Lockheed F-5 Lightnings of the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group Color Photographs Part II

An F-5 Lightning from the 22nd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (as indicated by the White rudder) at disbursal at Mount Farm, England, with another in the background. Spinners are in a dark blue. (Imperial War Museum photograph)
Another 22PRS Lightning, this is 42-67122 piloted by Lt. Jim Wicker returning from a mission to Mount Farm on 22APR44.
Major Robert Smith debriefs Lt Wicker upon his return, providing an excellent view of his insulated flying suit and life jacket. Compare the color of 122 here to the previous photograph. (Imperial War Museum photograph)
Nose art was routinely applied to USAAF aircraft, with pin-up girls in many forms being the most popular subjects. “Dot+Dash” was the letter “A” in Morse code, she was F-5C 42-67128. (Imperial War Museum photograph)
Another pin-up seen on “Ginger Snap”. This aircraft was lost to friendly fire over Belgium on 01JAN45, her pilot escaping uninjured.
Some aircraft just carried a name, “Tough Kid” shows off the camera openings in the nose. Note the unusual fairing just forward of the windscreen. (Imperial War Museum photograph)
“International Geographic” 42-68205 shows off her well-worn Synthetic Haze scheme on the runway at Mount Farm. (Imperial War Museum photograph)
A line of F-5s, which speaks volumes about the threat of Luftwaffe air attack against airbases in England at the time. (Imperial War Museum photograph)
This is 42-68205 “International Geographic” again, this time with her camouflage stripped off to bare metal. The squadrons within the 7th PR Groups wore color-coded rudders; Red for the 13th PRS, Green for the 14th PRS, White for the 22nd PRS, and Blue for the 27th. (Imperial War Museum photograph)
42-67389 was an F-5B, seen here taxying at Mount Farm.

Lockheed F-5 Lightnings of the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group Color Photographs

A pair of F-5 Lightnings of the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group prepare for take-off from their base at Mount Farm, England. Cameras replaced the gun armament in the nose. These F-5s carry the remnants of Invasion Stripes under the booms. (Imperial War Museum photograph)
Another F-5 with Invasion Stripes, this is 44-23709 finished in the standard Olive Drab over Neutral Gray camouflage. Lockheed finished F-5s in Haze, and then Synthetic Haze, before reverting back to the standard OD/NG, and ultimately Natural Aluminum.
At the unit level, some USAAF reconnaissance aircraft in Egland were repainted using Royal Air Force stocks of PRU Blue, or even Azure Blue in some cases. The “Florida Gator” carries sharks’ mouths on the outer sides of her engine nacelles, but not the inner sides.
43-28333 of the Group’s 13th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron carries the name “Lanakila”, which is Hawaiian for “Victory”. While Hawaiian names were a fashion in the Pacific Theater for a time, they were relatively rare in the ETO. (Imperial War Museum photograph)
A beautiful in-flight photo as an F-5 from the 14th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron takes off from Mount Farm.
A 13th PRS Lighting, this is 43-29009 at Chalgrove Airfield. The port access panel on the nose camera bay is open. (Imperial War Museum photograph)
A nice shot of two Lightnings taxiing at Chalgrove, revealing several details of the disbursal area of interest to modelers wanting to construct display bases or dioramas.
Likely the same aircraft as the previous photograph, this aircraft is devoid of serials or formation numbers, but displays blue spinners and red panels.
An interesting shot of cameras being installed in the nose bay of an F-5, the camera cases are sitting on the ground. Details of the propeller markings are also visible.
The same aircraft as the previous photo. Drop tanks are in place.

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.