Hobby Master HA1116 US Navy Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat Fighter - VF-20, USS Enterprise (CV-6), October 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
The F6F embodied the early lessons learned by users of Grumman's previous fleet-defense fighter, the Wildcat. In June 1941, Grumman lowered the wing center section to enable the undercarriage to be wider splayed, fitting more armor-plating around the cockpit to protect the pilot while also increasing the fighter's ammunition capacity. When the prototype made its first flight, it was realized that a more powerful engine was needed to give the fighter a combat edge. A Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 engine was installed for added power.
The aircraft made its combat debut in August 1943, and from that point on, the question of aerial supremacy in the Pacific was never in doubt. Hellcats served aboard most of the US Navy's fleet carriers, being credited with the destruction of 4,947 aircraft up to V-J Day. The Fleet Air Arm was also a great believer in the Hellcat, procuring almost 1,200 planes between 1943-45. The Hellcat saw only limited service in the post-war years, being replaced by the more powerful F9F Bearcat. Of the nine F6Fs believed to be airworthy today, seven are based in the USA and two are located in the UK.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a US Navy F6F-5 Hellcat fighter that was attached to VF-20, then embarked upon the USS Enterprise (CV-6), during October 1944.
Wingspan: 5 inches
Length: 5 inches
Release Date: March 2015
Historical Account: "Dark is the Night" - The strikes on Okinawa on October 10th, afforded the pilots of VF-20 the first opportunity to attack targets which had not been previously hit. Although Yonton and Naha airfields were both operational, our pilots did not encounter any planes in the air. However, they found many planes parked on the airfields, fifteen of which were destroyed and twenty-seven more of which they damaged. Two FTC's were damaged by rockets in coordinated attacks with VB and VT planes on shipping off Naha. In addition a number of smaller craft were damaged and destroyed.
The first enemy airborne opposition was encountered on October 12th over southern Formosa when the fighter sweep engaged approximately 30 Oscars and Zekes, 18 of which they shot down without loss to themselves. Three more were shot down by fighters on the first strike the same morning. During the remaining strikes on October 12th and 13th, there was virtually no more enemy opposition in the air, thus enabling the fighters to concentrate on parked planes and aircraft installations at Tainan, Heito, Okayama and Takao airfields and on shipping in Takao Harbor and along the coast as far north as Tainan. In addition to destroying 24 planes in the air, the squadron destroyed 21 planes on the ground, sank one FTD and damaged one FB, 2 FTC, and one FTD.
While the Task Group was returning late in the afternoon of October 13th, it was taken under attack by a number of low flying Frances and Bettys. The eight fighters scrambled to intercept them, splashed five, two of which were inside the destroyer screen when shot down. A sixth was destroyed by one of the night fighters who was making a ferry hop back to base from another carrier.