IWA-10 Boeing F4B-4 A-9020, Fighting Squadron Six (VF-6B), Section Leader, USS Saratoga (CV-3), 1935
The Interwar Aviation series covers aircraft that were developed and used between World War 1 and World War 2, and was known as the “Golden Age of Aviation.” In the two decades between the end of World War 1 and the start of World War 2, military aviation underwent a complete transformation.
The Boeing P-12/F4B was an American pursuit aircraft that was operated by the United States Army Air Corps and United States Navy. Though best known in later years for producing large bomber or transport aircraft, Boeing produced a series of excellent fighters from 1923 to 1933. The most famous of those biplane fighters, the F4B, was the refinement of design experience gained from its FB, F2B and F3B predecessors. Nimble, rugged and reliable, the F4B-4’s debut coincided nicely with advances in carrier operations aboard the new carriers Lexington (CV-2) and Saratoga (CV-3). The aircraft remained the Navy and Marine Corps’ first-line fighter until replaced by faster and more powerful Grumman biplanes.
VF-6B, known as the “Fighting Six” had as their mascot, “Felix The Cat”, a well known cartoon character of the time. The lit bomb he carries relates to when the squadron first started as a Bombing Squadron in 1929. “Felix The Cat” is one of the longest serving squadron insignia in the US Navy.
The white tails of the aircraft were the squadron’s carrier identification color during their service aboard the USS Saratoga.