Chance Vought F4U Corsair in British Service

The Royal Navy received 2,012 Corsairs. It was the fleet air arm that first used the Corsair from a carrier. Ironically for an aircraft that made its name in the Pacific, the Corsair’s first carrier action came in the North Sea. On 2 April 1944, Corsairs of No. 1834 squadron, based on H.M.S. Victorious took part in an attack on the German battleship Tirpitz, providing fighter cover. Further strikes against the Tirpitz followed in July and August, this time supported by 1842 squadron.

Chance Vought Corsairs of the Fleet Air Arm
Chance Vought Corsairs of the Fleet Air Arm

The Royal Navy received 95 F4U-1s (designating them as Corsair Is) and 510 F4U-1As (Corsair II) from Chance Vought production. They also received 430 Brewster produced F3A-1Ds (Corsair III) – just over half of the Brewster company's total production of Corsairs, and 977 Goodyear produced FG-1Ds (Corsair IV). If the war had continued in 1946, F4U-4Bs were allocated for the Fleet Air Arm, but were never delivered.

Despite their early European venture, the British Corsairs spent most of the war in the Indian and Pacific oceans. They entered British service just as the fleet returned to the Indian ocean in strength, and took part in strikes against Japanese targets in Burma and Sumatra, including the oil refineries at Palembang. In 1945 the British fleet carriers moved to the Pacific, to take part in the final attack on Japan. British Corsairs saw action against Kamikaze attacks as the British Pacific Fleet attacked the Sakishima Islands, at the southern tip of Japan, before finishing the war making attacks on the Tokyo area.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 April 2007), Chance Vought F4U Corsair in British Service,

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