Mukden Arsenal after WWII

arsenalgate

(Zhang’s Gate, the old entrance to Mukden Arsenal)

For people interested in Japanese firearms of WWII, the name Mukden Arsenal is familiar. The history of the facility after Japan’s defeat is less well known. Under various names, it did survive for some time, producing an odd mix of WWII weapons after the war’s end.

mukden

(Mukden Arsenal proofmark during WWII)

Read More »

F8F Bearcat post-WWII service

The F8F Bearcat was the last of a WWII family tree of Grumman carrier-based fighters which started with the Wildcat and led to the Hellcat. It was the fastest carrier-based plane of WWII, the fastest naval piston-powered fighter of the war, and one of the fastest propeller-driven planes of any type of all time.

bearcat2(US Navy F8F Bearcat)

The Bearcat barely entered service during WWII. Only one US Navy squadron, VF-19 aboard USS Langley (CVL-27), was fully operational with the type, beginning in July 1945, and it encountered no combat before Japan surrendered. The F8F was already on it’s way out of American service by the time the Korean War started and saw no combat there either. However the Bearcat did have a very long and successful career with other countries after WWII.

F8F2(French air force F8F Bearcat with drop tank and napalm bombs in Indochina.)

Read More »

SB2C Helldiver post-WWII service

The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver was a standard US Navy carrier-borne dive bomber of WWII. Despite it’s somewhat mixed reputation with American pilots, it was extremely effective during the war. The Helldiver scored more dive bombing sinkings of enemy ships than any other Allied dive bomber. It’s post-WWII career with the US Navy was short. The US Navy began converting Helldiver squadrons to other types (or simply disbanding the squadrons) in 1946. The final US Navy attack squadron to fly Helldivers was VA-54, which flew them off USS Valley Forge (CV-45) in 1949. However, the Helldiver saw long and varied use after the war elsewhere.

arromanches3(A French navy Helldiver takes off from the aircraft carrier Arromanches in the 1950s.)

greece(Hellenic Air Force Helldiver unit in the late 1940s)

Read More »