Fix F6F bomb load - no 2000 lbs used

From “Pilots Handbook of Flight Operating Instructions for Navy Models F6F-3, F6F-3N,
F6F-5, F6F-5N Airplanes”

Page 6:

“The pilot is protected forward and aft by armor plate, also by a bullet proof windshield. Enemy gunfire originating in the areas illustrated in Appendix I should not reach the pilot.”

Diagram found in Appendix I, page 55:

f6f protection copy.jpg

Now back to page 6

“The armament consists of six .50 calibre machine guns located in the outer wing panels with a maximum of 2400 rds. of ammunition. Two 1000# bombs can be carried under the center section of one full sized torpedo under the belly. When the airplane is operating with the torpedo or 1000# bomb under the belly, 100 gallon droppable fue1 tanks can be carried under the wing center section.”

Thus is can be seen that not only could the F6F carry a 1000# bomb, it could carry two of them if the mission profile so required! This capability aside, however, one should remember that statistically the most often carried bomb by USN carrier aircraft was the 500# GP. The F6F was no exception to that trend. For the entire war 47.95% of bombs dropped by carrier aircraft were the 500# GP. And also remembering that the F6F did not participate in large scale bombing profile missions until 1945, a quick look at deliveries by F6F carrier squadrons from 1 Jan 45 through 15 Aug 45 shows the following; format is Ordnance type || Tonnage || %:
100# GP || 33 || 0.9%
250# GP @ || 97 || 2.6%
500# GP || 2,402 || 65.1%
1000# GP || 455 || 12.3%
500# SAP || 12 || 0.3%
1000# SAP || 7 || 0.2%
Armor Piercing || 1 || 0.0%
Napalm (Tank) || 373 || 10.1%
Other Incendiary || 2 || 0.1%
Fragmentation || 300 || 8.1%
Depth Bombs || 7 || 0.2%
TOTAL || 3,689 || 100.0%

So while, again, the F6F could and did carry and deliver the 1000# GP or SAP, the bomb of choice was the 500# GP. Perhaps this preponderance obscures the use of the 1000# varieties from common observation.

Moving on . . .

Now on page 43

“Before retarding throttle to enter dive, shift to NEUTRAL blower regardless of your altitude. Set propeller control for 2050 to 2250 RPM, and adjust throttle to 15” to 20” manifold pressure. During the dive, do not allow manifold pressure to build up over 34" before retarding throttle. The maximum allowable diving RPM is 3060 for not more than 30 seconds. NOTE - Before retarding throttle to enter a steep and extended dive, it is desirable to shift to AUTO RICH in order to avoid backfiring which may otherwise result from lag of the automatic mixture control during rapid loss of altitude

And on page 44 under section “18 GENERAL FLYING CHARACTERISTICS” there is:
"f. DIVING. - The maximum permissible diving speed below 15000 feet is 391 IAS. The engine RPM shall not exceed 3060 and manifold pressure shall not exceed 34 inches Hg. Before entering dive
"(1) Adjust trim.
(2) Cabin hood FULLY CLOSED.
(3) Cowl Flaps CLOSED.
(4) Intercooler and oil cooler shutters CLOSED.
(5) Supercharger control NEUTRAL.
(6) Propeller control 2050-2250 RPM.
(7) See Paragraph 16 - RULE FOR DIVING
WARNING - Never drive with supercharger control in either LOW or HIGH position.

And last but not least, on page 51 in “Section V OPERATIONAL EQUIPMENT”, paragraph “1. - ARMAMENT”
"d. BOMBS.
"(1) This airplane is provided with two bomb rack supports located under the wing center section. left and right of the center line of the fuselage. These racks can accommodate bombs up to 1000 pounds.
“(2) The bombs are released by pressing the button located on top of the surface control stick/ The bomb selector switches and fusing switch are located on the armament panel. When operating the F6F-3N as a bomber the right hand bomb should be released first as this plane is right wing heavy because of the antenna nacelle.”

This manual makes no comment or restriction on angle of attack in the diving mode.


F6F-5K drones (modified from dash 5 & dash 5N’s) from USS Boxer certainly carried 2000lb bombs on the centreline rack during the Korean War. The bombs had no tail fins as they weren’t going to be released.

Its highly unlikely these planes were modified during their drone days to carry them. More likely the Navy simply didn’t see the need for such a loadout at other times. The pylon attachment was already present and certified to carry the 2200lb Mk.XIII torpedo and a single large bomb simply made more sense than two smaller weapons in their final mission.