F4U-4B Corsair (*)
Corsairs have a distinctive and ingenious gull-shaped wing design, which serves three purposes. First, it enables the wings to fold upward which allowed more aircraft to be stored on the flight decks and hangars of the small aircraft carriers of the time. Second, the wing design resulted in a shorter and stronger landing
gear strut to withstand the tremendous shock loads resulting from carrier landings. Finally, it provided ground clearance for the thirteen-foot diameter,four bladed propeller.
The F4U-4 was configured as a fighter and bomber airplane, but preference was given for a more dedicated grount support variant, this resulted in the F4U-4C.
Note that the Royal British Navy cancelled an order of 300 F4U-4Cs.
The F4U-4 Corsair variant F4U-4C was renamed into F4U-4B (B= British).
In januari 1945, the F4U model 4B was built under the U.S. government’s Lend-Lease program for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, but were retained by the U.S. for its own use, the British Fleet Air Arm received no F4U-4's.
The F4U-4B was equipped with four M3 (T-31) 20-mm cannons with 924 rounds instead of the six 50-calibre machine guns,used in the early F4U-4 production, and eight 5-inch rockets under wings or up to 4000 pounds of bombs on centerline and pylon racks.
Only 297 cannon armed F4U-4Bs were produced by the Vought Corporation.
This made it an ideal platform to provide ground support of troops in the invasion of Japanese held Pacific Islands and also as an air superiority fighter aircraft.
Nevertheless, The F4U-4B has never been used in the World War 2, they were taken in service by the Navy in 1946 and by the Marine in 1947.
The U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Fighter Squadron 214 (VMF-214) "Blacksheep" used Vought F4U-4B Corsair between August and November 1950 on the escort carrier USS Sicily (CVE-118) for battle strikes in Korea.
This Corsair was a Korean War combat veteran, which flew with VF-44 squadron off the USS Boxer raking up 300 combat hours. During the Korean War, the Corsair was used mostly in the close-support role. As the Corsair moved from its air superiority role in World War II into the close air support role in the Korean Conflict, the gull wing proved to be a useful feature. A straight, low-wing design would have blocked most of the visibility from the cockpit toward the ground while in level flight, but a Corsair pilot could look through a notch and get a better ground reference without having to bank one way or the other to move the wing out of the way.