Dunkirk Color Photographs, Hugo Jaeger Collection Part III

These are color photographs taken by German photographer Hugo Jaeger.  They are currently held in the Life Magazine archives.  These were likely taken in May – June 1940.

Vehicles on the beach at Dunkirk. It is estimated that the British left behind enough equipment to fully outfit more than eight Divisions. To put this in perspective, this left only two equipped Divisions to defend England.
Abandoned rangefinder and equipment with French military truck in the background.
Vehicles pushed off the road outside Dunkirk. The Germans captured vast amounts of military transport.
Bofers 40 mm anti-aircraft gun on the beach.
The tidal plain littered with ammunition, abandoned vehicles in the background.
French Navy Destroyer L’Adroit was hit by an He 111 on 21MAY40. Her Captain beached her and ordered his crew off the ship, all survived. Her forward magazine later exploded which severed her bow.
British troops captured at Dunkirk.
General destruction at Dunkirk.
Similar scene moving down the wharf with abandoned vehicles on the left.
Burned out vehicle and general destruction of the city.

Hugo Jaeger color photographs part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2023/01/18/invasion-of-poland-1939-color-photographs-hugo-jaeger-collection-part-i/

French Armor Color Photographs, Hugo Jaeger Collection Part II

These are color photographs taken by German photographer Hugo Jaeger.  They are currently held in the Life Magazine archives.  These were likely taken in May – June 1940.

A pair of knocked out AMR 35 reconnaissance tanks.
A Renault FT-17.  The design dated to the First World War but many were still in French service in reserve battalions.  The Germans later used captured examples in secondary roles in occupied countries.
Two more knocked out Renault FT-17s.
This Char B1 of the 37e Battalion was hit on 16MAY40 at Solre le Château.
A Hotchkiss H35.
Another view of the same Hotchkiss H35.
Two abandoned AMD Panhard 178 armored cars. These were used for reconnaissance.
French and German soldiers walk through Senlis, France, German military vehicles in the background.
Captured French troops.
German trucks cross a pontoon bridge at Senlis France, approximately 20 miles from Paris.

Hugo Jaeger color photographs part III here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2023/02/01/dunkirk-color-photographs-hugo-jaeger-collection-part-iii/

Invasion of Poland 1939 Color Photographs, Hugo Jaeger Collection Part I

These are color photographs taken by German photographer Hugo Jaeger.  They are currently held in the Life Magazine archives.

A line-up of captured Polish TKS tankettes. The TKS carried a crew of two and were armed with either a machine gun or 20 mm cannon.
An abandoned TK-3 tankette. The unit symbol of an arm with a sword has not been identified.
Another abandoned TK-3.
A burnt-out Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf C in Warsaw.
A bridge near Sochaczew which has been dropped. Bridges are prime targets and can be destroyed by either attacking or defending forces as circumstances dictate.
Another destroyed bridge North of Warsaw, with a military pontoon bridge erected next to it.
Surrendered Polish Army soldiers are checked by Germans.
Captured Polish soldiers and a medic.
Naval mines at the Baltic port of Gdynia. Fuses for the mines are piled behind.
Paravanes, which are used to sweep moored mines, with mines at Gdynia.
Abandoned Polish Wz.29 armored car.

Hugo Jaeger color photographs part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2023/01/25/french-armor-color-photographs-hugo-jaeger-collection-part-ii/

Fiat G.55 Centauro Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR) Markings

Part way through my builds of the Fiat G.55 Centauro I unexpectedly ran into a decal problem.  The markings for the Italian Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR) aircraft consisted of wing insignia in four locations with Italian flag markings on the fuselage, with a smaller flag marking used as a fin flash.  The wing fasces were handed, the outer axe blade on each wing was to face forward.  Likewise, the green field on the national flag was to be forward on the fuselage sides.  Those were the official specifications.

The ANR port wing insignia applied as specified, with the outer axe head facing forward. This is what I refer to as “left-handed” in the text.

As the build progressed I got to looking at the decals provided in the Sword kit.  This is an excellent sheet with markings for seven aircraft, and I intended to use markings from this sheet on three of the four builds.  However, the wing insignia were all “left-handed”, with no insignia having the axe head on the right facing forward.  I remembered Brett Green on Hyperscale had done a review of the Sword kit when it first came out, and that kit contained a small “errata” decal sheet with mirrored insignia.  Review here:  https://www.hyperscale.com/2017/reviews/kits/sw72104reviewmd_1.htm     I figured my errata decals were still in the box, but a search came up empty.  I emailed Sword but received no response, so I ordered another set of Centauro kits from Hannants to get the errata sheet.

The decals from the 2022 Sword Centauro kit. All the wing insignia are “left-handed” and the fuselage flags will be wrong on the starboard side if installed as shown. All the artwork and placement guides in the kit repeat these errors. The fuselage flag problems can be fixed by simply flipping the decals, but the wing insignia cannot be installed any other way.

When the Hannants order arrived the Sword kits only contained the decal sheet I already had – no errata sheet, money wasted.  I checked the Hyperscale review again and for the first time noticed the 2017 kits had the wing fasces reversed, they were all “right-handed”.  Sword had tried to fix the error from the first release, but had made a new error in the opposite direction.  I tried contacting Sword again to ask if they had any of the 2017 right-handed sheets laying around, but again my email received no response.

Turns out there are not many ANR decals on the aftermarket.  I had Sky Decals sheet 720024 in the stash which has one set of the mirrored wing insignia.  I found another sheet from Kora intended for the MC.200 which had repeated the error in the other direction – all their fasces were right-handed.  I ordered these from Hannants.

Sky Decals sheet 720024 has one set with both left and right ANR insignia in the upper left.
The Kora decals (set 72072) with all right-handed ANR wing insignia.

What a mess!  While waiting for the second Hannants order to arrive, I began checking references and discovered another wrinkle.  The Italian insignia were applied using metal stencils.  Unlike most air forces, it appears the national insignia were often applied in the field instead of the factory.  There are several examples of ANR (and earlier Italian aircraft) operating with complete fuselage insignia and squadron codes, but no wing fasces.  I don’t know how temporary this situation was, but it appears in photographs more often than you’d expect.

Fuselage markings and squadron codes on aircraft of the “Montefusco” squadron, but no wing insignia. These aircraft are in the process of removing Luftwaffe insignia to replace them with ANR markings.

Now here’s the odd thing – it appears the ANR was not really fastidious about following their own insignia regulations.  Turns out in many cases the insignia were not applied “handed” at all, and the left-hand insignia was often applied to the upper starboard wing.  I only saw one photograph with the right-hand insignia applied to the upper port wing, but several the other way around, along with several with both types as per the regulations.

A Centauro in the three-tone segmented scheme displaying a non-regulation left-handed fasces on her starboard wing.
Remains of a Centauro in the herringbone scheme with two left-handed fasces.

For my builds, I went with the “wrong” left-handed insignia in all four wing positions on my three-tone and herringbone schemes as seen in the photos above.  I didn’t find a good photo of the wings for my RLM camo build but was also obliged to go with non-regulation markings there because I didn’t have the decals to do it otherwise.  The torpedo-carrying Silurante was photographed with regulation fasces so I used the mirrored Sky Decals markings on that one.

Artists often render profiles using the regulation mirrored fasces, likely because that is what the official regulations state and therefor that must be what is “right”.  Decal and kit manufactures are all over the map, with many giving the modeler one style or the other and reversing the colors of the Italian flag on one side of the fuselage or the other.  Sword seems to be mightily confused as they have corrected one mistake with another and have still gotten their art wrong in any case, plus I was not happy that they ignored my emails.

So, what’s the bottom line?  Always check your references, and avoid saying “all”, “never” and “always”.  (Except when saying “always check your references”).  It does appear that the left-handed ANR insignia is predominantly seen on the port upper wing, but the upper starboard wing can be seen sporting either style.  The “flagpole” is forward in the direction of flight, so the green field on the Italian flag should be towards the nose. I hope all this makes sense and is of use for anyone modeling an ANR subject!

Bristol Blenheims of 21 Squadron RAF Color Photographs

Press Day at RAF Watton in Norfolk, Summer of 1941. These are Blenheim IVs of 21 Squadron, the photographer is Robert Capa. Another photographer can be seen squatting in the background. V5580 is seen warming up her engines for take off.
V5580 again from a different angle. This aircraft and crew were lost on 21OCT41.
Last minute discussions before boarding YH-D. There is a great difference in the manner of the personnel in these photos compared to the staged poses of many aircraft being “serviced”.
A second photo of the same scene. Note the color shift compared to the previous photo. Photographers often carried more than one camera and used different film in each, which is one of many factors which may account for the difference.
Boarding the aircraft. Note the cowling colors in these photographs.
Another scene of a crew boarding, this time the aircraft is YH-L, serial V6436. She was shot down by flak over Rotterdam on 28AUG41, all crew were lost.
Details of the dorsal turret are visible here. I believe this is V5580, also seen in the first two photographs.
A scene repeated on airfields the world over as ground crew await the return from the mission.
The crash truck standing by with a rescuer in his asbestos suit. Note the pattern of the suspenders on the man on the right. The truck is a Crossley FE1 Crash Tender.
A series of photographs of a Blenheim IV which was hit by flak on 04JUL41 during a raid on an electrical power station near Bethune, France. She suffered damage to her engines and had lost her hydraulics which prevented her undercarriage from being lowered. She made a successful belly landing upon her return. Fire fighting foam has been applied liberally. “Suspenders man” is standing at the center with his back to the camera.
The same scene from a slightly different angle. I believe Capa is taking these pictures while standing on the crash truck seen previously. Uniforms from several services can be seen in the crowd to the right.
Steam is rising from the engine as firefighters work two foam hoses. This is slightly earlier in the sequence before the crowd gathered. The open canopy over the cockpit indicates the crew is already out. The pilot was American-born RCAF Sergeant Lawrence Maguire.
A cropped shot of the previous photo, enhanced to reveal the Blenheim’s serial. When I was researching these photographs I found three different serials associated with this crash, but here it can be seen the correct serial is Z7432. Squadron codes are YH-J.
A view from the port side of the aircraft as foam is being applied. Photographs showing the same scene from various angles are rare, doubly so if they are in color. Inspiration for an ambitious diorama modeler!
Z7432 lost her port propeller, here a Chilean officer is seen inspecting the damage.

Atlantic Convoy Color Photographs Part II

More color photographs taken by Robert Capa.  Visible in these are details of the ship’s boats and a variety of light gun positions which were hastily fitted to the merchantmen to give them a minimal self-defense capability.  The aircraft carried as deck cargo are Douglas A-20 Havocs, known as the Boston in British service.  They have had their seams taped to prevent corrosion caused by salt spray.   

Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/12/21/atlantic-convoy-color-photographs-part-i/

Atlantic Convoy Color Photographs Part I

These color photographs were taken by famed photographer Robert Capa.  Capa is best known for his work during the Spanish Civil War and action shots of Omaha Beach during the Normandy landings.  Most of his work was in black and white and he was known for not always sending along captions with his photographs.  He made at least two crossings of the Atlantic with convoys, it is possible that these photos represent a mixture of different ships from both.

One identifiable ship is the SS Hektoria, a 13,797 ton whaler useful for her extensive refrigerated holds.  She was damaged by U-211 and sunk by U-608 on 12SEP42.  The destroyer seen making smoke is HMS Harvester (H19).  She had two German submarines to her credit, but was torpedoed and sunk herself in March 1943. 

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/12/28/atlantic-convoy-color-photographs-part-ii/

Churchill Tanks Color Photographs Part II

This is a series of photographs of Churchills of B Squadron, 51st Royal Tank Regiment (Leeds Rifles) in Italy during July 1944.  The photographs are in the collection of the Imperial War Museum, and were taken by Captain A. R. Tanner, War Office official photographer.

A close examination reveals several interesting variations between the individual vehicles.

Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/12/07/churchill-tanks-color-photographs-part-i/

Churchill Tanks Color Photographs Part I

These are photographs of Churchills of A and B Squadrons, 43rd Battalion Royal Tank Regiment on maneuvers in October, 1942.  The location was the English countryside around the Wilverley Plain.  The photographs are in the collection of the Imperial War Museum, and were taken by Lt E. G. Malindine, War Office official photographer.

These photographs are quite useful to the modeler as they show markings, accumulation of dirt and mud, as well as uniform details of the crews.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/12/14/churchill-tanks-color-photographs-part-ii/

North American B-25 Mitchell Color Photographs Part IX – Early Mitchells

A fine study of a North American B-25A in flight. Forty B-25As were delivered to the USAAC beginning in February 1941. These were the first “combat ready” Mitchells, incorporating self-sealing fuel tanks and armor protection for the crew. All photos are from the NASM Rudy Arnold collection.
This B-25A carries the “Thunderbird” markings of the 34th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Group and early war national insignia. The B-25A is easily identifiable by the unique tail gun position and lack of dorsal turret.
While none of the B-25As deployed overseas, they did fly anti-submarine patrol missions from the continental United States. Here a 2nd Bomb Group Mitchell refuels from an Autocar tanker prior to a patrol mission.
Here crew members simulate a scramble for the photographer while B-25A 40-2200 warms up in the background.
Crewmen board a Mitchell from the 2nd Bomb Group. A retractable skid under the tail prevented a tail strike during take-off or landing. Modelers note the possible solution to the “tail sitting” problem in the form of the boarding ladder.
The Norton bomb sight was considered to be highly classified and was to be covered or dismounted when the aircraft was on the ground. Combat experience soon showed that the nose mounted .30 caliber machine gun was inadequate and it was quickly upgraded to a .50 caliber.
The tail gun position of the B-25A was unique in the Mitchell family. The rear portion was a clamshell arrangement, and opened to allow the gun to traverse.
Mitchells in the coastal patrol role overfly a small freighter. The two nearest the camera are B-25Bs, the furthest is a B-25A.
Armorers loading 250 pound bombs. Later in the war bombs were seen in the Army standard Olive Drab, but in the early days they were often Light Gray or Yellow as seen here.
The B-25B introduced a Bendix power turret in the dorsal position, and a retractable Bendix remote turret in the belly. It was felt that these turrets offered adequate rear protection so the tail gun was deleted.
A close-up of the Bendix ventral turret. This turret was unframed, consisting of sections of clear Perspex which were glued together. Also note the slots for the guns are unsealed, certainly a problem at altitude.

B-25 Color Photographs Part I here:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/09/28/north-american-b-25-mitchell-color-photographs-part-i-production/