Hobby Master HA8902 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat Lt.Cdr John Thach VF-3 USS Yorktown Battle of Midway 1/48
Detailed 1:48 scale model of the Grumman F-4F Wildcat, the US Navy standard carrier fighter though the early part of WW2. This model is finished as the aircraft flown by Lieutenant Commander John Thach from USS Yorktown during the Battle of Midway.
Early in the Pacific War in WWII the Grumman F4F Wildcat was the best fighter aircraft the U.S. had but was out performed by the Japanese Zero. The Wildcat’s folding wings allowed for a greater number of aircraft that could be carried but added extra weight and reduced the aircraft performance. New features such as self-sealing fuel tanks, heavy armor made up for the Wildcat’s lesser performance. By the end of WWII the F4F had flown approximately 15,500 sorties with a kill ratio of 6.9 victories to 1.
John Thach graduated from the United States Naval academy in 1927, serving on battleships for 2 years before specialising in aviation in the early 1930s. Gaining his wings John Thach served as instructor and test pilot during the 1930s with a reputation as an expert in aerial gunnery. Commanding Grumman Wildcat equipped fighter squadron VF-3 at the outbreak of war in the Pacific Lt Cdr Thach quickly developed new tactics to counter the faster and more manoeuvrable Mitsubishi Zero. The 'Thach weave' provided US Navy pilots with a mutual defence manoeuvre which forced an attacking aircraft to break off or fly across the guns of their targets' wingman.
On June 4th at the Battle of Midway John Thach led six VF-3 F4F’s from the USS Yorktown to escort Douglas Devastators to attack the Japanese carrier fleet. They were met by twenty Japanese fighters and using the Thach Weave they downed four Zeros with Thach claiming three of them.
An acknowledged expert in aerial combat tactics John Thach later developed the 'big blue blanket' defence against kamikaze suicide attack, using radar equipped picket ships to vector friendly fighters to intercept incoming attacks, providing a well-targetted layer of defence beyond the range of ship-based anti-aircraft fire. He retired from the Navy in 1967 with the rank of Admiral, having served as Commander in Chief US Naval Forces Europe, having gains six air combat victories.