Aviation of World War II

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F2A "Buffalo"

Shipborne Fighter


F2A Buffalo

Brewster 239 of majors E.Luukkanen, LeLv 24, air force of Finland, November, 1942.

The first American carrier-based monoplane fighter F2A "Buffalo" was never used in hostilities from the decks of aircraft carriers and fought mainly in the colonial air forces of Great Britain and Holland. Before the start of the war, the Americans touted this aircraft as the best in the Far East, but the reality turned out to be completely different. In aerial battles, it was greatly inferior in flight characteristics to the new Japanese fighters and quickly acquired an unenviable reputation among the Allied pilots. The famous American ace Gregory Boyington called him "the real scarecrow" in his memoirs.

Meanwhile, the Brewster design bureau has developed an improved version of its F2A-2 aircraft. Its main difference was the new R-1820-40 1200 hp engine. and the more efficient Curtiss Electric propeller equipped with a spinner. In order to maintain the necessary alignment of the vehicle, the fuselage length was reduced by 13 cm. The F2A-2's armament consisted of four 12.7-mm Colt Browning machine guns: two fuselage synchronous and two wing-mounted. In accordance with the wishes of the customers, suspensions for two 45 kg bombs were placed under the wing.

The maximum speed of the fighter increased to 553 km / h, but at the same time its weight increased by 160 kg. Another contract, signed by the command of the US Navy with the firm "Brewster", provided for the production of 43 F2A-2 and the refinement of the eight remaining F2A-1 aircraft to the F2A-2 standard. In the fall of 1940, the newly built fighters entered service with two squadrons: the VF-2 from the Lexington aircraft carrier and the VF-3 from the Saratoga. Eight modified vehicles of the first version were included in the V5-201 ekadril of the escort aircraft carrier "Long Island".

The career of the F2A-2 carrier-based fighters was short-lived. during operation, other flaws of the aircraft appeared, which were never completely eliminated. A particularly unpleasant surprise was the fragile landing gear, which often broke during landing on a hard deck.

By the winter of 1941/42. the F2A aircraft is outdated, or rather, delayed in development. Subsequent aircraft modifications had deteriorating characteristics. The weight of the aircraft grew, and the engine power remained almost unchanged. Already at the beginning of 1940, the designers of the company should have taken care of finding a better engine for the aircraft than adding new kilograms to the airframe design. Much of the blame lies with the company's management, who wanted to take profits from the plane without investing in its development. When the leadership realized its mistake, it was too late - the US military refused the services of Brewster, preferring its competitor, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Company.

Specification, «Buffalo»
F2A-2 F2A-3 Model 239 Model 339D
Crew 1
Length, m 7.807 8.050 7.938 7.762
Wing span, m 10.668
Wing area, m² 19.41
Height, m 3.467 3.533 3.655 3.655
Weight, kg
Empty weight 1882 2162 1702 -
Loaded weight 2455 2957 2278 2684
Wright R-1820-40 GR-1820-40 R-1820 G5 GR-1820 G205A
Power, kW/hp/n 897/ 1200/ 2500 897/ 1200/ 2500 748/ 1000/ 2200 897/ 1200/ 2500
Normal power at Н=0м, kW/hp/n 748/ 1000/ 2300 748/ 1000/ 2300 636/ 850/ 2100 748/ 1000/ 2300
Speed, km/h maximum 554 518 484 546
at altitude, m 5044 4907 5486 5060
Rate of climb m/min 1.3 2.05 1.4 1.335
at altitude, m 1524 1524 1524 1524
Rate of climb m/min 4.9 7.0 5.3 4.95
at altitude, m 4572 4572 4572 4572
Service ceiling, m 10333 9952 9906 -
Service range, km - 492 1632 692

The Americans started the war on F2A-3 fighters - too heavy and equipped with an insufficiently powerful engine. The pilots who flew the F2A-2 and F2A-3 claimed that they were completely different aircraft.

The F2A-3 fighter was in service with only one fighter squadron of the US Navy and two squadrons of the Marine Corps, they made a scapegoat out of it, declaring it the main reason for all the failures of the American fleet in the first stage of the war in the Pacific, although in active hostilities only one of the three squadrons participated.

A total of 509 aircraft of various modifications were produced.

Photo Description
Drawing Buffalo F2A-

Drawing Buffalo F2A-2

Buffalo Brewster in flight

Buffalo Brewster in flight

Brewster 'Buffalo' Model 339D

Brewster "Buffalo" Model 339D


  • "Air war" /№ 84 Buffalo/
  • "50 best fighters of World War II" /Gennadiy Kornukhin/
  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "American warplanes of World War II" /under cor. David Donald/