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The last propeller U.S. Navy attack aircraft to disappear from the decks of the flattops was the Douglas AD Skyraider.
This airplane had a unique capability: even when it carried its full internal fuel of 2,280 pounds, a 2,200-lb torpedo, two 2,000-lb bombs, 12,5 inch rockets, two 20 mm guns and 240 pounds of ammunition, the Skyraider was still under its maximum gross weight of 25,000 pounds.
Entered in service just in time to take part in the Korean War, the Skyraiders in the improved A-1H version were quite slow; nevertheless in spite of performance not even comparable to those of the other assets in the air wing’s strike group, the propeller-driven attack aircraft managed to shoot down two MiG-17s during the early part of the Vietnam War.
In fact, some of the most unusual kills of the conflict did not come from the F-4s, F-105s, or F-8s, but from the Korean War-era piston-engine Skyraiders, thanks to the four M3 20 mm fixed forward-firing cannons capable of firing 800 rounds per minute, that fitted the A-1Hs.
How'd the skyraider out maneuver the migs and take the win? One was a jet and the other prop driven. I would figure the mig would be more agile and capable in a dogfight…
wain said his AIM-9 heat-seeking missile would not lock onto the small target racing 50 feet above the desert floor. So he switched to the seven-barrel, 30-millimeter cannon mounted in the nose of his plane.
"I started firing about a mile away," Swain said. "Some of the bullets ran through him, but we weren't sure if it was stopped completely. So I came back with the final pass, hit it and it fell apart.
"On the final pass, I shot about 300 bullets at him. That's a pretty good burst. On the first pass, maybe 75 rounds. The second pass, I put enough bullets down, it looked like I hit with a bomb.
"We tried to ID the helicopter after we were done and it was just in a bunch of little pieces, so we can't tell what type it was."