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Article of the month: January
After the initial shock of the United States' introduction into the Pacific Theater of World War II, the industrial designers at the American home front were responding to the feedback based on the carrier warfare against the Japanese. The fighting between the F4F Wildcat and the A6M2 "Zero" revealed the need for more horsepower in their naval aircraft. The candidate engine for this role would be the R-2800 "Double Wasp" by Pratt & Whitney, which could provide more than 2,000 horsepower. The airframe was reinforced for this new engine, as well as providing a significant amount of armour for the pilot and modules for the survivability. After trials on readiness, the plane was accepted for operational usage in February 1943 as the F6F Hellcat.
The F6F-5 Hellcat has a 2,200 hp engine and is armed with six .50 cal M2 machine guns in the wings. Its performance allowed it to counter the Japanese A6M fighters more efficiently than past designs, utilizing its greater power to out-run and out-climb the competitor. The advantage proved successful as the F6F Hellcat, first engaging the Japanese on 01 September 1943, were able to maintain victories in the aerial campaigns against Japanese forces. Up to 75% of all victories by the US in the Pacific theater were accounted by the F6F Hellcat, with a claimed tally of 5,163 enemy planes shot down.
The F6F Hellcat also saw usage by the British Fleet Air Arm both in the European and Pacific Theater. After World War II, the Hellcat was still used as a training vehicle and was given out in numbers to the French and Uruguay up until the 1960s.
Featured historic article
Panzerjäger I - The first German Tank Hunter
There is no need to introduce German tank destroyers, serving during the World War 2. But only one of them was the first German dedicated tank destroyer – the small and light Panzerjäger I. In War Thunder, if you just started your way down the German ground forces technological tree, the Panzerjäger I will be your first tank destroyer as well, being a rank I vehicle with the BR value of 1.7.
The Panzerjäger I’s story start with the PzKpfw I German light tank. This tank, originally designed to be a training vehicle, was armed only with dual rifle-calibre machine guns, and was thus absolutely unfit for combatting enemy armour – a weakness discovered during the Spanish Civil War. Despite that, the Panzer I continued to be used as a frontline vehicle even during initial campaigns of the Second World War. Even before the outbreak of the war, the tank was however already hopelessly obsolete with its machine-gun only armament and light armour, and was next to useless in frontline service.
Germany however possessed hundreds of them in 1939, and the idea to simply phase them out was considered to be potential waste of good chassis. An idea was thus proposed to convert PzKpfw I tanks into an interim light tank destroyer, a vehicle specially designed to combat enemy tanks. During the conversion process, the running gear and chassis were unchanged. The turret was removed and replaced by a lightly armoured casemate, which was open from the top and from the rear (very similar conversion resulted in the Flakpanzer I anti-aircraft vehicle, also available in War Thunder). The new vehicle was designated as the Panzerjäger I ("Tank Hunter").
-Author: Jan "RayPall" Kozák
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