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#2369685 - 11/03/07 08:16 AM OT: F8F Bearcat in the Korean War?
briny_norman Offline
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Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 95
Read a small article on the F8F Bearcat today and got interested.
Seems like a pretty amazing plane.
I haven't been able to find out much about the operational history of the plane, though.
It arrived too late to see active combat service in WW2, but according to the numbers I've seen it was still very much operational during the Korean War.
But I haven't been able to find anything about it's performance and history in that war.
Can anyone enlighten me on this subject?
Did the plane ever see active combat service?


Edited by briny_norman (11/03/07 08:16 AM)

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#2369689 - 11/03/07 08:36 AM Re: OT: F8F Bearcat in the Korean War? [Re: briny_norman]
rollnloop. Offline
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Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 1885
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 Quote:
Did the plane ever see active combat service?


Can't say for Korea, but it was very active with french squadrons in Indochina, especially at Dien Bien Phu (1954). No air to air there, only straffing and bombing, through very thick AAA.

pic here

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#2369696 - 11/03/07 09:03 AM Re: OT: F8F Bearcat in the Korean War? [Re: rollnloop.]
VonBarb. Offline
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I haven't read anything about the Bearcat, but I would guess it WAS still in use in Korea. After all, the Corsair and Mustang still were, so it seems logical a later design was too, at least during the first stages of the conflict, before jets took over.

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#2369698 - 11/03/07 09:07 AM Re: OT: F8F Bearcat in the Korean War? [Re: rollnloop.]
Rudi Jaeger Offline
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Registered: 06/23/05
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Did a bit of research on the Cat when I hacked it. It was specifically designed to gain altitude quickly and bring down the Kamikaze. I've read that it was not until the F-16, that anything could beat it from a standing stop to altitude. Alas, no record of combat while in US service, including Korea; as it was replaced by the F9F Panther. Doesn't hurt to dream though ;\)

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#2369700 - 11/03/07 09:13 AM Re: OT: F8F Bearcat in the Korean War? [Re: rollnloop.]
VT-51_Razor Offline
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Registered: 07/29/02
Posts: 396
Loc: Central Point, Oregon, US of A...
My Dad was the Exec of VF-193 back in 1947-48ish time frame, and they had F8Fs for a while, then went to AD's (or vise versa, can't remember which). He told me that, at that time the Navy was sending mechanics and crew chiefs with experience on the Bearcats to France to train French Navy crews on the planes that we were giving them back then. He went on to command VF-52, flying F9F Panthers during the Korean War, and told me that the only Bearcats to fly in combat were the French ones in Indochina (Viet Nam), and only in a ground attack role. In Korea, the F4U-4 and later, the AU, a Corsair optimized for the air to ground mission, and Douglas AD's were the only carrier based prop planes in extensive use by the US Navy. There were F7F Tigercats being used as night fighters from land bases, and a modified version of the TBM was being used as the first COD's (Carrier Onboard Delivery).

The Bearcat was concieved as a fleet defense fighter, designed to counter the Kamakazi threat they expected to see during the invasion of the Japanese homeland. The FG-2, a Corsair with the R-4360 up front was also designed for the same purpose. They were supposed to be able to get up to altitude, and out to the threat in record time, compared to the Hellcat and -4 Corsairs of that time period - 1945. The FG-2 was actually superior to the Bearcat in almost all respects, except for the small detail of the engine having a propensity to heat up and catch fire with disturbing regularity, hence the rarity of that bird compared to the F8F.
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#2369757 - 11/03/07 11:34 AM Re: OT: F8F Bearcat in the Korean War? [Re: VT-51_Razor]
Guderian Offline
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Like rollnloop said it was used extensively by the French in Indochina, but I can't find anything about it being used in Algeria. A lot of ex-French ex-American hardware found its way into the African bush wars in the hands of mercs (in some cases with official sanction), so some Bearcats may have ended up there as well.

The Thai and South Vietnamese air forces used it too in the counterinsurgency role.
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#2369859 - 11/03/07 02:24 PM Re: OT: F8F Bearcat in the Korean War? [Re: Rudi Jaeger]
R0NNC0 Offline
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Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 661
Loc: Hellcat Gospel Pulpit
 Originally Posted By: Rudi Jaeger
I've read that it was not until the F-16, that anything could beat it from a standing stop to altitude.


"Operation Pogo Stick"- At the Cleveland Air Races in November '46, USN TacTest pilot Lt. Cdr. Merle Davenport took an F8F from brakes off to 10,000 ft. in 94 seconds, besting a time set earlier the same day by Cdr. Bill Leonard. The plane was a production F8F but carried no ammo and 50% fuel for the climb test. Here's a photo of the TacTest staff that Rich Leonard posted at another site. I'm not sure if this is at Cleveland. Behind them are a Bearcat and I think a Ryan Fireball.



Two USN squadrons were trained and preparing to ship out from Pearl Harbor when the war ended.

The French had F6F's as well as F8F's in Indochina.

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#2369926 - 11/03/07 04:40 PM Re: OT: F8F Bearcat in the Korean War? [Re: R0NNC0]
stans Offline
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Registered: 02/06/01
Posts: 1461
Loc: Virginia, USA
By the time the Korean war opened, the first generation of jet fighters had taken over the role of fleet defense and interception and the Bearcat had been relegated to reserve units. As good as the Bearcat was, the jets were better at this task. The Corsair remained on active duty in the night fighter role(F4U-5N and -5NL) and in ground support (F4U-4, -4B, -5, and AU-1). The Corsair was ultimately replaced by the AD Skyraider series.
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#2369942 - 11/03/07 05:04 PM Re: OT: F8F Bearcat in the Korean War? [Re: R0NNC0]
muffinstomp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/03/07
Posts: 53
 Originally Posted By: R0NNC0


The French had F6F's as well as F8F's in Indochina.



Uuhhh, and look what hot skirt Frenchie wears on display... \:D

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#2369946 - 11/03/07 05:09 PM Re: OT: F8F Bearcat in the Korean War? [Re: stans]
briny_norman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 95
Lot's of great info here, thanks!
Seems the Bearcat was one of those planes that fell into a hole between wars.
Anybody know if it was ever tested against other fighters (I'm sure it was in some way or another), perhaps even against captured Japanese fighters or just other period US fighters? Would be interesting to know how it seemed to perform in such tests...
I know the British (and US I'm sure) performed many such tests in Europe with captured German material.

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