The Hellcat (Grumman F6F) was a World War II-era US naval fighter
plane. This plane
was designed and built as a direct response to the Japanese navy's Zero
s early in the war had proven to the US navy that its F4F Wildcat
fighter just did not have what it took to survive against the Zero in a dogfight
, so plans were made for a follow-on. Work on the Hellcat began in 1941.
US engineers studied Japanese engineering in any downed Zeroes that they could get their hands on. Much of the Hellcat's design is based on the Zero, plus significant improvements in materiel, speed, range and ammunition capacity introduced by the Americans.
The Hellcat was complete and available in large enough numbers to participate in 1944's Marianas Turkey Shoot, in which 336 Japanese planes of all types were lost to 26 Hellcats downed. While this may have had a lot to do with the improved hardware, it must be said that by this time, the Japanese were scraping the bottom of the barrel, pilot-wise. They were putting into the air, a force largely composed of undertrained and underexperienced (but with plenty of heart) teenagers, who really had no idea what they were getting into.
12,275 Hellcats were manufactured, in many variations, between 1943 and 1945, the end of Hellcat production. Hellcats are credited with 4,947 air-to-air kills during the war, nearly 75 percent of all US navy air victories.
To the best of my knowledge, Hellcats were never full of beans, but they could have been.
nor fun, neither!
Well, thank you factgirl!