The Vought OS2U Kingfisher is a compact mid-wing floatplane. It was typically launched by catapult from battleships and cruisers however it could also operate on land via fixed landing gear with wheels. It served primarily with the US Navy throughout the duration of World War II.
The Kingfisher was initially conceived as an observation aircraft to assist with the direction of naval gunfire. The rugged airplane soon took on other roles such as scouting, search and rescue and anti-submarine operations.
Armament featured a .30-caliber Browning M1919 machine gun for the pilot and a .30-caliber machine gun (or a pair) on a flexible ring mount for the radio operator/gunner. The Kingfisher could also carry two 100 lb bombs or two 325 lb depth charges mounted on underwing pylons.
Kingfishers were utilized extensively, taking part in all of the major Pacific operations. They rescued downed or ditched Navy, AAF and Marine pilots in the Pacific and also in the Atlantic. One Kingfisher is credited with shooting down a Japanese Zero over the northern area of Iwo Jima. Two OS2Us attached to scouting squadron VS-9D4 depth-charged and sank the German submarine U-576 near Cape Hatteras, NC with support of gunfire from USS Unicoi.