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EwenS

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  1. Another point not mentioned so far is the split between B.1/1A versions of the Vulcan and Victor and their much improved B.2 versions. They were designed to ensure the continued viability of the V Force into the 1960s against improved Soviet defences. The latter models began to supersede the former from 1960. The B.2 models were Intended to carry the Blue Steel stand-off weapon, and were modified to do so from 1962. Around 1955 the V Force was envisaged as being around 240 aircraft and not less than 200, in the context of both NATO and western deterrence. Numbers were extensively debated in the second half of the 1950s. By 1957 it was 144 with 104 being B.2 versions of the Victor & Vulcan. After that we begin to get into the era of the Skybolt debate.
  2. The next bomb was not months away. It was days away. With plenty more to follow. On 30 July 1945 the A-bomb situation was:- Little Boy on Tinian for assembly. Components for Fat Man leaving San Francisco that day Aug - 1 further bomb to be ready for an attack around 19th Aug. The components were ready for shipping (in aircraft of the 509th Composite Group) immediately prior to the Japanese surrender. Thereafter monthly production was scheduled as follows:- Sept - 3 or 4 (1 x U-235 Little Boy type) Oct - 3 or 4 (depending on how many produced in Sept) Nov - 5+ Dec - 7 With the monthly production rate increasing further in 1946. http://www.dannen.com/decision/bomb-rate.html It was hoped that by the start of Operation Olympic (planned for 1 Nov) there might be 8 available for use, depending on how many were dropped before then. Consideration was being given to the tactical use of some or all of these, once news of their existence began to become more widely known after the Trinity explosion on 16th July.
  3. Not quite. Ahead of Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, Formidable, along with Warspite and Valiant and escorts, travelled from the western Med to Alexandria to provide an escort for the invasion convoys that left Alexandria for the beaches on 7th July 1943, eventually linking up with the rest of the fleet a couple of days later. She also had a quick dry docking there in Aug 1943 between Operations Husky & Avalanche. The escort carrier Battler with 834 Swordfish/Seafire squadron joined the escort of convoy KMF24 off Gibraltar in Sept 1943, after Avalanche, while en route to the Port Said, the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean. The next was probably Illustrious in the first few days of 1944 while en route to the IO.
  4. They stopped selling it through WH Smith about 4-5 years ago. Unfotunately they couldn't reach a mutually agreeable price for WH Smith to stock it and for the publisher to make money!
  5. There were a lot more variations than just the catapults between involved in these reconstructions. Other variations include shape of forward lift and location of after lift on the starboard side. Intrepid underwent an SCB-27C reconstruction 1952-54 followed by SCB-125 1956-57. Of the 5 ships listed in the OP only Ticonderoga had that combination. The other 4 were SCB-27A and then SCB-125 ships. Some more information here:- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCB-27 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCB-125 https://www.seaforces.org/usnships/cv/Essex-class.htm Plenty of photos of all the Essex class here https://www.navsource.org/archives/02idx.htm
  6. The problem is the number of ships falling under these two "types". All were converted from existing merchantmen. No two KM Hilfskreuzer were the same. http://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck_class/hilfskreuzer/hilfskreuzer_menu.html It is even worse for the British AMC. 55 conversions. Ships varing from 6,200 tons (Bulolo) to 22,600 tons (Queen of Bermuda). Armament began generally as 4 to 9x6" and 2x3" AA but then changed over time. Some began to be withdrawn for other uses from early 1941 with the last not until Spring 1944. And over that time the appearance of individual ships changed. I think the largest reasonably homogeneous group might be the 3 Canadian Princes (Prince Henry, Prince David & Prince Robert)
  7. Some additional information taken from the Osprey Combat Aircraft book " PBJ Mitchell Units of the Pacific War" The airframe of BuNo 35277 (43-4700) was strengthened by the NAA Kansas City modification Centre with the necessary carrier equipment installed at the Naval Air Material Center Philadelphia. Amongst the mods was a main undercarrige that could turn sideways to a limited degree to aid handling on the carrier deck. First approach aborted and aircraft returned to NAS Norfolk for repairs. Damage can't have been serious. Second attempt resulted in a successful landing. After inspection the aircraft was launched at 27,000lbs Third attempt, second successful landing, was deliberately made off center on the arrester wires (a common test to check structural integrity of airframe and hook). A third landing and take offf was made. That last resulted in the loss of an undercarriage door. So 3 successful landings and take offs despite the entry in the Captain's report.
  8. I’ve always understood that the PBJ-1 Mitchell’s for the USN were interspersed on the production line with those for the USAAF. While they were given a USN paint job, their radar fit was installed at the USNavy Modification Unit at Elizabeth, New Jersey which I believe was run by Consolidated Vultee. The PBJ-1D certainly passed through there gaining radar either in the belly or later the nose. Here is a another B-25 thread with a photo of a PBJ-1H on a test flight with no radome on the wing. This was extracted from Jerry Scutts “Marine Mitchells in World War Two” book published by Phalanx back in 1993. As for the aircraft landed on the Shangri La, BuAer proposed the conversion of a PBJ-1 in March 1944 and by the end of April North American had begun the work. Once converted it went to the Naval Air Modification Center for trials to determine landing speeds, how late the wave off could be etc. On 30 Oct 1944, the Chief of Naval Operations ordered an actual deck trial with Shangri La being ordered to devote a day of her work up to the task. 5 arrested landings and take offs were planned for the PBJ and the P-51 and F7F with a clear flight deck and no use of crash barriers (they were not designed for stopping twin engined aircraft). The Report by the Captain of the Shangri La on her wartime activities, notes that while there were 5 landings and take offs by the F7F and P-51, there was only a single landing and take off by the PBJ-1H. There is another point about the wing mounted radar. When VMB-612 began to receive PBJ-1J aircraft similarly fitted in 1945 their ground crews converted them to fit the radar in the nose just like their earlier PBJ-1D. Amongst the benefits noted was that it gave better weight distribution as well as a wider field of sweep. So, overall I don’t believe that the photos of that PBJ-1H taken on the Shangri La have been censored. Usually there are some traces of that, but I can’t see any. I believe that North American pulled a radarless PBJ-1H from their Inglewood production line for conversion and delivered it to the USN. The land trials were focussed on the landing characteristics so no need for radar. And the weight would have to be kept down for the carrier trial so again why fit radar. Add to that, the test pilots would not want the added problems of an unbalanced aircraft to complicate an initial trial. What I find interesting is the termination of the trial with only one landing and take off when 5 were planned. I suspect this may have been due to the low wind conditions noted in the Captain’s report. See Page 54 of this .pdf for details of the trial https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1036&context=usnwc-newport-papers And see page 4,18 & 19 of this .pdf of the captain’s report http://www.mansell.com/Resources/special_files/FOLD3/USS_Shangri-La_History_1942-1945_a.pdf
  9. There were 44 HM.1 (ZH821-ZH864) of which 30 were upgraded to HM.2. You will find the serials of the HM.2 here. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=ZH
  10. You are are very welcome. As for where it comes from, well a lifetime interest in WW2 history, and over the years an appetite for British operations in the Far East in 1944/45, and too much money spent on books, coupled with rather more time on my hands in recent years than my wife (silently!) thinks is good for me! But it really is surprising how much good stuff is out there on the internet nowadays if only you have the time to search. Using different browsers often turns up different answers to the same search. Happy modelling.
  11. And by the end of 1939 the RN had reassessed its future fighter needs and the various designs submitted to meet Specs N.8/39 (two seat fighter to succeed the Fulmar) and N.9/39 (a turret fighter to succeed the Roc) issued in July 1939. All the designs submitted for both Specs were rejected. And the whole idea of a new turret fighter rejected. Companies were then asked for new designs for a single seat and a two seat fighter to be based around the same airframe. In Jan 1940 there was a meeting with the companies who submitted revised designs and the following were chosen:- 1. A two seat fighter by Fairey that was then developed into the Firefly under a new Spec 5/40/F calling for a speed of 350mph; and 2. A proposal from Blackburn for a single seat fighter with a Bristol Hercules engine was considered to have enough promise to be developed further under a new Spec N.11/40 dated Aug 1940 with the Sabre engine and a speed over 400mph. And so was born the Firebrand. So by the time he made his statement in Feb 1940, Forbes was well out of touch with those responsible for the future of Naval Aviation in the RN.
  12. The idea of using aircraft to attack enemy ships in harbours dates back to WW1. The first Sopwith T1 / Cuckoo squadron was working up for just that role when the war ended in Nov 1918, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sopwith_Cuckoo Then on 19 January 1932 the air groups of Courageous and Glorious, under the command of Rear Admiral Reginald Henderson (RAA Aircraft Carriers), combined during an exercise to launch a very successful strike with practice torpedoes against the Med Fleet while it lay at anchor in a southern Greek harbour. The Sempill Mission took the Sopwith Cuckoo with them when they spent 18 months in Japan in 1921/22. Who knows, maybe some seeds were sown back then. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sempill_Mission
  13. Andy From some other notes I have Cavendish, having arrived at Colombo on 8 Aug 1945, departed again with her sister ship Caesar on 9/10 Aug 1945 and briefly stopped at the Cocos Islands en route to Fremantle. Departure from Cocos was 15 Aug. Probably en route to Fremantle their orders were changed. But they had to go on to Fremantle to refuel for the return journey AIUI. Cocos Is did not have refuelling facilities, principally being an airbase opened in mid-1945. The only other refuelling stop would have been Exmouth Gulf in north west Australia. A pair of Hunts, Cowdray & Eggesford, left Colombo a day or so after Cavalier & Caesar and their orders were changed on the 19th Aug. They refuelled at Exmouth Gulf and left to return to Ceylon on 24th Aug. As a result Cavalier & Caesar left Fremantle on 28th Aug to return to Ceylon. I have a reference saying Caesar arived in Trincomalee on 5 Sept. From there they took part in various activities around the Dutch East Indies including visiting Singapore. The attachment of 6th Destroyer Flotilla led by Cavendish to the East Indies Fleet allowed the early release of other destroyers that had been overseas since 1943/44 to return home sooner and in particular the 11th DF led by Rotherham. That flotilla was then able to leave for home around the end of Sept/beginning of Oct 1945. The first Allied forces to arrive in Singapore did so on 4 Sept 1945 when the initial Japanese surrender was accepted onboard HMS Sussex that evening. None of the 6th DF ships took part in any of the initial operations to re-occupy Malaya. This is Cavendish as she looked in 1946 en route home.
  14. Most of the crew would have been retained as the repairs in Nov 1944 to Jan 1945 where for a short period. Individual personnel might be posted on courses or promoted and sent to other ships. That sounds like what might have happened to your relative. It was a step up to move from a Hunt to a fleet destroyer like the Ca class Cavendish. This might help with the individual radars. https://www.rnradioandradar.co.uk/radars.htm https://www.rnradioandradar.co.uk/radars/radarmatrix.htm https://www.radartutorial.eu/19.kartei/11.ancient3/karte009.en.html https://www.radartutorial.eu/19.kartei/11.ancient2/karte097.en.html https://www.radartutorial.eu/19.kartei/11.ancient3/karte027.en.html Both Type 271 and 273 were contained in a weatherproof radar “lantern”. The latter was effectively an upgraded Type 271 with a different aerial. But the aerials themselves are effectively hidden from view. The Hunts generally gained Type 271 during the course of 1943 in place of the searchlight as they became due for refit.
  15. After suffering collision damage on 9th Nov 1944 Talybont underwent 2 months of repairs at Chatham Dockyard. At that point she still had the Radar lantern for Type 271/273 amidships and 3x twin 20mm as shown in the photo on page 39 of Man O’ War 4. Then after VE-Day she had ballast added at Chatham between 26th June and 2nd July before sailing for a refit at Malta. That was to prepare her for service with the British Pacific Fleet. Originally scheduled to complete by 13th Sept, the refit extended beyond VJ-Day, after which she joined the 6th Destroyer Division, part of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean as her services were no longer required East of Suez. IIRC she was one of four Hunts in that unit. She remained in the Med until returning home and reducing to Reserve at the end of 1947. The above photo shows her as she was after her 1945 Malta refit. Gone were the twin 20mm, to be replaced by 2 single hand-worked Mk.III Bofors, better able to tackle the Kamikaze menace that she might have had to face had she gone to the Pacific. She also received a radar upgrade, losing the Type271/273 in the lantern amidships. Instead she gained a Type 268 set at the top of the long “pole” attached to the forward side of the mast. She retained the Type 291 aerial attached to the top of the mast itself. Incidentally, Cavendish arrived at Colombo on 8th Aug 1945. After duties around the Dutch East Indies she returned home to Reserve in mid-1946
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