A beautiful photograph of a formation of OS2U Kingfishers assigned to the USS Mississippi (BB-41). Like most USN floatplane types of the period, the floats of Kingfisher could be easily replaced by conventional fixed landing gear for operations ashore. The aircraft are BuNo 1714, 1715, and 1716. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)
Another aspect of one of Mississippi’s Kingfishers, showing off details of the Yellow Wings scheme. The blue tail indicates assignment to Battleship Division Three (BATDIV Three), the aircraft are from VO-3. The solid white nose indicating the lead aircraft of the second section. The Squadron’s insignia is visible on the fuselage just behind the pilot, “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” riding a bomb. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)
Here is a rather worn looking Kingfisher in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme and the enhanced national markings authorized from 23DEC41 to 06MAY42. Modelers note the oil streaking on the cowling and the wear to the paint on the forward float strut. The side markings indicate an inshore patrol squadron.
An officer walks between rows of Kingfishers in the wheeled configuration in early 1942. The white blocks on the vertical tails cover the Bureau Numbers of the aircraft, this is likely a security measure – either tape before the picture was taken or the actions of a censor afterwards. (NASM Hans Groenhoff collection)
This Kingfisher is maneuvering alongside a battleship to be recovered. The side code 5-O-7 allows for identification of the aircraft’s squadron and ship assignment. The code identifies Squadron (5), Type (O for Observation), and aircraft number. Observation Squadron Five was assigned to BATDIV Five, aircraft 5-O-7, 5-O-8, and 5-O-9 were assigned to the USS Texas, BB-35. (LIFE magazine photograph)
Another Texas Kingfisher comes alongside. Note the individual aircraft number repeated on the upper wing surface. This was common among Navy aircraft to aid in spotting aircraft. (LIFE magazine photograph)
This Kingfisher carries the national insignia style in use from August 1943. The pilot and observer are watching the aircraft’s approach to a recovery sled, which was a canvas panel towed behind the ship. The Kingfisher had a hook protruding from under the main float which would engage the sled allowing the aircraft to be hauled into the proper position and winched back aboard.
The fantail of the Baltimore-class heavy cruiser USS Quincy (CA-71) with two of her Kingfishers warming their engines on their catapults. Quincy spent most of the war in the Atlantic Fleet, including supporting the invasion of Southern France and embarking President Roosevelt for a summit.
Sailors posed in a 40 mm gun director tub on the fantail of the USS Iowa (BB-61) with one of the ship’s Kingfishers on the catapult behind. The Iowa class battleships typically carried two Kingfishers on the catapults ready for launch.
A fine study of one of Texas’ Kingfishers. Considerable spray could be generated even in calm seas. The colorful markings were changed in May 1942, eliminating all red to avoid confusion with the Japanese Hinomaru.
The observer leans out of his cockpit as a Kingfisher comes alongside for recovery. One of the observer’s duties was to climb out onto the wing and secure the crane hook to the aircraft so it could be hoisted aboard.
Part II here: