Historical Writings of the combat aircraft of the two World Wars



Commonwealth Boomerang

When Australia suddenly found itself on the frontline of the Pacific war in early 1942, it realized that it had no true fighter defence. The most they had at the time were Buffalo fighters, most thrown into the defence of Singapore. The Buffaloes simply could not handle the Imperial Japanese Zero-Sen fighters.

In desperation, the Australian government turned to the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation at Fisherman's Bend. The Commonwealth design team, led by Wing Commander Laurence J. Wackett, was severly restricted. The new stop-gap fighter had to be based on the familiar North American Trainer series. The series had served as the base for the excellent Wirraway general-purpose combat machine and trainer, which had been used since 1938. 755 Wirraways had been made by 1946.

Also, the only engine available with any sort of horsepower was the 1,200hp Twin Wasp. (Which by 19432 had been judged too low-powered for front-line fighters) Despite all the restrictions, Commonwealth created a winner. The CA-12 Boomerang was like most things Australian: Tough, with no frills...but it worked. It was outstandingly maneuverable, and was in no way whatsoever outclassed by its Japanese enemies.

Wackett's team worked literally day and night, and the prototype CA-12 flew in just 14 weeks. Testing and production were unhindered, since there were no snags. Soon, the first of 105 CA-12s were fighting in New Guinea. Then, the CA-13 (95 built) basically a CA-12 with minor changes, and the CA-19s, (49 built) followed. The CA-14 had a turbocharged engine, with a square tail.

The Boomerang never carried bombs, but it did mark targets for "heavies". The Boomerang also carried out close support with its guns. The Boomerang was possibly the most successful stop-gap measure in history. It certainly proved its worth, for the Japanese never looked down their noses at the tough Boomerang. Production ceased in early 1944.


Charles Bain

If you have any comments on this writing; or you would like to request a write-up; or if you have any questions about any WWII or WWI fighter, e-mail me at: charles_bain@hotmail.com



Origin: Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, Australia

Type: Single-seat fighter.

Engine: 1,200 hp Pratt&Whitney R-1830-S3C4G Twin- Wasp 14-cylinder two-row radial
Weights: Empty 5,459lbs (2474kgs);
Loaded 7,600lbs (3459kgs)

Performance: Maximum speed 296mph (464km/h);
Service ceiling 29,000 ft (8845m);
Range at 190mph, (304km/h), 930 miles (1490kms)

Armament: Normally, two 20mm Hispano cannon, and four 0.303 Browning machine




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