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The Wildcat was the front line fighter of American Navy at start of WWII against Imperial Japanese Navy’s Zero. The Mitsubishi A6M Zero had a significant advantage in performance compare to F4F wildcat (at turning, climbing and combat range). In dogfight, Wildcat does not have a matched move for Zero’s. At beginning of the war, Zero dominant the dogfight (and psychic) against Wildcat. However, when Wildcat met Zero during the Battle of Midway, the favor was on American side. A tactic that helps Wildcat to win the dogfight thus became legendary.

 To understand this, we have to go back almost exact one year before the Battle of Midway.

In summer of 1941, six months before the war, American’s Fighting Squadron Three (VF-3) was undergoing the conversion with the newly received aircraft, Wildcat. Later that summer, the Squadron leader Lieutenant Commander John Smith “Jimmy” Thach learned from a report publication in the 22 September 1941 of the extraordinary maneuverability and climb rate of Zero. To prepare his follow pilots for the war and have a chance facing Zero, Thach studied and tested dogfight tactic. He has looked every tactic during night and tested them in their fly training next day. For many nights and days, the test evaluation did not look good. One night working with matchsticks on the table, he eventually came up a promising plan with paired airplanes, instead of one-on-one tactic. The next day, this tactic was put into test with his then wingman Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare. To simulate the test, the defending aircraft was Wildcat with their throttles wired (to restrict its performance), while the attacking aircraft had unrestricted performance. The test result is stunning. The weave fly pattern tactic by paired defending aircrafts could always check each other’s tail. When on the tail of one defending plane, the attacking aircraft is under the fire path of another defending plane. The tactic is especially suited for Wildcat, since Wildcat is equipped with armor and sealed fuel tank is much more durable than Zero which does not have armor and sealed fuel tank.

On morning of June 4, 1992 at Midway, Thach led six of his VF-3 Wildcats escorting a strike from USS Yorktown. They were met with 15 to 20 Japanese fighters (among 42 Zeros in the air). They were out numbered and out maneuvered. One of Wildcat was shorted down right way that left only one wingman who had trained with newly developed tactic (Navy had ordered the first ace pilot Edward “Butch” O’Hare stateside during this time). Thach started fly “Weave”. He short down 3 Zeros and a wingman short down another, a four to one victory for Wildcat. That tactic did work in real dogfight with Zero. The tactic, Thach called “Beam Defense Position”, is forever known as “Thach Weave” and it remains useful tactic even in 21st century.

From inferior to wining dogfight, it’s a story of never give up; never being intimidated; combining own strength to turning the odds. A classic of making an impossible possible.



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Grumman F4F Wildcat Fighter make paper airplane and learn history.  (Skill index 7)

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Thach Weave-The Wildcat Story:

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​​4D model template of Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat.



































​Down Load template: Click "Down Load Template" button and print.  Or copy-paste the “print-out” of 4D template on your graphic program (such as PowerPoint) and add your label. Adjust the size as needed. 

 

​Construction Photo Notes


Check discussion for construction. To see large image: Click picture.

 The total production: 7,885.


Famous Ace pilot of F4F Wildcat include:

  • LCDR John Smith “Jimmy” Thach with 6 credited kills.
  • Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare, the Navy’s first flying ace. Named in his honor: the Navy destroyer USS O’Hare and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. 


Related 4D model:


Mitsubishi A6M Zero

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                  Story of F4F Wildcat.                                                 ​F4F wild cat Dogfight at Guadalcannal.


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wiki background for 4D model of Grumman F4F Wildcat
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Thach Weave

(Note: The movie title misspelled Thach as "Thatch". However, the first half of the movie has a good demo for "Thach Weave")

Butch O'Hare/F4F-3 Wildcat exhibition, O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, IL, USA

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​​​​​4D model template of Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat. 































Down Load template: Click "Down Load Template" button and print.  Or copy-paste the “print-out” of 4D template on your graphic program (such as PowerPoint) and add your label. Adjust the size as needed.