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The Sorry Saga of the Brewster Buffalo: A Flying Coffin to the U.S. Marines, but a Pearl to the Finns

The Sorry Saga of the Brewster Buffalo: A Flying Coffin to the U.S. Marines, but a Pearl to the Finns

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The Sorry Saga of the Brewster Buffalo: A Flying Coffin to the U.S. Marines, but a Pearl to the Finns

ratings:
4.5/5 (3 ratings)
Length:
47 pages
36 minutes
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 3, 2014
ISBN:
9781502237316
Format:
Book

Description

A group of Internet aviation fans once debated the subject of the worst fighter of World War II. Their hands-down favorite: the Brewster Buffalo. Two books are titled The World's Worst Aircraft. The Buffalo is the only fighter from any era to have a chapter in both of them.

The Royal Air Force fobbed the Brewster fighter onto the Fleet Air Arm and colonial squadrons; the U.S. Navy gave it to the Marines. Pilots thought it was a sweet plane to fly, but complained that the wheel struts sometimes broke, the engine leaked oil, and the guns sometimes didn't fire. And when they flew it against the nimble fighters of Japan, too often they didn't come back.... Yet all the while, the Finns tore great holes through the Russian air force with essentially the same plane.

In this short book, Daniel Ford tells the story of the bumbling Brewster Aeronautical company of Queens, New York, which struggled to produce a few hundred copies of its roly-poly warplane before it was finally seized by the government and used to build a competing fighter. With black-and-white and color photographs; updated 2014 to include the discovery of two surviving Brewsters, in Russia and at Midway Atoll.

Publisher:
Released:
Nov 3, 2014
ISBN:
9781502237316
Format:
Book

About the author

Daniel Ford has spent a lifetime chronicling the wars of the twentieth century. He lives in Durham, New Hampshire, where he is a recreational pilot and writes for the Wall Street Journal.


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Book Preview

The Sorry Saga of the Brewster Buffalo - Daniel Ford

The Sorry Saga of the Brewster Buffalo

A Flying Coffin to the U.S. Marines, but a Pearl to the Finns

Daniel Ford

Chinese ideogram

Warbird Books 2014

New Zealanders of 67 Squdron

New Zealanders of RAF 67 Squadron await the Japanese onslaught in Burma (Vic Bargh via Neil Frances)

Contents

Brewster: A Piece of Work

War Comes to the Airframe Business

The Much-Traveled F2A-2

The Buffalo Gets Ready to Fight

War in the Pacific

The Last Flight of BW-272

A Ghost from the Battle of Midway

Copyright - Author

Photographs

RAF 67 Squadron in Burma, 1941

Wind tunnel testing of the XF2A

The competition from Grumman

U.S. Navy F2A-2, best of the breed

Finnish Brewsters on combat patrol

Marines fuel an F2A-3 on Ewa Island

BW-372 on display in Finland

The Midway Buffalo wreckage

The prototype Brewster Fighter

The prototype Brewster fighter was the first to be tested in the government’s new wind tunnel at Langley, Virginia

Brewster: A Piece of Work

A GROUP OF INTERNET aviation fans once debated the subject of the worst fighter of World War II. Their hands-down favorite: the Brewster Buffalo.

Two books are titled The World’s Worst Aircraft. The Buffalo is the only fighter from any era to have a chapter in both of them.

The Royal Air Force fobbed the Brewster fighter onto the Fleet Air Arm and British Commonwealth squadrons. The U.S. Navy gave it to the Marines. Pilots thought it was a sweet plane to fly, but noticed that the wheel struts had a tendency to break, that the engine leaked oil, and that the guns sometimes didn’t fire. And when they flew it against the nimble fighters of Japan, too often they didn’t come back.

Yet all the while, the Finns tore great holes through the Russian air force with essentially the same plane.

The Buffalo’s problems began with its manufacturer. In 1932, an aeronautical engineer named James Work paid $30,000 for the aircraft division of Brewster & Co., a firm that over the years had built horse-drawn buggies, auto bodies, and aircraft assemblies, but now did little more than represent Rolls-Royce in the United States. Jimmy Work was a balding man with soulful eyes, a gentle smile, and a good suit. You might have picked him to manage your retirement account – probably not the best idea you’d ever have. Serving as president of Brewster Aeronautical, he hired himself as a consultant and leased a factory from himself. Double-dipping

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