1:72 Scale Grumman F6F Hellcat
Grumman F6F Hellcat
After spending time in North Africa and the Mediterranean the 804 squadron was stationed in Northern Ireland and in the summer of 1943 received a new CO Lt. Cdr. Orr ( who was an ace ) as well as the all new Grumman Hellcat I's to replace their Sea Hurricanes. The British referred to the new planes as "Gannets" until March 1944 and then they too called them Hellcats.
Oct. 1943 saw 804 being assigned to the #7 Naval Fighter Wing where they practiced flying the Hellcats on shore as well as at sea. All this was so they could gain experience with their new planes and would be read to take part in "Operation Tungsten", the early 1944 air strike on the German ship Tirpitz that had been nestled in a Norwegian fjord. The British were so worried that Tirpitz would head for open water and devastate shipping that was so vital to the island nation, Tirpitz had to be destroyed. 804 was assigned to escort the second wave of bombers, 19 Barracudas that would depart one hour behind the first group. The attack did little more than kill a couple of hundred sailors and caused minor damage that took about two months to repair. On November 12, 1944 the third attack to destroy Tirpitz the British finally succeeded. Lancaster bombers carrying "Tall Boy" bombs managed to get two direct hits that pierced the hull on the port side creating a 200 foot hole and causing internal fires. The magazine exploded and blew "C" turret off and the ship capsized within minutes killing 1,700 German sailors.
The 804 took part in Normandy action and after D-Day, June 6th 1944 804 was absorbed into the 800 and then 804 was disbanded only to be reformed in September 1944 at Wingfield, South Africa with 24 new Hellcat IIs. In January 1945 the squadron embarked on HMS Ameer to provide cover during the landings on Ramree Island. In April of the same year they were assigned to HMS Empress and took part in attacks on the Andaman Islands and along the coast of Burma. June 1945 the 804 was on the move again but it was back to HMS Ameer in time to participate in strikes on Sumatran airfields and Phuket Island. Their next move was after VJ-Day in November 1945 when the squadron returned home to Great Britain.
Grumman F6F Hellcat
Developed by Grumman to combat the Japanese Zero, the carrier-based F6F Hellcat was first flown on June 26, 1942. The Hellcat was a far more potent force than its predecessor, the Wildcat. It had increased fuel capacity, a low-mounted wing, wide landing gear, strengthened cockpit armor plating, and increased ammunition capacity. The big Double Wasp engine was set three degrees off the center axis, giving the aircraft a tail-down attitude in flight. Pilots' stories of "mostly holes where the airplane used to be" underscore the Hellcat's ability absorb unbelievable punishment and still return to the ship.