Hobby Master 1-48 Air Power
HA8907 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat "Operation Torch" Lt. Cdr. John Raby, VF-9,
USS Ranger, November 1942

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 15,500sorties with a kill ratio of 6.9 victories to 1.

Operation Torch was an Anglo-American invasion of French Morocco and Algeria that were the bases for the Vichy French forces and navy. On November 8, 1942 the invasion began and was completed on November 16. Part of Task Force 34 was the USS Ranger with VF-9 as one of the squadrons onboard. One sortie carried out by VF-9 included nine F4F led by Lt. Cmdr Jack Raby. The aircraft made three-abreast passes over Cazes airfield located southwest of Casablanca destroying many aircraft still on the ground. VF-9 also shot down six Vichy airborne aircraft.

Specifications For The Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat
British Name – Martlet
Number Of All Wildcat Variants Produced – 7,860
Role - American Carrier-based Fighter
Crew – 1
Dimensions
Length – 28 ft 9 in (8.8 m)
Wingspan – 38 ft (11.6 m)
Height – 9 ft 2.5 in (2.8 m)
Weight
Empty – 5,895 lb (2,674 kg)
Loaded – 7,975 lb (3,617 kg)
Maximum Takeoff – 8,762 lb (3,974 kg)
Performance
Powerplant – 1 X Pratt & Whitney R-1830-86 Double-Row Radial Engine, 1,200 hp (900 kW)
Maximum Speed – 320 mph (290 kn / 515 km/h)
Rate Of Climb – 2,200 ft/min (11.17 m/s) Normal Power
Service Ceiling – 34,000 ft (10,363 m)
Range – 830 miles (721 nmi / 1,337 km)
Armament
Guns – 6 X .050 in (12.7 mm) AN/M2 Browning Machine Guns