Originally designed as a carrier-based gun dogfighter, the F4U Corsair, and it’s later attack variant, the AU-1, was used heavily as a ground attack plane during WWII, and almost exclusively in that role during the Korean War.
(The first prototype Vought Corsair during WWII.)
A wide variety of weapons not originally envisioned were successfully used by the Corsair: air-to-ground rockets, napalm tanks, radar, depth charges, cluster munitions, and so on.
Easily the most unusual was something that could have never been envisioned by Vought’s engineers when they designed the plane; a guided missile.
(French navy Corsair with SS.11 guided missiles aboard.)
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Germany’s V-2 ballistic missile was one of the most remarkable weapons of WWII, years ahead of it’s time. After the war, the US Army and civilian agencies fired captured examples for research, both military and scientific. Less well-known is that the US Navy fired one example off an aircraft carrier.
(A V-2 missile being launched by German forces during WWII, and aboard USS Midway after the war.)
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The USA exported WWII Sumner and Gearing class destroyers around the globe during the Cold War. One of the most unique examples were two sold to Iran, which ended up being the only ones ever to end up with a “hostile” regime.
(USS Zellars – the future Iranian IIS Babr – at sea during WWII.)
(Left: The flag of Iran prior to the 1979 revolution. Right: A logo used by General Dynamics for the RIM-66 Standard missile export program during the 1970s.)
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The battleship USS Mississippi was a veteran of both world wars but is perhaps more important for technological contributions to modern naval warfare after WWII.
(USS Mississippi during WWI as built, during WWII after a complete rebuild, and during the Cold War as a missile test ship.) Read More »
The Gearing class was the US Navy’s final destroyer design of WWII. Without question, it was the best and most sophisticated destroyer class of WWII. Many naval historians consider it the best destroyer design ever. These ships served long after WWII in the US Navy, then were transferred around the world, serving many navies on four continents. The Mexican navy received two of these ships. One, ARM Netzahualcoyotl, ended up being the last Gearing on active duty in the world. Read More »