Hasegawa Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-5 of Oberfeldwebel August Lambert in 1/72 Scale

At the beginning of the Second World War, August Lambert was a Luftwaffe flight instructor.  His first combat assignment was with Schlachtgeschwader 1, a ground attack unit.  He flew his first mission on the Eastern Front on 23APR43 claiming a Soviet aircraft destroyed, but this was not confirmed.  During the Crimean Campaign II./SG 1 was hard pressed by the advancing Red Army and Air Force, and air-to-air encounters increased sharply.  Lambert scored steadily during the campaign.  On 17APR45 Lambert’s flight was jumped by American P-51 Mustangs of the 55th Fighter Group an he was killed.  His final tally was 116 aerial victories and over 100 vehicles destroyed.

The model depicts Lambert’s Fw 190A-5 assigned to 5./SG2, Southern Sector of the Soviet Union, late 1943.

DSC_7968DSC_7967DSC_7969DSC_7970DSC_8079DSC_8080DSC_8081DSC_8082

A Sailor’s Odyssey Book Review

A Sailor’s Odyssey: At Peace and at War 1935-1945

By Alvin P. Chester

Hardcover in dustjacket, 288 pages, photographs

Published by Odysseus Books, January 1991

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0-9631239-0-4

Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.0 x 9.0 inches

Prior to World War Two the way things moved between the continents was by ship.  Crossing the Atlantic between the United States and Europe were several competing shipping lines offering regular service to various ports of call.  The majority of ships carried both cargo and passengers, who often counted diplomats and celebrities among their ranks.  Dining with the Captain was a mark of social status, and the Captain and his officers were held in some esteem by society.

Al Chester entered this world as a cadet in the New York State Merchant Marine Academy in 1933.  Upon graduation in 1935, he began serving on a variety of merchant vessels as a nineteen-year-old Officer Cadet.  He was able to advance by taking on more responsible positions with different ships, often serving alongside former classmates from the NYSMMA. By 1938 it was becoming apparent that war was coming and that the United States would eventually become involved.  When the war came to Europe, Chester’s Naval Reserve commission was made active and he was assigned to the oiler USS Kanawha (AO-1) as her gunnery officer, and as officer in charge of the U.S. Navy Armed Guard aboard the merchant transport S.S. Matsonia as the war came to the U.S. and the Pacific.

With German U-boats ravaging shipping in the Atlantic the U.S. built hundreds of small, expedient escorts, Chester was given command of the USS SC-981, and later advanced to command the USS Cofer (DE-208), a Destroyer Escort.  After some convoy work in the Atlantic, Coffer was converted to an Assault Transport, which gave her the capability to carry landing craft for amphibious assaults at the expense of her torpedo tubes, among other modifications.  As APD-62 she participated in the invasion of the Philippines and faced Japanese Kamikaze attack at Ormoc Bay.

A Sailor’s Odyssey is a very personal story, Chester details the day-to-day life and incidents from a decade at sea.  I found the descriptions of life in the Merchant Marine to be particularly fascinating as there is not much written about that.  His wartime progression and commands were not unique but his previous experience in the commercial shipping trade certainly left him better prepared than most of his contemporaries and even many of his superiors.  He does not gloss over anything he experienced or observed, calling out the good and the bad in equal measure.  This includes his own physical decline when the unceasing demands of command and constant strain impacted his health.  I can highly recommend this book, both for its descriptions of Navy life and insights into the Merchant Marine at the end of an era.

Women Warriors 132

ww525_USArmy
US Army
ww525b_IDF
IDF
ww525c_USN
US Navy
ww525d_Poland
Poland
ww525e_USAF_Iraq_447th
USAF Airman 1st Class Tiffany Buck, 447th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, Iraq
ww525g_IDF
IDF track maintenance
ww526_Norway
Norway
ww527_IDF
IDF
ww528_DorothyMann_WASP
WASP pilot Dorothy Mann
A 4400
A 4400
ww325_GalGadot
Gal Gadot while in the IDF
Command Master Chief Anna Wood aboard the USS John C Stennis (CVN 74)
ww327JessiMcCormick
Jessie McCormick, US Army AH-64 Apache Pilot
ww328_EloiseEllis
Eloise Ellis, Assembly and Repair Supervisor, With US NAVY PBY Catalina at NAS Corpus Christy
Poster082
ww125
IDF
ww126
Australia
ww127
IDF
ww128AWAS
Australian Women’s Army Services
Poster032

To see more Women Warriors, click on the tags below:

Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 Comparison Build Part III

This is the Hasegawa Dora with the Ta 152 tail assembled and primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000. This kit assembles nicely and has no surprises. I have given it a squirt of Alclad along the wingroots and stippled this with liquid mask to replicate the chipping usually seen there.
The underside of the Dora with the Ta 152 tail was highly unusual, reflecting the chaos of disbursed production and assembly at the end of the war. This is seen in a plethora of masking types on my model. Foam protects the wheelwell, with a liberal sprinkling of masking tape all around. The inverted “U” shape is made from poster putty, used here to mask off the area around the gun panel while ensuring a soft edge.
Here is the Tamiya kit with the camo in place and markings from EagleCals. The basic RLM 82 Light Green / 82 Dark Green pattern is one of the more attractive Luftwaffe schemes in my opinion, and the yellow tail sets it off nicely. I have pulled off the paint along the wingroot to reveal the aluminum below, the first step in the chipping.
The Hasegawa kit with the Ta 152 tail. I have half a dozen books with color profiles of this scheme and no two agree on the colors used. The model is finished in a scheme is which closest to what is illustrated in the JaPo books. The fuselage color is a light green matched to the chip in the Monogram Guide by mixing white with a touch of RLM 82 Light Green.
The older Hasegawa kit is finished in another RLM 82 Light Green / 82 Dark Green camo, but this time with RLM 75 Gray Violet areas and natural metal panels on the undersides as shown in the JaPo books. The fuselage sides were oversprayed with a thin coat of RLM 02.
Late in the build I realized that the spinner for the old Hasegawa Dora was the smaller type seen on the radial engined Fw 190’s. The spares box was no help this time so I cast up a replacement spinner and baseplate.
Here is the underside of the Tamiya Dora showing the re-worked wheelwells and weathering. Wing cannon are made from Albion Alloy tubing, as is the pitot tube.
This is the wing root chipping, with added chips and grime stippled on with a sponge. The red wheel lock indicators on the wings were made from 0.01” wire.
All three together. The Tamiya kit with EagleCals markings is on the left, the 1992 Hasegawa kit with the AML tail is center, and the re-worked Hasegawa 1976 issue kit with Aeromaster decals is on the right. The Dora is one of my favorite subjects, and this was a fun build!

Hasegawa Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-6 of Hauptmann Horst Ademeit in 1/72 Scale

Horst Ademeit was shot down during the Battle of Britain, but was rescued from the English Chanel by the German Seenotkommando.  He achieved one victory against the RAF, but flying against the Soviets is where he was to score all his remaining victories.  He was killed while attacking an IL-2 a low level on 08AUG44, likely hit by ground fire.  In all, he was credited with 166 enemy aircraft shot down.

The model represents Ademeit’s Fw 190A-6 while he was Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 54 at Daugavpils, Latvia in July 1944.

DSC_7973DSC_7974DSC_7972DSC_7971DSC_8071DSC_8072DSC_8073DSC_8074

Martin B-26 Marauder Color Photographs Part IV – 344th Bomb Group

The 344th bomb Group was composed of four squadrons, the 494th, 495th, 496th, and 497th Bomb Squadrons.  They operated from Stansted Mountfitchet, England from February through September 1944, where the majority of these color photographs were taken.  After the invasion they relocated to Cormeilles-en-Vexin which was just outside Paris until April 1945, finishing the war in Florennes Belguim.  The Group was assigned to the Ninth Air Force and operated the Martin B-26 B/C.  Most mission assignments were tactical targets in support of ground operations, the Group was very active during the invasion of Normandy and the ensuing breakout.  These photographs display a selection of nose art applied to the Marauders.

Most USAAF aircrew applied names to their aircraft, and many featured accompanying artwork as well. “Valkyrie” of the 497BS features particularly professional examples of both.
This Marauder was 42-95875 assigned to the 495BS. Her port side carries her mission markers along with the name “Bunny’s Honey” …
… while the starboard side of 42-95875 carries the name “The Buzzard”. One has to wonder how many aircraft carried nose art or inscriptions on both sides, the markings on the unphotographed side which could now be lost to history.
The work of a talented artist, this is 42-95952 of the 497BS “You’ve ‘Ad It”. Airmen were conscripted from all walks of life, resulting in professions and trades from every part of society being represented in the ranks.
Often the aircraft carried humorous nicknames, this is “Facsimile” of the 496BG, which advertises “All the Comforts of an Airplane”. Many of the 344th’s aircraft featured very professionally applied lettering.
“Johnny Come Lately” shows off an impressive mission tally but no artwork. She was serial number 42-95896 assigned to the 497BS.
The 344th must have possessed a professional signmaker in their ranks, as evidenced by the quality layout of the logo on “Rosie O’Brady”.
Two ships from the 495th ready for take-off, “Rosie O’Brady” (Y5-P) in the background and “Lak-a-Nookie” (Y5-O) in the foreground.
A series of shots showing the “Terre Haute Tornado” 42-95906 of the 497Bs over time. Here she is after completing four missions.
The “Terre Haute Tornado” again, showing Lt. Jack Havener in April 1944 with his finger in a shell splinter hole. While the Marauder enjoyed to lowest combat loss rate of any USAAF bomber type, they were not invulnerable to enemy fire.
The “Tornado” again, showing an impressive mission tally and painted-out invasion markings on her wing.
Another spectacular example of nose art, this is 42-95903 “Hard To Get” of the 497BS.

Hasegawa Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-5 of Major Hubertus von Bonin in 1/72 Scale

Hubertus von Bonin claimed four victories with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.  At the beginning of the Second World War he was serving with JG 26, but spent the majority of the war in a variety of command positions with JG 52 and JG 54.  He fought in the Battle of France, the Battle of Britain, and later in the East during Operation Barbarossa.  On 15DEC43 he was shot down and killed by Soviet fighters east of Gorodok.  He was credited with 77 aerial victories.

The model depicts Major von Bonin’s Fw 190A-5 during June 1943 at Dorpat, Estonia while he was serving as the Geschwaderkommodore of JG 54 “Grünherz”.

DSC_7997DSC_7998DSC_7996DSC_7995DSC_8063DSC_8064DSC_8065DSC_8066

The Ship That Would Not Die Book Review

The Ship That Would Not Die

By F. Julian Becton, RADM USN (Ret) with Joseph Morschauser III

Softcover, 279 pages, appendices, photographs, and index

Published by Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, April 1987

Language: English

ISBN-10‏: ‎ 0-93312-687-5

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0-93312-687-9

Dimensions: ‎ 6.0 x 1.0 x 9.3 inches

The USS Laffey (DD-724) was an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer built for the U.S. Navy during the Second World War.  At 2,200 tons, they were the largest and most heavily armed U.S. Navy destroyers to see combat during WWII, the Gearing-class was a derivative with a 14-foot hull extension amidships to increase range.  Laffey was commissioned on 08FEB44.

The author was Laffey’s Captain from her commissioning through the end of the war.  He was already an experienced officer, having seen combat aboard the USS Arron Ward (DD-483) in the Solomons, where he was with the original USS Laffey (DD-459) when she was sunk during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.  He was assigned to the new Laffey as Prospective Commanding Officer during her construction and the training of her crew.

The Laffey had a busy war.  She first saw combat off Normandy during the invasion, and shelled German defenses at Cherbourg.  From there she sailed to the Pacific, joining Task Force 38 for the invasion of the Philippines.  She first encountered the Japanese Kamikaze there, and was with the USS Ward (DM-16) when she was sunk at Ormoc Bay.  She then escorted the carrier groups during strikes against the Japanese home islands and off Iwo Jima.

The Laffey is best remembered for her ordeal on the radar picket line screening the landings on Okinawa.  On 16APR45 she was attacked by a large formation of Kamikaze aircraft, an estimated twenty-two singling out Laffey.  Ultimately, she was hit by six Kamikaze and four bombs which caused extensive damage and fires, and also jammed her rudder.  With the assistance of salvage tugs she was able control her flooding and was towed from the area.  She returned to the States under her own power and was eventually repaired, but her war was over.  Laffey served until 1975, and is currently preserved as a museum ship in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The book is written in autobiographical style.  Becton describes the day-to-day operations of the ship and makes a special effort to mention as many of his crew by name as possible.  I was surprised to see a number of factual errors which somehow crept into the narrative – some ships’ armaments are improperly described, aircraft mis-identified in a caption, apparent confusion between a Landing Ship, Dock (LSD) and a floating drydock (AFDB), and a US Navy officer said to have survived the sinking of HMS Hood.  Minor issues in their own rights, but they call into question other details.  In spite of that, this is an interesting story and well worth reading.