Brewster Buffalos also performed poorly in Malaya when used by British and Australian forces.
Yup. The British used the export version of the same F2A-3 that the Marines were stuck with in Midway. Just like the Marines, the British airmen, mostly from Australia and New Zealand were inexperienced in combat air operations. In addition, their version was even more underpowered with refurbished Wasp radials from DC-3 airliners. These radials had a problem with oil leaks, which was aggravated by the tropical operating condtitions. The British lost many Brewsters to accidents, poor maintenance and ground Japanese ground attacks.
In the East Indies, the Brewsters were slightly different from what the British were using, the Dutch version was slightly lighter and was equiped with better WASP engines. The biggest problem faced by the Dutch was that they were heavily outnumbered in the Japanese onslaught. They were however, more successful than the British in their air operations, and even used the Brewster with some success as a dive bomber against Japanese troopships, before they were finally overwhelmed by superior numbers.
A great account of both British and Dutch air operations in Malaysia, Burma and the East Indies is volume one of the three volume A Bloody Shambles
series, which describes just how unprepared those forces were in fighting the Japanese.
In contrast to American, Dutch and British experiences, the Finns were altogether successful with their Brewsters. Like the British and Dutch, the Finns also used a de-navalized version of the F2A, but theirs was the F2A-1 model which initially was lighter, but then they added armor plate and four 12.7 mm M/G which reduced the Finnish model's performance, so that it was actually slower than the F2B-3 version used by the Brits and Dutch. The Finns also had the same problem with oil leaks from the refurbished WASPs, but they solved it by inverting one of the cylinder rings in each cylinder. I have no idea why this worked, but it apparently did and maybe the arctic operating conditions helped also. More importantly, the Finns benefited from the mistakes of others and figured how to fight the Brewster to its best advantage, by making slashing dive attacks on Soviet bombers using the heavy M/G to rip the Soviet aircraft apart. They also took advantage of the Buff's long range (the Buff had a wet wing and had an range comparable to a A6M2), and consequent fight endurance to loiter and make repeated attacks on Soviet formations. Finally, one cannot overstate the contribution to Finnish succes by the poor aircrew quality and inept air operations of the Soviet airforce, whose most experienced members were exterminated during Stalin's purges. Consequently, In Finnish hands the Brewster achieved a kill ratio of 26:1, ironically making the type both one of the worst and yet one of most most successful types deployed in WWII. Trivia: One Brewster airframe in Finnish service alone accounted for over forty confirmed kills at the hands of its various pilots, making it the single highest scoring fighter airframe so far in aviation history. Finnish Brewsters were finally scrapped in 1953.
**Other countries that purchased Brewster in WII were the French and Belgians. Oddly enough the USAAF took advantage of the Buffalo's long range to operate the type as a photo recon aircraft from Australia early in 1942.
They weren't British airmen from Australia! They were Australian airmen from Australia!