Martin B-26 Marauder Color Photographs Part I – 320th Bomb Group

B26_01_320BG441BS
A formation photograph of Marauders from the 320th Bomb Group’s 441st Squadron. Modelers note the variety of camouflage and markings, remaining paint where the cheek gun packs have been removed, and the extensive oil staining under the nacelles.
B26_02_42-96322_B-26F_320BG441BS
A beautiful study of B-26F 42-96322 of the 441st Squadron.
B26_03_42-96322_B-26F_320BG441BS
Although not the highest quality photo, it is comparatively rare to have photographs of both sides of an aircraft – let alone in color.
B26_04_42-96322_B-26F_320BG441BS
A 441st Squadron formation banks away while their target burns in the background.
B26_05_41-34891_B-26C_320BG441BS_MissouriMule
Another 441st Squadron ship, this is 41-34891 “Missouri Mule”, a B-26C. The red cowling faces and propeller hubs are a Group marking.
B26_06_42-107783_B-26C_320BG441BS_ThumperII
Thumper II is another 441st Squadron ship. She is B-26C 42-10778.
B26_07_42-107783_B-26C_320BG441BS_ThumperII_noseart
Here is a close-up of Thumper II’s nose art, note the mission markers extend to cover the landing gear door.
B26_08_42-107534_B-26C_320BG441BS_BelleRinger
“Bell Ringer” was B-26C 42-107534. One of the cheek gun fairings remains in place on her port side but does not carry a gun.
B26_09_42-107534_B-26C_320BG441BS_BelleRinger_02
A close-up of “Belle Ringer” nose art and scoreboard, which also extends to the landing gear cover.
B26_10_44-68136_B-26G_320BG442BS
A 442nd Squadron B-26G seen from above, showing fading and wear to her olive drab uppersurfaces.
B26_11_42-107733_B-26C_320BG444BS_99_MyDarling
Most of the 320th Bomb Group’s 444th Squadron carried shark’s mouths in addition to nose art applied by the crews. This is B-26C 42-107733 “My Darling”. Her formation number was 99.
B26_12_42-107825_B-26C_320BG444BS_98_Ol_Folks
Another 444th Squadron Marauder with the shark mouth is 42-10782 “Ol’ Folks”, which carried formation number 98.

Chance Vought F4U Corsair Color Photographs Part III

F4U_21_RA
A factory-fresh F4U showing details of the landing gear. A total of 12,571 Corsairs were produced. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
F4U_22_Vought-F4U-1A-Corsairs-VMF-214-White-829-at-Munda-Point-1943-01
A study in paint wear. This F4U-1A is seen at Munda Point during the last months of 1943. It was assigned to VMF-214, a Marine squadron.
F4U_23_HG
A view of the underside of a birdcage Corsair in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme. The folding portion of the wings were painted Blue Gray so they would better blend in with an aircraft carrier’s Deck Blue flight deck when the wings were folded. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
F4U_24
This Corsair carries a bomb rack under the wing. Even though this is a comparatively new aircraft the paint has already begun to wear at the ring root where mechanics stand while servicing the engine.
F4U_25_RA
The same aircraft from a different angle. The white dots on the fuselage are factory inspection stickers. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
F4U_26_RA
A posed photograph of a brand-new Corsair, showing details of the wheels. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
F4U_27
A Navy Lieutenant Commander in his “choker whites” summer dress uniform poses for the photographer. Interestingly, the propeller on this Corsair displays the pre-war warning stripes on the tips.
F4U_28
Another shot of a factory fresh birdcage Corsair. The radio mast was offset to starboard to allow an unobstructed view through the gunsight.
F4U_29_HG
A sentry armed with a shotgun protects the aircraft as they roll off the assembly lines. Sabotage was a constant concern which never materialized. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
F4U_30
A derelict F4U-4 at Blythe, CA. The outer wing panels were covered in fabric, which has mostly rotted away on this aircraft.

Chance Vought F4U Corsair Color Photographs Part II

F4U_11_HG
A fine study of a Corsair in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme showing how the grime can build up on the inner wings. On this aircraft the cowl flaps have been installed without regard to color. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)
F4U_12
The Corsair was a beautiful aircraft from any angle. The bent wings were adopted to allow ground clearance for the 13-foot propeller, giving the Corsair its distinct appearance. (LIFE Magazine)
F4U_13
Artwork on Corsairs was a rarity compared to types operated by the USAAF. Here is a close-up of a FAA Corsair displaying a colorful image of Donald Duck.
F4U_14
The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm ordered over 500 Corsairs. The examples here are seen in the Temperate Sea Scheme with the last three digits of their serial numbers roughly sprayed on their cowls.
F4U_15
A Fleet Air Arm Corsair showing details of the wing fold mechanism. The three dark circles near the wingtip are colored recognition lights, red, green, and amber.
F4U_16_USS_Block_Island
A Marine from VMF-511 inspects the guns of this F4U-1D aboard the USS Bock Island (CVE 106). The covers for the ammunition feed trays were interchangeable, this has disrupted the bar of the insignia on the port wing as Glossy Sea Blue panels have been substituted for white, a common occurrence.
F4U_17_RA
One of the first Corsairs off the production lines, this is BuNo 02170. She is seen in the standard Blue Gray over Light Gray Scheme in September 1942. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
F4U_18
The photographer has caught this Corsair cycling its landing gear. The wheels turned 90 degrees when retracted to lie flat within the wings. (LIFE Magazine)
F4U_19-VMF-218-White-465-Barakoma-Airfield-Vella-Lavella-Solomon-Islands-15th-Jan-1944-02
A Marine Corsair of VMF-222 on Barakoma Field, Vella Lavella, Solomon Islands in November 1943. This is BuNo 03833. She wears a Graded Scheme camouflage which is already showing fading and wear under the harsh South Pacific sun.
F4U_20_HG
An atmospheric photograph of a birdcage Corsair semi-silhouetted in the glare. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)

Chance Vought F4U Corsair Color Photographs Part I

F4U_01
The first of the breed! This is XF4U-1 BuNo 1143 seen in 1940. The prototype flew just 1n time to be painted in the colorful US Navy “Yellow Wings” scheme.
F4U_02_RA
Early production Corsairs had a framed canopy center section, leading to the nickname “birdcage Corsairs”. Although the paint is rather worn and faded, the white dots visible on the fuselage are factory inspection stickers. Note the primer showing through at the forward wing root, and the fading of the fabric wing panels and ailerons. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
F4U_03_RA
Although designed as a fighter, the Corsair could carry an impressive bomb load. This F4U-1D is seen hauling two 1,000-pound bombs beneath the fuselage. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
F4U_04-4-corsair-of-vbf-82-uss-randolph_1946
The Corsair was kept in service after the war, even as several other types were retired in the general de-mobilization which followed. Here is a rather worn F4U-4 in overall Glossy Sea Blue of VBF-82 aboard the USS Randolph (CV-15) in 1946.
F4U_05_XF4U-3_1_RA
The XF4U-3 was designed to provide the Marines with a high-altitude interceptor by fitting a turbocharged Pratt & Whitney XR 2800-16 engine and four bladed prop. The turbocharger inlet is visible under the fuselage in this photograph. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
F4U_06_XF4U-3_2_RA
A fine study of one of the three XF4U-3 prototypes. Problems with the engine resulted in fitting a Pratt & Whitney R 2800-14 engine instead, the aircraft achieving an impressive speed of 480 mph at 40,000 feet. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)
F4U_07_TorokinaAirfield_Bouganville
Torokina Airfield on Bouganville provides the standard South Pacific setting for this Corsair as it taxies out on the Marston mat runway.
F4U_08
Several Marine squadrons employed the Corsair primarily in the close air support mission. This aircraft is being prepped for another mission to add to her already-impressive scoreboard.
F4U_09
The FG-1D of Marine Lt Leroy Anheuser displays his Ace of Hearts emblem. The aircraft was assigned to VMF-122, based on Peleiu during 1944-45.
F4U_10_Jeremiah_OKeef
Marine 1Lt Jeremiah O’Keefe of VMF-323 poses in the cockpit of his Corsair on Okinawa. O’Keefe downed five Japanese aircraft during a single sortie on 22APR45, and an additional two on 28APR45. He was awarded the Navy Cross.

Douglas C-47 / R4D Skytrain / Dakota Color Photographs Part III

C47_21_80-G-K-5297_R4D_Flag aircraft of Rear Admiral Osbourne B. Hardison, chief of Naval Air Primary Training, is checked out by ground crew at NAS New Orleans, circa early 1945
Not all R4D’s were camouflaged. This is the aircraft of Rear Admiral Osbourne B. Hardsion, Chief of Naval Air Primary Training. His two-star flag placard is visible beneath the pilot’s window. (80-G-K-5297)
C47_22
Another Navy R4D in a natural metal finish, this one is assigned to the Naval Air Transport Service.
C47_23
Another mission frequently assigned to the Dakota was casualty evacuation, as being performed by the Royal Air Force example seen here.
C47_24
A patient being transferred to a Skytrain with invasion stripes. This photo provides a good view of the boarding ladder and inside of the cargo door.
C47_25_Vella Lavella
A similar view of a U.S. Marine casualty being evacuated from Vella Lavella in the Solomon Islands.
C47_26
Not the clearest of photographs but some interesting markings with yellow and red identification panels. An earlier “55” aircraft identification number has been removed aft of the yellow 25.
C47_27
A paratrooper poses in front of a rather weathered C-47, the nose of which has been repainted. Compare the size and positioning of the Troop Carrier Command lettering with that of the photo of the paratrooper from last week’s post here:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/06/09/douglas-c-47-r4d-skytrain-dakoda-color-photographs-part-ii/
C47_28_32d_Troop_Carrier_Squadron_Douglas_C-47A-15-DK_Skytrain_42-92862_1945
42-92862, a Skytrain of the 32nd Troop Carrier Squadron.
C47_29
Sad Sack hauling cargo is the subject of this nose art.
C47_30
Puddle-Jumper displaying some interesting details of propeller markings. Note the white trim to the carburetor intakes. One has to wonder if the nose art is intentional or the victim of an over-zealous removal of another marking. (LIFE Magazine)

Douglas C-47 / R4D Skytrain / Dakota Color Photographs Part II

42-100646 displays one of the more extremely faded paint jobs. She was assigned to the 47th Troup Carrier Squadron and is seen in Germany just after the war.

C47_12
A formation of C-47’s showing various degrees of wear. The vertical stabilizer appears to have faded more rapidly, likely the assembly was painted with a different Olive Drab paint formulation by a sub-contractor, similar to the B-17. The wing in the foreground shows details of the weathering.

C47_13
The same formation as the photo above. The factory Olive Drab finish on some of the C-47’s has shifted to a variety of browns and buffs.

C47_14
The C-47 was also utilized as a glider tug, seen here towing the Waco CG-4 Hadrian.

C47_15
Paratroopers of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion prepare to board a C-47. The “Triple Nickles” were a segregated unit utilized as “smoke jumpers” in the Pacific Northwest. Their mission was to extinguish fires set by Japanese Fu-Go incendiary balloons, 9,300 of which were released during the winter of 1944-45.

C47_16
Paratroopers don their parachutes. 43-48910 displays extensive fading and the remnants of the code “CK –“ on the fuselage aft of the cockpit.

C47_17
Lieutenant Clifford Allen smiles for the camera. Each paratrooper carried 150 feet of rope to enable them to descend safely in the event their parachute became tangled in trees or the mountainous terrain.

C47_18
Troop Carrier Command C-47’s bank over the Oregon back country.

C47_19
A close up of the nose of C-47 42-92095 showing details of the Troop Carrier Command insignia and nose art. The number “442” has replaced at least two previous identifiers.

C47_20
This is the nose of 43-48910, also seen in previous photographs. The “CK –“ code behind the cockpit is visible, as are the remains of other codes under the Troop Carrier Command insignia. These aircraft would make for interesting modeling subjects!

Douglas C-47 / R4D Skytrain / Dakota Color Photographs Part I

C47_01
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain (R4D for you Navy types) is one of the classic designs of aeronautical engineering. Rugged and versatile, many are still flying today, almost eighty years after they were built – a testament to their design and construction.

C47_02_NASM-NASM-9A12408_Over Mindanao_PI_1945
From a modeling perspective the C-47 offers many interesting possibilities. Here a USAAF C-47 is seen over Mindanao, Philippines in 1945. While the tail markings are somewhat unusual, the high degree of fading and wear to the finish is common to the type and can be a challenge to replicate.

C47_03
An adaptation of the DC-3 civilian airliner, Douglas produced over 10,000 C-47’s during the Second World War. Interestingly, the Japanese obtained a license to produce the design before the war, and built over 500 as the L2D. Similarly, the Soviet Union produced approximately 5,000 (counts vary) as the Lisunov Li-2.

C47_04
A U.S. Navy R4D is seen at Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic. It was called Ciudad Trujillo from 1936 to 1961, but is known as Santo Domingo today. Notice the paint has worn off the back of the propeller blades.

C47_05_R4D
Three Navy R4D’s in flight, demonstrating the effectiveness of their Blue Gray / Light Gray camouflage.

C47_06
The British received around 2,000 C-47’s under Lend Lease and gave the type the name “Dakota”. After the war many were distributed to Commonwealth and former colonial countries. Several of these aircraft are still flying today, including some with the South African Air Force in the maritime patrol role. 

C47_07
42-32892 served with the Soviet Air Force and was transferred to Aeroflot after the war. It crashed on the Taymyr Peninsula on 13APR47 with 9 fatalities, 28 were later rescued. The aircraft is pictured as it remained in 2012.

C47_08
Many civilian DC-3’s were pressed into military service before and at the beginning of the war, one of which may be this aircraft pictured in pre-war USAAC markings and insignia.

C47_09
Nose art on several C-47’s were photographed for LIFE Magazine at Townsend, Australia in 1943. These are two examples.

C47_10

Grumman F6F Hellcat Color Photographs Part III

F6F_11
A fine study of an early F6F-3 fresh from the factory in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme. (NASM, Rudy Allen Collection)

F6F_12
Grumman finished their aircraft with superior craftsmanship, the rugged designs soon earning them the nickname “Grumman Iron Works” for their ability to withstand damage and still keep flying. The quality of the workmanship is apparent in this photograph. (NASM, Rudy Allen Collection)

F6F_13
The red surround to the national insignia was unpopular short-lived, only being used for a short time during the summer of 1943. Commanders were so concerned that any red on the insignia might lead to confusion with the Japanese Hinomaru that they refused apply the outlines, which were soon changed to use Insignia Blue paint. (NASM, Rudy Allen Collection)

F6F_14
This F6F-3 is finished in the graded camouflage scheme and insignia with blue surrounds authorized in August 1943. The numbers sprayed on the cowling and tail were to identify the aircraft prior to her delivery and usually were the last digits of the Bureau Number.

F6F_15_WT4-USN-80-GK-2625-hoisting-F6F-yelo-V5-on-wingTWEAK
Sailors hoisting an F6F-3 aboard the old-fashioned way using a block and tackle. The large yellow buzz numbers V5 on the wings indicate a training aircraft. (80-GK-2625)

F6F_16_F6F-5N
An F6F-5N nightfighter with an AN/APS-6 radar pod mounted to the starboard wing. Most of the Hellcat nightfighters replaced the inboard .50 machine gun with a 20 mm cannon in each wing.

F6F_17
A mechanic works on the Pratt and Whitney R-2800-10 Double Wasp radial engine, which produced 2,000 horsepower. Modelers note the primer showing through on the wing leading edges and the oil staining on the cowling.

F6F_18
Flight deck crewmen await the signal to pull the chocks from this F6F-3 prior to launch. The gun muzzles have been taped over to prevent fouling, and the last two digits of the aircraft number are repeated on the landing gear doors and cowling.

F6F_19_McCampbell
Commander David McCampbell poses in the cockpit of his F6F-5 “Minsi III”. McCampbell was the leading U.S. Navy ace of WWII with 34 victories, including 9 in one mission during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

F6F_20_LTJG Eugene R. Hanks
LTJG Eugene R. Hanks in his F6F-3 Hellcat of VF-16. Hanks became an “ace in a day” after downing five Japanese Zeros in as many minutes while operating from the USS Lexington (CV-16) off Makin on 23 November 1943. He was awarded the Navy Cross for this action. (Eduard Steichen photograph, 80-G-K-15562)

Grumman F6F Hellcat Color Photographs Part II – Drones

F6F_Drone_01
Grumman produced a total of 12,275 Hellcats. With the end of the war and the dawning of the jet age the F6F quickly became surplus to requirements. Many were transferred to foreign nations or passed on to Naval Reserve units. One of the more interesting uses for the Hellcats was conversion to drones, which allowed the aircraft to be piloted remotely, usually from another aircraft.

F6F_Drone_02_F6F-5Ks_Bikini_1946
The drones were used for several functions, most commonly for targets. These drones with their colorful tails were used in Operation Crossroads for atmospheric sampling during the 1946 atomic bomb tests.

F6F_Drone_03
A shot of the Operation Crossroads test aircraft with their wings folded on the ramp. The additional antenna wires required for remote operation can be seen at the tops of the vertical tails.

F6F_Drone_04_F6F-5K_drone_USS_Boxer_Aug1952
Another more tactical mission was performed during the Korean War when the Hellcats were converted into flying bombs in the tradition of the WWII TDR and TDN assault drones: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/?s=assault+drone This bomb laden F6F-5K drone is seen about to be launched from the USS Boxer (CV-21) off Korea in August of 1952. Douglas Skyraiders were used as controlling aircraft. Note that the bombs lack tail fins as they were not intended to be dropped.

F6F_Drone_05
Another variation of the high-visibility paint scheme is seen on this rather worn F6F-5K, a weathering challenge for an experienced modeler.

F6F_Drone_06_VU-3-White-59-target-drone-aircraft-01
The target drones could also be launched from carriers for live-fire exercises. Here is an F6F-5K of VU-3 aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31).

F6F_Drone_07
The Navy operated F6F-5K target drones until the 1960’s. This very clean example is seen set up for public display at an airshow.

F6F_Drone_08
Several Hellcat drones were modified with wingtip pods in a variety of configurations. Some sources identify these as fuel tanks.

F6F_Drone_09_RA
Another variation on the high-visibility drone paint scheme, Orange Yellow with Insignia Red trim. The conversions retained the ability to be directly piloted.  (NASM, Rudy Allen Collection)

F6F_Drone_10_RA
A close-up of the unit insignia, a bee dodging bullets. The landing gear covers and cowling are trimmed in Insignia Red, but the landing gear legs (and likely the wheel wells) are in Orange Yellow. Note the prominent exhaust staining. (NASM, Rudy Allen Collection)

Grumman F6F Hellcat Color Photographs Part I

F6F_01_Yorktown_CV10
An early F6F-3 Hellcat positioned in front of the island of the Essex-class carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10). The first Hellcats were delivered in the standard Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme with national insignia in six locations. This photograph was taken in May, 1943.

F6F_02_-3_Hellcats_aboard_USS_Yorktown_(CV-10),_31_August_1943_(80-G-K-14833)
Yorktown again, but three months later. These Hellcats are finished in the graded scheme and feature the barred insignia with blue outline in four locations. The wings have extensive cordite staining from the guns.

F6F_03_-3s_on_USS_Saratoga_CV-3
Hellcats recovering aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3). Saratoga survived the war, only to be expended as a target for atomic bomb tests.

F6F_04_USS Lexington (CV-16), en route near New Guinea, early April, 1944
F6F Hellcats and SBD Dauntless dive bombers warm up aboard the USS Lexington (CV-16) off New Guinea in April, 1944. Close examination of the photo shows kill markings displayed on Hellcats 5 and 20.

F6F_05_-Hellcat-MkI-FAA_18JAN45_HMS_Indomitable
Plane handlers sunbathing on the wing of a Fleet Air Arm Hellcat Mk.1 of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable, 18 January 1945.

F6F_06_USS_Cowpens_CVL25
Hellcats warming up on the light carrier USS Cowpens (CV-25) prior to the strike on Wake Island. US aircraft carriers stained their decks Deck Blue to make the ships harder to detect from the air.

F6F_07
Pilots and deck crew await the order to start engines. (LIFE magazine photograph)

F6F_08_VF11_Sundowners_USSHornet(CV12)_summer1944
Rocket-armed F6F-5’s of VF-11 Sundowners prepare for launch aboard USS Hornet (CV-12) in the summer of 1944. Avengers and Helldivers await their turns at the aft end of the flight deck.

F6F_09
F6F-5’s being serviced on the flight deck. The -5 Hellcats were finished in an overall glossy Sea Blue scheme. Here they are fitted with white drop tanks, a hold over from the previous graded camo scheme.

F6F_10_RandolphCV15
An F6F-5 secured to the deck of the USS Randolph (CV-15) with a Fletcher-class destroyer in the background. US carriers typically operated in Task Groups of four aircraft carriers, screened by battleships, cruisers, and up to sixteen destroyers.