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ClaudioN

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  1. 'Q' is, I assume, one of the Martlet Mk. Is of 802 Sqn. that were photographed while flying alongside a Pan Am Boeing Clipper by that plane captain. You can find the photo on page 78 of "Wildcat Aces of World War 2" (Osprey) Sub. Lt. Eric Brown in 'R' led the trio flying inverted. The other two, flying upright, were Sub. Lt. Graham Fletcher in 'K' to starboard and Sub. Lt. Bertie Williams in 'Q' to port. Codes appear indeed to be white. Both 'S7L' and 'A' are suspect for some reason, IMHO. Claudio
  2. External additional armoured glass protection for the pilot, if I understand which bump you refer to. Cheers Claudio
  3. The Sky band was worn by several RN aircraft, probably in units that remained shore-based for some length of time. Yellow leading edges were introduced by the RAF with the change from Temperate Land Scheme to Day Fighter Scheme camouflage, but seemingly the FAA did not follow, possibly except a few instances. 880 Sqn. (not 881) had the Sky band, but wore yellow wing leading edges only as part of the special identification markings for Pedestal. I cannot remember any photo of a Martlet carrying them.
  4. I am always concerned with photograph dates, that may add a lot to what we can learn. According to the caption in Osprey "Wildcat aces of WW II", this photo was released in September 1941. If this is correct, what we see is probably a line-up of aircraft from No. 881 Squadron, that was formed around that time. Initially intended for Ark Royal, it kept Martlet Mk. Is while working up and converted to Mk. II for service in Illustrious. The code S7L on the second Martlet in the line is indicative of previous service with No. 804 Sqn. I believe what we see are just traces of the obliterated, or overpainted code. The Fighter Command style markings are indeed peculiar of No. 804 Sqn. that, for a time was the resident shore-based station at RNAS Hatston. However, 804 converted to Sea Hurricanes (some of them also marked 'S7x') around March 1941. For a photo of a Martlet of 804 Sqn. in the original Grumman camouflage, Aeromilitaria no. 3/83 shows 'S7B' after a landing mishap, its nose in the mud at Skeabrae, November 1940.
  5. Colour names given in the Grumman camouflage diagram for the G-36A are Extra Dark Sea Grey, Light Sea Green, and Sky Blue. They are evidently British names and must have come from some RN source, but the combination is odd and, to my knowledge, does not even match the Tropical Sea Scheme. Whatever actual colours Grumman used, the end result was unusual. Very early Martlets (AX824-829) seem to have been repainted on arrival in Britain. In this photo of AX828 I think I can even see some trace of the previous wavy demarcation between the Sky Blue undersides and the upper camouflage colours on the lower fuselage. SDASM Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Whereas NX-G1 appeared with the French blue-white-red tricolour on the rudder, the (reversed) red-white-blue tricolour was applied from NX-G2 up to at least NX-G8 (documented in photos at Grumman). The correct square fin flash was later applied by Grumman, but possibly some of the Mk. Is were delivered with no fin flash and this was applied in Britain with British colours. At least, this is my own interpretation of some grey-tone variations between the (duller) fin flash and the (brighter) roundel. Perhaps this occurred on the early machines, where the coloured rudder had to be refinished in any case. The narrow yellow ring was typical of all G-36A and G-36B aircraft, and the first Mk. IV (FN100) also had it.
  6. For a 807 Squadron Seafire Mk. IIC, this photo at least shows an individual letter 'C' in red. The only other one I know of is 'K', also in red, with Torch star fuselage markings.
  7. Yes, the three photos are part of the same group and were taken around Gibraltar between 20 and 30 of May, 1943. My understanding is that on ø6B the upper camouflage ends with the cowling side panel, whereas the entire Vokes filter fairing is in the underside colour. Overall, cowling panels on ø6B are all heavily weathered, making interpretation harder, but I think a standard pattern is the most likely interpretation. On the two Mk. IBs the upper surface camouflage demarcation appears to be at the lower end of the Vokes filter. A few other photos seem to confirm this. Whichever side you look at ø6B, it has no readable serial. During Torch, 'B' was MB113 and had the 'ROYAL NAVY' title changed to 'U.S. NAVY', as shown here (first time I see this on a Seafire). I considered the possibility that the subject of the photo is MB113 repainted (the rear fuselage is rather clean, possibly new paint?), but I think the shape of the 'B' is different.
  8. Carrier deck crash of a F4F-3 in the Neutrality Gray scheme, starting at 21:03 minutes. Note it is a R-1830-76 engined machine (carburettor intake on top of cowling, no side bulge on the forward fuselage) and its windscreen has the additional reinforcement brace. The aircraft is seemingly fitted with an armoured glass windscreen, but appears to have a telescopic gunsight, that does not protrude through the glass. Aircraft number is '1', I'd guess 71-F-1, maybe?
  9. Another Mk.IIC with Vokes filter, I believe: THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. © IWM (A 17076) IWM Non Commercial License Definitely no serial visible. Probably not MB113, that had been ø6B during Torch.
  10. Another photo of MB345:K, together with ø6B (serial not shown) and MB360:C on the flight deck of Formidable at a slightly earlier date (20-30 May 1943): THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. © IWM (A 17083) IWM Non Commercial License Here 'K' has a single-letter code, that might be its appearance during its earlier service with 801 Sqn. 'C' also saw earlier service with 801 Sqn. Plain for all to see, but I had never realized before that in 1943 Formidable operated a mixed complement of Mk.IB/Mk.IIC Seafires. I also believe I can see a 45-gallon slipper tank underneath ø6K:MB345 in the other photo with ø6F:MB182.
  11. Food for thought... I agree the overall length includes the accessories, I was not clear about it. Indeed, what is interesting for our discussion is that the two-stage -86 is also shorter than the two-stage -76, by nearly 4 inches. I assume this to be a result of some relocation of accessories (the front-positioned magnetos that are always mentioned as a hallmark of the -86 come to mind, but I really do not know!). Whether this has something to do with the revised bulkhead I really do not know. Just a few questions added: side panel with/without blister: I would think there was a commonality with the G-36A and some "flat" panels for the G-36B could keep coming from that production line? agreed Bu. Nos. 3856-3874 are a mysterious lot. My idea is that 8-F-1 (and several F4F-3s of VF-8 photographed on USS Hornet in February 1942) come from that lot. What do you people think? what does "construction starts" actually mean? I may be mistaken, but I seem to recall construction numbers (and, I would think, Bu. Nos. as well) are associated with an aircraft fuselage. Several photos show that fuselages were stored in Grumman hangars waiting for their wings. Perhaps this might explain the discrepancies between construction and delivery dates? Claudio
  12. Great find! Your result suggests that, whereas rivet counting may perhaps be considered excessive nit-picking, counting panel fasteners definitely pays! Inspired by your post, I spent several hours over the weekend doing almost just that, and comparing photographs. Here's what I may have found. 1) NUMBER OF FASTENERS ON THE UPPER PANEL THAT COVERS THE ENGINE ACCESSORY BAY early F4F-3 late F4F-3A and late F4F-3 G-36A bottom edge, in front of the wing leading edge: two three three upper edge, below the m/g panel six seven seven Of course, accessory bay panels are shorter on early F4F-3s because of the different shape of the engine frame ("firewall"). What is interesting, is that on a F4F-3A and a G-36A they are the same length (yes, they are: distances between fasteners do not change). This revived my feeling that the XF4F-6 was no more than a G-36A fuselage with a R-1830-90 grafted on and a F4F-3 cowling applied. 2) IS THERE ANY RELEVANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENGINE VARIANTS? Pratt & Whitney "index of Twin Wasp & R-1830 designated engines" gives three different engine lengths: R-1830-76 length: 71.31 inches R-1830-90 length: 63.41 inches R-1830-86 length: 67.44 inches Unsurprisingly the single-stage R-1830-90 is "shorter" by nearly 8 inches than the two-stage R-1830-76. This might be irrelevant, but it suggests that some engine parts/accessiories might be located furter forward, making the -90 compatible with the G-36A engine frame. 3) ARE THE R-1830-76 AND R-1830-86 INTERCHANGEABLE? That is: can we fit a -76 into a "late style" forward fuselage? Big question and little evidence to check for, BUT: the 19 F4F-3s Bu. Nos. 3856 to 3874 are confirmed as having the R-1830-76 they also had the revised carburettor intake within the cowling ring What it takes to attempt an answer is to find evidence of "early style" panels on a machine with "late type" cowling. Well, here it is (photo of 8-F-1 already posted above, repeated here for convenience): SDASM Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons The vertical panel line right behind the cowling, associated with the "-76 style" engine frame is clearly discernible. The answer I would give is then: -86 is not interchangeable with -76. The proper engine frame is needed to fit the -76 version. My take on F4F-3 variations Here I try to suggest a sequence of steps that in my view can have some engineering sense, reducing changes and production variations to a minimum. F4F-3 with the R-1830-76 evidences teething troubles related to engine cooling G-36A first flies in May 1940, with less trouble but significantly less performance, as found with the XF4F-5 G-36B first flies in October 1940, also with less trouble but generally good performance, leading to an evaluation order for the XF4F-6 F4F-3s from the first order are delivered, but problems arise with the carburettor intake mounted on the cowling upper lip production of a further 19 F4F-3 with the R-1830-76 is temporarily stopped, pending a redesign of the carburettor air intake Pratt & Whitney are further developing their two-stage supercharged Twin Wasp into the -86 version. Grummans realize that the -86 can fit where the -90 fits: all it takes is a small bulge on the lower panel fitted over the engine accessory bay production shifts to aircraft with the single-stage R-1830-90: British fixed-wing G-36Bs (flat panel) and 95 F4F-3As (small bulge on panel). Seemingly, these aircraft do not have the same carburettor intake problems as those with the two-stage engine, as the original external intake is retained the new cowling design becomes available and is fitted to the 19 F4F-3s whose production is resumed. They retain the single cooling flap on the cowling, like the G-36Bs and F4F-3As the R-1830-86 is introduced and, with it, the new cooling flap arrangement having four smaller flaps per side. The redesigned cowling with internal carburettor intake is retained after all F4F-3s are delivered, production shifts to folding-wing G-36Bs (single cooling flap per side, "late F4F-3" cowling shape) and the F4F-4 (four cooling flaps per side, new "F4F-4 style" cowling with redesigned and strengthened external intake Sounds convining enough to me, over to BM friends' opinions. Claudio
  13. Aeroplani SIAI 1915-1935 This book was printed in 1982 but appears to be still available second-hand. It includes three pages of Italian/English text on the S.65, a few photos and a three-view drawing.
  14. Thank you, I did not realize it until now. On photos I have, I can see the small roundel only on aircraft of VF-41, VF-71 and VF-5. Maybe it could somehow be related to carriers in the Atlantic Fleet?
  15. Sorry for creating the confusion. I emphasized then that it was my guesswork, and I still keep guessing... This post by @Dana Bell may help clarify. This photo shows an F4F-3 of VF-8 without the small bulge on the fuselage forward of the wing and no carburettor intake on the cowling ring. Might be one of the 19? SDASM Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Although Wikimedia Commons refers to the SDASM Archives (Ray Wagner Collection), the photo is credited to the US Navy on Profile no. 53, where it appeared many years ago. I was unable to find it on the https://www.history.navy.mil/ web site, although I expect it should be within their collections. If it's there, there could be a high-resolution .tiff file and we might have a guess at the tiny Bu. No. on the fin. Question for experts: what is that straight 'pole' sticking out of the fuselage, mid-way between the antenna mast and the fin?
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