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Everything posted by mhaselden

  1. And the cows get bigger, right?
  2. I agree misidentification is most likely in this case. Given that G4Ms were active in the area from 1942 onwards, it would be odd for the author to misidentify such a well-known type. I wonder if the aircraft might have been a Ki-49?
  3. You're practically neighbours...er, sorry...neighbors. See? I'm bilingual.
  4. I think the difference between G11 and G12 is not specific to a fighter or bomber variant. It simply reflects that some Blenheims had a portion of the front glazing overpainted. Here's an example of a bomber Blenheim with nose glazing overpainted:
  5. Thanks for sharing that interesting image. Unfortunately, the quality is so bad that it's really hard to draw definite conclusions from it, except that it clearly has a large flash occupying the entirety of the fin, and that it's a 36 Sqn machine. It's even difficult to tell whether the underside of the upper wing is black or a light-toned shade. Certainly the wheel spats appear lighter than the metal parts of the fuselage but, again, it's not clear we can draw any really tangible conclusions from it. Perhaps we're seeing Light Earth/Light Green as per the shadow compensation s
  6. Definitely looks like black undersides. Spinner might be red with a dark blue stripe just forward of the prop blades.
  7. IIRC, GR-U of 92 Sqn appears in a couple of photos showing a vic of the Sqn's Spits at Paris. All the airframes appear to show the factory-delivered scheme with black/white wing undersides and aluminium beneath the cowling and rear fuselage. The individual airframe code letter was repeated on the underside of the cowling.
  8. mhaselden

    Saintly Fiat

    Is the cowling red or perhaps blue? The cowling seems to be tonally more similar to the blue of the roundel than the red (IMHO...which isn't worth much). The fuselage stripe just forward of the roundel appears to have a light-toned outline and I think I'm seeing the same think aft of the roundel but it's not as distinct. There appears to be some kind of emblem in a circle, of the same shade as the fuselage strip, immediately beneath the cockpit. The light-toned outline seems to stop at the aft edge of that circular badge.
  9. The odds are slim but the 31 Sqn Operations Record Book, might offer some options for the serial number. If you're really lucky, it may even mention the individual code letter. ORBs should be downloadable for free from the UK National Archives. I stress again that it's much more likely that the ORB won't have the details you seek...but what have you got to lose?
  10. 67 Sqn started operating Buffalos in March 1941. With 488 Sqn arriving in Singapore in November of that year, most of the airframes had been in constant use for 6+ months, mostly by pilots who had little/no experience operating modern fighters. Pre-hostilities propaganda photos of 243 Sqn Buffalos flying in formation show them in tight vics rather than the battle-pair or finger-four formations that started to emerge during the BoB. Very few of the Buffalo unit leaders had operational experience. The following summary is going from memory...but I think it's pretty accurate.
  11. Here's another grubby-looking Buffalo, this time from Burma but the operational environment wasn't massively dissimilar to what was seen in Malaya/Singapore:
  12. Alan, I think it's hard to be sure exactly what we're seeing in the photo. What you describe as worn/peeled paint looks, to me, like dirt/mud that's been blown back onto the lower fuselage. Few RAF airfields in the region had "all weather" surfaces and, given monsoon season that starts in late November/early December, it would not be surprising if aircraft became rather mud-spattered during operations.
  13. It rather depends on the level of damage that required the wing change. Sqn Ldr Churchill's rather infamous critique of the Buffalo suggested that even a single bullet in the wing's fuel tanks would require a wing change, something that could not be accomplished at the unit level due to lack of adequate lifting gear. Churchill's somewhat biased opinion is contradicted by operational experience where the Far East Buffalo squadrons clearly had a process for repairing battle damage to the wing tanks. Peter Bingham-Wallis of 67 Sqn grumpily complained that his favourite airframe was
  14. I suspect that the entire wing had been replaced on W8191. The port fuselage underside, port undercarriage leg and port wheel still show as black, while the port wing underside is light-toned.
  15. Most Buffalos that had the black port undersides had that scheme carried forward onto the cowling as shown in Alan's pic of W8191 above. The 488 Sqn machines had the individual letter in white on the black portion of the front cowl, while 453 Sqn had a black letter on the Sky side of the front cowling. Here's the pic of the front of W8209, TD-E, taken circa 19 Nov 1941. Yet again, this is incorrectly labelled as being AN180, GA-E, of 21 Squadron, which is patently incorrect because there's well-known photographic evidence showing that AN180 was GA-B. Also, 21 Sqn did not repeat
  16. If you're keen on making "Snifter", note that imagery of 19 Nov 1941 show the front cowling ring with a black letter 'E' on the front starboard face. Also, the black port underside doesn't extend to the front cowling ring. It's possible this inconsistency was fixed prior to the outbreak of hostilities...but equally possible that it wasn't. For the record, 'TD-F' was Buffalo W8152.
  17. 1. Most 453 Sqn airframes did have black port undersides but you'd have to identify the specific airframe to be 100% certain. None of the RAF's Buffalos in Singapore/Malaya had a yellow outer ring to the port underwing roundel. 2. I'm pretty certain RAF Buffalos had Sutton harnesses. 3. Observation windows were present on all RAF-procured Buffalos. 4. W8209 was definitely TD-E. The association of TD-F is long-standing, based on a photograph that shows only part of the individual code letter. The IWM has a film taken when 453 Sqn was declared operational on 19 Nov 1941.
  18. I think Alan may be slightly incorrect (which is unusual for him...you can normally take his comments to the bank). I understand that the ML-KNIL operated both B339Cs (serials B3-95 to B3-118) and B339Ds (B3-119 to B3-167). The key difference was in the engine, the B339D having the more powerful 1,200hp variant of the Wright Cyclone while the B339C had the 1,100hp engine. The Dutch airframes definitely did not have cuffed propellers.
  19. Why doesn't it fit? Surely it's exactly the same principle. Two soldiers versus 22,000 soldiers is a considerable difference. The latter is clearly a military arm, the former is just a couple of guys with guns, regardless of what doctrine says. Same-same for aircraft. Two aircraft is not an arm...it's barely a section (in formation terms). I'm not disputing its existence. I'm disputing that it's a viable force, or arm if you will. Finland never intended to maintain a force of just 2 aircraft. Let's flip this on its head a little. If a nation has a doctri
  20. Hi Graham, This goes back to my reference to the US capability definition process using the DOTMLPF-P acronym. All pieces are necessary to deliver any capability, regardless of size or scale. Of note, the acronym is typically written as DOTmLPF-P to denote that the materiel element of capability is actually far smaller than the others. Cheers, Mark
  21. Hi Georgio, I entirely agree...and there's a lot of murkiness around what "independent" actually means in this context, as you pointed out in an earlier post. Was the USAAF in 1945 really that dependent on Big Army? Arguments can be made on both sides. I do think, though, that a fundamental measure has to be based on capability. If not, we risk counting paper forces that include squadrons which exist administratively but not in operational fact. It's certainly an interesting and thought-provoking topic, and I've learned a lot from the inputs so far.
  22. Hi Antti, Just following up on the statement you've made above. The only references I can find identify Mannerheim as "Commander-in-Chief of the army of the Finnish Republic (16 January -29 May, 1918)." I've seen no reference to "Finnish Defence Forces". Can you enlighten me and perhaps point me to other material I may have missed? Many thanks, Mark
  23. To my mind, there are 2 separate elements to this discussion. The first is independence from other services which certainly has an administrative component to it but it includes broader matters such as political oversight (e.g. in the UK context, the creation of the Air Ministry) and, crucially self-determination over budgetary issues. The other part of the equation is what constitutes an "air arm" which inherently includes a capability component. I suspect we'll never all agree on a single definition of what constitutes an air arm but I maintain that any force worthy of the nam
  24. Antti, Entirely agree. As I said in my earlier post, Finland should be credited with recognizing the need for an independent air force. Translating that concept into reality takes a lot of time and effort (although, I must say, Finland's build-up from 2 aircraft in March 1918 was very impressive). The US military uses the acronym DOTMLPF-P to describe the various elements required to deliver a capability - Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities and Policy. Clearly, there was a lot of foresight within the Leadership and Policy
  25. Hi Antti, Thanks for your interesting response...and I think you and I will agree on some things and disagree on others. This is It's an interesting question because it rather depends what is meant by the term "independent air arm", hence I disagree with your statement that "the number of airplanes on day one isn't that important." An air arm must have the ability to project power reliably and a "force" that can be entirely neutralized by two pre-mission engine failures simply doesn't achieve that aim. I would also suggest that, by 1918, other air arms, notably the R
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