|This page is about the American fighter F3F-2. For the premium version, see Galer's F3F-2.|
The F3F-2 is a rank I American fighter with a battle rating of 1.7 (AB) and 1.3 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.55 "Royal Armour".
As expected with most Rank I fighters, but often considered "unusual" for an American fighter, the F3F is a pure-bred turn fighter. Like the Chaika mentioned above, and the polar opposite in performance to the F2A that replaced it in service, the F3F can pull turns with relative ease, and also has a very excellent roll rate, which when abused can provide a tough challenge for most of its opposition. It easily outclasses all reserve planes except the Ki-10 in manoeuvrability, and is on par with the I-153 in that matter as well. However, the F3F's BR can push it into the domain of Spitfires, late-model I-16s, Ki-43s (as well its bigger brother, the Ki-44) and of course Bf 109s, all of which are capable of easily disposing of their biplane opposition. It isn't the fastest or most climbable fighter either.
Due to its lacklustre armament (one M2 Browning machine gun with 200 rounds and one 7.62 mm Browning machine gun with 500 rounds), the F3F should mainly go after the fighter opposition, and not after bombers - leave that job to the P-40s. While it can carry two 100 lb bombs, they are only effective against lightly armoured targets (armoured cars, artillery, AAA etc.), and if carried early on in the match can weigh the plane down, affecting its flight characteristics a bit as a result. Leave the bombs until either the opposition goes passive for a while or air superiority can be obtained for a period of time over an opposing field of ground targets.
The F3F is armed with one 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine gun, and one 7.62 mm Browning machine gun, both are located within the nose of the aircraft right above the engine. While this does mean gun convergence is not an issue, the two-gun armament can be lacking in both firepower and ammunition count; the larger M2 has only 200 rounds to play with while the smaller 7.62 has 500 rounds on hand.
Nevertheless, this armament is decent enough to take down reserve and lightly-armoured Rank I planes with relative ease and, if an experienced player is behind the controls, is capable of dealing with even rank II aircraft.
The best air-to-air belts for the 12.7 mm MG are either Universal or Stealth belts (good amount of incendiary bullets), and Universal belts should be used for the 7.62 mm MG.
The F3F-2 is a highly manoeuvrable aircraft as would be expected from its biplane configuration, this allows it to competitively turn with majority of the enemy aircraft that it encounters, the energy retention is good at lower speeds (<250 km/h), but at higher speeds the F3F-2 will lose energy quickly when in a hard turn, problems will be found when facing higher BR monoplane fighters which will have a considerably superior top speed this can cause problems due to the slower speed of the F3F.
Despite the slower speed of the F3F-2 it does have good early acceleration (0-240 km/h) and will usually be one of the first aircraft in the air at the start of the match thanks to its 210m needed takeoff distance, the 16m/s climb rate will also allow for the F3F-2 to have an altitude against majority of the enemy fighters that it will face.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 4,300 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 220||< 280||< 420||> 250|
Survivability and armour
- 8.5 mm Steel boxes in rear lower fuselage
- Self-sealing fuel tanks (1 behind engine and one in front of pilot's feet)
Modifications and economy
The F3F-2 is armed with:
- 1 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine gun, nose-mounted (200 rpg)
- 1 x 7.62 mm Browning machine gun, nose-mounted (500 rpg)
The F3F-2 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 2 x 100 lb AN-M30A1 bombs (200 lb total)
Usage in battles
The F3F is first and foremost a fighter aircraft, this is a role in which it thrives with its brilliant manoeuvrability allowing it to deal with majority of enemy aircraft in a turn fight, trying to get an enemy aircraft to turn with you will be the best way to engage and win a fight, if the enemy is a monoplane they will usually have worse performance at slower speeds, so making them turn and lose energy is a good way to gain an advantage with your superior slow speed performance, if the enemy aircraft is also a biplane your main focus should be preventing them from getting guns onto your aircraft, if you can gain a turning advantage you should move into position and attempt to down the enemy aircraft, your two guns can end up putting lots of rounds into an enemy, but a hit to any critical component such as the pilot or engine will either end the fight or put it strongly in your favour. It is best to avoid "head on" engagements with enemy aircraft, as the engine on the F3F has a large frontal profile (radial engine) along with the engine front being exposed, this makes the engine being hit a common occurrence and without your engine survival is unlikely.
The F3F will commonly come across aircraft with superior top speed, such as many of the early Bf-109 variants (A, B-1, E-1 & F-1), these aircraft will usually attempt to use a "boom & zoom" attack style against your aircraft, the best you can do is to keep a good amount of energy and be ready to evade when the commit to an attack run, if you can evade them for long enough you will hopefully receive some help from some of your other team members or you might be able to make the enemy try and commit to a turn fight where you should have an advantage and be able to critically damage or down their aircraft.
As for using the F3F for close air support (CAS) you will have a few possibilities, the most popular choice will be to take the two 100 lb bombs (AN-M30A1), these only contain 24.5 kg of explosive mass so you will need to land them very close to the intended target to do any meaningful damage. A second option is to use your .50 cal (12.7 mm) Browning M2 machine gun to destroy ground targets, all belts for this gun have 26mm of penetration, although the ground targets belts are best as they contain more AP rounds, these will be able to go through SPAA (Self Propelled Anti Aircraft) vehicles as well as some light & medium tanks, firing at the roof armour or side armour on enemy vehicles will usually prove to be the most likely areas to achieve penetration.
It is recommended not to hold the brakes on landing, as the F3F will likely flip over, it is best to tap the breaks on and off to avoid this occurring.
Manual Engine Control
Not auto controlled
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Pros and cons
- Very good turn rate and roll rate
- Capable of dealing with most reserve or rank I aircraft
- Can land on carriers, which comes in handy
- Massive fuel load
- 12.7 mm MG can deal damage to light tanks and SPAA vehicles, making it useful for CAS
- Good rate of climb when compared to other aircraft at this BR
- Incredible rudder at low speeds
- Limited Armament
- Not a very fast plane
- Engine is exposed and is susceptible to damage
- Will easily flip on landing with constant brake use
- rudder becomes stiff above 400 km/h
The last biplane fighter in use by the United States Navy, the Grumman F3F first flew on 20 March 1935, and entered front-line service with VF-5B of USS Ranger the following March. The improved F3F-2 model-fitted with a more powerful Wright R-1820-22 Cyclone nine-cylinder engine-entered service between 1937-38 and proved to be the ultimate evolution of American biplane fighter design; it also earned the nickname "Flying Barrel" due to its modified engine cowling, which had to be larger to fit the new and bigger 1820 cubic-inch (29.88-litre) radial powerplant. The modifications allowed the updated fighter to accelerate to a higher top speed of 264 miles per hour (425 km/h), improved its climb rate from 2050 to 2750 ft/min (10.4 m/s to 13.7 m/s) and also expanded its service ceiling to 33,200 feet (10,120 m). Despite already being obsolete by the time it was introduced, Navy pilots loved the tough little Grumman fighter, and the F3F also influenced and provided a starting point for the design of Grumman's more successful wartime F4F Wildcat monoplane fighter.
Eighty-one F3F-2s were procured, and served with VF-6 aboard the USS Enterprise as well as Marine squadrons VMF-1 and VMF-2. The last F3Fs in front-line use by carrier squadrons were gone by 1941 (replaced by newer Brewster F2A Buffalo monoplanes), but remained in use for training and transport duties during the first two or so years of the United States' involvement in World War II, the last of which was retired in November 1943.
- Official data sheet - more details about the performance
- [Wikipedia] Grumman F3F
- [Mucheswarbirds.com] The Grumman F3F: The U.S. Navy's Last Biplane Fighter
|Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation|
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