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F2A-3 Buffalo "2-MF-13" MCAS Ewa, VMF-221, Hawaii, April 1942
General Background
The Brewster F2A Buffalo was USN's first mono-wing fighter. The status of the “Buffalo” is somewhat controversial in the history of aviation. It was designed by US but saw its real success only in Finland, a co-belligerent of Germany during WWII. It was designed as a carrier based fighter but only saw combat from land bases.

The most distinctive feature of the Buffalo was the retractable landing gear. With the right pilot the plane was quite capable in combat. Some historians believe that some units of the Commonwealth squadrons may have achieved a 2 to 1 kill ratio in the Far East.
The Aircraft
In July 1941 the USMC fighter squadron VMF-221 “Fighting Falcons” was formed in San Diego. After the attack on Pearl Harbor VMF-221 was sent to Marine Corps Air Station Ewa on Hawaii. On December 25th 1941 14 F2A-3 aircraft of VMF-221 took off from USS Saratoga and landed on Midway Island to form part of a relief force. After their F2A-3’s were out performed and almost completely destroyed by Japanese Zeroes at the Battle of Midway the VFM-221 returned to EWA.
Specifications :
Power plant: One Wright R-1820-40 Cyclone nine-cylinder single row air-cooled radial, rated at 1200 hp
Performance: Maximum speed - 285 mph at sea level
323 mph at 16,500 ft.
344 mph at 26,500 ft.
cruising speed 157mph
landing speed 73 mph
initial climb rate 2500 ft/min.
Service ceiling 34,000 ft.
Weight: 4576 lbs. Empty
5942 lbs. Gross
6890 lbs. Maximum take-off
Dimensions: Wingspan – 35 ft.
Length – 26 ft.
Height – 11 ft. 8 ins.
Wing area – 209 sq. ft
Armament Four Browning 0.50 in. machine guns, two in the upper engine cowling, one in each wing.
Under each wing bomb racks that could carry one 100-lb. bomb just outboard of the main landing gear.