North American AT-6 / SNJ Texan / Harvard Color Photographs Part I

The North American AT-6 was designed as a single-engine trainer for the USAAC. While performance figures are modest compared to contemporary fighter designs, the AT-6 was rugged, easy to maintain, and a joy to fly. Produced under license in several countries, the AT-6 and related variations served in several capacities with multiple air forces around the world and is still a popular Warbird today.
Even in its primary role as a trainer, the Texan could be armed. There was provision for a cowl-mounted Browning .30 caliber machine gun for gunnery training, with some versions mounting an additional Browning in the starboard wing. Here armorers load the cowl guns in preparation for a training mission, the photograph providing an excellent view of engine and propeller details.
The rear crew position could also be fitted with a .30 caliber Browning on a flexible mount for training aerial gunners, as seen here.
North American’s trainer spawned a bewildering variety of sub-types and related designs, many with additional modifications. In the U.S. Navy the type was called the SNJ, in Britain and the Commonwealth it was known as the Harvard. Figures vary depending on what exactly is being counted, but one estimate places total production at 15,495. Seen here are U.S. Navy SNJs at Naval Air Station Miami.
Navy training aircraft often carried yellow wings to increase visibility. While efforts were made to keep the aircraft clean, worn paint was generally not touched up and former front-line aircraft used as trainers were not generally repainted which resulted in some interesting color and marking combinations on the flight lines of training facilities. This SNJ at NAS Miami appears to have a worn application of Blue Gray on her fuselage.
Here a sailor performs brake maintenance on an SNJ, the angle of the photograph providing a view of the wheelwell interior.
Here a team of WAVE mechanics have removed the cowling of this SNJ, allowing the engine and accessory bay detail to be seen. The engine is a Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp.
Many Texans in the training role were kept exceptionally clean, as can be seen in the mirror-like polish on the fuselage of this example.
“Bridget SQDN Baby” was used as a hack by a fighter squadron, and is seen at Mount Farm, England. Whether her acquisition by the unit was official or otherwise is not known.
Texans found their way into front-line service with several air forces over the years, this T-6 is serving as a Forward Air Controller with the USAF in Korea. Under the wings are white phosphorus rockets, used to mark targets for strike aircraft.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/06/15/north-american-at-6-snj-texan-harvard-color-photographs-part-ii/

7 thoughts on “North American AT-6 / SNJ Texan / Harvard Color Photographs Part I

      1. Somewhere in the stash I’ve got a Meikraft Models Link Trainer kit. I had it in mind years ago to build it, and all of the other line of trainers a USAAF pilot would have trained on to become a B-17 pilot. Strange project, huh?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes, I’d love to do a “tree” for the USAAF and another for theUSN/USMC showing the process from beginning to end with each training a/c for fighter, bomber, etc. I think it’s make a good display.
    Ahh, if only I had the time and money. (cue in “If I Were A Rich Man” from “Fiddler on the Roof” here.) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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