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With the British Aero Industry unable to build fighters with sufficient range and potency for carrier use the Admiralty sought alternatives. With the Lend Lease programme, created by President Roosevelt, in place they could acquire weapons from American factories. In practice, this meant standing in line behind the US Navy, Marines and Army for service, but it still opened up new opportunities to be exploited. So with newly built Corsairs being stockpiled and the promise of an improved version on the way the RN saw a opening worthy of development and exploited it. By the end of the war the Fleet Air Arm had acquired more than 2,000 Corsairs to equip its squadrons. But the risks identified by the USN were largely ignored by the Royal Navy and far too many men and aircraft were lost in accidents as a result. Yet in the hands of experienced carrier pilots its virtues were only too apparent and in due course they achieved great things. Eventually the US Navy noted this success and certified the Corsair for use on their carriers too, but the aircraft never entirely lost its reputation as a Widow Maker. This book describes the Corsair's development and tells the sad, but inspiring story of the young men who struggled and suffered to make the Corsair a going concern in the most vicious unforgiving war one can imagine.
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