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A30_737_AEW&C

All the Blenheim questions you want to ask here

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Prompted by the Spitfire and Hurricane topics I've noted with the same intent, I trust it's not out of order to establish one for the Blenheim, as I suspect a few of us are getting stuck into the Airfix Blenheim kits. I have 4 on the go - a pair of Mk. I and Mk. IV types respectively.

When I get a moment, I might put links to some of the recent questions about the Blenheim in this post/thread - and start my build thread.

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OK I'll jump in with both feet!!

I just rec'd the super Xtradecal sheet for the Blenheim/Boly, and plan to do the 3 RCAF a/c. Two of these were Coastal Command (1 here in Canada) and I thought it would be interesting to open the bomb bay on one of these.

So, the question; what would they carry in their roles as Coastal Command birds?

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According to Aviaeology publication on Canadian aircraft, typical operational load would contain 2x250lb anti-submarine bombs in the main bays, various target markers and/or flares in the inner wing auxiliary ordnance bays, cabin stowage stations, and under-fuselage Light Series Stores Carriages.

regards,

Jack

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just got hold of the mkIV today, horrified to find the DE/DG scheme has the black white undersides, and having had a nightmare time doing it on the ragwing hurricane I'd really rather not do it again, my question is, did the plane in question stick with the B/W underside or was it repainted like spitfires and hurricanes were during the summer?

Edited by PhantomBigStu

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An interesting question - 248 swapped from Fighter Command back to Coastal Command in June 1940 (before Sky was introduced as an undersurface for fighters) however the role was the same so I would imagine it would have done so. The roundels would also have changed.

Need to find out the history for N8239 to be sure.

Edited by Dave Fleming

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indeed, did a little digging and the theory goes it sould have been repainted sky or possibly even aluminium in july, though can only find a single photo of N8239 on google showing the B/W underside

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According to Andrew Bird's Coastal Dawn, 248 went from Coastal Command to Fighter Command in June, not the other way around. The underside colours would have changed anyway, I feel. Pictures in his book of slightly later Mk.IVs have what appears to be Sky undersides.

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According to Andrew Bird's Coastal Dawn, 248 went from Coastal Command to Fighter Command in June, not the other way around. The underside colours would have changed anyway, I feel. Pictures in his book of slightly later Mk.IVs have what appears to be Sky undersides.

The RAF HIstory has it as transferring from Fighter to Coastal in Feb 1940, then back to Fighter on 22 May before transferring back to Coastal on 20th June

http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/248squadron.cfm

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A fuller read suggests May is a better date, when 248 Sq moved to Scotland to "beef up defences and start patrolling over Norway". However this is the last mention of 248 in the index, although some of its adventures are described further in the book. I can't immediately find a reference to another change of Command, but it would make sense. Quite why it went to Fighter at all in this period is a bit curious. The one photo placed later is not helpful as to the underside colour (other than it isn't Aluminium or Night).

Edited by Graham Boak

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If Blenheim... Let's start with the most controversial camo scheme, featured by the Z9601 of No.55 Sq. in Fuka (Egypt) in 1942.

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll106/Dirkpitt289/ColorProfile55SqnEgypt.jpg

It is generally accepted as the one-off scheme of Dark Mediterranean Blue + Light Mediterranean Blue topsides over Azure Blue undersides. The plane has been repainted (midstone rectangle under the serial) due to change of duties, when the unit undertook coastal patrols in 1942.

But do we have any photos confirming that? If even both uppersurface colours are "cold" (i.e. variations of blue/grey/green) and lighter than ones used in TSS (Extra Dark Sea and Dark Slate greys) can't they just represent the standard known as Tropical Sea Scheme, namely Extra Dark Sea Green and Dark Mediterranean Blue (or their "shadow-shading era" lighter counterparts, i.e. Dark Sea Green and Light Mediterranean Blue) over Sky Blue.

So in my opinion one of these uppersurface colours on Z9601 is GREEN! Any proofs against it?

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This aircraft, since said to have been a squadron hack, was described by one of the members of the squadron at the time, well-known British modeller and long-time stalwart of IPMS-UK, "Mac" McKennaugh. Whereas I agree that this may not be "proof", it carries a lot more weight than any theorising about what else it may or may not have been, particularly regarding the Tropical Sea Scheme which as never been recorded in practice as opposed to prewar suggestions. Over the years, I have seen other uncorroborated suggestions that both Beauforts and Baltimores carried this scheme of the two Mediterranean Blues, and also that at least one of the Med. Blues was carried by a USAAF B-25 unit operating in a maritime role over the Eastern Mediterranean. Just one of those areas that may never be completely pinned down to everyone's satisfaction.

Edited by Graham Boak

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I'm stuck at the moment over the dorsal turret's guns on the earlier Mk.IV. The intention is to model an aircraft of 105 Sq in late 1940, on cross-Channel strikes. This is around the time the change occurred from a single Vickers VGO gun to twin Brownings. The clear photos I can find show twin Brownings, but these photos appear to all be of 1941. Looking for other units in mid 1940, they all appear to have a single VGO. That doesn't mean I'm ruling out the possibility of two VGOs, as in the kit, indeed I'd prefer that as an option, but I'd like more evidence.

There are photos showing early production aircraft later fitted with the twin Brownings, so it isn't just a matter of a simple change on the production line. I wonder if it was introduced at the same time as the blister gun, thus having the same guns in all positions? Although an apparently sensible option, I do know that early Halifaxes had a mix of Brownings in the turrets and twin VGOs in the waist, so clearly no-one was too fussy about these things.

So can anyone advise on when the twin Brownings appeared in service? And were the two VGOs carried in this period on new aircraft?

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I'm stuck at the moment over the dorsal turret's guns on the earlier Mk.IV. The intention is to model an aircraft of 105 Sq in late 1940, on cross-Channel strikes. This is around the time the change occurred from a single Vickers VGO gun to twin Brownings. The clear photos I can find show twin Brownings, but these photos appear to all be of 1941. Looking for other units in mid 1940, they all appear to have a single VGO. That doesn't mean I'm ruling out the possibility of two VGOs, as in the kit, indeed I'd prefer that as an option, but I'd like more evidence.

There are photos showing early production aircraft later fitted with the twin Brownings, so it isn't just a matter of a simple change on the production line. I wonder if it was introduced at the same time as the blister gun, thus having the same guns in all positions? Although an apparently sensible option, I do know that early Halifaxes had a mix of Brownings in the turrets and twin VGOs in the waist, so clearly no-one was too fussy about these things.

So can anyone advise on when the twin Brownings appeared in service? And were the two VGOs carried in this period on new aircraft?

Graham,

I am just speculating here, but with the attrition rate of Blenheims it might have been largely a production line change for new airframes, with the (few) surviving airframes updated as they went through overhaul or repair.

The change in the turret would not have been a replace the turret with a later mark exercise either, the turret design remained basically the same and would be modified during turret periodic servicing (if the turret lasted long enough to go through periodic servicing!).

As for time period, I believe that the turrets were upgunned after Dunkirk, Quickly for operational purposes with the twin VGO and later with Brownings probably the results after a lessons learnt exercise from the battle of France. IIRC the book Blenheim boy he alludes to the twin turrets being fitted at the time he was shot down.in late 40?

I don't believe the Beaufort under nose turret blister was ever a universal fit, As its name suggests it was designed for the Beaufort and I would assume that it would be initially prioritised for that aircraft. Of course it was only envisioned to be a temporary fix for the Blenheim pending the introduction of the purpose made FN 54 turret.

Selwyn

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The change to the twin belt-fed Brownings was a pretty major mod, even though the shell of the turret, and its motive parts, remained the same. I'm sure you're right about the twin guns being a "lessons learnt": I'd just be happier if I saw some with the two VGOs. I'm after T1826, which I fear may be late enough to have the twin Browning from new. R3600 is the latest I've seen (so far) with the single VGO.

The blister seems to be on all 105 Sq. aircraft (photographed and not flat on their belly) until the arrival of the FN54A. It is also on the 82 Sq aircraft sharing the base (Watton) August -October 1940.

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Hi there,

Am building a mkivf in Malta colours as per the xtadecal Malta sheet. Would anyone happen to know if this airframe needs anything in the way of tropical filters etc that might require aftermarket items, or is all I need in the box? Would be grateful for any advice. Paul!

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I did start a thread on the subject which eventually included a photo or two - tropicalized Blenheims had an extra intake above the engine and a more distinct exhaust from the oil cooler. No-one has covered this in kit or aftermarket. Airfix provide the tropical filter for under the engine: I thought it looked a bit small but maybe not. I do recommend the Barracuda set, which provides a better tropical filter, assorted intakes and exhausts, plus a venturi and fuel dump pipes, One possible additional value is that the temperate intake is a starting point for the additional one, though that's equally true of the kit part - but they don't have holes in the front.

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234976166-blenheim-intakes-aftermarket-extra-still-required-for-tropical/?hl=blenheim

Edited by Graham Boak

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The change to the twin belt-fed Brownings was a pretty major mod, even though the shell of the turret, and its motive parts, remained the same. I'm sure you're right about the twin guns being a "lessons learnt": I'd just be happier if I saw some with the two VGOs. I'm after T1826, which I fear may be late enough to have the twin Browning from new. R3600 is the latest I've seen (so far) with the single VGO.

The blister seems to be on all 105 Sq. aircraft (photographed and not flat on their belly) until the arrival of the FN54A. It is also on the 82 Sq aircraft sharing the base (Watton) August -October 1940.

The blister was probably just initially mandated to be fitted to aircraft used on ops over Europe. Operational squadrons even now tend to get the best up to date kit.

(Its an FN54 Turret by the way, there was never a FN 54A this designation stems from the old belief stated in some books that the Beaufort Blister was the FN 54 and the later Twin mount the FN 54A.)

Selwyn

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Would this be any help for colours? Don't know the author, but does provided references.

http://www.hrmtech.com/SIG/articles/coastal_cam.asp

regards,

Jack

I'm the author and I do post on here, this is the latest thread on my CC reference page http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234976262-coastal-command-camouflage-reference-updated/

I acknowledge it's not perfect, in any case only as good as the references, but I do try to cross check. Any solid information to help is always appreciated.

Regarding 248 the JDR Rawlings book on Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons makes no note of 248 leaving CC briefly. Going back to Paul Lucas 'Battle for Britain' - and remember he is quoting official documents which were not always acted on immediately - there was a period during June/July 1940 when CC had a team of refinishers travelling around painting the undersides of their Blenheim fighters Aluminium. This at the time Fighter Command were changing from Night/White to Sky following Signal X915 of 6th June which started the change process, later complicated by further signals caused by lack of paint supplies.

It is possible that the Operational record Book for 248, held by the National Archives at Kew and available for purchase electronically at a modest cost per section which amounts to an horrendous cost if you want a longer period. There is no guarantee that information on transfer of command or repainting is included - it just depends on how much detail the person assigned to the task felt like recording although I'm sure there was a minimum requirement. Note I'm no expert on these records - there are others on here who know far more about them.

You probably need to look at both the summary of events from 01 Oct 1939 to 30 June 1940 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D8396915 and the record of events for June http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/D8396916. The full list of documents involves tracing from here http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/C2504137. The system seems to have changed since the last time I used it and is not so intuitive (for me anyway). Whether £3.30 per document is good value is down to individual judgement - you can always go to Kew to view it for free but that might cost more, especially if you live in Cornwall.

Ross

Edited by rossm

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So can anyone advise on when the twin Brownings appeared in service? And were the two VGOs carried in this period on new aircraft?

Graham, did some digging into the Modification Leaflets again. The twin Bristol turret was introduced by Mod.No.Br.Arm./192, of which of course I do not have a copy hence no date :( . However, I do have a copy of Mod. Blenheim IV/985 Air Gunner's Ramp Repositioning, dated 22/11/1940 and this states:

"This modification will be embodied by the contractor's representatives in aeroplanes held by home units concurrently with Mod.No.Br.Arm./192."

So can we therefor assume that the introduction of the twin Browning turret was started end November 1940? My copy of AP1659B Vol I Chapter 9 which deals with the twin Browning turret is dated August 1941 but I do not believe one may take that as the introduction date of the equipment in question, AP's tending to be modified/re-published frequently.

As for the two GVO's, haven't found any reference to those in my documentation I'm afraid.

Now that we're talking armament, let's go into the under defence gun(s) too.

Mod. No. Blenheim IV/829 calls for the introduction of the single under defence gun (sorry, no copy so no date). Mod.No.Blenheim IV/945 then covers some modifications to the single under defence gun and that is dated 03/08/1940. My copy of AP1659B Vol 1 Chapter 8 which covers "The Blenheim IV under defence gun turret, single gun" is dated August 1940.

The FN54A Twin Under Defence Gun (it is called FN54A, both in the mod leaflet and in AP1659B) is covered by Mod.No.Blenheim IV/1075 which is dated 26/10/1942.

Hope the above is of help with our project!

Walter

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Graham, did some digging into the Modification Leaflets again. The twin Bristol turret was introduced by Mod.No.Br.Arm./192, of which of course I do not have a copy hence no date :( . However, I do have a copy of Mod. Blenheim IV/985 Air Gunner's Ramp Repositioning, dated 22/11/1940 and this states:

"This modification will be embodied by the contractor's representatives in aeroplanes held by home units concurrently with Mod.No.Br.Arm./192."

So can we therefor assume that the introduction of the twin Browning turret was started end November 1940? My copy of AP1659B Vol I Chapter 9 which deals with the twin Browning turret is dated August 1941 but I do not believe one may take that as the introduction date of the equipment in question, AP's tending to be modified/re-published frequently.

As for the two GVO's, haven't found any reference to those in my documentation I'm afraid.

Now that we're talking armament, let's go into the under defence gun(s) too.

Mod. No. Blenheim IV/829 calls for the introduction of the single under defence gun (sorry, no copy so no date). Mod.No.Blenheim IV/945 then covers some modifications to the single under defence gun and that is dated 03/08/1940. My copy of AP1659B Vol 1 Chapter 8 which covers "The Blenheim IV under defence gun turret, single gun" is dated August 1940.

The FN54A Twin Under Defence Gun (it is called FN54A, both in the mod leaflet and in AP1659B) is covered by Mod.No.Blenheim IV/1075 which is dated 26/10/1942.

Hope the above is of help with our project!

Walter

I stand corrected on the FN54A!

Some indication of the time when the under nose mounting might have been fitted may be possible if anyone knows when the mounting was embodied onto the beaufort. Or was this mounting a standard fit from the factory on the beaufort?

Selwyn

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Some indication of the time when the under nose mounting might have been fitted may be possible if anyone knows when the mounting was embodied onto the beaufort. Or was this mounting a standard fit from the factory on the beaufort?

Selwyn

Hi Selwyn, AP1659B Vol 1 Chapter 11 covers "The Beaufort Under Defence Turret, Single Gun" and my copy is dated January 1942. As mentioned above I don't think we should rely on AP dates though!

Bruce Robertson in "Beaufort Special" states "... a remotely fired .303 Browning machine gun in a special chin turret, similar to the Blenheim IVF, was introduced in 1940." but I couldn't find anything more precise than that...

Cheers,

Walter

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The Airfix Blenheim I kit provides for a second crew seat mounted on the rear cockpit bulkhead and a jump seat on the starboard cockpit side. Would either of those seats (and crew members be retained on a Blenheim If?

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The Airfix Blenheim I kit provides for a second crew seat mounted on the rear cockpit bulkhead and a jump seat on the starboard cockpit side. Would either of those seats (and crew members be retained on a Blenheim If?

My recollection rpt recollection from Jimmy Rawnsley's "Night Fighter" is that 604 Sq's Blenheims were flown as two-seaters (pilot and gunner), the squadron having upgraded from twp-seater Demons. Sometimes there was also a techician trying to get the radar set to work, but he was buried in the bowels of the fuselage forward of the turret. Might have been a different story for aircraft used as long-range fighters: imagine a navigator might have come in useful.

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