New York City Vintage Photographs Part V – Color Photos

NYC_41_EnterpriseCV6_NavyDay
The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) arrives in New York Harbor to celebrate Navy Day at the end of WWII, 27OCT45. Enterprise was one of three Yorktown-class aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the only one to survive the first year of the war. For a time she was the only U.S. fleet carrier in the Pacific, leading some to comment that it was the Enterprise vs. the Imperial Japanese Navy.
NYC_42_N3N_10FEB41_RA
Three Naval Aircraft Factory N3N primary trainers fly over Manhattan in February 1941. The N3N was one of the primary flight trainers in U.S. Navy service, pilots referred to it as the “Canary” or the “Yellow Peril” due to its high-visibility paint scheme. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)
NYC_43_FromJerseyCity_byCharlesCushman
A beautiful portrait of the Manhattan skyline taken from Jersey City by Charles Cushman in 1941, showing the ever-present ferry and barge traffic in the harbor. Coupled with the ocean going shipping it was a very busy port.
NYC_44_FranklinCV13
USS Franklin (CV-13) arrives in New York on 28APR45. On 19MAR45 she was on the other side of the world, just fifty miles off the coast of Japan when she was hit by two 550 pound bombs which engulfed the after portion of the ship in raging fires. Over 800 of her crew were killed, but she managed to steam home under her own power.
NYC_45_Franklin_EastRiver_28APR45
A view aft from the Franklin’s island in the East River showing the devastation on the flight deck. The bombs landed among fueled and armed aircraft preparing for a strike, the numerous holes visible in the deck were caused by the planes own bombs detonating in the fire. Franklin was the most severely damaged aircraft carrier to survive. While she was fully repaired, she never went to sea again and was decommissioned on 17FEB47.
NYC_46_USS_Missouri_and_USS_Renshaw_at_New_York_City_in_1945
The Fletcher-class destroyer USS Renshaw (DD-499) alongside the USS Missouri (BB-63) for Navy Day celebrations, October 1945. Missouri was the site of the Japanese surrender ending WWII on 02SEP45 in Tokyo Bay, having been selected for the honor by President Truman who was from the state of Missouri.
NYC_47_Harry_S._Truman_aboard_USS_Renshaw_(DD-499)_during_the_Navy_Day_Fleet_Review_in_New_York_Harbor,_27_October_1945_(80-G-K-15861)
President Truman departs the Missouri aboard the destroyer USS Renshaw. Flying above are formations of Navy aircraft.
NYC_48_6F7UFsoLlQjHpciNzzcbUdt-mYyWMYdNVb4T5s2xItk
The USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) commissioning at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, 28OCT45, dwarfed by the monstrous hammerhead crane. In the background the USS Franklin (CV-13) is undergoing repair.
NYC_49_WestPoint
USS West Point (AP-23) enters New York Harbor with the Statue of Liberty in the background, returning U.S. troops from Europe in July 1945. She was the former liner SS America, converted into a troopship for the war. She set a record for the largest total of troops transported during the war at 350,000.
NYC_50_color French ocean liner SS Normandie (USS Lafayette) lies capsized
Salvage operations on the USS Lafayette, the former French liner Normandie which sank at her moorings after a fire at Pier 88. Although she was refloated, she never returned to service.

Vought SB2U Vindicator Color Photographs Part I

SB2U-1Vindicator_01
Filming is underway for the Warner Brother’s film “Dive Bomber” aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6) at San Diego, the following photographs are from that film. Enterprise has her flight deck stained Mahogany with yellow markings, she would have her deck stained Dark Blue in July 1941.

SB2U-1Vindicator_02
An SB2U-1 of VB-3 “Black Panthers” displays the colorful “Yellow Wings” scheme in use prior to December 1940. The white tail indicates an aircraft assigned to USS Saratoga (CV-3).

SB2U-1Vindicator_03
A close-up of the nose of a Black Panther SB2U-1, the solid red nose indicating the aircraft of the squadron commander. It would also carry a red fuselage stripe indicating a section leader and wing stripes in the section color.

SB2U-1Vindicator_04
A view of the undersides showing placement of the wing insignia. Note the yellow upper wing color wraps around the leading edge of the wing to ensure smooth airflow. The elongated pods under each wing are practice bomb dispensers used for training.

SB2U-1Vindicator_05
A fine shot of 3-B-3 from above showing the upper wing markings. The angled stipes on the vertical tail are to aid the Landing Signals Officer in determining the aircraft’s approach angle when landing aboard a carrier.

SB2U-1Vindicator_06
3-B-3 landing at NAS North Island at San Diego. The Vindicator had semi-retractable landing gear which rotated 90 degrees into wells under the wings.

SB2U-1Vindicator_07
The apron at NAS North Island packed full of carrier aircraft. In the left foreground is the squadron commander’s SB2U-1 Vindicator of VB-3 assigned to USS Saratoga. The first aircraft to the right is a Northrop BT-1 assigned to USS Enterprise as indicated by the blue tail.

SB2U-1Vindicator_08
VB-3 Vindicators warm up on the apron at North Island. The top hat markings were carried for filing of the movie “Dive Bomber”.

SB2U-1Vindicator_09
The VB-3 squadron commander’s Vindicator is in the foreground in this view, with a Northrop BT-1 in the background.

SB2U-1Vindicator_10Saratoga
In this scene from “Dive Bomber” SB2U Vindicators prepare to launch from the carrier while Douglas Devastators with folded wings warm up astern. The white tails indicate aircraft assigned to USS Saratoga, but the USS Enterprise was used for filming.

SB2U-1Vindicator_11
Vindicators warm up on deck, revealing several details of the Yellow Wings paint scheme. In the background a Curtis SBC Helldiver is seen in the overall Light Gray scheme authorized on 30DEC40.

New York City Vintage Photographs Part II

NYC_11_Lockheed-Super-Electra-Howard-Hughes-1938
Pilot Howard Hughes and navigator Thomas Thurlow in their Lockheed Model 14-N2 Super Electra over New York City in 1938. They were in the process of setting the world’s record for circumnavigating the globe with a time of 91 hours. Thurlow was a USAAC officer on loan to operate a “robot navigator”, an experimental device used to plot the aircraft’s position.

NYC_12_SikorskyS-40_HudsonRiver1931
The Pan American Airways “American Clipper” over New York in 1931. She was one of three Sikorsky S-40 amphibians and could carry a total of thirty-eight passengers.

NYC_13_USS_Santa_Ana
The USS Santa Ana was a passenger ship taken over by the US Navy and used as a troop transport in the First World War. Here she is seen entering port in NYC in 1919, one of four trips she completed bringing US Army troops home from France at the end of the war.

NYC_14
October 27, 1945 was Navy Day in New York City. Forty-seven US Navy ships anchored in the Hudson River while over 1,200 Naval aircraft passed overhead. The fleet was reviewed by President Truman, and included the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) where the Japanese had signed the instrument of surrender almost two months before. At the bottom of the photograph is the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), the only carrier to fight through the entire Pacific War and survive.

NYC_15
US Army Air Corps Keystone bombers pass over the passenger liner piers in an impressive display of airpower for the early 1930’s. The Keystones were ultimately replaced by the Martin B-10 but were the largest US Army Air Corps bombers for their time.

NYC_16_american-dc-6
After World War Two the era of safe and reliable commercial air travel had arrived. One of the mainstays was the Douglas DC-6, 704 were built between 1946 and 1958. Here an American Airlines DC-6 is seen over Manhattan.

NYC_17
The USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) was a Midway-class aircraft carrier. Commissioned on Navy Day, 27OCT45 at the New York Naval Shipyard she was too late to see service in WWII. Here she is seen moving down the East River.

Historisk bilde av Manhattan sett fra lufta
A Pitcairn PCA-2 autogyro poses for the camera over Manhattan. Autogyros generate lift with a rotating wing. While they cannot take off vertically like a helicopter, they are capable of taking off in very short distances.

NYC_19_USS_Akron_ZRS-4_Manhattan
The US Navy rigid airship USS Akron (ZRS-4) over Manhattan in the early 1930s. The Akron was designed to act as a scout for the battlefleet and could carry up to three F9C Sparrowhawk fighters in internal hanger bays. She would be lost in a storm off the coast of New Jersey on 04APR33.

NYC_20_Macon
The Akron’s sistership USS Macon (ZRS-5) has her turn at a publicity photo over Manhattan in 1933. She was lost off the coast of California on 12FEB35, the result of structural failure. Macon had a slightly different structure and could carry up to five Sparrowhawks, four internally.

Hasegawa Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless in 1/72 Scale

This is the Hasegawa Douglas SBD-3 kit in 1/72 scale.  The dive flaps are molded as solid pieces attached to the wing sections.  There’s really no way to get a decent appearance using the kit flaps, so they were replaced with Quickboost resin.  The cockpit is also resin, canopy sections are from Falcon.

The aircraft modeled is B-1 of VB-6 from the USS Enterprise (CV-6) during the Battle of Midway, 4 June 1942.  The crew was Lieutenant Richard H. Best and Chief Radioman James F. Murray.  This was one of only three SBDs which attacked Akagi, and Best was credited with scoring the only direct hit which led to her eventual loss.  Best was also credited with a hit on Hiryu later in the day, one of only two pilots to have hit two Japanese carriers during the battle.  Best was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the battle.

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Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway Book Review

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Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway

by  N. Jack “Dusty” Kleiss with Timothy and Laura Orr

Hardcover in dustjacket, 336 pages, illustrated

Published by William Morrow May 2017

Language: English

ISBN-10: 9780062692054

ISBN-13: 978-0062692054

Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches

The history of war is filled with epic battles, with tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of men sometimes fighting for days.  The outcomes often decide the fates of nations and alter the course of history.  Surprisingly, the difference between victory or defeat often hinges on a single decision of a leader or the actions of a few men during a crucial moment.  “Dusty” Kleiss was one such man who was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time with exactly the right skills to win an improbable victory for his nation.

LTJG Kleiss was a Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber pilot with Scouting Six flying from the USS Enterprise (CV-6).  During the pivotal battle of Midway on 4  June 1942 approximately three hundred US aircraft from three aircraft carriers and Midway Island attacked the four Japanese carriers, dropping hundreds of bombs and torpedoes.  Many crews were lost.  In spite of all that effort and sacrifice, only thirteen bombs actually hit the Japanese carriers, all of them dropped by Dauntless pilots from the Yorktown and the Enterprise.  “Dusty” Kleiss hit two of the carriers, first Kaga and then Hiryu in a later strike.  On the 6th he also hit the damaged heavy cruiser Mikuma.  All three Japanese ships were sunk.  Another Enterprise SBD pilot, LT Dick Best of VB-6, scored hits on the carriers Akagi and Hiryu.  Between them, Kleiss and Best were responsible for 30% of the hits on the Japanese carriers during the Battle of Midway.

Never Call Me a Hero is Kleiss’ story.  While the Battle of Midway is the obvious focal point of the book, it also examines his early life and education, along with service in the surface fleet before flight school.  He also details Enterprise’s participation in the raids against Japanese held islands prior to Midway which are every bit as interesting as the pivotal battle itself.  A major subplot throughout is Kleiss’ courtship of Eunice “Jean” Mochon, whom he was to marry while on leave after Midway.  An interesting insight into the times.

Highly recommended.

1/72 Scale Los Angeles Class SSN Build, Part I

The list of interesting modeling subjects is long.  Somewhere near the top of that list for me have always been modern submarines, particularly US Navy nuclear subs.  My friend Michael Smith also shares this interest, but in his case he prefers his models to not only look nice but to operate as well.  By good fortune I happened to have a set of Greg Sharpe’s excellent 688 class plans drawn to 1/72 scale.  We decided to pool our resources and build two models, a static one for me and an RC version for Michael.

 

688_001
Work started with the sail.  The plan view was traced onto paper and transferred to 0.060″ sheet.  Four of these “airfoil” shapes were cut out, one for the base, and three laminated together to allow for shaping the contours of the top.  Internal bracing is in place to define the sides for the 0.040″ sheet.  A section of tube is used for the round leading edge.

688_002
Here is the sail completely skinned and filed to shape.  I used superglue to blend the pieces together and to fill any gaps.  This works well, as any area which is not level still appears shiny after sanding.  These areas are hit again with superglue and sanded down, this is repeated as many times as is necessary.  The snorkel exhaust grill work at the top of the trailing edge was cut out before the side pieces were glued in place.  The slats were made from 0.015″ strip.

688_003
We will need enough copies of the sail and control planes to equip both models.  This is the first step in the casting process.  The sail master is being enclosed in an open rectangle made from Lego bricks.  The bricks define the shape of the Room Temperature Vulcanizing (RTV) rubber mold.

688_004
This is the bottom of the mold.  Masking tape seals the mold to prevent leakage and also serves to anchor the master in place to prevent it shifting or floating while the liquid RTV is being poured around it.

688_005
I use RTV and resin materials from Micro Mark for casting.  The RTV is mixed and poured in over the top of the master.  It is important to mix the RTV components thoroughly but gently to avoid entraining air bubbles.  This is the cured mold in blue with the Lego bricks and masking tape removed and the original master in front of it.  The mold is inverted, ready for the casting resin to be poured inside.

688_006
Here is the first completed casting.  The resin only has about five working minutes before it starts to set up, so with this large of a piece I had to work quickly.  Usually any small air bubbles can be whisked away with a wire or rod, but this time I was worried about the resin setting up before the pour was finished so the snorkel exhaust will require some clean up.  This piece took about 150ml of resin, easily the largest piece I have ever cast.