|This page is about the premium American fighter Thach's F2A-1. For other variants, see F2A (Family).|
John Thach's F2A-1 Buffalo is a premium rank I American fighter with a battle rating of 2.0 (AB) and 2.3 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.31. It costs 400 GE. The plane is painted after the camouflage scheme of American pilot John Thach in the U.S. Navy, who was famous for the "Thach Weave" manoeuvre.
The Brewster F2A Buffalo was the first carrier based monoplane of the US fleet, made to replace the outdated biplanes in service with the US Navy. It had a 950 horsepower engine and two machine guns on the nose of different calibre. Many Countries, including the Finnish Air Force which was highly successful with the buffalo, ordered the Buffalo. By the time WWII started and the attack of pearl harbor, the F2A was outclassed by the Japanese A6M2 and Ki-43s.
The F2A-1 is a competitive machine, if using the proper tactic versus the proper enemy. The "Buffalo", as it is sometimes referred to as, can outrun biplanes and can out-turn most monoplanes. Its only draw back is low ammo count and unreliable armament, however its performance easily makes up for the lack in armament. As said before this plane will get a pilot used to the American style of aircraft of Boom & Zoom along with the particulars of .50 calibre machine guns usage.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 4,600 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)|
|< 405||< 400||< 380||> 306|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|1,800 m||860 hp||963 hp|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|4,650 m||760 hp||851 hp|
Survivability and armour
- No armour
- Self-sealing fuel tanks (1 in each wing)
Modifications and economy
Thach's F2A-1 is armed with:
- 1 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, nose-mounted (250 rpg)
- 2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, wing-mounted (400 rpg = 800 total)
- 1 x 7.62 mm Browning machine gun, nose-mounted (450 rpg)
Usage in battles
The best way to fly this aircraft would be as a Boom & Zoom or energy fighter; it can outrun most aircraft it faces, unless it is uptiered and faces something like the Bf 109 F-1. In such a scenario the best way to destroy more advanced vehicles is through boom and zoom tactics.
In Arcade, there is no need to worry about ammo count as much as in Realistic Battles (RB) and Simulator (SB) since the planes can reload in the air. The target-lead indicator, which shows approximately where there enemy plane will when when the bullets reach the target, also eases with aiming. For arcade, the ammo belts are really useful, it is suggested to use Omni purpose ammo for the .50 calibre (12.7 mm) machine gun and stealth for the .30 cal (7.62 mm) machine gun, however another option is to try going all stealth so the F2A can surprise the enemy with bullets they can't see. There are a variety of enemy planes that the F2A-1 faces, ranging from biplanes to low rank monoplanes. In the common low rank arcade battle we get fur-balls going on at low altitude with planes trying to get on each other's tail, a perfect set up for a Boom & Zoomer like the Buffalo, first set the attack angle, which could be from directly above the enemy that is targeted, or from behind (it should be priority to target enemy planes that are chasing friendly planes or for a dangerous threat like, MiG-3s, LaGG-3s, Hurricane, Bf 109s or another Buffalo). Once the F2A is nearing towards the enemy plane, know what type of enemy they are, depending on what plane they are flying, is what determines what to do after an attack run. Lets say with a dive on an enemy, but the attack didn't destroy them on the first pass, if the enemy was a biplane, then keep up the speed and vacant the area, and set up another pass. If the enemy was a monoplane in the same situation, the F2A can choose to either clear the area, or turn onto their tail, but it is advisable to leave the area and look and see if the enemy noticed the attacking F2A, if he didn't and he is chasing a friendly or going for ground targets then latch on to his tail and shoot him down!
In Realistic Battles & Simulator Battles, most of the tactics against fighters would be the same as in arcade, only with a few restrictions.
- Do not dive too fast, or the F2A wont be able to pull up or the plane's wings will break.
- No Enemy-Lead indicator, pilot skill and intuition will have to guess where the enemy plane will be when the bullets reach the targets.
- Very limited ammo, on top of that the armament isn't reliable outside of 400 meters.
So how does one play this in RB with all these drawbacks? A few very simple things will help with those problems, at the beginning of the match in RB, climb at about a 15 degree angle until about 3,000-4,000 m in altitude. When an enemy is spotted, if a biplane the F2A will have to take up a Boom & Zoom tactic, do not attempt to turn fight. If the enemy is a monoplane, turnfighting can be a valid tactic; unless they are the British Hurricane or Japanese A5M (not to confuse with A6M much superior to the Buffalo) or Ki-43, then do not turn fight these monoplanes. For the most part, Russian monoplanes are safe to turn fight (I-16s, late I-16s, MiG-3 and LaGG-3s). When diving on an enemy, put the throttle to 0% so the F2A does not accelerate too fast. If a shot can't be gained on the enemy, pull out by putting throttle at 100% and point the nose up to gain altitude. Once on the tail of an enemy, no matter the plane, open fire only at close ranges, firing at 300 meters or less would help conserve the ammo and there won't have to lead as much, therefore easier to aim and make each shot more effective.
This can apply to all three game-modes: When someone is on the F2A tail and bullets fly past the plane, with the right altitude, make a short steep dive. With that little dive, it can dodge enemies bullets and it gives an opportunity to take a look back at the offending enemy. If the aircraft is a biplane, continue the dive and get out of range of their guns. If it is a monoplane, attempt to turn fight, but the F2A is still effective in diving away from even faster monoplanes, which will be effective against manoeuvrable monoplanes like the Hurricane and A5M4. Learning the gun sounds also helps, sometimes the sound will help identify the enemy plane so as to make a move more instinctively.
Manual Engine Control
Not auto controlled
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Pros and cons
- Great dive speed
- Great vertical and horizontal energy retention
- Good armament for its rank
- Good top speed
- Good turning circle and speed not a turn-fighter though
- Can land on a carriers
- Powerful .50 calibre machine guns
- Great acceleration (at take-off and on the deck up to ~250 mph)
- Low ammo count (can be conserved by firing at close range)
- The telescopic sight is a bit of an annoyance in Simulator battles, as these have to be used when zoomed in
The Brewster F2A-1 buffalo was designed to replace the Grumman F3F biplane fighter. In a competition between the Grumman XF4F1 and the XF2A-1(the P-35 lost early on), the XF2A-1 won as it was more advanced than the Grumman aircraft, so it went into production as F2A-1.
Although the F2A buffalo fought only a few battles with the US Military, it fought important ones. In the battle of Midway, it was one of the main fighter planes of the US fleet (the other being the F4F Wildcat), it played an important role(along with the other planes)in the battle of Midway, and showed that the F2A and F4F were no match to the A6M, which were soon replaced by the more advanced F6F and F4U Corsair.
Many nations acquired the F2A in their air forces, the most successful country with the type was Finland. From January to February 1940, the Finns received their F2A-1s (Designated B239), in total they received 44 Buffalos. During the Continuation War the Finnish Air Force was highly successful with the type, they developed tactics that the Russians couldn't counter. One tactic they used was baiting, where 2 Buffalos are low and act as bait, as 2 others dive on attacking enemy planes. In the Continuation War, Squadron 24 of Finland, some sources state, had a victory ratio of 26. Buffalos of 24 squadron claimed 477 confirmed kills to 15 Buffalos destroyed.
John S. Thach
John Smith Thach was born on April 19, 1905, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He attended the United States Naval Academy, and graduated in 1927; he then went on to serve aboard battleships for 2 years. He became a Naval Aviator in 1930, and served as a test pilot and instructor until 1940, and he was known to be an expert in aerial gunnery.
Thach was assigned as the commander of Fighter Squadron Three (VF-3) in early 1940. Thach met Ensign Edward O'Hair (who would later earn the Medal of Honor) at that time, and he made O'Hair his wingman, teaching him everything he knew. At the end of 1940, eight out of the sixteen members of VF-3 earned the gunnery "E" ("excellence") award at the US Navy fleet gunnery competition.
Thach went on to develop a tactic known as the Thach Weave, which allowed American pilots to face the more agile Japanese A6M Zero aircraft. Two fighters would fly on intersecting flight paths, in order to lure a Japanese fighter to move to attack one of them. The other pilot would then shoot down the Japanese fighter from behind at the intersection of the flight paths.
Early on after the US entered World War 2, Thach remained assigned to VF-3; VF-3 was flying from the USS Lexington at the time. At the time of the Battle of Midway, VF-3 was assigned to the USS Yorktown, and Thach lead a sortie of six F4F Wildcats while escorting twelve TBD Devastators lead by Lance Massey. Upon finding the Japanese fleet, fifteen to twenty Japanese fighters attacked the group. The Americans used the Thach Weave, and despite being outnumbered, Thach scored three A6M Zero kills and one more was shot down by another member of VF-3; one F4F Wildcat was shot down.
Thach was assigned as a flight training instructor after the Battle of Midway; this was in contrast to the Japanese strategy. The Imperial Japanese Navy kept its pilots on the front line, fighting in combat, while the US Navy assigned its best pilots to training roles. This ensured that the US Navy had a steady stream of well trained pilots, while the Japanese Navy had a lack thereof. The Imperial Japanese Navy eventually resorted to using Kamikaze attacks to destroy American fighting vessels, so Thach developed a strategy to combat the Kamikaze threat. The strategy was called the big blue blanket. It entailed radar picket ships stationed in a radius miles away from the main fleet, 24 hour combat air patrol (CAP), and continuous flybys of the Japanese airfields.
Thach, who had been promoted to Commander, became the operations officer to Vice Admiral John S. McCain Sr. - who was then serving as the commander of the Fast Carrier Task Force (TF-38), part of the Third Fleet under Admiral Halsey. On September 2, 1945, Thach was present at the formal Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Throughout World War 2 John Thach was credited with six aerial victories, making him an ace.
During the Korean War, Thach commanded the escort carrier USS Sicily (CVE-118), and in 1953-1954 commanded the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42). In 1955, Thach was promoted to Rear Admiral.
Thach was placed in command of "Task Group Alpha", an anti-submarine development unit, in 1958-1959. His flagship during this period was the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge (CVS-45). On 1 September 1958, Thach was featured on the cover of Time magazine for his contributions to anti-submarine warfare. An award was later named in his honor to be awarded to the top anti-submarine warfare squadrons of the Navy.
In 1960, Thach was promoted to Vice Admiral and served as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air in the Pentagon. In this position, he played a role in the development of the LTV A-7 Corsair II and other naval aviation programs. In 1965, Thach was promoted to Admiral, serving as the Commander in Chief, United States Naval Forces Europe. He retired from the Navy in May 1967.
Thach was inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame in 1981. Thach died on April 15, 1981, in Coronado, California; he was buried at buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. USS Thach (FFG-43), an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, was named after him.
The Brewster F2A Buffalo was the first carrier-based monoplane fighter in service with the American Navy. The aircraft had an all-metal construction, with the exception of its control surfaces, which were covered with cloth.
This aircraft has 1393 as its serial number, and 3-F-13 as its tail number. The fuselage shows Felix the Cat with a bomb, the symbol of the VF-3 (Fighter Squadron 3) of the US Navy, which was based on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3).
It was flown by John Smith Thach, an American ace who scored six air victories. However, his most significant achievement was to develop the aerial combat tactic known as the Thach Weave, in which two planes (or two pairs of them) flying in one line acted as the "bait" and the "hook": as soon as an enemy attacked the bait, the pairs turned in towards each other, and after crossing paths, and once the distance between them was great enough, they would again turn in towards each other, and the enemy plane, following on the bait's tail, would end up right in front of the hook's nose.
Thach's tactic was first tested in combat during the Battle of Midway, where it proved to be quite effective. Soon enough, it was being used everywhere.
By the end of the war, Thach was appointed Operations Officer to Vice Admiral John McCain, and he was also present on board the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) when the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed.
John Thach was awarded with the Navy Cross (US) with a gold star, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (US) with a gold star, the Silver Star (US), and the Legion of Merit with a Combat "V" and a gold star. He retired from the US Navy as an Admiral.
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|Brewster Aeronautical Corporation|
|Fighters||F2A-1 · Thach's F2A-1 · F2A-3|
|P-26 Peashooter||P-26A-33 · P-26A-34 · P-26A-34 M2 · P-26B-35|
|P-36 Hawk||P-36A · Rasmussen's P-36A · P-36C · P-36G|
|P-39 Airacobra||P-400 · P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5|
|P-40||P-40C · P-40E-1 · P-40E-1 TD · P-40F-10|
|P-47 Thunderbolt||P-47D-22-RE · P-47D-25 · P-47D-28 · P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-47N-15|
|P-51 Mustang||P-51 · P-51A (Thunder League) · P-51C-10 · P-51D-5 · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · P-51D-30 · P-51H-5-NA|
|P-63 Kingcobra||P-63A-5 · P-63A-10 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra|
|F2A Buffalo||F2A-1 · Thach's F2A-1 · F2A-3|
|F3F||F3F-2 · Galer's F3F-2|
|F4F Wildcat||F4F-3 · F4F-4|
|F4U Corsair||F4U-1A · F4U-1A (USMC) · F4U-1D · F4U-1C · F4U-4 · F4U-4B · F4U-4B VMF-214 · F2G-1|
|F6F Hellcat||F6F-5 · F6F-5N|
|F8F Bearcat||F8F-1 · F8F-1B|
|Other countries||▃Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ▃A6M2 · ▃Bf 109 F-4 · ▃Fw 190 A-8 · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc|
|USA premium aircraft|
|Fighters||Thach's F2A-1 · Galer's F3F-2 · F2G-1 · F4U-4B VMF-214 · P-26A-34 · P-40C · P-43A-1|
|P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-51A · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · ␠Kingcobra · XP-55|
|▃A6M2 · ▃Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ▃Bf 109 F-4 · ▃Fw 190 A-8 · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc|
|Twin-engine fighters||XP-38G · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38K · YP-38 · P-61A-1 · XF5F · XP-50 · F7F-3|
|Jet fighters||P-59A · F-86F-35 · F-89B · F-89D · F-5C|
|Strike aircraft||A2D-1 · AU-1 · XA-38 · AV-8A|
|Bombers||A-26C-45DT · B-10B · BTD-1 · PBM-3 "Mariner" · PV-2D|