Grumman XF5F Skyrocket

The Grumman XF5F Skyrocket was designed as a lightweight carrier-borne fighter for the U.S. Navy.  It was a distinctive design featuring twin engines and a forward fuselage which did not extend past the leading edge of the wing.  The prototype flew for the first time on 01 April 1940.  (NASM Rudy Arnold Collection)
The Skyrocket was powered by two Wright R-1820 Cyclone radial engines which produced 1,200 each.  The R-1820 was widely used in several U.S. designs of the period and was produced under license in Spain and the Soviet Union.  Armament was two 20 mm cannon.  (NASM Rudy Arnold Collection)
The combination of light weight and high horsepower gave the Skyrocket impressive performance.  Initial rate of climb was 4,000 feet per minute (1,220 m/min), easily outpacing the XF4U Corsair prototype.  Maximum speed was 383 mph (616 km/h).  (NASM Rudy Arnold Collection)
The Skyrocket featured several desirable characteristics for a carrier aircraft. The propellers were engineered to rotate in opposite directions which eliminated the issue of torque on take-off.  The twin engines provided redundancy in case of damage or mechanical failure, a feature the U.S. Navy would come to require for later designs.  The stubby nose did not restrict the vision of the pilot during shipboard recovery.  (NASM Rudy Arnold Collection)
The wings were designed to be folded to increase storage capacity aboard the aircraft carrier from the outset, a feature lacking on several of the naval aircraft in service at the time.
Cockpit design was conventional.  Visible at the bottom of the photograph is the transparency through the lower fuselage, a common feature on naval aircraft which allowed the pilot to view the carrier deck on landing approach.
Port side of the cockpit interior showing the twin throttle arrangement.
Grumman also developed the design to meet a USAAC requirement for a land-based twin-engine interceptor which became known as the XP-50 Skyrocket .  This featured an extended nose and redesigned engine nacelles which improved both the maximum speed and rate of climb.
While the XP-50 was promising, the USAAF ultimately decided not to produce either it nor the competing Lockheed XP-49, instead focusing efforts on improving the performance of the Lockheed P-38 which was already in production.
The U.S. Navy decided not to adopt the Skyrocket as its standard shipboard fighter, opting instead for another Grumman design, the F4F Wildcat.  The Wildcat was favored because of its reduced cost and mechanical complexity.  Grumman continued to operate and make modifications to the Skyrocket prototype until it was damaged in a belly landing on 11DEC44.  However, the concepts pioneered by the Skyrocket were eventually refined and developed into the successful F7F Tigercat.

Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender

The Curtiss-Wright XP-55 was a prototype Pursuit aircraft built to a USAAC request for proposals using unconventional designs.  The Curtiss-Wright submission was canard configuration with a rear-mounted engine driving a pusher propeller.  Its first flight was on 19JUL43.  This is a beautiful color photo of the first prototype, 42-78845, running up her engine.  (NASM Hans Groenhoff Collection)
The first prototype was the only one of the three produced to carry the mid-war U.S. national insignia with the serial numbers on the forward fuselage.
When the barred national insignia was introduced in June 1943 the serials were moved to the dorsal fin above the engine.  Finish on all the XP-55s was the USAAF standard Olive Drab over Neutral Gray with Yellow-Orange serials.  (NASM Hans Groenhoff Collection)
The intended design armament was two 20 mm cannon and two .50 caliber machine guns.  Maximum speed was 390 mph which was not an improvement over existing designs already in production at the time.  (NASM Rudy Arnold Collection)
Wind tunnel testing had warned of aerodynamic instability inherent in the design.  On 15NOV43 test pilot Harvey Gray was exploring the aircraft’s stall performance when it unexpectedly flipped onto its back and fell 16,000 feet.  Unable to regain control, Gray took to his parachute but the aircraft was a total loss.
Cockpit layout was conventional.  The canopy folded to the starboard side to allow the pilot to enter.  The propeller could be jettisoned in case the pilot had to bail out.  (Ray Wagner Collection)
The second prototype, serial 42-78846, featured enlarged canards on the nose and first flew on 09JAN44.  (World War Photos)
The third and final Ascender was serialed 42-78847.  It was fitted with four .50 caliber guns in the nose and four-foot wingtip extensions to improve stability.  The wingtip extensions were also refitted to the second prototype.
42-78847 was lost in a crash at an airshow at Wright Field on 27MAY45.  The pilot, William C. Glasgow and four civilians were killed.
42-78846 survived and was preserved by the National Air and Space Museum.  It was loaned to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo and is currently on long-term display there.  

Captured Focke-Wulf Fw 190s of the 79th Fighter Group

Not to be out done by their sister squadrons, the 79th Fighter Group / 85th Fighter Squadron “Flying Skulls” restored at least three Fw 190s to flying condition.  Here are two which they discovered at Gerbini, Sicily in August 1943.
One of the aircraft was this Fw 190A-5 of II Gruppe of Schnellkampfgeschwader 10 (II./SKG 10), Werk Nummer 181550.  Mechanics of the 85th FS have already begun painting out the Luftwaffe markings.
“B” wore the standard Luftwaffe camouflage of RLM 74/75/76 when captured.  The US insignia is applied over a yellow band and the Hakenkreutz on the tail has been painted out.  The rectangular patch just aft of the “B” within the yellow band on the radio access panel was retained even after the aircraft was repainted.
A nice view of the starboard side showing details of the original Luftwaffe camouflage.  The Wk.Nr is visible on the tail.


A color photograph after repainting showing the fuselage was repainted with a dark camouflage color.  Wings and horizontal tail planes are yellow with red tips, the forward cowing and spinner are also red.  The Flying Skulls unit insignia appears on both sides of the fuselage and there is evidence of an inscription below the cockpit which has been painted out.

The 85th toured their prize to other Allied units in Sicily.  This and the following photographs were taken by Bob Hanning while the aircraft was visiting the 57th Fighter Group.  Three sets of red, white, and blue stripes now adorn the rudder.
Details of the paintjob are visible in this stern view.  The fuselage color extends over the wing roots.  US insignia were applied in all six positions.  The tips of the wings and of the horizontal stabilizers are trimmed in red.  Note the backs of the propeller blades have been stripped of paint by dust, a very common occurrence.
In addition to tail stripes, “Jones’ Flying Circus” has been added to the cowl.  The inscription which was overpainted on the fuselage sides is unknown.
A similar view giving a good look at the 85th FS Flying Skulls insignia.  A small rectangle under the windscreen carries lettering which unfortunately cannot be made out in the photograph.
A nice side view as the aircraft taxis.  The fuselage color could be any one of several choices, as the ground crews would have had access to Luftwaffe, Regia Aeronautica, RAF, and U.S. paint stocks.
A fine color study of a second aircraft, a Fw 190A-5Trop, Wk.Nr. unknown.  The tropical air filters are obvious on the sides of the cowling and this aircraft has a red fuselage instead of the dark fuselage of the first aircraft.  In black-and-white photographs both aircraft appear quite similar and this has resulted in many researchers confusing the two.
Compare the details of this photograph with the earlier color picture of W.Nr. 181550 and you will begin to notice differences.  The Flying Skull insignia is placed higher and further aft on this aircraft.  The fuselage band is narrower, and is actually a color similar to ANA 616 Sand or RAF Middlestone with yellow trim.  Also there is a lighter patch forward just under the fuselage gun cover.
A nice perspective view confirms the yellow wings and stabilizers with red tips, just like the previous aircraft.  Note that there is not as much wear on the back side of the propeller blades.
A nice view of the aircraft in flight.  The fuselage red extends over the wingroots but does not go as far onto the wing as Wk.Nr. 181550.
Another aerial shot showing the port side.  This aircraft does not appear to have carried the “Jones’ Flying Circus” inscription.  The yellow fuselage band lacks the rectangle on the radio access panel.
In this view the inscription block under the windscreen is visible.  The two aircraft appear quire similar in monochrome photographs but quite different in color.
The third 85th Fighter Squadron Focke Wulf was this Fw190G-3, Wk.Nr. 160057, note the drop tank fairings under the wings.  This is also a schnell bomber, it is possible all three aircraft served with II./SKG 10 before capture.  This aircraft carried the red bordered and barred US insignia in four positions.  The red cowling and cockpit have been covered, but the camouflage netting is doing little to conceal the rest of the aircraft.
The overall white finish really stands out.  The cowling and spinner are in red, as is the fuselage band.  The anti-glare panel is in black.  The tail is striped in the pre-war USAAC convention of thirteen red and white stripes with a blue vertical band.
This aircraft was shipped back to the United States in January 1944 where it was assigned Foreign Equipment number FE-116 and evaluated by the U.S. Navy.  The Navy gave it the standard “three tone” paint scheme (which was often more than three tones).
Wk.Nr. 160057 was first evaluated by the Technical Air Intelligence Unit at NAS Anacostia and later flown to NAS Patuxent River.

Captured Junkers Ju 88A-4 of the 79th Fighter Group

In October 1943 the 79th Fighter Group moved to Salsola (Foggia #3), one of a complex of former Luftwaffe airfields located around Foggia, Italy.  There they discovered Junkers Ju 88A-4 Wk.Nr. 4300227.  Keeping with the 79th’s obsession for restoring captured Axis aircraft, work soon began in hopes of adding the Junkers to the inventory of the Group’s 86th Fighter Squadron as a hack.  Here the 86th’s new prize shows off her original Luftwaffe camouflage (likely 70/71/65 with 76 wellenmuster) with the Hakenkreutz painted out on the tail and American insignia applied over most of the fuselage Balkenkreutz.
Ground crews took only six days to restore the Junkers to flight-worthy condition using components salvaged from other aircraft.  It was the focus of much interest, 12th Air Force commander Lieutenant General Jimmy Doolittle even took a turn at the controls.  Here the commander of the 86th Squadron, Major Fred Borsodi congratulates a mechanic while Major Pete Bedford looks on.  The censor has removed the squadron insignia from the flight jackets of both men.
The aircraft was named “The Comanche” and was painted with the 86th FS Comanche insignia on the port side of the nose.  The insignia was designed by Major Borsodi, seen here smiling from the cockpit for photographers.
The Army Air Force brass had bigger plans for “The Comanche”, and ordered the 86th to give up their prize.  After 130 combat missions and 3 aerial victories, Major Borsodi had completed his combat tour and volunteered to fly the Junkers back to the United States, along with Major Bedford.  The pair left Italy on 19OCT43.  Here you can see The Comanche in full U.S. markings with an RAF fin flash and yellow high visibility panels on the wings, tail, and fuselage.  Spinners and cowlings are in red.
They arrived at Wright Field on 05NOV43 via the South Atlantic route.  An alert air raid warden recognized the silhouette of the Ju 88 and reported it as an enemy aircraft as it crossed over Florida.  Note the propeller tips are painted in the U.S. standard yellow.
A nice color photograph of the Comanche markings on the nose, with yellow stenciling further aft.  The aircraft was assigned Foreign Aircraft number FE-106 while at Wright Field.  This was later changed to FE-1599, although photographs do not show either number actually being applied to the aircraft.
On the starboard side of the nose the Junkers wore the insignia of the 79th Fighter Group, an Egyptian Horus Hawk on a green field.  In Egyptian mythology Horus was the son of Osiris, who was killed by the sun god Set.  Horus avenged his father by killing Set and became the king of Egypt.  The first member of the 79th to die in combat was its Commanding Officer, Colonel Peter McCormick.  The insignia represented the 79th’s resolve to avenge their commander.  Note that the starboard cowling and spinner are no longer red and lack the wellenmuster “squiggles”, likely indicating an engine change.
This photograph shows off the wellenmuster well.  It also shows the yellow identification markings on the upper wing covered the entire outer panels, not just bands behind the insignia as depicted in some profiles.
Back in the U.S. the aircraft was used in War Bond drives.  The U.S. insignia was painted over and spurious German markings were applied.  In this view the port engine has also been replaced although the red spinner was retained.
Another color photograph, likely taken at Freeman Field, Indiana.  The red spinner on the port engine has been replaced with an RLM 70 one by this time.
During her War Bond tour, The Comanche was flown to Los Angeles in April 1945.  There it was towed into the city for public display where it was struck by a street car and damaged.  Fortunately the damage was not severe and the aircraft was repaired.
The Comanche was retained at Freeman Field after the war in flight worthy condition.  Eventually it was flown to Arizona for storage, where it was ultimately scrapped.

Captured Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2/Trop “Irmgard” of the 79th Fighter Group

Highlanders examine Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2/Trop W.Nr 10605 assigned to 2.(H)/14.  The aircraft was flown by Leutnant Wernicke, and was named “Irmgard” by his mechanic, Uffx. Bopp.  On 20FEB43 while on a photo reconnaissance mission near Zarzis, Tunisia the aircraft was damaged by ground fire.  Lt. Wernicke made a successful wheels-up landing and evaded capture.
The aircraft carried a camera in the underside of the fuselage aft of the wing.  Camouflage was the standard RLM 78 / 79 desert scheme with areas of the fuselage overpainted in RLM 76.  The spinner was 1/3 Weiss and 2/3 RLM 70.
The aircraft survived her landing in good condition and was deemed to be repairable.  Mechanics of the USAAF 79th Fighter Group soon had her up on her landing gear and replaced the propeller.  Markings have already begun to evolve.  The German Balkenkreutz have been overpainted with yellow on the fuselage and a dark brown on the upper wings.  U.S. insignia have been applied to the fuselage but do not yet appear on the wings.  The aircraft has also received an RAF fin flash over the Hakenkreutz along with red wingtips and propeller spinner.


A color photograph showing that the fuselage number was retained for a time, and was in fact Black 14, not Red 14 as claimed by some sources.  Note the extent of the yellow area under the fuselage.  The entire undersurfaces appear to have been repainted yellow as evidenced by the aileron mass balance and landing gear cover. 
Irmgard is seen here parked next to a P-40F of the 86th Fighter Squadron / 79th Fighter Group.  The 79th Fighter Group had a penchant for restoring and flying captured Axis aircraft, each of the Squadrons operating several examples.
Here mechanics crank the inertial starter prior to a test flight.  The pilot appears ready to go, despite the missing canopy.  Squadron pilots who were deemed unlikely to “prang” the captured aircraft were given a chance at the controls.  In many pictures of Irmgard the canopy has been removed.  Fuselage codes and American wing stars are in place in this photograph.
A beautiful color shot which shows off Irmgard’s new paint.  She now bears the fuselage codes and squadron insignia of the 87th Fighter Squadron / 79th Fighter Group.  The rudder shows signs of overpainting, and the yellow on the underside of the fuselage extends all the way to the tail.
Badge of the “Skeeters” of the 87th Fighter Squadron.  There are differences in the details of the insignia applied to Irmgard.
A nice photograph of Irmgard on the 79th Fighter Group’s flightline.  The forward fuselage code “x8” has been partially removed revealing the Black 14 code which still remains underneath.  The P-40F in the background wears the badge of the 86th Fighter Squadron, another Squadron within the 79th Fighter Group.
A close up of the 86th Fighter Squadron unit insignia which replaced the 87th FS insignia on Irmgard.  The canopy is still missing in this photograph.  A P-40 is visible in the background.
The 79th FG gave up their prize in November 1943, turning her over to Wright Field in Dayton Ohio for testing.  Here she has apparently suffered anther belly landing, and reveals still another modification to her markings.  The forward fuselage codes are entirely removed, and she now bears the squadron badge of the Comanches of the 86th FS / 79th FG.  Her original port wing is in the background, replaced by another in RLM 74 / 75 and full Luftwaffe insignia.  Note the wheel bulge on the replacement wing.  The ultimate cowl and spinner markings are anyone’s guess.  Certainly a number of options for a modeler!

North American O-47 Color Photographs – Details and Crew

A staged photograph of a group of officers studying a map on the tail of an O-47, showing details of the tail to good advantage. (Rudy Arnold)
A good view of the main landing gear as this O-47 warms up.  Modelers note the variation of colors on the long exhaust running along the starboard side. (Rudy Arnold)
Sgt. Mollowitz standing by the flexible .30 caliber gun in the rear defensive position. (Rudy Arnold)
Pilot Lieutenant D. H. Schreiner in cold weather gear preparing to board the aircraft.  The red center in the national insignia was carried until May of 1942, when it was deleted to avoid confusion with the Japanese Hinomaru. (Rudy Arnold)
The crew at their positions.  Note the position of the rear canopy glazing, which the gunner has rotated forward to deploy his weapon.  Unless the observer needed a picture of the upper wing as shown here, he would normally deploy his camera through cut-outs in the fuselage under the wing. (Rudy Arnold)
Three officers posed to represent the aircrew.  This photograph shows their cold-weather flight gear to good advantage. (Rudy Arnold)
Rear gun in the deployed position.
Another view of the rear defensive gun position which also shows details of the exhaust opening.
The camera being transferred to the aircraft.

North American O-47 Color Photographs

An excellent study of O-47A Serial number 37-260 in flight in 1941.  Note the Wright Field arrowhead visible on the fuselage.  (Rudy Arnold)
Another pre-war photograph, this O-47 displays an interesting design on the wheel hubs.
With war looming, the USAAC adopted the Olive Drab over Neutral Gray camouflage which would become synonymous with Army aircraft.  This O-47A is part of “Red Nation” forces in the 1941 war games.
Several aircraft types were painted in temporary camouflage schemes and were evaluated at Bolling Field in January 1940.  The paints were water-soluble so they could be easily removed and thus wore away quickly.  (LIFE Magazine)
The O-47 carried a fixed .30 caliber gun in the starboard wing.  This example has a trestle under the fuselage while the gun is being sighted.
38-306 in flight.  The terrain is consistent with the vast farmlands of the American Midwest.  (Rudy Arnold)
38-306 again, posing for the camera.  Finish is the standard OD / NG with Orange-Yellow serials on the vertical tail.   (Rudy Arnold)
A nice overhead view of 37-352.  (Rudy Arnold)
The sudden entry of the U.S. into WWII found both the Army Air Corps and Navy unprepared for war.  While several aircraft types were obsolete in their designed roles, they were adequate for coastal patrol and ASW duties.  Here 37-327 Of the 107th Observation Squadron of the Michigan National Guard carries depth charges while patrolling for German U-boats.  She has been camouflaged in the USN standard Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme appropriate for her new role.
Another O-47A carrying depth charges, this one is flying without the landing gear covers on her port gear.
The O-47s soldiered on throughout the war performing ancillary duties.  This example carries the barred national insignia with blue border authorized from August 1943.
Another late-war aircraft, this one has been stripped of her camouflage paint revealing the natural metal finish underneath.

Canadian Escort Ships Colour Photographs

A beautiful photograph of HMCS Arrowhead (K145) underway.  Arrowhead was a Flower class corvette, which were designed to provide a number of cheap, easy to construct convoy escorts and were based upon a commercial whaling ship hull.  Displacement was 925 tons with a crew of 85, maximum speed was a modest 16 knots.  Armament was light but sufficient, with a four-inch gun forward and a variety of lighter guns for anti-aircraft protection.  They carried depth charges and were later fitted with a Hedgehog projector for anti-submarine work.  Many were also fitted with minesweeping gear.  Ships of the class were named for types of flowers in Royal Navy service, Arrowhead being a flowering water plant.  HMCS Arrowhead was commissioned in November 1940 and survived the war.
Another Flower class corvette, here is HMCS Midland (K220) airing her signal flags while moored to a pier.  She was a Canadian-build ship, being constructed (and named for) Midland, Ontario.  She spent her wartime service escorting shipping along the North American seaboard.  She was active in a countering a series of incursions by German U-boats into Canadian coastal waters collectively known as the Battle of St. Lawrence.
HMCS Regina (K234) was named after Regina, Saskatchewan.  She was commissioned in January 1942 and had an active service career.  She was assigned as part of the screening force for Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942.  Subsequently she screened convoys between England and Gibraltar.  On 08FEB43 she depth charged and sank the Italian Acciaio-class submarine Avorio off Algeria.  She later was part of the invasion fleet for the landings at Normandy.  On 08AUG44 Regina was rescuing survivors of the American Liberty ship Ezra Weston when she was torpedoed by the U-667, sinking with the loss of thirty of her crew.
HMCS Restigouche (H00) was originally commissioned into the Royal Navy as the C-class destroyer Comet in June of 1932.  Original armament was four 4.7-inch guns in single mounts, eight 21-inch torpedo tubes in two quadruple mounts, and depth charges.  Later refits would reduce the numbers of main guns and torpedo tubes in favor of increased anti-submarine and anti-aircraft capability.  Maximum speed was a respectable 36 knots, complement was 165.
Restigouche was very active during the Battle of the Atlantic, screening several local and trans-Atlantic convoys.  She was part of the screening force during the Normandy invasion, and participated in the sinking of three German patrol boats on 06JUL44 off Brest.  She survived the war and was scrapped in 1946.
River-class frigates were designed to be larger, more capable, and more sea-worthy convoy escorts than the Flower class corvettes, while still being less expensive to build and operate than destroyers.  They were armed with a twin 4-inch mount forward and a 3-inch gun aft along with Oerlikon 20mm cannon, Hedgehog and depth charges.  They were four knots faster than the Flowers and had twice the range.  Pictured here is HMCS Waskesiu (K300), which was built at Esquimalt, British Columbia and commissioned on 16JUN43.  On 24FEB44 Waskesiu and HMS Nene engaged the German submarine U-257.  After multiple depth charge attacks the U-257 was forced to the surface where she was sunk by gunfire from Waskesiu.  She survived the war and was sold to India.
HMCS Weyburn (K173) was another Flower-class corvette, built at Port Arthur, Ontario on Lake Superior.  She was commissioned in November 1941, escorting shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  She escorted convoys in support of the Torch landings in North Africa.  On 22FEB43 she struck a mine laid by the German submarine U-118 and began to sink.  The British destroyer HMS Wivern came alongside to remove the crew, but the Wivern was severely damaged when Weyburn’s depth charges exploded as she sank, killing many of the crew of both ships.


Two interesting photographs taken from the crow’s nest of HMCS Thetford Mines (K459), a River-class frigate.  These views show details of the fo’c’sle, twin 4-inch gun mount, and open bridge which should be of use to modelers.  Thetford Mines participated in the sinking of U-1302 in St. George’s Channel on 07MAR45.  She survived the war.

Consolidated PBY Catalina Color Photographs Part 3

A view of two Catalinas wearing a mix of camouflages and markings.  The nearer aircraft is in the Atlantic ASW scheme of Dark Gull Gray over White and wears the blue-bordered insignia adopted in August 1943.  The aircraft in the background is in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme with the earlier national insignia which still carries the yellow border used during the Torch landings in North Africa.
Not the best picture but another mix of different camouflages.  Noteworthy is the pin-up artwork on the tail of the aircraft on the left.  Personal markings or artwork were common on USAAF aircraft but much less so with USN / USMC operated aircraft.  The artwork and the serial on the tail indicate these are USAAF OA-10As.
A rather worn PBY-5A over the ocean.  The white dots over the rear fuselage are insulators for an extensive array of antenna wires, also note the ASV radar antenna under the starboard wing.
Diorama bait!  Here the USS Gillis (AVD-12) refuels a PBY astern in Aleutian waters while three Higgins 78 foot Patrol Torpedo Boats nest alongside.  The Gillis was a Clemson-class Destroyer converted to a seaplane tender, but still retained a significant compliment of guns & depth charges and could function as an escort vessel.  She was credited with damaging a Japanese submarine with depth charges while in the Aleutians.  (via David Knights)
Passing documents to the co-pilot of a VP-51 PBY. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Hans Groenhoff Photo Collection)
Here the beaching crew is preparing to bring a PBY-5 up on the ramp using wetsuits and a small dinghy.  This involved attaching wheeled beaching gear to the aircraft and then hauling it up the ramp using a towing vehicle or block and tackle, and had to be done in all weather conditions and temperatures.  Note the repainted areas on the wing of this PBY. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Hans Groenhoff Photo Collection)
The hauling lines are attached aft and beaching gear is being secured to the fuselage sides.  The crewman standing in the waist blister is recovering the sea anchor, a canvas device used to orient and slow the aircraft on the surface in windy conditions. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Hans Groenhoff Photo Collection)
Line handlers stabilize the PBY while it is being readied to come up the ramp. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Hans Groenhoff Photo Collection)
A PBY-5 approaches the ramp while the beaching crew stands by.  In warm weather the men in the water could get by with regular swimming trunks. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Hans Groenhoff Photo Collection)
An Oliver tractor is being used to haul the PBY-5 up the ramp.  An additional set of beaching gear is positioned on the ramp, standing by for the next aircraft. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)
A Case tractor is secured for towing on the seaplane ramp. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)
The PBY is ready to move. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)
A nice airborne shot of a pre-war PBY-5 seaplane.  684 PBY-5 seaplanes were produced before production shifted to the PBY-5A amphibian. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)

Consolidated PBY Catalina Color Photographs Part 2 – Details

A nice view of the nose of a PBY at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas taken in 1942 while a mechanic makes adjustments to the starboard engine.  The aircraft in the background are assigned to training as evidenced by the high-visibility yellow upper wing surface paint.  (Howard Hollum photograph)
The PBY-5 introduced the characteristic waist blisters on the fuselage aft of the wing.  These improved the visibility and arcs of fire for the gunners.  Here is a view of the port waist gunner armed with a Model M1919 .30 caliber Browning machine gun which was the standard flexible defensive armament on USN aircraft at the beginning of the war.
Another view of the port waist gun position, the can on the left of the gun held ammunition, that on the right collected the spent cartridges.
Here the gunner prepares to board the aircraft with his weapon using the detachable ladder.  Note that the fuselage is camouflaged in two different colors.
An obviously posed photograph, but one which shows useful details of the detachable beaching gear.  The Catalinas were flying boats through the PBY-5 series, but became amphibians when retractable landing gear was fitted to the PBY-5A.
Many interesting details are visible in this view of a crewman fueling an early PBY in the pre-war Yellow Wings scheme.  Note the paint wear around the fueling ports and the exhaust staining.  Another PBY passes by in the background.
Officers inspecting the starboard engine of another Yellow Wings PBY.  Pre-war propeller warning markings were bands of Red, Yellow, and Blue.  These were generally not over-painted even after the tip color was later changed to Yellow, it is possible to see the three-color tip markings on some mid-war aircraft.  The clear yellow varnish on the main body of the propeller blades is not common but can be seen on several aircraft types.
No tip warning markings on this propeller.  This picture also shows details of the wing bomb attachment paints and landing light.
Given the fill point being serviced I suspect this is the oil tank being topped off.  Radial engines were notorious oil leakers.  Another aircraft with the varnished propeller blades.
A close up view of a PBY on the ramp with the crew visible at their stations.  Crew size could vary between six to eight depending on the mission and equipment carried.
This is the starboard waist gun position on an early PBY.  On the PBY-1 through -4 the waist gun positions were covered with a sliding hatch with a window as opposed to the more familiar teardrop faring of the -5 and later Catalinas.  Here the gunner has deployed his .30 caliber gun and raised the hatch to deflect the slipstream over his position.