Vought’s F4-U Corsair: Is there a place for it on SoW Normandy?

The short answer: Yes, as RNAS 759 Squadron

The long answer:
Deciding whether or not a module makes sense on the Storm of War Normandy missions is mostly driven by historical concerns. However, in the absence of a matching historical plane-set, some compromises have already been made so there are at least SOME aircraft for players to fly.

The with proposed released of the Corsair at an unknown date sometime in the future by Leatherneck/ Magnitude 3, the question has been raised regarding whether or not it would make sense to add this module in to the SoW missions as a flyable aircraft.

To answer this question, we have turned to historically-based sources. There are two areas of interests from where we might be able to shed light on whether or not corsairs were in any way involved in the Normandy campaign, or, if they were present in the air space of the DCS Normandy map.

The first issue is relatively easy to answer. The Corsair did NOT play a role in the Normandy landings or the Normandy campaign to any significant degree. It is almost certain that no corsairs were present over the invasion forces on D-day itself, and it is similarly almost certain that not Corsairs flew over France in support of the allied forces on the ground in the weeks post invasion.

In the lead up to, and the execution of the invasion itself, the Royal Navy’s air fleet arm was largely concerned with Operation Neptune. The Royal Navy resources were split up into various task forces. The carrier-related support for this operation was assigned to “anti-Submarine Escort Groups (under Western Approaches Command)”. This group consisted of 3 Escort carriers (HMS Tracker, Pursuer and Emperor, equipped with 62 aircraft including Corsairs), 14 Escort destroyers, 3 Sloops and 38 Frigates. These forces were positioned approximately 150 miles west of Land’s End, and did not play a role over the channel.

In the Royal Navy’s own publication “Operation Neptune: the Normandy invasion
D-day 6 June 1944
“, a short section is dedicated to answering the question “What was the contribution of naval aviation?”. This section specifies all of the Naval types and roles that were directly involved in the invasion itself. No Corsairs are listed.

Furthermore, soon after the invasion, the escort carriers were re-tasked to other theaters, taking their Corsairs with them. The deployment diary for HMS pursuer documents the roles of the escort carriers to the west of the invasion and the release of those forces on or about June 19th, 1944.

The second issue, whether the DCS Normandy map airspace played host to the Corsair during June-August 1944 can also be answered. This time, in the affirmative. Whilst individual squadron records for the Fleet Air Arm F4-U squadrons are not easily accessible, RAF documentation has shed light on this issue.

An RAF record of Corsairs which were lost to accidents indicates that at least four Corsairs were involved in accidents in the area around Yeovilton and Zeals in July to august 1944. Both of these locations are within the map limits of the DCS Normandy map. Furthermore, the RAF losses document indicates that these aircraft were all being flown by 759 Squadron.

759 squadron is elsewhere noted to have been equipped with the Corsair in 1944 and was based at RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron).

From this, we can confidently say that at least one squadron of Corsairs was operating in some capacity from Yeovilton, within the limits of the DCS Normandy map in July and August 1944. This information justifies the inclusion of the Corsair at least in a limited capacity on the SoW Normandy missions.

How would the F4-U be included?
The inclusion of the Corsair if and when it is released will likely take the form of a single section of two spawn-able player aircraft only. These two aircraft will adopt 759 squadron markings and the most applicable livery. They will be based at the closest airfield to Yeovilton, which is Needs Oar Point on the DCS Normandy map.

Thanks to Burrito for linking some of the source material used in this post.

References:
RN Operation Neptune PDF book – https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/-/media/royal-navy-responsive/documents/events/d-day-70/13_472-nhb-operation-neptune-d_day-book.pdf

HMS Pursuer diary – https://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-05CVE-Pursuer.htm

RAF list of Corsair losses – http://www.rafcommands.com/database/losses/listing.php?cur=0&qacid=479&qt=TY&crdb=Henk

759 Squadron information – https://www.asisbiz.com/RAF/RN-759NAS.html

5 Comments on “Vought’s F4-U Corsair: Is there a place for it on SoW Normandy?

  1. well, for Naval Missions, as in history, why not?
    On the beach of Normandy probably no…
    Cheers
    Cipson

  2. Awesome stuff, really enjoying the server. Sorry to be pedantic; but it is ‘Yeovilton’, no w. Thumbs up!

    • Yes, you are quite right. Pedantic is good. Article corrected. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Messerschmitt Me 262: Is there a place for it on SoW Normandy? | Storm of War

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