The world will never again see quantities of military aircraft like the air armadas of World War II. In the more than four years when America was committed to global World War II combat, attrition was a reality best answered with increased production.
Efforts were made to retool peacetime industries to war production. When Grumman’s facilities were saturated making fighters, torpedo bombers, and amphibious transports for the Navy, General Motors was brought on board to help in the building of Wildcat fighters and Avenger torpedo bombers.
The famed Grumman F4F Wildcat shipboard fighter was a potent tool in the hands of combat pilots who understood how to leverage its strengths and avoid any weaknesses in combat with Japanese fighters. Though superseded in performance by the bigger F6F Hellcat, the doughty Wildcat still had a place in fleet operations aboard the emerging group of smaller escort carriers.[Read more…]