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F4U Corsair vs. P-51 Mustang


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#1 Nathan S.

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 11:30 PM

How to the F4U Corsair and P-51 Mustang stack up to eachother. You hear about each one being the best American fighter in European and Pacific Theaters, respectively, but how do they compare with one another?

#2 Erich

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 12:00 AM

Nathan, to tell U the truth I don't know if either one was tested in mock combat. The P-51 defiantely had the speedier lines but think the F4U could pack more armament. Too bad really since the P-51 D did fly in the Pacific a good close friend was a pilot with the 8th photo recon in late 44-45 and I have some wonderful pics of his a/c and several other black and silver striped P-51's flying in formation.

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#3 Friedrich

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 12:02 AM

I think the P-51 became the best fighter in the Pacific when it reached it in 1945 and had its base at Iwo-Jima... :rolleyes: :D

Well, the Mustang was rather manœuvrable and had a better sight from the cockpit, though it couldn't be carried on aircraft carriers. Well, I must investigate a little more to come with an opinion.
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#4 TA152

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 03:27 AM

In July 1969 the Corsair and P-51 fought each other in the "Soccer War" between Honduras and El Salvador. I have a story about it in one of my old airplane magizanes. You can read some about the war at http://ldbelveal.net/futbol_war.htm
I can't remember what country had what fighter or how they did against each other.
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#5 wilconqr

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 03:34 PM

Did the P-51's successor, the F-82 Twin Mustang, ever see any action outside of the Korean Conflict???

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#6 Nathan S.

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 04:14 PM

I couldn't find anything about the P-51 and Corsair fighting eachother in the "soccer war".

#7 Blue Max

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 04:40 PM

Originally posted by Nathan S.:
How to the F4U Corsair and P-51 Mustang stack up to eachother. You hear about each one being the best American fighter in European and Pacific Theaters, respectively, but how do they compare with one another?

-----------If the Corsair had the 4 bladed prop then I am tempted to lean in that direction. It had a terrific rate of climb and was at least as manouverble as the Mustang, also it was a very tough plane. As both carried 6 .50 Cal. machine guns they were equally well armed, unless you are talking about later versions that carried rockets. All in all both are excellant fighters and their aspects are very close to one another. I don't know off hand what their operating ceilings are, if you had that statistic it might tip the scales.

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#8 Blue Max

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 04:42 PM

Originally posted by Nathan S.:
How to the F4U Corsair and P-51 Mustang stack up to eachother. You hear about each one being the best American fighter in European and Pacific Theaters, respectively, but how do they compare with one another?

-----------If the Corsair had the 4 bladed prop then I am tempted to lean in that direction. It had a terrific rate of climb and was at least as manouverble as the Mustang, also it was a very tough plane. As both carried 6 .50 Cal. machine guns they were equally well armed, unless you are talking about later versions that carried rockets. All in all both are excellant fighters and their aspects are very close to one another. I don't know off hand what their operating ceilings are, if you had that statistic it might tip the scales.

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#9 Greg A

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 05:16 PM

The F6F Hellcat shot down more Japanese plans than any other American fighter in the Pacific in WWII so I'd say that the Hellcat would be the best fighter in the Pacific Theater and a very very good match for the P-51.

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#10 Doc Raider

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 06:22 PM

Yeah, but the hellcat was in service much longer than the corsair, wasn't it? If so, wouldn't a longer service record and more hellcats built result in more kills?

[ 05. June 2003, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: Doc Raider ]

#11 Erich

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 08:06 PM

hmmmmmmmm a couple of you guys have veered off topic now......we are dealing with the Hellcat instead ? More a/c does not necessarily mean more , number of enemy a/c and possibly even variants in the sky

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#12 Battery Steele

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 12:33 AM

The P-51 Mustang was probably the best prop Fighter plane of the Second World War for the job that she was called upon to do.

The F-4U Corsair was a very tough aircraft with prop power and firepower.This plane was able to survive dive compression and in case of trouble, could split-s and dive away to out run the enemy.The Mustang didn't need any 'trump card' like the Corsair; the 51 could fight it's way out of any trouble.

Aircraft Carriers and rough terrain, however would be hard on a Mustang.The P-51 had major engine problems in the beginning. The Radials on the F-4U were dependable.

I would have been happy to fly either / or !!!
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#13 wilconqr

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 04:59 PM

How did the 51 stack up against the FW190? Seems the latter was just as fast and much more heavily armed.

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#14 Erich

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 07:00 PM

hey Wilconqr !

look back at my earlier posting about Bf109 and Fw 190 altitudes. The 109 could hit 30,000 but struggled and the P-51 could hit 32,000 plus so it always had a height advantage. the only Fw 190 that could partially keep up with the P-51 was the Dora model in the hands of a competient pilot and he had to be good to. The P-51 was that good. The dora really wans't built for fighter vs fighter and was only a stop gap till the wild Ta 152 could be available to all Luftwaffe units......but with the latter a/c which could fly in the 40,000 plus foot altitude range, we will never know how it stacked up with the P-51 ETO units. It flew in combat at medium range against RAF, P-47's and Soviet a/c but still did quite well with those it faced.
Essentially during mid summer 1944 till march of 45 the Fw 190 A-8 and A-9 with hevay cannon flew at 25,000 or so feet and were the boyz that flew against the US "heavies". Höhenschutz or high altitude cover was provided by a gruppe of Bf 109's which would fly a 1000 feet higher to try and intercept the US P-51's from diving down on the necks of the Fw 190's before their rear attacks on the bombers........for the Luftwaffe it never worked most of the time and anyone in the way of the P-51 was overpowered by greater numbers and skill of the well trained US pilots......

a few cents of note....

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#15 Nathan S.

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Posted 07 June 2003 - 02:51 AM

So I guess that the general concensus is that the P-51 and F4U Corsair were about equally matched?

#16 Viking27

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 11:35 PM

Hi guys,

The old WWII pilots I have spoken too, seamto have different view on the Corsair and the Mustang. I have been fortunate enough to actually fly an original 1944 P-51D, that was incredible experiance. But if I am not mistaken, the P-51 was originally built for the British under the land-lease program, and that it had the Alison V-1710 engine, but it did not perform so good, do the Brits experimented and put a Merlin engine into it and that was a perfect match. Many pilot prefer the Corsair. As for the Hellcat having the higest kill score, its similar to the Spitfire / Hurricane, were the Spitfire is a faster, more manuvorable AC, but still the Hurricane has a higher kill score. This is I beleive is because RAF Fighter command, would send the Hurricanes to tackle the bombers, and the Spitfires to deal with the German fighters.
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#17 C.Evans

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 11:46 PM

I'm no expert of anykind on aircraft but--I'd think that to find out which is better all boils down to who is piloting the fighters.

Now--speaking of only my opinion--and because its my favorite fighter--i'd choose the Mustang. :D

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#18 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 02:40 AM

Overall, the P-51 was a much superior aircraft to the Corsair. Both aircraft had similar speeds, the Corsair being slightly faster at lower altitudes, the P-51 at higher ones. Both aircraft had good roll rates. The P-51 had the advantage in maneuverability at higher speeds and, did not suffer from a mixed bag of control surface performance. The Corsair had heavy elevators, light ailerons and, so-so rudder control while the P-51 was smooth and coordinated.
The Corsair also had bad stall characteristics while those of the P-51 were gentile and easily recovered from.
The P-51 also had excellent visibility from the cockpit, especially the D model onwards with the bubble canopy. This is an important consideration in combat.
The P-51 was clearly the superior aircraft.

#19 Smoke286

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 09:59 PM

Originally posted by Doc Raider:
Yeah, but the hellcat was in service much longer than the corsair, wasn't it? If so, wouldn't a longer service record and more hellcats built result in more kills?

No the Helcat was not in service much earlier then the Corsair, but for this first year of its operational life the Corsair did not serve on carriers, as such it did not have access to as many Japanese aircraft in the far east.

I think the P-51 became the best fighter in the Pacific when it reached it in 1945 and had its base at Iwo-Jima...

If I am not mistaken the prefered aircraft of the USAAF in the far east was not the P-51, but the P-38. It had one thing over all the opposition, range, in a theater with as vast an open ocean as the Pacific, range was king
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#20 wilconqr

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 01:18 PM

I remembewr reading somewhere that P-38's escorting bombers over Axis teritory in Europe were taken out of the fray once the longer ranged P-51's arrived on thew scene.

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#21 wilconqr

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 01:24 PM

I would like to see documentation of the F4U being in service prior to the F4F. After all, the F4F was the air seperiority fighter during the Battle of Midway; the turning point of the war against Japan. Furthermore, Midway Island's complement of fighters included F4F's, P-40's, and F2A Buffalo's, but no F4U's. Seems to me if they were in combat service before the F4F there would havce been some stationed on Midway.

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#22 Martin Bull

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 05:12 PM

The F4F was in service first - see :

http://www.warbirdalley.com/f4f.htm

For info on all types.
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#23 Smoke286

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 11:43 PM

Originally posted by wilconqr:
I would like to see documentation of the F4U being in service prior to the F4F. After all, the F4F was the air seperiority fighter during the Battle of Midway; the turning point of the war against Japan. Furthermore, Midway Island's complement of fighters included F4F's, P-40's, and F2A Buffalo's, but no F4U's. Seems to me if they were in combat service before the F4F there would havce been some stationed on Midway.

Why ,did someone say the Corsair was in service before the Wildcat, I thought the argument was wether the Helcat was in service much before the Corsair?
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#24 Smoke286

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 11:46 PM

Originally posted by wilconqr:
I remembewr reading somewhere that P-38's escorting bombers over Axis teritory in Europe were taken out of the fray once the longer ranged P-51's arrived on thew scene.

IIRC according to Martin Cadin's "Fork Tailed Devil" the P-38 in the Pacific theater eventually achieved a range of over 2000 miles. When I get a chance I will see if I can dig out the reference
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#25 Smoke286

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 11:54 PM

Originally posted by T. A. Gardner:
Overall, the P-51 was a much superior aircraft to the Corsair. Both aircraft had similar speeds, the Corsair being slightly faster at lower altitudes, the P-51 at higher ones. Both aircraft had good roll rates. The P-51 had the advantage in maneuverability at higher speeds and, did not suffer from a mixed bag of control surface performance. The Corsair had heavy elevators, light ailerons and, so-so rudder control while the P-51 was smooth and coordinated.
The Corsair also had bad stall characteristics while those of the P-51 were gentile and easily recovered from.
The P-51 also had excellent visibility from the cockpit, especially the D model onwards with the bubble canopy. This is an important consideration in combat.
The P-51 was clearly the superior aircraft.

I do not agree with the statement 'overall the P-51 was a much superior aircraft to the Corsair'
While the P-51 was undoubtedly superior at high altitude, little air combat occured so high in the pacific theater. The later marks of the Corsair could carry more munitions the the Mustang and the aircraft was much more robust, liquid cooled engines were much more prone to debilitating damage the air cooled models. Tactics used by the Navy and Marine pilots did not require the degree of manouverability that were demanded in Europe.
The P-51 was the superior aircraft for the kind of air combat that occured in Europe, however the Corsair, Helcat AND P-38 were better suited to action against the Japanese
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