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GRUMMAN F6F HELLCAT (Gannet) TIMELINE


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#1 CORSNING

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 12:27 AM

Grumman F6F Timeline

 

30 June 1941: The US Navy asked Grumman to design an improved F4F and

     awards them a contract for two XF6F-1s powered by the wright R-2600

     engine with 1,700 hp. at take-off.

 

27 April 1942: A turbo-supercharged Wright R-2600 is chosen for the F6F-2.

 

23 May 1942: The development of the F6F-3 with the Pratt & Whitney R-2800

     Double Wasp is approved.

 

26 June 1942: First flight of the XF6F-1 prototype piloted by Bob Hall, Assistant

     Chief Engineer-Experimental division of Grumman.

 

30 June 1942: First flight of the XF6F-3.

 

Note: The Grumman Hellcat had the largest wing area of any single engine,

     single seat fighter of WW2 at 334 sq. ft.(102 sq. m.).

 

2 October 1942: First flight of the XF6F-4 (XF6F-1 with the P&W R-2800-27).

 

3 October 1942: First flight of a production F6F-3 piloted by Selden Convers,

     Grumman test pilot.

 

31 December 1942: The US Navy accepts its first 10 F6F-3 aircraft.

     http://www.wwiiaircr...f/f6f-3-ads.jpg

 

16 January 1943: USN Squadron VF-9 began receiving F6F-3s aboard the

     USS Essex.

 

13 March 1943: The first Hellcat Mk.Is are delivered to the Fleet Air Arm.

     These were originally designated Gannet Mk.I but by this time the FAA

     was realizing that changing the names of US aircraft in their service caused

     more confusion than it was worth. Martlet became Wildcat also.

 

1 July 1943: The first Hellcat I enters service with 800 Squadron of the Royal

     Navy.

 

28 August 1943: The F6F-3 enters first combat over Guadalcanal with VF-33

     Squadron.

 

1 September 1943: The first Hellcat victory is by Lt Loesch of VF-6 over a

     Japanese Emily flying boat.

 

24 November 1943: First F6F-3N night fighters sorties are flown.

 

December 1943: The first combat of British Royal Navy Hellcat Is came during

     anti-shipping strikes off the Norwegian coast from the escort-carrier HMS Emperor.

     http://www.wwiiaircr...cat-I-ads-a.jpg

 

January 1944: About 60% of F6F3s have been equipped with P&W

     R-2800-10w engines with water injection.

 

31 March 1944: The first use of G-suits by the USN is made by F6F-3 pilots

     of VF-8 on USS Bunker Hill.

 

April 1944: All F6F-3s in the US Navy are now powered by P&W R-2800-10w

     engines.

 

21 April 1944: Production reaches 4402 as the last F6F-3 comes off the

     assembly line. F6F-5 production begins.

 

May 1944: The first and second batches of 188 Hellcat IIs (F6F-5) started

     being delivered to the Royal Navy.

     http://www.wwiiaircr...at-II-ads-a.jpg

 

19-20 June 1944: In the First Battle of the Philippine Sea F6Fs shoot down

     approximately 300 Japanese aircraft. Sixteen Hellcats are lost in combat

     and six are lost to operational accidents.

 

3 July 1944: The F6F-5 enters combat for the first time over Iwo Jima.

 

6 July 1944: First flight of the XF6F-6 with 'C Series' R-2800 and 4-blade

     propeller.

 

29 August 1944: The F6F-5N becomes operational aboard the USS

     Independence.

 

August 1944: Hellcat II (JV226) was delivered to the A & AEE for performance

     testing. (I hope to organize the information from this these tests and post

     the performance numbers on Grumman F6F-5 Performance soon).

 

12 September 1944: The First F6F-5N night fighter victory is over a Ki.46

     Dinah near Samar Island.

 

January 1945: The USS Enterprise fighter squadron consists of two F6F-5s,

     eleven F6F-5Ns, Eleven F6F-5Es and two F6F5Ps.

 

11 May 1945: The last of 293 Hellcat IIs, aircraft KE265 is delivered to the

     Fleet Air Arm.

 

June 1945: The F6F-5N with a new armament of 2 x 20 mm cannon and

     4 x 0.5 in. machine guns became operational.

 

25 July 1945: Hellcat IIs of the Royal Navy destroy three Japanese torpedo

     bombers at night without radar.

     http://www.wwiiaircr...at-II-ads-b.jpg

 

2 September 1945: The USN cancels an order for 1677 F6F-5s.

 

August 1946: The last operational Hellcats of the FAA were retired when

     No.888 Squadron was disbanded.

 

1950: Forty-eight Hellcats go to a French Navy squadron in Indo-China.

 

April 1952: F6F-5K drone Hellcats attack bridges in Korea.

 

1953: Hellcat KE209 continued to fly at RNAS Lossiemouth until 1953.

     This aircraft is now located at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton.

 

August 1953: The last USN unit to use Hellcats, F6F-5Ns, give them up.

 

1959: Hellcat aircraft are serving with the Argentine and Uruguayan navies.

 

References:

America's Hundred Thousand by Frances H. Dean

http://www.fleetaira...aft/hellcat.htm

http://www.history.c...in-world-war-ii

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org Mr. Neil Stirling and Mr. Mike Williams

Flying to the Limit by Peter Caygill


Edited by CORSNING, 13 November 2017 - 03:35 PM.


#2 Rick65

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 12:49 AM

Amazingly quick development, testing and introduction to service, especially compared to the Corsair.

However is 30 June 42 correct for the first flight of the XF6F-3?

I have read 30 July elsewhere and a month gap between the first flight of the R-2600 and R-2800 prototypes seems more likely than 4 days given that the R-2800 version was only approved on 23 May 42.


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#3 CORSNING

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 01:00 AM

Thanks Rick, nice catch. ;)

 

Jeff :)



#4 flying kiwi

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 03:50 AM

December 1943: The first combat of British Royal Navy Hellcat Is.

 

Any idea what was involved in that combat?
Also, didn't the RN call them Gannets at that stage?

 



#5 CORSNING

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 02:27 PM

Sorry sir, I do not have that information available.

See new listing on 13 March 1943.

 

Jeff :)


Edited by CORSNING, 08 November 2017 - 03:12 PM.

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#6 flying kiwi

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 11:42 PM

My question about FAA Gannets was sort of answered in this forum:

https://www.warbirds...-the-luftwaffe/

 

"The FAA also employed the F6F and the F4U. The only fighter-to-fighter FAA F6F action took place in May 1944. On 8 May, F6F's from the Fleet Air Arm's No. 800 Squadron (Lieut. Comdr. SJ Hall, DSC, RN), off HMS Emperor, while escorting a flight of Barracudas was attacked by a mixed group of Me-109's and FW-190's. Two F6F's were lost, one, probably, to anti-aircraft fire (one source indicates that both F6Fs were lost in a mid-air collision, not to any German fire of any kind); the Germans lost 2 Me-109's and one FW-190. The FW-190 was claimed by Sub-Lieut. Ritchie. Available Luftwaffe loss listings show three Me-109Gs lost in this action, werk# 14697 (Ofw. Kurt), 10347 (Uffz. Brettin), and unknown # (Fw. Horst). On the Luftwaffe side, Uffz. Hallstick claimed two F6Fs and Lieut. Prenzler claimed one."

 

Not the December 1943 combat, but the only fighter vs jaeger.






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