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Buffalo file photo [17]

F2A Buffalo

CountryUnited States
ManufacturerBrewster Aeronautical Corporation
Primary RoleFighter
Maiden Flight1 January 1938


ww2dbaseThe F2A Buffalo fighters were the first monoplane carrier fighter of the United States Navy. The first deliveries began in Jun 1939, with the first few serving aboard the carrier Saratoga. Most of the first batch, however, were sold to Finland. Subsequently, Britain, British Commonwealth nations, Belgium, and the Netherlands all submitted purchase orders for them. The United States Marine Corps flew 25 Buffalo fighters during the Battle of Midway, but 15 of them were lost partly due to the inexperience of the pilots and partly due to the fighters being out-numbered and out-classed by the superior Japanese counterparts. British and Dutch pilots who flew these fighters in the Pacific War fared much better; a few became aces in Buffalos. Buffalos really shined in the hands of Finnish pilots, however. During the Continuation War, Finnish pilots leveraged the Buffalos' long range and endurance to achieve a stunning kill:loss ratio of 26:1 between 1941 and 1945 by downing 496 Russian and German aircraft, though Russian and German records did not substantiate this claim.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jun 2006


MachineryWright R-1820-40 radial engine rated at 1,200hp
Armament4x0.50 caliber machine guns
Span10.67 m
Length8.03 m
Wing Area19.41 m²
Weight, Empty2,220 kg
Weight, Maximum3,290 kg
Speed, Maximum515 km/h


XF2A-1 prototype aircraft in flight, circa 1938-1939Dutch Buffalo fighters at rest, date unknown
See all 34 photographs of F2A Buffalo Fighter

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
23 Sep 2007 11:53:47 AM

In December 1939 Forty-Four F2A-1s (alias B-239) were shipped to Sweden where they were reassembled by SAABS Trollhattten plant before being forwarded to Finland. They arrived in April 1940, to late to take part in the Winter War, and ultimately equipped Mo.24 Squadron and No.26 Squadron of the Finnish Air Force. (All but one of these aircraft having been diverted from those being built for the US Navy).
2. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
30 Oct 2007 07:19:52 AM

Belgium ordered forty B-339. These differed from the US Navy F2A only in instrumentation and minor equipment. Two crated machines arrived at Bordeaux-Merignac in June 1940 and were subsequently captured by the Germans. Six others in transit aboard the old French carrier Berne were hastily diverted to Martinique where they were disembarked but then left to moulder away in the open. The remainder of the Belgian order was taken over by the British Government.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
30 Oct 2007 07:26:40 AM

Six ex-Belgian B-339s were delivered to the Fleet Air Arms No.805 Squadron where they operated alongside Fairey Fulmers from March 1941, being despatched to Crete to provide fighter cover for the Naval Base at Suda Bay. They were found to be quite inadequate for operational purposes and it is doubtful if they ever saw combat.
4. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
30 Oct 2007 07:36:04 AM

Great Britain ordered 170 B-339E aircraft (Giving them the name-Buffalo). The first few ordered were shipped to the United Kingdom for trials by No.71 Squadron R.A.F. These trials concluded that the Buffalo was quite unsuitable for European service, and so the remainder were despatched to equip Nos 21 and 453 squadrons R.A.A.F., No. 67 and 243 squadrons R.A.F., and No.488 squadron R.N.Z.A.F. These provided fighter cover for the defence of Malaya, Singapore and the Straits Settlements.
5. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
30 Oct 2007 03:25:54 PM

During 1940 the Dutch ordered 72 B-339D for the Royal Netherlands Indies Army Air Corps for delivery in March 1941. Thirty machines were in Dutch service on December 8th 1941 when the Netherlands declared war on Japan. A squadron was sent too Malaya where it was engaged in combat for the first time on January 12, 1942. The five survivoing aircraft from fighting over Malaya finally escaping to Sumatra.
6. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
30 Oct 2007 03:29:21 PM

Twenty Dutch B-339Ds were in reserve on December 8, 1941. These would see action over Ambon, Borneo and Java. Only four damaged aircraft remained when Java capitulated.
7. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
30 Oct 2007 03:32:13 PM

In the fighting over the Netherland Indies, Dutch B-339D carrying two 100-lb bombs sank a Japanese Destroyer and damaged a number of freighters.
8. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
30 Oct 2007 03:35:39 PM

The Dutch B-339Ds in Malaya did not have armoured windscreens. Ground crews were therefore always keen to salvage the windscreens from damaged B-339Es.
9. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
30 Oct 2007 03:43:12 PM

The Dutch also ordered twenty examples of the more powerful B-439 but deliveries of these were not effected before the Capitulation of the Netherlands.
10. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
29 Sep 2014 09:22:09 AM

Contrary to popular believe the pilots of the three Buffalos from No.805 Squadron FAA sent to Crete as reinforcements (along with six fulmars) in early 1941 did not request the replacement of their aircraft by Sea Gladiators. Neither were they simply parked around the airfield as decoys for attacking Axis aircraft. The Buffalos were, in fact, well liked by their pilots ". . . a delight to fly". It was a shortage of spares that limited their use. On the 19th March 1941 one of these aircraft accompanied three Fulmars to intercept a large force of SM79 bombers and CR42 fighters from Rhodes, but turned back with engine problems just before the Italians were engaged. It crashed on landing and written off.

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F2A Buffalo Fighter Photo Gallery
XF2A-1 prototype aircraft in flight, circa 1938-1939Dutch Buffalo fighters at rest, date unknown
See all 34 photographs of F2A Buffalo Fighter

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