrender France caught the ship in Martinique, where all the planes were unloaded. Few months they awaited their fate. So machines are unable to use the Pro-fascist Vichy government to control their use of cargo flows through the Panama canal, the Americans sent to Martinique subversive group, which destroyed all aircraft.
 
 
The remaining 33 fighter-339В was sent to the UK; the first aircraft were on the island in July 1940. The British considered them completely unsuitable for air combat in Europe, as the tanks of the aircraft did not proektirovaniy. Eighteen IN-339В sent to the Middle East. A squadron of Royal Navy No. 855 had a brief test In-339 on the deck of the aircraft carrier “Eagle” in March 1941, which British pilots were dissatisfied with the rigid wings and the low characteristics of the aircraft. However, the Kingdom decided to order the 170 machines F2A-2 (IN-339Е) for their use in the East.
 
The aircraft of the party received its own designation Buffalo MK. I (Buffalo). This name is so popular that even American cars F2A called the only way. Structurally IN-339Е resembled the F2A-2 had reinforced motor CYCLONE R-1820-G105 company Wright power 1100 HP in addition, the pilot’s seat close behind the back and the front glazing made of glass. The tail wheel was made larger diameter and rigidly fixed. These changes led to the increased take-off weight of almost 454 kg, reduced to 503 km/h maximum speed reduced to 10.5 m/s climb rate.
 
The first three production aircraft IN-339Е sent to Britain in April 1941 for testing. The rest of the Buffalo once was to the East — in Malaya, Singapore and Burma. Ie they formed five squadrons of 15 aircraft each. Many pilots were novices, and the British lost about 20 planes before the start of fighting in various kinds of accidents. Accurate information about the combat losses and victories in these parts no. About 60 Buffalo was shot down in air combat by Japanese fighters, and about 40 Japanese aircraft destroyed on the ground. Four planes the British sent the Dutch air force and six cars overtook in India. On account of the pilots who flew the Buffalo, about 80 Japanese aircraft shot down.
 
The last modification based fighter has become a model F2A-3 (B-439). In January 1941 the US Navy ordered 108 aircraft of this modification. The nose of the fuselage is increased by 250 mm due to additional internal tanks fuel capacity increased to 908. With the aim of improving the overview of the sliding part of the lantern stripped of covers. In the cockpit mounted armor plates and a cylindrical container for food and water. Powerplant — engine Wright R-1820-40 1,200 HP power Increase in fuel helped to increase the range of up to 2703 km — now a patrol flight over the sea with a duration of 5-6 hours have become the norm. The increased weight of the F2A-3 without a corresponding increase in engine power, seriously affected the speed and rate of climb. However, in combat units, many pilots prefer to patrol on the F2A-3, F4F than. Buffalo was more stable, easier and more comfortable.
 
By August, 1941 the new aircraft were armed squadron VF-2, VF-3 and VS-201. The latter were involved in a Neutral patrol in the Atlantic in conjunction with the seaplane company Curtiss “Seagull” OSC. This unit flew into Buffalo until April 1942. A VF-2 was the only squadron of the U.S. Navy armed F2A-3 and stationed in pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack. The pilots of this unit flew several times on patrol, but all their achievements were limited to shelling a Japanese submarine. In late January 1942, the squadron VF-2 rearmed on F4F. Fighters Buffalo, decommissioned carrier-based aircraft was transferred to the Marines. Their main place of basing of steel base in San Diego and the island of eve in Hawaii. Young pilots passed on their course advanced training before moving on combat fighters F4F. The exceptions were the two military aviation units of the marine corps: squadron VMF-221 stationed on the island of Palmyra, and squadron VMF-211, flying from midway.
 
The pilots of VMF-221 fighting first opened the account — March 10, 1942, four Buffalo managed to shoot down a Japanese four-engine flying boat Н8К. Further use of the F2A-3 has confirmed their complete unsuitability to the air battles. Squadron VMF-221 lost 13 of the 20 available cars. Soon, all F2A moved into the category of training aircraft and serial production of Buffalo stopped.
 
In 1940, three fighter F2A-1 was experimentally painted according to the scheme developed by reserve officer of the Navy M. Barclay, which should mislead the pilots of the enemy relative to the direction of flight and the spatial position of the machine. Testing ended in the autumn of 1940. They showed the fallacy of the approach M. Barclay, but at the same time, helped the Navy to develop a standard color scheme used during the initial period of the war.
 
Design description
 
All-metal single-seat carrier-based fighter Brewster F2A-2 Buffalo, was a cantilever all-metal, signalen with a smooth dural skin and retractable landing gear.
 
The fuselage is of the monocoque type with a working shell, oval cross section. Between the engine and the cabin mounted the power frame, carrying out the role of the fire wall. To this frame is attached to a motor mount, on which was mounted the engine, and fuel control units. On the frame are mounted and the power cylinder of issue-cleaning the main chassis. Behind the firewall housed the armament Bay with the fuselage machine guns and cartridge boxes. Between the guns in front of the dashboard of the pilot is attached to the oil tank capacity of 55 liters. In the lower part of the front section of the fuselage were the niche of cleaning the wheels of the main chassis.
 
The Central part of the fuselage occupied the cockpit, closed the transparent canopy, which consisted of a stationary front visor with a telescopic sight and a rear view mirror, glazing the outside compartments and a Central sliding section. Spacious in the cockpit on the Central and lower panels of the dashboard housed a full set of pilot-navigating devices, allows you to perform flights in adverse weather conditions. On the right and left instrument panels were located accessories.
 
Control system standard, this included the control stick the ailerons and elevators and pedal foot control rudder. The pilot seat is armored. On most machines in the cockpit was set protivokapotazhnoy frame. To the right of the pilot’s seat is attached to an oxygen tank, on the left — a fire extinguisher. Right under the feet of the pilot through the fuselage passed the main wing spar, and under it, in the bottom, was made a glazed hatch that allowed you to look down, which improved the pilot’s view on take-off and landing.
 
In the glass part of the outside of the headrest compartment behind the pilot’s seat in a special container housed a raft of sustenance in case of a forced landing in the sea. At the bottom of the outside compartment mounted radio transmitter, emergency, smoke grenades, a container with first aid kit. At the bottom of the Central section of the fuselage (under the cockpit) was located the fuselage fuel tank capacity of 152 liters. In the rear fuselage were installed brake landing hook, tail wheel and tail.
 
The two-spar wing of trapezoid shape with rounded wingtips, fuselage, it was connected without fairings. Wing profile PASS 23018 at root and 23009 PASS in the end sections. Positively transverse V-wing and 6.5 degrees. To the auxiliary spar is attached to flaps-flaps and ailerons with fabric covering. Control ailerons hard, from the control stick. Flaps were controlled by a knob located on the starboard side of the cockpit. Unlike many other carrier-based aircraft, wing Buffalo had folding consoles, and this has hampered its deployment on aircraft carriers. In each wing were two fuel tanks: two caisson with a total capacity of 303 litres and the two front wing tanks with a capacity of 75.8 per liter each. In addition, in the right plane, there was an additional (backup) fuel tank capacity 95 liters. On the right wing on the top, if necessary, could be chinafotopress.
 
Flight performance of fighters Brewster F2A
 
Flight performance of fighters Brewster F2A
 
The tail Assembly of a conventional circuit. The keel was integral with the fuselage. Elevators and areas for relief efforts on the control stick and pedals were operated trimmers. Rudders — mixed: the rudder, a flexible cable, elevators — hard. All wheels had a fabric covering.
 
Chassis tricycle with a tail wheel. The system of harvesting and the landing gear is hydraulic, with possibility of emergency mechanical release manually. Control of the flaps-flaps and landing a hook is also hydraulic. Main landing gear characteristic curved shape equipped with flaps that covered the niche in the wing. In special niches of the fuselage was hiding main wheels. Skid had a small all-rubber wheel-roller and retracted back into the fuselage. This crutch was placed only on carrier-based aircraft. Fighters built for export were equipped with a spike fixed gear wheel of larger diameter with Pneumatics.
 
The power plant consisted of nine single engine of air cooling Wright R-1820-40 CYCLONE with a capacity of 1200 HP, equipped three-blade propeller with a diameter of 2700 m, or Curtiss Electric with a diameter of 3070 mm.
 
Armament consisted of four machine guns. Two synchronous machine gun Colt-Browning 12.7 mm mounted in the upper part of the fuselage in front of cockpit. Two machine guns of the same caliber stood in the wing and shot out the rotor swept zone. Sight telescopic, tubular — type “al’dis”. On two underwing bomb racks provided for the suspension of bombs caliber up to 45.4 kg.
 
N. Food reserve was, A. CHECHIN, Kharkov

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