Brewster F2A Buffalo

1st Flight 1936

Military Users- Royal Australian Air Force, Finnish Air Force, Militaire Luchtvaart KNIL, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, United States Army Air Forces, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy.

Brewster F2A Buffalo Prototype

The Brewster F2A Buffalo is an American fighter aircraft which saw service early in World War II.

Designed and built by the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation, it was one of the first U.S. monoplanes with an arrestor hook and other modifications for aircraft carriers.

Brewster B-339 Buffalo

The Buffalo won a competition against the Grumman F4F Wildcat in 1939 to become the U.S Navy’s first monoplane fighter aircraft.

Although superior to the Grumman F3F biplane it replaced, and the early F4Fs, the Buffalo was largely obsolete when the United States entered the war, being unstable and overweight, especially when compared to the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

Brewster B-339 Buffalo

The Finns were the most successful with their Buffalos, flying them in combat against early Soviet fighters with excellent results.

During the Continuation War of 1941–1944, the B-239s (de-navalized F2A-1) operated by the Finnish Air Force proved capable of engaging and destroying most types of Soviet fighter aircraft operating against Finland at that time and achieving in the first phase of that conflict 32 Soviet aircraft shot down for every B-239 lost, and producing 36 Buffalo Aces.

Brewster B339 Buffalo

In December 1941, Buffalos operated by both British Commonwealth (B-339E) and Dutch (B-339C/D) air forces in South East Asia suffered severe losses in combat against the Japanese Navy’s Mitsubishi A6M Zero and the Japanese Army’s Nakajima Ki-43 “Oscar”.

The British attempted to lighten their Buffalos by removing ammunition and fuel and installing lighter guns to improve performance, but it made little difference.

Brewster F2A Buffalo

After the first few engagements, the Dutch halved the fuel and ammunition load in the wings, which allowed their Buffalos to stay with the Oscars in turns.

The Buffalo was built in three variants for the U.S. Navy, the F2A-1, F2A-2 and F2A-3.

Brewster B339 Buffalo

In foreign service, with lower horsepower engines, these types were designated B-239, B-339, and B-339-23 respectively.

The F2A-3 variant saw action with United States Marine Corps (USMC) squadrons at the Battle of Midway.

Brewster B-339 Buffalo

Shown by the experience of Midway to be no match for the Zero, the F2A-3 was derided by USMC pilots as a flying coffin.

Indeed, the F2A-3s performance was substantially inferior to the F2A-2 variant used by the Navy before the outbreak of the war despite detail improvements.

Brewster F2A Buffalo


XF2A-1, F2A-1, F2A-2, F2A-3, XF2A-4, B-239, B-339B, B-339C, B-339D, B-339E, B-339-23, B-439.

Brewster F2A Buffalo


Crew: one

Length: 26 ft 4 in (8.03 m)

Wingspan: 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)

Height: 12 ft 0 in (3.66 m)

Wing area: 209 sq ft (19.4 m2)

Empty weight: 4,732 lb (2,146 kg)

Max takeoff weight: 7,159 lb (3,247 kg)

Power plant: 1 × Wright R-1820-40 Cyclone 9 9-cyl air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,200 hp (890 kW)

Brewster F2A Buffalo


Maximum speed: 321 mph (517 km/h, 279 kn)

Cruise speed: 161 mph (259 km/h, 140 kn)

Range: 965 mi (1,553 km, 839 nmi)

Service ceiling: 33,200 ft (10,100 m)

Rate of climb: 2,440 ft/min (12.4 m/s)

Brewster B339 Buffalo


Guns: 2 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) nose-mounted M2 Browning machine guns

2 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) wing-mounted M2 Browning machine guns

Bombs: 2 bombs under wings.

Brewster B339 Buffalo


Images of America, Brewster-The Brewster Historical Society

Brewster SB2A Bermuda/Buccaneer-Steve Ginter.

United States Naval Aviation 1910-60-NAVWEPS 00-80P-1.

U.S. Naval Aviation-Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.

United States Naval Aviation, 1919-1941-Tommy H. Thomason.

United States Naval Aviation 1910-1918-Noel C Shirley.

United States Navy Aircraft since 1911-Gordon Swanborough & Peter M. Bowers.

Wings for the Navy, A History of the Naval Aircraft Factory, 1917-1956-William F. Trimble.

The Complete book of fighters-William Green, Gordon Swanborough.


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