July 29, 2013 in Aviation
This is the Tamiya 1/48 F4U-2 Corsair in VF(N)-101 markings. More recent research suggests the side color may not be black, but rather fresh Sea Blue over the Intermediate Blue, but as of five years ago, this is how the VF(N)-101 night Corsairs were interpreted.
VF(N)-101 was the first Navy unit to take the Corsair on a carrier successfully, and they did it with essentially the F4U-1 without the “de-bounced” landing gear or the stall strip on the wing, and they operated at night off unlighted ships, flying from USS Enterprise as part of Air Group 10. In the spring/summer of 1944, they provided the first night air defense to Task Force 58, later supplemented with detachments of F6F-3Ns operating from other carriers, and scored five shot down, one probable and three damaged during their tour. Led by LCDR Richard “Chick” Harmer, VF(N)-101’s major contribution was proving night fighters could operate from carrier decks; Harmer himself is credited with the first night victory, a Betty on April 24, 1944, after previously damaging a Betty on February 19 and he shot down another Betty on June 28 in the Marianas, the unit’s last score. VF(N)-101 was actually half of VF(N)-75, the first Corsair night fighter squadron, which was left behind when that unit was sent to the Solomons in October 1943.
8 additional images. Click to enlarge