Hobbymaster 1/48th scale HA8902 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat “Battle of Midway” White 23, Lt. Cdr John Thach, VF-3, USS Yorktown, 4-6 June 1942. Buy online now at Flying Tigers.
Early in the Pacific War in WWII the Grumman F4F Wildcat was the best fighter aircraft the U.S. had but was out performed by the Japanese Zero. The Wildcat’s folding wings allowed for a greater number of aircraft that could be carried but added extra weight and reduced the aircraft performance. New features such as self-sealing fuel tanks, heavy armor made up for the Wildcat’s lesser performance. By the end of WWII the F4F had flown approximately 15,500 sorties with a kill ratio of 6.9 victories to 1.
John Thach devised a maneuver, the Thach Weave, so Wildcats could compensate for the Zero’ s high speed and turn rate. Using half power aircraft would weave back and forth across each others path to protect each other. On June 4th at the Battle of Midway John Thach led six VF-3 F4F’s from the USS Yorktown to escort Douglas Devastators to attack the Japanese carrier fleet. They were met by twenty Japanese fighters and using the Thach Weave they down four Zeros with Thach claiming three of them. Thach retired as an Admiral with six air victories.