General Motors FM-1 Wildcat

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General Motors FM-1 Wildcat

Naval Fighter

   Hello, I’d like to introduce an FM-1 Wildcat as my other suggestion for War Thunder. To my understanding, this particular new Wildcat variant is identical to the F4F-4 Wildcat, practically nothing new; however, because the FM-1 is the first General Motors-produced variant with four HMGs instead of six HMGs, I believe this aircraft is worthy as a candidate to become an event, premium, or squadron aircraft in the game. Please pardon my short writeup story since there is not much information available about this variant due to a short-lived history of service in the US Navy.

Key Characteristics

  • First General Motors Produced Variant
  • Identical to the F4F-4
  • Only mounts four .50 cal HMGs, with two last .50 cal HMGs removed
  • Carries two 100 lb bombs or two 58 gal drop tanks


By 1942, Grumman was ready to introduce a new naval fighter -the F6F Hellcat - and needed to give up its production of the F4F Wildcat to make room for the Hellcat production; however, the demand for the F4F Wildcats in the US Navy was still high because the F4Fs were valuable assets for the USN’s escort carriers to defend themselves from anti-shipping aircraft and submarines. These escort carriers only carried the General Motors-built TBM Avengers and needed more escort fighters that were still light enough to take off without a catapult and had low landing speed, perfect for small flight decks.

The contract was signed on April 18, 1942, that enlisted General Motors’s Eastern Aircraft Division to overtake the production of the licensed F4F., allowing Grumman to gear up and produce newer F6F Hellcats. The first GM Wildcat was built and made its first flight on August 31, 1942. That licensed F4F Wildcat received a designation of FM-1 - the FM-1 Wildcat. The letter M in the aircraft’s designation is the company code for the Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors.

The FM-1 Wildcat remained the same as the Grumman F4F-4 with only one difference. The FM-1 only had four .50 cal HMGs, whereas the F4F-4 had six HMGs. General Motors heeded the feedback from the pilots flying in the Pacific that they did not need the extra firepower due to decreased firing time with six HMGs. Although the firepower decreased, this was offset by 20% more ammunition with four HMG configurations, increasing firing time.

In early 1943, General Motors was producing and delivering FM-1 Wildcats faster than Grumman could, so the FM-1 became available in numbers about the time the Grumman Wildcats were phased out of front-line combat and fleet carrier groups.

1,150 FM-1 Wildcats were produced; 838 were in the USN inventory, and 312 were in the Fleet Air Arm inventory. Almost all served on escort carriers to protect the transport convoys and provide close support for allied invasion. These FM-1 Wildcats continued to see combat in a support role until the end of the war. Some FM-1 Wildcats were assigned to the Hunter-Killer groups independent of convoys, and they were searching and destroying the U-boats in the Atlantic. The FM-1 was the main Wildcat from 1943 into early 1944 when improved FM-2 Wildcats became available.


General Motors FM-1 Wildcat

  • General Characteristics

    • Crew: 1 (Pilot)
    • Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney R-1830-86
      → 1,200 hp
    • Length: 28’9" feet and inches
    • Height: 9’2" feet and inches
    • Span: 38 feet
    • Wing Area: 260 ft²
    • Empty Weight: 5,895 lb
    • Gross Weight: 8,761 lb
    • Internal Fuel: 143 US gal
  • Performance

    • Maximum Speed: 320 mph at 18,800 feet
    • Rate of Climb: 2,303 feet per minute
    • Service Ceiling: 39,700 feet
    • Range: 770 miles
  • Armament

    • 4 x .50 cal HMGs (1,800 rounds)
    • 2 x 100 lb bombs
    • 2 x 58 gal drop tanks


FM-1 Livery

   The FM-1 has several paint schemes that can be used as new skins.

Standard Scheme (Blue Gray over Light Gray Scheme)

Atlantic Scheme (Dark Gull Gray over Insignia White)

Tricolor Scheme (Semi Gloss Sea Blue, Intermediate Blue, and Insignia White)


Conclusion | Why it should be in the game

   I made this suggestion to pursue more WW2 content for War Thunder. I have a thought that the FM-1 Wildcat, while identical to the F4F-4, would be a fascinating addition as an event, premium, or squadron aircraft that offers an opportunity for anyone to fly the F4F-4 with 4x HMGs in addition to aesthetic paint schemes as potential unlockable skins.


  • Pilot’s Handbook for Model FM-1 Airplane (1943)


Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestion! 😃


Love it but as event plane, I would rather have the Wildcatfish :



The FM-1 could also carry 2x 250lb bombs or 6x rockets which would go some way to balance out the reduced number of MGs. But it’s still probably a bit too close to the F4F-4 especially in air combat.

I think the FM-2 would be a better choice though with more power and taller tail giving a slight boost to performance alongside the armament changes. It could be foldered, and the F6F returning to a standalone plane.

1 Like

Someone already suggested the Wildcatfish, but I support the addition of Wildcatfish.

Frankly, I don’t mind giving the provisions to the FM-1 outside of its historical time frame to make it more unique from F4F-4 for gameplay’s sake.

If you found one, can you please share a primary source or photographic evidence that indicates the FM-1 carrying the provisions? That would be great. 🙂


literally just the f3f-3 with a different name

Hope britain gets this as the Martlet mkV