1:48 scale model of the Grumman F6F Hellcat; with details appropriate for fighters flown by the famed VF-27 on the USS Princeton (CVL-23) during the Marianas campaign in 1944. New in the box, these Hellcats include rockets, a drop tank, options for two different canopy configurations, and landing gear for both retracted and deployed display. Has a wingspan of 10-5/8"; overall length 8-1/2". The aircraft is finished in airbrushed two-tone blue and white camo paint scheme and marked appropriately with post-Sept. 1943 pattern star insignias. Easy, snap-together glueless assembly required; fully illustrated instructions included. There small parts, so recommended for ages 5+.
VF-27 and the 'cat mouth' Hellcats: (From VF-27 history website)
In early 1944, after a stateside refit in which the squadron traded their Wildcats for the new Grumman F6F-3 Hellcats, and further intense training in Hawaii during March and April, VF-27 embarked aboard the USS Princeton CVL-23. This would prove to be one of the most spectacular Light Carrier cruises of the war. Under Lcdr. Ernest Wood, the "Cat Mouthed" Hellcats flew warm-up missions against Saipan, and Tinian, on June 11th and 12th of 1944. Within a week the squadron participated in the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot", on June 19th. The Hellcats of VF-27 claimed 30 kills against Japanese aircraft attempting to strike Task Force 58. Squadron commander Lt. Cdr Wood was lost on this day however, his replacement was Lcdr. Fred Bardshar. Future aces Bill Lamb, Dick Stambook, and Gordon Stanley splashed four enemy aircraft apiece during the operation. Lcdr. Bardshar led VF-27 on a fighter sweep over Manila on Sept 21st, with VF-27 claiming 38 victories over IJN, and IJAAF aircraft. The day's bag included 4.5 kills for Lt. John Rodgers, and 4 kills for Lt. Jim "Red" Shirley.
After strikes against Formosa in mid- October, the Princeton was back in the Leyte Gulf as part of Task Force 38.3 on 24 October. Near Pollilo Island in the eastern part of the gulf VF-27 wrecked havoc on the Japanese, destroying 36 enemy fighters that day. Four pilots emerged as "Aces in a Day" in this engagement. They were Lt. Carl Brown, Lt. Jim Shirley, plus Lt. (jg) Gene Townsend, and Ensign Tom Conroy.
However upon return to the fleet, "Sweet P", the USS Princeton was found afire and sinking. At 9:38 that morning a lone JUDY dive bomber appeared suddenly out of thick clouds and dropped a single bomb on the Princeton's flight deck. The bomb exploded amidst fueled and armed Grumman TBF Avengers on the hanger deck. The ship was rocked by multiple explosions. Seven hours later, gutted by fire, the Princeton was scuttled by American torpedoes. VF-27's 5 month war cruise was over. Of the 136 victories credited during the deployment, a staggering 104 occurred on three days. This was a record unbeaten by any other CVL fighter squadron during the war.
Grumman F6F Hellcats are credited with more than 6,000 victories over Japanese Aircraft, including over 160 enemy aircraft in a single day during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Hellcats accounted for 75% of all aerial victories by US warplanes in the Pacific, and more pilots became Aces in Hellcats than in any other US WWII aircraft (306).
1:48 scale model of the Grumman F6F Hellcat; with details appropriate for first operational F6F's to see combat, flown by VF-9 'Cat-'o-Nines' from the USS Essex (CV-9) durning the raids on Wake Island and Rabul in late 1943. New in the box, these Hellcats include rockets, a drop tank, options for two different canopy configurations, and landing gear for both retracted and deployed display. Has a wingspan of 10-5/8"; overall length 8-1/2". The aircraft is finished in airbrushed two-tone blue and white camo paint scheme and marked with the short-lived red outlined star insignia that was used from June to September 1943. The VF-9 squadron insignia is also visible just below the cockpit, as is one Japanese 'victory' flag. Easy, snap-together glueless assembly required; fully illustrated instructions included. There small parts, so recommended for ages 5+.
VF-9 and the F6F Hellcats: (From the USS Essex history site)
VF-9 flew F4F Wildcats in support of operations in North Africa, and were slated to convert to F4U Corsairs in January 1943. Due to production issues with the F4U's, they instead received F6F-3 Hellcats and became the first operational squadron to do so. The Hellcats were so new that no pilot handbooks were even available at the time. Regardless, the pilots of VF-9 soon completed their quals and were deployed to the Pacific on Essex in May. In late August, the squadron flew the first combat sortie in Hellcats. This was a 'training raid' against Marcus Island, and no Japanese aircraft engaged them.
On October 5 as part of Task Force 14, the pilots of VF-9 launched from Essex and joined with a strike force comprised of three fighter divisions totaling 47 hellcats and headed for Wake Island. 50 miles from their target, they were detected by Japanese radar and 27 Mitsubishi A6M 'Zero' fighters sortied to intercept them. During the ensuing dogfight, Navy Hellcats destroyed 22 Japanese aircraft. 12 US planes were lost; 6 to the Zeros and 6 to triple-A from Wake. This was the first combat action for the new Hellcat fighter, and demonstrated that they could do far more than hold their own against the agile Japanese Zeros. Their next test came just a month later.
Just after dawn on Armistice Day 1943, VF-9 launched to provide fighter escort for a raid on 'Fortress' Rabul, a major Japanese base which boasted 5 airstrips, a float plane base, a submarine base, harbor facilities for a large number of IJN vessels, and was garrisoned by up to 200,000 personnel. During the strike, the Hellcats engaged everything in the Japanese arsenal from Zeros to Navy cruisers. VF-9 set a record for the most enemy aircraft shot down in one day: 54. They also earned the respect and admiration of the torpedo and dive bomber pilots they had been charged with protecting, as they had resisted the temptation offered by a dozen or so Zeros who attempted to lure them away from the strike force on the way into Rabul.
VF-9 went on to participate in the Invasion of Tarawa, and raids on Kwajalein Atoll, Truk, Saipan, and Tinian. They supported the assaults against Iwo Jima and Okinawa. VF-9 accounted for 251 enemy aircraft destroyed (in the air) during the war. The only other Hellcat squadron to exceed this was VF-15, also an Essex squadron.