USS Missouri (BB-63) WWII Color Photographs Part III

Missouri firing from Turret One during her shakedown cruise in August, 1944. The heat and pressure of the guns disturbs the surface of the water during firing, which has led to the misconception that the ship was pushed sideways by the recoil. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4546)
A sailor adjusts one of the “bloomers” of a 16” gun. The bloomers were rubberized canvas over a metal frame and were designed to keep wind and spray from entering the Turret. During firing, the guns recoiled 4 feet (1.22 meters), which required the greasing of the barrel to ensure the bloomer frame didn’t bind, as seen here. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4535)
Missouri’s Commanding Officer, Captain William M. Callaghan is seen on his bridge. On the starboard side of the bridge was a single chair, which was reserved for the exclusive use of her Captain. The bridge was provided with windows which could be rolled down to prevent breakage during gun shoots. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4536)
A view from inside the 04-level bridge showing Captain Callaghan with his Officer of the Deck, LT Morris R. Eddy, and Yeoman First Class Arthur Colton. The Iowa class was normally conned from the O4-level bridge, but had additional conning stations on the O5 and O8 levels. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4537)
Missouri’s Executive Officer, CDR Jacob E. Cooper seen on the 05-level bridge prior to a gun shoot. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4538)
The 40mm quad Bofors mount on top of Turret Two. The forward turrets are trained to port, while the Bofors guns are trained to the rear of the Turret which gives an odd impression. In the background is USS Alaska (CB-1). (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-5579)
Gunner’s Mate Second Class Charles J. Hansen works on a Bofors gun. This is mount 13, as is painted on the gun shield. Hansen was a survivor of the sinking of the heavy cruiser USS Vincennes (CA-44), sunk during the Battle of Savo Island on 09AUG42. The tattoo on his right shoulder commemorates his fallen shipmates. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4510)
A view from the superstructure showing several signal flags and the two most forward 5”/38 mounts on the port side. Note “Mount #2” painted on the roof of the mount to the right. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4571)
Yeoman Third Class Betty Martin exiting the rear of 5”/38 Mount #9, which is painted on the side of the mount to the right. This view shows several details of the back of the Mark 28 twin mounts. These mounts were protected against shell splinters by a 2.5” (63.5mm) armored gunhouse. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4570)
Sailors man one of Missouri’s 36” (91.5 cm) searchlights. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4560)

Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/08/31/uss-missouri-bb-63-wwii-color-photographs-part-i/

USS Missouri (BB-63) WWII Color Photographs Part II

Seven tugs push Missouri’s bow as the crew musters on deck. Interesting details are the floater net baskets on the back of the main battery turrets, and the painted numbers designating the 40 mm Bofers mounts. 40 mm #1 is painted on the top of Turret 2, while mount 17 and 18 are on the fo’c’sle. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4540)
The center guns of the forward turrets creating the characteristic fireballs. The pressure wave from the firing has just begun to disturb the surface of the sea. The 16”/50 gun was the most powerful ever mounted on a U.S. battleship, and could hurl a 2,700-pound armor piercing projectile 42,345 yards. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4549)
A night firing exercise for the secondary battery. Missouri carried twenty 5”/38 guns in Mark 28 twin mounts, five mounts per side. The 5”/38 is considered by many to be the most effective shipboard anti-aircraft weapon of the war, thanks in part to the VT proximity fuse of the projectile. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4550)
Missouri will always be remembered in history as the site of the Japanese surrender which ended the Second World War on 02SEP45. At the time, the ship was anchored in Tokyo Bay. Here the Japanese delegation stands before the table as General Douglas MacArthur leans over the documents.
A view of the superstructure during the surrender. Every vantage point is crammed with sailors and visitors anxious to get a view of the proceedings. A close examination reveals several precarious perches as sailors crammed into every available space to get a look.
A view of the signing from atop Turret 2. The Teak wood decks were painted Deck Blue (20-B) during her time in the Pacific in WWII.
General MacArthur gives his opening remarks during the surrender ceremony with Allied military delegations standing behind him. On the bulkhead is mounted the flag flown by Commodore Perry on the first visit to Japan by the U.S. Navy in 1853. Despite what has been claimed by some authors, the flag is not mounted “backwards”. Naval custom is for mounted flags to be displayed with the union (stars) forward, as if sailing into the wind.
Here is a rare treat, color movie film taken of the surrender by an Officer on ADM Halsey’s staff, Commander George F. Kosco. CDR Kosco’s family had the film restored and made available to the public. In it is footage of a 40mm Bofers mount exercising, the transfer of the Japanese harbor pilots from a Fletcher-class destroyer, and the surrender itself. Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5MMVd5XOK8&ab_channel=NavalHistoryandHeritage
The rear part of the supporting structure for the armored conning station protrudes into the Wardroom at approximately Frame 91, forming part of the forward bulkhead. On this was painted a mural showing Missouri’s voyages. The mural remains in place today, and was updated by subsequent crews. Here are the original artists, Signalman Third Class Jose de la Torre, Jr. Signalman Second Class Gerald Parker, and LTJG Jack Reichart. Reichart hails from Muncie, Indiana, my hometown. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-6582)
After departing Tokyo Bay, Missouri proceeded back to the United States, passing through the Panama Canal in time to be reviewed by President Harry Truman in New York during the Fleet Review on 27OCT45. Along the way, the crew holystoned the Deck Blue paint from her decks revealing the Teak wood below. Modelers should note the Teak decks can be accurate with the Ms22 camouflage, but not during the war – and only for a brief time before alterations were made to her armament. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-6565)

Part III here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/09/14/uss-missouri-bb-63-wwii-color-photographs-part-iii/

USS Missouri (BB-63) WWII Color Photographs Part I

Commissioning day, 11JUN44 at the New York Naval Yard. The crew and distinguished guests are gathered on Missouri’s fantail for the formalities. Missouri was the last battleship commissioned into the U.S. Navy, and the last remaining battleship in the world to be decommissioned in 1992. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-3858)
A classic photograph of Missouri underway in her Measure 32/22D camouflage. She was the only battleship to wear this pattern, which consisted of Light Gray (5-L), Ocean Gray (5-O), and Dull Black (BK) bands. Decks were painted Deck Blue (20-B) and Ocean Gray (5-O). (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4575)
A profile view of Missouri’s port side camo pattern, with a Navy K-Type blimp on anti-submarine patrol overhead. Missouri only wore her Measure 32 camouflage for the first few months of her service, by the time she deployed for combat duty in the Pacific she had been repainted in the more common Measure 22. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4576)
A slightly different angle from the previous photo, with the Large Cruiser USS Alaska (CB-1) in the background. The two ships went through their shakedown cruises in the Atlantic together in August 1944. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4523)
Missouri firing her forward 16”/50 caliber guns during her shakedown cruise. To the right of the photograph all six projectiles can be seen in flight. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4515)
An OS2U Kingfisher observation plane on Missouri’s port catapult. The Kingfisher, like other Navy floatplanes, could be easily converted to land operation by substituting conventional wheeled landing gear for the floats. In this case this has resulted in an anomaly which is generally missed by modelers – the main floats on Missouri’s Kingfishers appear to be in the pre-war Light Gray and don’t match the graded scheme of the aircraft. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4528)
Another Kingfisher on the starboard catapult revealing several details. The Kingfishers were carried for Missouri’s work-ups in the Atlantic, but were replaced with Seahawks before her combat deployments in the Pacific. For modelers, the Kingfishers go with the Measure 32/22D camouflage, Seahawks go with the Measure 22. Also note that in the two photographs showing the Kingfishers the teak deck has not yet been stained. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4597)
This view of Missouri’s fo’c’sle reveals details of the camouflage pattern applied to the decks and turret tops. USS Alaska (CB-1) maneuvers ahead. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-5584)
The Iowa-class battleships displaced 58,000 tons fully loaded. Her eight boilers could produce 212,000 horsepower, which could drive the ship at over 30 knots. Here Missouri throws off a bow wave while at high speed during her sea trials. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4533)
A leadsman prepares to take a depth sounding as the ship approaches an anchorage. The bottom of the weight was hollow, which allowed the leadsman to report the type of material on the seabed below. (U.S. Navy 80-G-K-4542)

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/09/07/uss-missouri-bb-63-wwii-color-photographs-part-ii/

A Visual Tour of Battleship USS New Jersey Book Review

A Visual Tour of Battleship USS New Jersey, The Design of Iowa-Class Battleships Vol. 1

By John M. Miano

Hardcover, 302 pages, appendices, bibliography

Self-Published, copyright 2021 by John M. Miano

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎098998043X

ISBN-13: ‎978-0989980432

Dimensions: ‎11.0 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches

Author John Miano has rare, perhaps even unique, access to the USS New Jersey (BB-62) as a museum ship as well as the drawings and blueprints of her which are archived there.  He has used this access to enter and photograph a vast number of her interior spaces, many of which are not open to the public.  In fact, several of the spaces he has photographed were not routinely entered by the crew when the ship was active so there are some really unusual and out-of-the-way areas shown in this book.

The book is organized by deck and each chapter begins with a labeled line drawing identifying each space by name.  Then the author proceeds through the deck, photographing representative spaces.  Captions are extensive, detailing what is shown in the photographs along with any interesting history and technical descriptions of the equipment shown so the reader knows exactly what they are looking at.  These are supplemented with pictures taken when the ship was active which helps explain how the equipment was used operationally or shows a previous configuration.  The Main Battery turrets, Engine Room #2 and Fire Room #2 are handled as separate chapters.  The topside views will be of most interest to modelers, and many are viewed from unusual perspectives.

Being self-published, the paper quality could be improved, and there are some captions which would benefit from the attentions of an editor.  However, these are minor points given the extensive coverage and amount of technical detail in the captions.

As a young Ensign I cross-decked to the New Jersey for a month in October 1985, and served aboard USS Missouri (BB-63) until 1989.  There are many photographs of areas I knew well, even accounting for the inevitable differences between sister ships.  Many other photographs are of spaces I never entered, being outside of my responsibilities.  Several are spaces which were only entered for inspection purposes while the ships were in service, but show some interesting detail of the ship’s construction or armor layout.  A must-have book for the battleship enthusiast, recommended.

Curtiss SOC Seagull Color Photographs

A fine study of two SOC-3 Seagulls in flight. These aircraft are from Observation Squadron One embarked on the ships of Battleship Division One (VO-1 on BATDIV ONE). These aircraft are from the second section assigned to USS Nevada (BB-36).
Another photograph from the same series, the occasion is a group formation of VO-1 aircraft during a fleet exercise in 1940. The red tail designates VO-1, the side number 1-O-4 indicates the squadron (1 for VO-1), the aircraft type (O for Observation), and the individual aircraft number 4, which is the lead aircraft of the third section of three.
A view of an aircraft of VO-3’s third section, indicated by the blue wing chevron and cowling. Section three was embarked aboard the USS Pennsylvania (BB-38). In the distance the fleet can be seen steaming in line.
Another of Nevada’s Seagulls. Although difficult to see due to the glare from the aluminum dope finish, the upper part of the cowl is in white, as is the upper wing chevron.
The third section carried blue on their cowls. The section leader’s aircraft had the entire cowl painted blue along with a blue fuselage stripe, the second aircraft of each section painted the upper section of the cowling, while the third aircraft painted the lower.
A beautiful view of the formation approaching the battle line.
The SOC’s pass over the battleships with a line of destroyers in the distance.
A series of photos taken by LIFE photographer Carl Mydans aboard the battleship USS Idaho BB-42 during the summer of 1940. The Seagull is seen preparing to launch from the catapult on top of Idaho’s Turret Three. The blue tail surfaces indicate assignment to Observation Squadron Three (VO-3).
A useful view of Idaho’s Seagull showing many interesting details. The yellow paint on the upper wing wraps around the leading edge to improve the airflow across the wing surface. The squadron insignia on the forward fuselage depicts Mickey Mouse looking through binoculars while riding a gun projectile.
Another view of the same aircraft reveals an interesting detail. The aircraft type designation was carried on the vertical tail surfaces along with the Bureau Number. In this case we can see this Seagull is not an SOC-3, but instead is an SON-1. The Naval Aircraft Factory produced forty-four Seagulls which were designated SON-1, the SON-1 was equivalent to the SOC-3 with a few minor modifications.
Idaho’s Marine Detachment in formation next to Turret Four. The battleships embarked three Observation aircraft, typically stowing one on top of the catapult mounted to Turret Three and two on the fantail as seen here.
A nice shot of a mechanic polishing the propeller of an SOC reveals details of the float and engine.

Anatomy of The Ship The Battleship Scharnhorst Book Review

Anatomy of The Ship The Battleship Scharnhorst

By Stefan Draminski

Hardcover, 336 pages, bibliography

Published by Osprey Publishing, January, 2021

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎1472840232

ISBN-13: 978-1472840-23-3

Dimensions: ‎9.98 x 1.16 x 9.83 inches

A battlecruiser is a ship designed with heavy guns, light armor, and high speed.  Their intended niche is generally understood to be as a commerce raider, or as a “cruiser-killer” to counter commerce raiders.  The philosophy is be able to out-run battleships with heavier armament and to out-gun everything else.  Scharnhorst (and her sister Gneisenau) don’t fit neatly into this classification, being both fast and well-armored, but only having a main battery of nine 28 cm (11 inch) guns.  Long described as battlecruisers, it has more recently become common to refer to them as battleships.

Regardless of the semantics, Scharnhorst was a handsome ship, as is ably demonstrated by this book.  The opening chapter is a technical description of the design, which is followed by a chronology of her service history.  Both of these sections are well illustrated with photographs.  The remainder of the book is comprised of line drawings and full-color computer rendered perspectives of the ship and her component systems.  The cover indicates there over 600 drawings and 400 “colour 3D views”.  These are a treasure-trove for the modeler.  Given that several of the details are of equipment common to other Kriegsmarine vessels, they will be of use for anyone studying German surface combatants of the Second World War.

The sheer volume of the information makes these books a bargain, each page contains several line drawings and/or renders of specific details.  The renders are beautifully done and quite intricate.  The one criticism I would offer is more of the 3D views should have a full page to themselves – only a dozen are reproduced on their own pages.  A very nice touch is the artist has accounted for several of the various camouflage and marking schemes in the renders, so it is possible to see the paint evolve along with the equipment changes over time.

This book contains loads of detail and is presented well, in keeping with the standards of the Anatomy of the Ship series.  It is an indispensable reference for the ship modeler, a cornucopia of information for the naval enthusiast, and a great value considering the volume of content.  Recommended for any naval history collection.

How to Tell the Iowa Class Battleships Apart

When the Iowa-class battleships were recommissioned during the 1980s they generated a considerable amount of public interest and were very popular subjects with photographers.  The Navy obliged and made them available for access by the media which resulted in a large number of pictures available today.  However, the similarities between the ships have resulted in many of these photographs being mis-identified both on the internet and even by authors who should know better.  In this post I will point out a few of the more easily identifiable differences which will allow battleship fans to make a proper identification.

This photograph is likely the most confusing to observers, and has been identified as all four of the Iowa class in various corners of the internet, if it is identified at all. This is in fact the USS Iowa (BB 61), taken early in her re-activation process. What is confusing to many is the Iowa carried a very prominent American flag painted on the top of Turret One for most of her service in the 1980’s. The flag was painted in June 1984, which dates this picture as being early in her service or a precommissioning trial. Iowa carried non-skid bands atop Turrets Two and Three. The area covered by the non-skid on the fantail for helicopter operations is unique to each of the sisters, on Iowa it extends forward to a line just short of the Turret Three barbette.
Compare the previous photo to this similar shot of USS New Jersey (BB 62). The non-skid on New Jersey’s fantail wraps around Turret Three, with an irregular area of teak decking around the Turret connecting the deck vents. Also note the helicopter deck markings are different, with the landing circle offset to port. The tops of her Turrets and 5” gun mounts are painted in Haze Gray. Also visible on her fo’c’sle are the circular bases for the quad 40mm gun mounts, which are unique to New Jersey, on all other Iowa-class the gun mount bases were removed and planked over with teak.
USS Missouri (BB 63) carried the least amount of teak on her fantail, the non-skid extends all the way forward to the break in the superstructure. Her helicopter pad markings match Iowa’s, and she has her hull number painted atop Turret One.
USS Wisconsin (BB 64) retained the most teak of any of the sisters. Only the helicopter deck and ramps themselves were covered in non-skid. Also note the difference in flight deck markings, with angled stripes painted at the forward corners. Her Turrets and 5” gun mount tops also appear to be painted Haze Gray in this photograph.
New Jersey firing all 21 guns simultaneously off both beams. New Jersey was the only Iowa recommissioned for service during the Vietnam War, and this left her with a uniquely shaped superstructure top to support her electronic countermeasures (ECM) suite. On New Jersey this is two rectangular projections to the beams, all other Iowas received a wrap-around structure. The circular remnants of her 40mm gun tubs are visible on the deck.
Compare the superstructure in previous photograph to this shot of Missouri off Sidney, Australia in October 1986. Missouri displays the rounded upper superstructure and supports for the SLQ-32 ECM common to the other ships. Also of note is the bullwork at the extreme bow to block the wind, this “plain” shielding was common to the Pacific Fleet Battleships New Jersey and Missouri.
The Atlantic Fleet ships had different bow configurations. Here is a shot of Wisconsin (left) and Iowa (right) in mothballs. These were originally tubs for two single 20mm gun mounts and were not removed during their reactivations. Note that they are each different, with the tubs on Iowa projecting further over the beams.
A detail view of Wisconsin’s bow, showing the smaller tub configuration and wind deflector.
Iowa was unique in carrying a large American flag atop Turret One. This was painted on by the crew in June 1984 and is visible in many aerial views of the ship.
This photograph of Missouri working through a heavy swell reveals her hull number painted atop Turret One. Neither New Jersey nor Wisconsin carried identifiers on their Turret tops. The white markings on Turret Two are applied to fittings and trip hazards for the UNREP gear used to transfer stores and ammunition from other ships.

The Battleship USS Iowa Anatomy of the Ship Book Review

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The Battleship USS Iowa Anatomy of The Ship

By Stefan Draminski

Hardcover, 352 pages, line drawings and 3-D renderings throughout

Published by Osprey Publishing, January 2020

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1472827295

ISBN-13: 978-1472827296

Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches

Most modelers and military history buffs are familiar with the Anatomy of the Ship series.  The majority of these books were published during the 1980’s and 1990’s, and are mainly devoted to detailed line drawings of the subject vessel and her fittings.  The publishing history is convoluted – they were published by Conway Maritime Press in Great Britain, along with both Phoenix and the U.S. Naval Institute in the United States.  After a long hiatus the series is again being produced with updated volumes on previous subjects along with new titles.

The current iterations have featured red covers up to this point.  Conway published an updated volume on the Yamato and Musashi, the next volume is published by Osprey and the subject is the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61).  The new series retains the line drawing format of the original, but adds a striking new element in the form of full-color computer rendered perspective views.  These are consistent with the style of Kagero’s Super Drawings in 3D series.  Most page spreads contain a mix of the standard line drawings and color perspective views, this proves quite effective in conveying the appearance of the specific detail.  The result is a book with two to three times the content of the original. One thing I feel is under appreciated about books such as this is that much of the equipment was standardized and was common to ships of other classes, so the drawings will be of interest even if researching an entirely different ship which utilizes the same items of equipment.

In the case of Iowa, the author has constructed nine individual computer models to present the ship during different periods.  The Iowa was frequently refitted, and her appearance changed after each shipyard availability, sometimes drastically.  The reader can follow these modifications chronologically with the turn of a page.  The renderings show many of the interior spaces of the ship, some as cut-aways, others as expanded layers.  I did my service aboard the Iowa’s sistership Missouri (BB-63) from 1985-89, so it was interesting for me to find many very familiar details.  Others were different, either due to era or the inevitable differences in construction between sisters.  There were a few strange omissions.  The main battery turrets and their interiors are covered well, but only the exteriors of the 5”/38 mounts are shown.  The interior of the bridge is absent, and only the basic layouts of Engineering spaces are represented.  Having said that, what is there is spectacular, and I’m sure I’ll be studying this book for hours.  I was a fan of the series before the addition of the color perspective renderings, given the amount and quality of the content these new books are bargains.  Highly recommended.

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Vought OS2U Kingfisher Color Photographs Part III

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A beautiful photograph of Kingfishers in the “three tone” graded camouflage. The barred insignia with blue outline was in use from August 1943 through the end of the war. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)
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A Kingfisher aboard the portside catapult on the fantail of the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) during her work-ups in the Atlantic, August 1944. The crew appears to be conducting an abandon ship drill. Note the main float of the OS2U is painted Intermediate Blue while the wingtip floats are in Sea Blue.
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Another Kingfisher aboard Missouri’s catapult, this example has the individual aircraft number 6 painted on the tip of the float. Missouri’s decks do not yet have their camouflage stain applied.
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An excellent view of Missouri’s crane as a Kingfisher is recovered. The gun director tub for the portside 40 mm mount on the fantail is painted with the number “16”.
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A Kingfisher is launched from Missouri’s starboard catapult. The catapults could be trained through a wide arc (even across the deck) in order to optimize the wind for launch. The Officer of the Deck was required to calculate the true wind and then determine the proper ship’s course and speed to optimize the relative wind for launching the aircraft.
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At the end of the mission the aircraft is hoisted back aboard. Crewmen use steadying lines to keep the aircraft from rotating as it is suspended from the crane.
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A well-worn Kingfisher is being rigged to the hoist for recovery. This evolution would present an obvious hazard to the aircrew in rough weather. Note that the wingtips and tail surfaces are painted in a lighter shade of blue, perhaps Blue Gray replacements?
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An OS2U approaching the recovery sled towed behind the recovery ship. A hook on the underside of the Kingfisher’s float engaged netting on the sled, allowing crewmen aboard the ship to wench the aircraft into the optimum position for hooking up with the crane.  Practice bomb dispensers are under each wing. 
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With the hoist secured the aircraft is ready to be brought back aboard. The sailor in the center of the photograph is maneuvering a boom into position to help steady the aircraft and prevent it from swinging.
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A Kingfisher at the moment of launch in early-war markings. Note the position of the observer in the rear cockpit as he braces against the acceleration of the catapult.
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A forlorn sight repeated around the world at the end of WWII. Among the types relegated to this boneyard are several surplus Kingfishers, their services no longer needed. Within the next five years advances in jet engine and helicopter technology would render the majority of even the most advanced WWII era aircraft designs obsolete in their intended roles.

More Kingfisher photographs here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/os2u-kingfisher-pacific-theater-camouflage-and-markings/

Vought OS2U Kingfisher Color Photographs Part I

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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)
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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)
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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.
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/01/06/vought-os2u-kingfisher-color-photographs-part-ii/