Shigetoshi Kudo, the First Nightfighter Ace of the Pacific War

Shigetoshi Kudo was trained as a reconnaissance pilot and was assigned to the famous Tainan Kokutai in October 1941.  When the Pacific War began he supported the Kokutai by performing reconnaissance and navigation duties over the Philippines and Dutch East Indies.  The unit eventually moved to Rabaul, where Kudo was credited with his first aerial victories using air-to-air bombs.  Kudo returned to Japan in the fall of 1942 where he trained to fly the Nakajima J1N1 Gekko (“Irving”) nightfighter.

The Tainan Kokutai was redesignated the 251st Kokutai in November 1942, Kudo rejoining the unit in May 1943.  On strength were two J1N1 nightfighters which had been modified with the addition of oblique-firing 20mm cannon on the orders of the squadron commander, CDR Yasuna Kozono.  These guns were angled to fire 30 degrees above and below the line of flight, similar to the Schräge Musik installation on German nightfighters.  Kudo flew the J1N1 defending Rabaul against American B-17s, eventually claiming six plus an Australian Hudson and becoming the first nightfighter ace of the Pacific War.  Japanese sources credited him with nine victories.

Kudo returned to Japan in February 1944 and was assigned to the Yokosuka Air Group.  He was injured in a landing accident in May 1945.  He survived the war but died in 1960.

Kudo_01_c5m-4
Chief Petty Officer Shigetoshi Kudo poses with his Mitsubishi C5M “Babs” reconnaissance plane. On August 29, 1942 Kudo intercepted a formation of eight B-17s attacking Rabaul. He flew above the formation and dropped air-to-air bombs, reporting claims for one destroyed and one probable. American records did not show any losses.

 

Kudo_02_Kozono_at_Rabaul
251 NAG commanding officer CDR Yasuna Kozono on the left, CPO Shigetoshi Kudo on the right at Rabaul. Kudo holds a presentation sword inscribed “For Conspicuous Military Valor”, Kozono ordered the modification of the J1N1 Gekko to carry the oblique cannons.

 

Kudo_03
A J1N1 Gekko “Irving” nightfighter showing the 20mm cannon installations above and below the fuselage. This aircraft carries an overall black or dark green finish and the tail codes of the Yokosuka Naval Air Group. The Gekko flown by Kudo over Rabaul was camouflaged in dark green over light gray-green and carried the tail codes UI-13.

 

Kudo_04_41-9224HoniKuuOkole
On May 21, 1943 Kudo claimed his first night victories in the J1N1, both B-17Es. The first was 41-9244 “Honi Kuu Okole”, the second an unnamed Fortress, 41-9011. Neither aircraft was seen to go down, the Americans attributing their losses to a mid-air collision. Only seven crewmen of the twenty carried by the two aircraft survived the crashes. Six were executed by the Japanese at Rabaul, bombardier Gordon Manual evaded capture with the help of natives and was eventually rescued by the submarine USS Gato (SS-212) eight months later. Honi Kuu Okole was originally requisitioned from a Royal Air Force order and was one of four Fortresses in the Pacific camouflaged in the RAF Temperate Sea scheme. Model of Honi Kuu Okole here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/10/08/airfix-boeing-b-17e-conversion-honi-kuu-okole-in-1-72-scale/

 

Kudo_05_41-24454_GeorgiaPeach
B-17F “Georgia Peach” 41-24454 was downed by Kudo on June 13, 1943. One of eighteen B17s attacking the airfield at Vunakanau, her loss was attributed to anti-aircraft fire by the Americans. Two of her crew survived the crash, Navigator Philip Bek was executed at Rabaul, Bombardier Jack Wisener survived the war as a POW.

 

Kudo_06_41-2430_Townsville(2)
Seen here taking off from Townville, Australia is B-17E “Naughty But Nice” serial number 41-2430. Kudo shot her down on June 26, 1943, her loss again being attributed by the Americans to flak. 41-2430 was finished in the Hawaiian Air Depot camouflage scheme.

 

Kudo_07_41-2430_KokopoWM_Rabaul
The nose art of “Naughty But Nice” is currently on display at the Kokopo War Museum at Rabaul, New Britain. The remains of the Fortress and her crew were discovered in 1982 by a team including the sole survivor of her crash, Navigator Jose Holguin, who returned the remains of his crewmates to the United States.

 

Kudo_08_41-24448
Kudo’s second victim on the night of June 26, 1943 was B-17F “Taxpayers Pride”, serial number 41-24448. Waist gunner Joel Griffin was the sole survivor from the crew of ten, he survived the war as a POW. (Australian War Memorial photograph)

 

Kudo_09_B-17_Pluto
B-17F “Pluto II” serial number 41-24543 was claimed by Kudo on June 30, 1943, his sixth Flying Fortress. All ten members of her crew were lost, including Australian William MacKay who was sent to operate a new radar set. Kudo also put in claims for a B-24 but American records only show one B-24 loss on that date, B-24D 42-40254 which was sent on a weather reconnaissance mission and never checked in. Other sources credit another J1N1 nightfighter pilot, LTJG Satoru Ono, with her destruction.
Kudo_10_Lockheed_Hudson_NZ2035
Kudo’s final victory was a Lockheed Hudson of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No. 3 Squadron, NZ 2033 serial number 3856 operating from Guadalcanal. She was lost with all four of her crew on 13 July 1943 on flare dropping mission. Pictured is another No. 3 Squadron Hudson, NZ 2035.

New York City Vintage Photographs Part IV

NYC_31
A Douglas DC-3 of The Great Silver Fleet over Manhattan before the war. The DC-3 is a classic design, adapted as the primary air transport type of the U.S. and Allied services under a wide variety of designations. Many still fly today.

NYC_32_submarine-USS-Nautilus-New-York-Harbor-1958
A fireboat welcomes the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) to New York Harbor in 1958. Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, and the first submarine to travel submerged to the North Pole under the arctic ice sheet.

NYC_33_uss_plunger
Another submarine from a different era, USS Plunger (SS-2) underway off the Brooklyn Naval Yard. In September 1905 Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to submerge in a submarine aboard Plunger. In 1909 she was commanded by Ensign Chester Nimitz, who would rise to the rank of Fleet Admiral in the Second World War.

NYC_34_Y1B17_06_RA
A Y1B-17 flies over New York with Manhattan in the background. The US Army Air Corps almost did not order Boeing’s B-17 into production, some officers favoring the less expensive and less radical Douglas B-18 Bolo instead.

NYC_35_SS-Normandie-ca.-1935-1941-One-of-the-most-beautiful-Ocean-Liners-ever-built-in-Art-Deco-Style.-Renamed-to-USS-Lafayette-in-WWII
A beautiful photograph of the ill-fated French liner SS Normandy entering New York Harbor with the Manhattan skyline in the background. This view would be seen by thousands of U.S. soldiers and sailors leaving for and returning from the war in Europe.

NYC_36_M7_Priest
A NYC police officer directs traffic as a US Army M-7 Priest self-propelled howitzer navigates an intersection. The M-7 received its nickname because of the round “pulpit” with machine gun for the vehicle commander.

NYC_37_new-york-city-1950s
The USS Saratoga (CV-60) seen leaving New York Harbor. The automobiles on the flight deck indicate she is transiting to a new home port, the crew being allowed to take their cars with them as deck cargo.

NYC_38_
The crew musters on the deck of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) for her commissioning ceremony on Navy Day, 27OCT45. She was the second of three Midway class aircraft carriers, which were half again as big as the previous Essex class carriers but too late to see action in WWII.

NYC_39
The Iowa class battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) silhouetted against the Manhattan skyline. Missouri was the site of the formal Japanese surrender which ended the Second World War on 02SEP45.

NYC_40_DC4
The Douglas DC-4E prototype over Manhattan. This aircraft was evaluated by United Airlines during 1938-39. The design was later refined with a shorter wingspan and more conventional tail as the DC-4, and was adopted by the USAAF as the C-54 transport. Japanese Airways bought the DC-4E prototype, which was reverse-engineered by Nakajima as the unsuccessful G5N “Liz” bomber.

2020 Year in Review

“May you live in interesting times.” – ancient Chinese curse

Gingerbread
2020 in the form of a gingerbread house.

Oddly for a method of telling time, the positioning of our new year is arbitrary from a physical perspective and should have no actual bearing on earthly events, but here’s hoping for a better 2021 anyway!

I’ll look for the “win” here even if it is minor: We modelers are fortunate to have an inherently solitary hobby in these times.  Overall modeling appears to have picked up, Hornsby (parent company of Airfix) is reporting profits for the first time in years.  Modeling podcasts have come into their own and make bench time even more enjoyable.

The biggest void from a modeling perspective in my opinion is the cancellation of the shows.  I usually attend half a dozen per year and they are always a fine day out, with friends, new kits, and getting to see the work of hundreds of fellow modelers.  Also missing was the Half Price Books annual clearance sale where literally semi-truck loads of books are sold at ridiculously low prices at the state fairgrounds.

On a different note, perhaps the most interesting story of the year received very little attention – the U.S. government admitted that it was studying materials retrieved from vehicles of extraterrestrial origin.  Another commentary on the year 2020.

Blog Statistics and News

2020 was the second complete year for the Inch High Guy blog.  I am happy to report that I again managed to make a post each day, so 366 posts due to the leap year.  The blog received 73,992 views and 26,731 visitors, up from 27,174 views and 7,303 visitors last year.  The most popular post was “Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Interior Colors Part I” with 1,857 views, followed by “The B-17E and the Myth of the Bendix Ventral Turret” with 1,116 views.  Forts appear to be popular around here!

Link:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/b-17-flying-fortress-interior-colors-part-i/

Link: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/the-b-17e-and-the-myth-of-the-bendix-ventral-turret/

I am still struggling with the counter-intuitive Word Press editor, and that was only made worse with the introduction of the Word Press “Block Editor” in September.  This eliminated some useful functions while re-naming and moving others, with no apparent improvements on the user end.  On a more positive note, I did finally locate the tagging function and busied myself adding tags to all posts old and new.

I have linked several posts on ScaleMates, where the walk-around posts of museum aircraft have proved to be the most popular.  The Women Warriors posts have found a following with wargamers over on The Miniatures Page, among others.  I had intended for these pictures to tell their own stories, but there have been a few requests for captions.  Easier said than done with the modern-era photos as information ranges from obvious to impossible-to-determine, but there may be hope for the historical pictures.

Models Built in 2020

Forty-seven completions, twenty-nine aircraft and eighteen vehicles.  In addition I painted fifteen figures (plus one dog) and constructed three diorama bases. Everything was built to 1/72 scale as is my preference.  The mosaic has a picture of each build, if you want to see more finished pictures or the construction posts just follow the tags at the bottom of this post or enter the descriptions in the search bar in the upper right column.

Hasegawa Kawanishi Kyofu (Rex) x 2

Tamiya Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

Aoshima Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

MPM Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

Hasegawa Kawanishi Shiden Kai (George) x 2

Hasegawa Mitsubishi Raiden (Jack)

Fujimi Aichi B7A1 Ryusei (Grace)

LS Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo (Willow)

AZ Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo (Willow)

Special Hobby Curtiss P-40 Warhawk x 5

Tamiya Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

Airfix Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress conversion to B-17E x 2

RPM Hotchkiss H35 French Light Tank

RAF Bomber Supply Set x 2 (6 vehicles)

IBG Chevrolet C15A Personnel Lorry

Monogram Boeing F4B-4 x 2

Rare Bits Boeing F4B-1 Conversion

Monogram Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk

Matchbox Boeing P-12E x 2

Czech Master Resin Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk

Plastic Soldier StuG III Ausf. G Assault Gun x 3

Trumpeter StuG III Ausf. G Assault Gun

Revell Heinkel He 177A-5 Greif

Revell Junkers Ju 88P-1 Conversion

Hasegawa Heinkel He 111H-20

Italeri 15 cm Field Howitzer sFH 18

Trumpeter Sd.Ah.116 Tank Transporter

Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf. H

Planet Models Resin Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Revell Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Trumpeter Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Forward

Arma hobby has just announced a P-51 B/C Mustang in 1/72. The computer renders look good and show areas such as the wing leading edge and wheel well openings which have given other manufacturers problems appear to have been rendered properly. Here’s hoping! Every previous B/C in 1/72 scale has had some major shape issue so an accurate new tool kit has been at the top of many modeler’s wish lists for many years now. The early Mustangs, if done well, are sure to be a hit and a license to print money for Arma so here’s wishing for a successful release!

In more local news Ms. Inch High put a Creality LD-002R 3-D resin printer under the Christmas tree this year. These are very useful if you know what you’re doing, which I don’t at this point. Hopefully I will soon though, and I look forward to printing something useful. It is an amazing technology to have sitting on the bench. For all the talk of “Death of the Hobby” in some circles, I have yet to see any hint of it from here.

I have enjoyed putting this together, and have enjoyed hearing from other modelers and discovering other blogs.  A big thank you to all who have visited here, commented, followed, and especially those who have posted links.  

May you all live long enough to build every model in your stash!

New York City Vintage Photographs Part III

NYC_21_Y1B17_09_RA
A flight of Boeing Y1B-17 Flying Fortresses banks in to fly over Manhattan on 28 March 1937. The bombers were assigned to the 96th Bombardment Squadron, which had twelve Y1B-17s on strength. At the time these were the only heavy bombers in the USAAC inventory. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)

NYC_22
The Royal Mail Ship Queen Elizabeth pulls into the pier with the skyscrapers of New York in the background. The Queen Elizabeth was a huge ship even by today’s standards – 1,031 feet in length and displacing 83,000 tons.

NYC_23_RMS_Queen_Mary_20Jun1945_NewYork
Here is the RMS Queen Mary in her gray warpaint. She served as a troop transport during World War Two and was capable of carrying as many as 15,000 troops at a time. Because of her high speed she was thought to be immune to attacks by German U-boats and made the majority of her trans-Atlantic crossings unescorted. She is pictured returning U.S. servicemen home on 20JUN45. Currently Queen Mary is preserved as a museum in Long Beach, California. She is reputed to be haunted.

NYC_24_Richelieu
The French battleship Richelieu on her way to the Brooklyn Naval Yard on 18FEB43 for repairs and modernization. While under Vichy control she was hit by the British battleship HMS Barnham and suffered an internal explosion in her number seven 15” (380 mm) gun in turret two. After her defection to the Free French she was outfitted for service in the Pacific.

NYC_25
The Dornier Do-X makes an eye-level pass along New York’s skyline on 7 August 1931. The largest aircraft of her time, the Do-X was powered by twelve 524 horsepower Bristol Jupiter engines which can be clearly seen in this view.

NYC_26
A Swedish Airlines DC-4 seen over Manhattan in 1946. It did not take long after World War Two for the international airline industry to establish regular routes between major cities around the world.

NYC_27_Goose_01
Three U.S. Coast Guard Grumman JRF-2 Goose (Geese?) fly formation over New York on 10 April 1940. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)

NYC_27_Hall_PH3_01
Another Coast Guard amphibian in pre-war livery, this time it is a Hall Aluminum PH-3. This photograph was taken on 21 February 1940. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)

NYC_28_Nautilis(SSN571)_13MAY56
The USS Nautilus (SSN-571) enters New York harbor on 13 May 1956. The Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, and the first to travel to the North Pole under the ice sheet.

NYC_29_Ranger(CV-4)_HudsonRiver_1939
The aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) travels up the Hudson River in 1939.  Considered too slow for combat in the Pacific she operated in the Atlantic for the majority of the war.  She supported the landings in North Africa on 8 November 1942, where her fighters engaged Vichy French aircraft and her dive bombers hit the French Battleship Jean Bart.

B-17E Color Photographs Part II

41-2578_Bovington
This is one of the first B-17Es assigned to the Eighth Air Force, 41-2578 “Butcher Shop”, seen at Bovington. Lead bomber of the first 8th AF B-17 bombing mission on 17 August 1942, she was flown by Paul Tibbits. She was the oldest Boeing B-17 in the 8th AF at the end of the war. Note the subdued national insignia on the fuselage.

41-2599_RudyArnold(1)
This Fortress was later named “Tugboat Annie” and fought in the Pacific assigned to the 19th Bomb Group. She was hit by flak over Rabaul on the night of 16JAN43, ditching off Buna. All of the crew survived and was rescued. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)

41-2599-mount-rainier
Another view of 41-2599 with Mount Rainier in the background.

41-2600(3)
A fine study of 41-2600, “Esmerelda”. She served in the continental United States throughout the war.

41-9055MissNippon_41-2567_41-2543Snoozy_RudyArnold(1)
Three Fortresses in a V formation, the basic building block of the box formation used over Europe. These Forts are 41-9055 “Miss Nippon”, 41-2567, and 41-2543 “Snoozy”.

41-9131_41-9141_RudyArnold(1)
41-9131 wears the standard U.S. camouflage Olive Drab over Neutral Gray, but the nearer Fortress 41-9141 wears Royal Air Force colors and fin flash. The RAF was programmed to receive forty-five B-17Es but many, including this one, were delivered to the USAAC after completion. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)

41-9141
Another view of the same pair of Fortresses, but this time with less color shift in the negative.

Boeing B-17E
A rather tattered photograph of a B-17E at Wright Field. Note the wear to the paint on the propeller blades.

Panama_B17E
Mechanics service an engine on a B-17E in Panama. The B-17s assigned to protect the canal saw no combat, but carried a unique white mottling on their undersides and edges of the tail surfaces and wings.

B-17E Color Photographs Part I

Boeing B-17E
This is the first B-17E which was delivered to Wright Field on 03OCT41. It is wearing the Olive Drab over Neutral Gray camouflage scheme and the prescribed set of USAAC markings for the time. Her serial number, 41-2393 has not yet been applied to the vertical tail. The first 112 aircraft carried the Sperry remote turret in the belly position, which is just visible below the fuselage insignia in this photograph. This aircraft did not see combat, it was lost in Newfoundland on 09JAN42.

41-2397_(5)_Ford_Midway
This is B-17E 41-2397, seen just prior to the Battle of Midway in this screen grab from John Ford’s film. This Fortress is one of only nineteen B-17Es repainted in the Hawaiian Air Depot camouflage scheme. She survived combat and was written off at the end of October 1944.

41-2405_HansGroenhoff
Here is 41-2405 seen warming up her engines in the pre-dawn twilight on 25JUN42. This Fortress was assigned to various fields in the continental United States for the duration of the war. (NASM Archive, Hans Groenhoff collection)

41-2405_BombLoading_RudyArnold25JUN42
Another photograph of 41-2405, with armorers loading bombs.

41-2407(2)
41-2407 was one of two aircraft (along with 41-2399) named “Nemesis of Aeroembolism”. Armament was removed from these aircraft.  Each carried different nose art designs.  She was assigned to the Air Material Command at Wright Field.

41-2407_Nemesis_of_Aeroembolism
Another view of 41-2407. Aeroembolism is commonly known as decompression sickness, where changes in pressure can form bubbles in the blood.

41-2437_(3)_FordMidwayB17E
Here is another B-17E in the Hawaiian Air Depot scheme as captured by Ford on Midway Island immediately prior to the battle. This is 41-2437, her red and white tail strips having been painted over the month before. Visible under the fuselage is the Sperry remote turret and sighting dome. She survived her combat tour.

41-2509
A fine study of 41-2509 and one of the best B-17E color portraits. A crew member can be seen observing the photographer’s aircraft through the fuselage window in the radio compartment.

41-2509(3)
Another excellent photograph of 41-2509. Modelers should note the black wing walkway stripes and that the wear to the paint indicates that these have been ignored by the ground crew, along with the differences in the Olive Drab finish seen on the canvas control surfaces.

41-2567_RudyArnold
Details of the underside can be seen in this picture of 41-2567, including the large “U.S. ARMY” lettering carried under the wings. The Sperry ball turret was a vast improvement over the remote turret but was cramped, the gunner generally being the shortest member of the crew. (NASM, Rudy Arnold Collection)

New York City Vintage Photographs Part I

NYC_01_SSNormandy
In May of 1935 the French liner S.S. Normandie set the world’s record for the fastest trans-Atlantic crossing of 4 days, 3 hours, and 2 minutes. At the beginning of the Second World War the French Line kept the Normandy berthed in Manhattan, fearing German U-boats. After the attack on Pearl Harbor the U.S. took possession of the ship, renaming her the USS Lafayette.

NYC_02_USSLafayette
The US intended to use the Lafayette as a troopship and began conversion work. Shipyard welding started a fire which quickly got out of control. Efforts to extinguish the fire eventually flooded enough of the ship to capsize her, and she sank at her moorings at Pier 88.

NYC_03_J4F_Widgeon_Lafayette_1943_SSNormandie
The hulk of the USS Lafayette was stripped and re-floated, but she proved to be beyond economical repair and was eventually scrapped in 1946. Here a US Coast Guard Grumman J4F Widgeon is seen above the wreck in late 1943.

NYC_04_USS_Arizona_EastRiver_1916
The battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) was built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Here she is seen on the East River in New York City returning from sea trials on Christmas Day, 25 December 1916.

NYC_05_Colorado_1932
A beautiful photograph of the battleship USS Colorado (BB-45) off Manhattan in 1932. Colorado was the lead ship of her class, her sister ships were USS Maryland (BB-46), and USS West Virginia (BB-48). The USS Washington (BB-47) was cancelled while under construction under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty and sunk as a target. The Colorados had turbo-electric propulsion and were armed with eight 16”/45 main guns.

NYC_06_NewYorkTexas_WorldsFair_03May39_EmpireStateBldg
Sisterships USS New York (BB-34) and USS Texas (BB-35) light up the night sky with their searchlights while visiting New York City for the World’s Fair, 03 May 1939. The Empire State Building can be seen in the background to the right.

NYC_07_Dornier_DoX_1931
A fine study of the Dornier Do-X transferring passengers in New York Harbor, 1931. The Do-X arrived in New York on 27 August 1931 after several mishaps and a ten-month journey. She was to remain in New York for another nine months while her engines were overhauled.

NYC_08_Hindenberg
The airship Hindenburg passing over Manhattan on May 6, 1937 on her way to Lakehurst Naval Air Station, shortly before the disaster. Her explosion was captured by several news photographers sent to document her docking after crossing the Atlantic. Remarkably, 62 of the 97 people on board survived the fire and crash of the Hindenburg.

NYC_09_Y1B17_96BS_28MAR37
Two Boeing Y1B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 96th Bombardment Squadron seen over New York, 28 March 1937. The US Army Air Corps operated thirteen Y1B-17s, for a time they were the only heavy bombers in the USAAC inventory.

NYC_10_LosAngelesOverBatteryPark
The US Navy airship USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) seen over Battery Park in 1930. She was built as reparations for the First World War at Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH in Germany. She served the US Navy from 1924 to 1932 when she was decommissioned.

Airfix Boeing B-17E Conversion “THE BLUE GOOSE” in 1/72 Scale

B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2616 THE BLUE GOOSE is somewhat enigmatic due to there being no known photographs of her.  What is known is that the USAAF requisitioned her from an RAF order and that she was given a unique paint job at the Hawaiian Air Depot.  From Fortress Against the Sun, pg 218:

“Interestingly, Waskowitz’ plane, the Blue Goose, was actually painted a bright, light blue.  Perhaps as a test for a new camouflage scheme, B-17E 41-2616 had been given a coat, top to bottom, of Light Glossy Blue Duco paint at the Hawaiian Air Depot.  With its highly unusual color, the B-17 and its crew were soon known to everybody.”

Unfortunately the exact shade is not recorded.  I have included a Duco automotive color chart below, perhaps the paint is one of the blues on this card.  My color is a mix of Mr. Color 34 with Mr. Color 115 (RLM 65) in a 2 to 1 ratio.

The BLUE GOOSE served with the 11th Bomb Group.  She was lost off Bougainville on 29SEP42, shot down by antiaircraft fire while attacking a Japanese cruiser.  None of her crew survived.

The model is back-dated from the Airfix B-17G kit.  Markings are from Starfighter Decals #72-162 “Fortress of the Skies Part 3: E Models”.

DSC_7214
 
DSC_7229
 
DSC_7230
 
DSC_7231
 
DSC_7237
 
DSC_7238
 
DSC_7239
 
DSC_7240
 
DSC_7241
 

duco1

Airfix Boeing B-17E Conversion “Honi Kuu Okole” in 1/72 Scale

This is a conversion of the Airfix B-17G Flying Fortress kit to represent B-17E 41-9244 “Honi Kuu Okole”, which served with the 19th and 43rd Bomb Groups in the Pacific.  She was one of a group of four B-17Es requisitioned from a Royal Air Force order by the USAAF, the others being serial numbers 41-9196, 41-9234, and 41-9235.  The aircraft were finished in the RAF Temperate Sea Scheme and British markings, the insignia were replaced with U.S. markings but the camouflage was retained.

There was a fad among U.S. aircrews in the Pacific to give their aircraft Hawaiian names.  According to Lawrence J. Hickey’s “Kens Men Against the Empire”:

“Sometime during its combat service with the 19th and 43rd Bomb Groups the aircraft acquired the nickname HONI KUU OKOLE.  Whoever named it thought the name meant “up your ass” or perhaps “kiss my ass” in Hawaiian; a more literal translation of the phrase would be “massage my buttock.”

The aircraft was in the thick of the action, racking up a total of 87 combat missions and an impressive scoreboard.  Her luck ran out on the night of 21MAR43 over Rabaul when she was shot down by a J1N1 Gekko (Irving) nightfighter piloted by SFPO Shigetoshi Kudo of the 251st NAG.  Only two of the crew survived the crash.  Bombardier MSGT Gordon Manual evaded the Japanese until he was rescued by the USS Gato (SS-212) on 05FEB44, waist gunner SGT Robert Curry was captured and executed by the Japanese at Rabaul.  SFPO Kudo would go on to become the first nightfighter ace of the Pacific War.

Photographs of HONI KUU OKOLE focus on her scoreboard.  I have depicted her with replacement parts in U.S. colors and touch-ups in Olive Drab along the locations where the de-icer boots would have been removed, all probable but the specifics are speculative.  Her U.S. insignia are in the sizes and locations of the RAF insignia they replaced.  Decals are from Starfighter Decals #72-162 “Fortress of the Skies Part 3: E Models”.

DSC_7205DSC_7204DSC_7209DSC_7212DSC_7243DSC_7244DSC_7245DSC_7246DSC_724741-9224HoniKuuOkole

Boeing YB-40 Flying Fortress Escort Bomber

XB40_01_41-24341_Nov42
The Boeing YB-40 Escort Bomber or “Bomber-Fighter” was a B-17 with additional defensive armament, armor, and ammunition built in an attempt to provide defense for B-17 formations over Europe. This is the prototype XB-40, converted from the second production B-17F-1-BO serial number 41-24341 by Lockheed-Vega. Note the second dorsal turret mounted in the radio room and how the upper fairing extends to the turret.
XB40_02_41-24341_firstYB40_WrightField_1943
Another photograph of the XB-40 prototype 41-24341. By this time the dorsal fairing has been abruptly truncated which increased drag but improved the fields of fire for the second turret. This would become the standard for the subsequent YB-40 series. If you look closely you can see some artwork on the fuselage side ….
XB40_03_41-24341_side_art(s)
… and here is a close-up. Mickey Mouse was a popular subject for aircraft artwork, and not just among American aircrews. Notice how the bars and red surround added to the national insignia have been applied over the artwork.
YB40_03_Tulsa
A total of twenty-five B-17F were modified to YB-40 or TB-40 (gunnery trainer) standard. Here is a photograph of 42-5732 through 42-5745 which were delivered to the modification center at Tulsa in October and November of 1942 receiving their modifications. The work to install the powered turret in the radio compartment is underway.
YB40_04
A well-known photograph showing the increased firepower of the YB-40 with eight of the fourteen .50 caliber machine guns visible. Several different armament configurations were proposed, including 40 mm or 20 mm cannon, and reportedly one with a total of thirty .50 caliber guns.
YB40_05
A nice external view of the port waist gun position showing the twin .50 calibers mounted there. Note the wind deflector forward of the opening and that the twin guns are mounted at the center of the window, not more forward as was standard for the single-gun installation.
YB40_06
A view from inside the YB-40 looking forward, showing the improved dual waist gun installation. The YB-40 introduced the staggered waist gun layout to the Flying Fortress design, this picture shows a modification to improve the ammunition feed to the guns. Note the large quantity of ammunition carried for these guns and the effort to shift the weight forward.
YB40_07
A major innovation was the installation a Bendix remote turret under the Bombardier’s position to improve forward firepower. Both German and Japanese pilots quickly discovered the relative weakness of frontal firepower of the Flying Fortress and concentrated their attacks from the nose whenever possible. This installation proved a success prompting Douglass to install Bendix chin turrets on the final eighty-six B-17Fs they produced, the Bendix turrets became standard at all three manufacturers with the B-17G model. This YB-40 does not yet carry cheek guns for the Navigator, although these would be added later.
YB40_08_42-5743_Woolaroc_42-5741_Chicago_ 92BG
Twelve YB-40s were assigned to the 92nd Bomb Group / 327th Bomb Squadron for combat trials where they flew missions from May through July 1943. This is 42-5743 “Woolaroc” and 42-5741 “Chicago” which operated from RAF Alconbury. The port cheek guns have been fitted on both these aircraft.
YB40_09_42-5736 -Tampa Tornado 92nd BG 327th BS
42-5736 “Tampa Tornado” at RAF Kimbolton during an open house for local schoolchildren. The subdued national insignia is apparent, Neutral Gray was substituted for the more usual Insignia White.
YB40_10_42-5736_Tampa_Tornado
The Tampa Tornado again with two sisterships at Alconbury. The YB-40 experiment was not deemed a success. While firepower was improved it was still not sufficient to deter the Jagdwaffe. The YB-40 contributed nothing to the total bombs on target, and the weight of the additional guns and ammunition made it difficult for the YB-40s to keep up with a B-17 formation, especially after they had released their bomb loads.
YB40_11_42-5925(2)
The YB-40s were withdrawn from the European Theater and redesignated as TB-40s where they served Stateside in the gunnery training role. Here is 42-5925 along with four Bell P-63 King Cobras on a training flight.
YB40_12_42-5741_Chicago
Here is 42-5741 Chicago again, likely at RFC Ontario at the end of her service life. Note the lack of armament and the large training “buzz number”. Upon her return to the States she was renamed “Guardian Angel”. All of the YB-40s were scrapped after the war, none survive today. In the final assessment the YB-40 program contributed improvements to the defensive armament of standard Flying Fortresses, primarily the staggered waist gun positions and the Bendix chin turret in the nose.

YB-40 missions log from Wikipedia:

29 May 1943 – attacked submarine pens and locks at Saint-Nazaire. Smaller strikes were made at Rennes naval depot and U-boat yards at La Pallice. In the attack, seven YB-40s were dispatched to Saint-Nazaire; they were unable to keep up with B-17s on their return from the target and modification of the waist and tail gun feeds and ammunition supplies was found to be needed. The YB-40s were sent to Technical Service Command at the Abbots Ripton 2nd Strategic Air Depot for modifications.

15 June 1943 – four YB-40s were dispatched from Alconbury in a raid on Le Mans after completion of additional modifications.

22 June 1943 – attack on the I.G. Farben Industrie Chemische Werke synthetic rubber plant at Hüls. The plant, representing a large percentage of the Germany’s synthetic rubber producing capacity, was severely damaged. In the raid, 11 YB-40s were dispatched; aircraft 42-5735 was lost, being first damaged by flak and later shot down by Uffz. Bernhard Kunze in a Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-2 of JG 1 over Pont, Germany. The 10 crew members survived and were taken prisoner.

25 June 1943 – attack on Blohm & Voss sub shops at Oldenburg. This was the secondary target, as the primary at Hamburg was obscured by clouds. In this raid, seven YB-40s were dispatched, of which two aborted. Two German aircraft were claimed as destroyed.

26 June 1943 – scheduled but aborted participation in attack on the Luftwaffe air depot at Villacoublay, France (primary target) and also the Luftwaffe airfield at Poissy, France. The five YB-40s assigned to the attack were unable to form up with the bombing squadron, and returned to base.

28 June 1943 – attack on the U-boat pens at Saint-Nazaire. In the raid, the only serviceable lock entrance to the pens was destroyed. In this attack, six YB-40s were dispatched, and one German aircraft was claimed as destroyed.

29 June 1943 – scheduled participation in attack on the Luftwaffe air depot at Villacoublay, but aircraft returned to Alconbury due to clouds obscuring the target. In the raid, two YB-40s dispatched, one aborted.

4 July 1943 – attacks on aircraft factories at Nantes and Le Mans, France. In these raids, two YB-40s were dispatched to Nantes and one to Le Mans.

10 July 1943 – attack on Caen/Carpiquet airfield. In this raid, five YB-40s were dispatched.

14 July 1943 – attacked Luftwaffe air depot at Villacoublay. In this raid, five YB-40s were dispatched.

17 July 1943 – YB-40s recalled from a raid on Hannover due to bad weather. In this raid, two YB-40s were dispatched.

24 July 1943 – YB-40s recalled from an attack on Bergen, Norway due to cloud cover. In this raid, one YB-40 was dispatched.

28 July 1943 – attack on the Fieseler aircraft factory at Kassel. In this raid, two YB-40s were dispatched.

29 July 1943 – attack on U-boat yards at Kiel. In this raid, two YB-40s were dispatched.

Altogether of the 59 aircraft dispatched, 48 sorties were credited. Five German fighter kills and two probables were claimed, and one YB-40 was lost, shot down on 22 June mission to Hüls, Germany. Tactics were revised on the final five missions by placing a pair of YB-40s in the lead element of the strike to protect the mission commander.

Serials from Freeman:

41-24341 XB-40 prototype

42-5732

42-5733 Peoria Prowler

42-5734 Seymore Angel, later renamed Red Balloon, Old Ironsides

42-5735 Wango Wango, lost on Hüls raid 22JUN43

42-5736 Tampa Tornado

42-5737 Dakota Demon

42-5738 Boston Tea Party

42-5739 Lufkin Ruffian

42-5740 Monticello

42-5741 Chicago, later renamed Guardian Angel

42-5742 Plain Dealing Express

42-5743 Woolaroc

42-5744 Dollie Madison

42-5871

42-5920

42-5921

42-5922

42-5923

42-5924

42-5925

42-5926

42-5927

42-5833 TB-40 crew trainer

42-5834 TB-40 crew trainer

42-5872 TB-40 crew trainer