The Brewster Buffalo is known to be one of the worst, if not the worst aircraft used in World War II.
While the Buffalo had its drawbacks, it was also the victim of poor timing, company mismanagement, and the air staff’s obsession to put as many extras into it.
The Buffalo’s origins can be traced back to the mid-1930s. During that time, the US Navy wanted a modern carrier-based fighter to replace its aging fleet of biplanes.
Brewster‘s design looked promising, and the Navy ordered a prototype, giving it the designation XF2-A.
After initial tests, the Navy awarded Brewster with a contract to produce 54 aircraft, but this is where the problems began.
Brewster is a small aircraft parts supplier, and now that they have to produce planes en masse, it quickly became apparent that their production facilities were woefully inadequate. Delivery of the aircraft was slow, and instead of 54 aircraft, the Navy only received 11 of them.
In 1940, orders started rising on Brewster, not only from the Navy but from European buyers as well. This added pressure eventually led to production shortcomings.
The company also hired Alfred and Ignacio Miranda as company salesmen who had a history of fraud. They also had overpromised Brewster’s production capabilities to customers. Eventually, this soured the Navy’s opinion of the company and its aircraft.
The last version of the Buffalo was the F2A3. However, in many ways, this third variant was a downgrade to the previous ones.
Because of its new features, it added an extra 500 pounds, ruining the Buffalo’s once beloved turning and handling characteristics.
When the Japanese came, the Buffalo held its own against earlier planes like the Ki 27 and the Ki 43 but they were hopelessly outclassed by the Zeroes.
Overall, I think we can conclude that the aircraft wasn’t a failure, but rather a victim of circumstance. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts!