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Jon Kunac-Tabinor

No 1 Sqn SAAF spitfire mk VIIIs in Italy - markings? plus long wing span with clipped tips

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Hi all, just researching potential schemes for the Eduard model.

I've seen my VIIIs in the desert scheme for this unit in Italy, and also in the DFS too, but I don't suppose anyone's ever come across No 1 Sqn mk VIIIs in the dark earth/dark green over Mediterranean blue scheme? - like some of No4 sqns SAAF Spitfires wore?

I found this rather interesting set of photos, but it's very difficult to determine colours (as ever!)

http://saafww2photographs.yolasite.com/hinton-brown-italy-1944-album-1.php

Jonners

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Personally I believe the Spitfires in the page linked are all in desert scheme.

Spitfire VIIIs left the factory initially in desert scheme and then at some point in Day Fighter Scheme. I'm sure that we discussed the possible changeover date here in the past, IIRC it should have come during the manufacturing of JG serialled aircrafts.

Aircrafts sent to the MTO would have initially retained the desert scheme. Once the units equipped with this variant landed in Italy, they would have initially kept the same scheme but may have later overpainted the mid stone areas with dark green. However this would have resulted in the darker colour going through the cockpit while the aircrafts shown here have the lighter colour through the cockpitm consistent with the desert scheme.

Aircrafts passing through MUs for maintenance are not likely to have been returned in desert scheme but they have most likely been returned in DFS, consistent with the scheme then worn by brand new aircrafts reaching Italy

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Jon, I have seen AX-B illustrated both in Desert scheme and DFS (in two different local publications). The contrast in the pics seems to go with desert scheme though. AFAIK . A Spitfire MkIX (AX-8) was in desert colours as well. 4 Squadron SAAF Spitfires appear to have been in DFS. Generally it has been said that the DFS was standard once in Italy for SAAF fighters although TAC-R (40 sqd) and 5 Squadrons Kittyhawks were in dark green (or possibly OD in the case of the Kittyhawks) with dark earth and the Spitfires in Azure Blue undersides and the Kittyhawks in a light grey (MSG? or NG?)

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At the beginning of 1943, specific instructions about fighter colours were issued.

Those bound for North Africa were still to be in Desert Scheme, with Azure blue undersides.

Those heading for Malta (presumably in preparation for the invasion of Sicily) were to be in DFS, but with Light Mediterranean Blue undersides.

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Hiya Jon,

As far as I can tell 1 Sqn SAAF Spits just wore the desert scheme which was gradually replaced by DFS as newer aircraft were delivered,

Sorry,....

Tony

Edit- There are some 1 Sqn SAAF Spits on the new Xtradecal Fighters Over the Med sheets.

Edited by tonyot

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Interesting that the JF serials have the "old fashioned" rectangular, unfaired mirrors, while the JGs have the round, streamlined one. Never noticed that, and would have assumed that by the time VIIIs were being built, they all had round ones!

bob

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Jon, I have seen AX-B illustrated both in Desert scheme and DFS (in two different local publications). The contrast in the pics seems to go with desert scheme though. AFAIK . A Spitfire MkIX (AX-8) was in desert colours as well. 4 Squadron SAAF Spitfires appear to have been in DFS. Generally it has been said that the DFS was standard once in Italy for SAAF fighters although TAC-R (40 sqd) and 5 Squadrons Kittyhawks were in dark green (or possibly OD in the case of the Kittyhawks) with dark earth and the Spitfires in Azure Blue undersides and the Kittyhawks in a light grey (MSG? or NG?)

Thanks Charlie - much appreciated. Your site on SAAF spit models is very interesting too

At the beginning of 1943, specific instructions about fighter colours were issued.

Those bound for North Africa were still to be in Desert Scheme, with Azure blue undersides.

Those heading for Malta (presumably in preparation for the invasion of Sicily) were to be in DFS, but with Light Mediterranean Blue undersides.

Thanks Edgar

Hiya Jon,

As far as I can tell 1 Sqn SAAF Spits just wore the desert scheme which was gradually replaced by DFS as newer aircraft were delivered,

Sorry,....

Tony

Edit- There are some 1 Sqn SAAF Spits on the new Xtradecal Fighters Over the Med sheets.

Hi Tony - I saw your Mk IX converted to a MK VIII and it looks great. Xtradecals have been ordered ( There are some nifty schemes in there)

For Edgar & Tony ( and everyone) - so would this DFS with LMB scheme have only been used for Spits heading to Malta in 1943 rather than being delivered to Italy in 1944 then? Also I note the upper camo colours go far further down the lower engine cowling than the "standard" dividing line.

Interesting that the JF serials have the "old fashioned" rectangular, unfaired mirrors, while the JGs have the round, streamlined one. Never noticed that, and would have assumed that by the time VIIIs were being built, they all had round ones!

bob

Hi GB - the Eduard Mk VIII instructions give you option for both style of mirror depending on the markings chosen. I'll have a check and see what the serials and mirror styles are.

Thanks Everyone - starting cutting plastic last night of the first Mk VIII, just need to finally settle on the shames for the other two.....

Jonners

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Hiya Jon,

From looking at Spitfire Mk.VIII`s painted in the DFS,......the majority appear to have left the factory with the lower demarcation line along the nose cowlings, those with the RAAF were also the same (below).

221880d1358433463t-1-48-arii-supermarine43sqdn-Spitfire_IX_Italy.jpg

raaf_146.jpg

Many desert scheme aircraft had the lower demarcation too.

spit8.jpg

Personnel+of+No.+92+Squadron+RAF+push+on

Those wearing the DFS left the UK with MSG undersides plus Sky band and spinner and that is what I`ve seen on those in Italy, Sardinia and S.France too, but usually with the Sky band overpainted and the spinner repainted red. I must have missed or not noticed those with Light Med Blue undersides.

Spitfire-LFVIII-RAF-43Sqn-FT-F-Ashley-W-

SPITFIRE-VIII-RAF-bw.jpg

USN_blimp_with_RAAF_Spitfires_at_Cuers-P

Most units appear to have taken desert finished Mk.VIII`s into Sicily and Italy initially where they were progressively replaced with later production DFS Mk.VIII`s. spitfire2.jpg

ZXJ.jpgJF587-1-th.jpg92sqdn-spitviii-jf476-2.jpg

A_ground_crewman_helps_a_pilot_of_No._60

Something to look out for,.....check out the fins and wingtips too as many of the earlier desert finished aircraft had the earlier round fin and extended wingtips. Those built wearing the DFS appear to all have the extended fin and normal length wingtips.

601sqdn-spit8.jpg417sqn_spitfire_154.jpg

large.jpg?action=d&cat=photographs

This well know Spit Mk.VIII (below) had been repainted in theatre having previously served with a USAAF unit and this might explain the higher demarcation along the nose and the different looking scheme which does appear to be blue underneath;

417sqdn-spit8-italy.jpg

Some wore the High Altitude Scheme too;

Spitfire-MkVIII-JF404-Foggia-1944-01.jpg

There were also some `differently' painted Spitfire Mk.IX and maybe Mk.VIII`s too (although I`ve not seen a Mk.VIII) based in Malta with a dark upper surface (dark blue) and Azure Blue undersides, as per many Mk.V`s. Some later made their way to Sicily, Italy and elsewhere.

Here is a 249 Sqn Mk.IX in Malta wearing such a scheme.

249sqdn-spitfire-9-qrendi.jpg

and another Mk.IX from 111 Sqn (ex 72 Sqn, hence half covered RN codes) at Comiso, Sicily;

spitfires-of-no.-111-squadron-raf-underg

Hope this helps mate,

Tony

Edited by tonyot

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Hiya Jon,

From looking at Spitfire Mk.VIII`s painted in the DFS,......the majority appear to have left the factory with the lower demarcation line along the nose cowlings, those with the RAAF were also the same (below).

Hope this helps mate,

Tony

Hi Tony - cor - thanks for that - there's some there that are new to me.

If you look at pics 25/26 and 37 in the link from my OP - you can see the demarcation is REALLY low - I mean almost all the way round leaving only a thin strip - I would say "Brazilian" - but they flew P47s in Italy - of the lower colour - thats what tweaked my interest so much :)

Although pics of landing Spits in 3 & 5 clearly show a more usual demarcation - so this was perhaps a field repaint.

It looks very much as though the Mk VIIIs visible in these pics have normal rudders and extended wing tips - and it would appear - after staring at these pics for along time they are mostly in the desert scheme.

AX-A JF406 "Dil Emma"is probs the one for me I think

Just out of interest - where was the pic of BQ-K MT952 taken? I don't think I've ever seen a pic of a MK VIII with the cigar drop tank fitted. BQ - that's 451 Sqn right?

Cheers Jonners

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BQ is indeed 451 Sqn. RAAF.

The picture of MT952 BQ-K is likely taken in Cuers, Corsica, where the unit was based from August to October 1944. This location also hosted a US Navy airship facility, and it's this detail that makes me think Cuers is the place...

451 Sqn. later moved to Southern Italy, based at Foggia and Gragnano, until they left their Spitfire VIII behind and moved to the UK in November 1944 reequipping on the Spitfire IX.

One aircraft from this unit, MT687 BQ-C may, I say may, have been finished with dark green and dark earth uppersurfaces. A number of sources state that this aircrafts was in green and brown, I'm convinced however that it was in DFS, have a look at the pictures on the AWM website and see what you think. I had mentioned the aircraft in the past on this same forum here:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234909060-spitifire-viii-camouflage-query/

Regarding the presence of the earlier rounded rudder on the desert painted aircrafts, this is no coincidence: earlier Spit VIII had the rounded rudder, the pointed type was later introduced on the production line. JG serialled aircrafts all seem to have had the pointed rudder from the start, most JF serialled aircrafts had the rounded rudder but I'll have to dig some sources to find out when this change was introduced.

At the same time all aircrafts were built in desert scheme until the order came to change to DFS. IIRC this happened sometime during the production of JG serialled aircrafts.

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According to the caption on my copy of the photo, it was at Cuers-Pierrefeu (Lord knows if that's spelt properly.) In Ministry files, there's continual talk of shortages of droptanks in 1944, so maybe they borrowed some from the Americans.

Edited by Edgar

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According to the caption on my copy of the photo, it was at Cuers-Pierrefeu (Lord knows if that's spelt properly.) In Ministry files, there's continual talk of shortages of droptanks in 1944, so maybe they borrowed some from the Americans.

Edgar is right, my mistake, Cuers is in Southern France, not far from Toulon and not in Corse.

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Jon,

No worries mate,........the easiest way to tell a DFS Spitfire from a desert scheme painted Spit is to see which shade of camoudlage runs through the cockpit area,......the lighter shade is Middle Stone for the desert scheme and the darker shade is the Dark Green for the DFS,.....or with some aircraft the TLS. This works for 95% of cases although there are always some puzzlers out there to stump us all! It usually works for Hurricane`s too but some Hurricane Mk.II`s had the desert colours transposed with the darker shade ie Dark Earth, running through the cockpit area rather than the more usual Middle Stone.

Looking for a Sky band or a painted out Sky band is also a good indication of the DFS.

I`ve seen lots of 1 Sqn SAAF Spits and Hurri`s but I`ve never come across AX-A JF406 "Dil Emma" so I cannot really comment on its colours mate,...sorry.

All the best

Tony

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Jon,

No worries mate,........the easiest way to tell a DFS Spitfire from a desert scheme painted Spit is to see which shade of camoudlage runs through the cockpit area,......the lighter shade is Middle Stone for the desert scheme and the darker shade is the Dark Green for the DFS,.....or with some aircraft the TLS. This works for 95% of cases although there are always some puzzlers out there to stump us all! It usually works for Hurricane`s too but some Hurricane Mk.II`s had the desert colours transposed with the darker shade ie Dark Earth, running through the cockpit area rather than the more usual Middle Stone.

Looking for a Sky band or a painted out Sky band is also a good indication of the DFS.

I`ve seen lots of 1 Sqn SAAF Spits and Hurri`s but I`ve never come across AX-A JF406 "Dil Emma" so I cannot really comment on its colours mate,...sorry.

All the best

Tony

Cheers Tony - I've emailed you a pic of AX-A as the website ask for images not to be posted without permission.

Take look at the spinner too - white back plate? or just wear and tear? or just a crap photo !! :) ?

Cheers

Jonners

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More likely the main part of the spinner was removed before painting, leaving the backplate in position, and untouched by the painter.

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More likely the main part of the spinner was removed before painting, leaving the backplate in position, and untouched by the painter.

Good call Edgar - so Sky it is ( perhaps...) :)

Jonners

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Could well be Middle Stone? Wasn`t the spinner painted in camouflage colour (ie Middle Stone) at the factory and red was applied in theatre?

I would say that the spinner back plate is Middle Stone with a very thin coating of red.

Cheers

Tony

Look at the photo of JG204 which wears its factory colours in the UK. Is the spinner MS or red? The forward section could match both colours?

Edited by tonyot

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VERY interesting, and it looks like #44 may be another example- I suspect they are local mods to eliminate some of the undesirable traits of the pointed tips.

Or maybe they got an early trial sample Mk.20 wing :winkgrin:

bob

p.s. Whatever happened to that Fury? My own creative winds have been blown out lately- I must be in the eye of the summer storm.

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OMG - a long wing span Mk VIII with clipped tips!!! Now that is unusual.....

scroll to image 20 on the link

http://saafww2photographs.yolasite.com/johnny-seccombe-italy-album-1.php

Jonners - really quite excited

Sorry mate but they are long wing tips,...some of 1 Sqn SAAF wore red wing tips and this is what you can see here,....the tips are painted in what appears to be red! Maybe a flight commanders marking,....I have noticed this in manyother Med based Commonwealth fighter units too!

Cheers

Tony

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Hi All,

I concur with Tony that the tips are present in that photograph. That said, clipped tips were seen on the Spitfire Mk VIII in Italy.

19099121915_5bc1f9ca56_o.jpg

JF503 of 145 Sqn RAF at Canne, Italy during 14 January 1944 as photographed by Flying Officer B. Bridge RAF.

Cheers,

Daniel.

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On second look I'm beginning to agree- compare with the wingtip in pic 24, which seems to show a different color at about the same point of the tip. Still, something doesn't seem right about that wingtip on pic 44- it isn't a standard tip, but seems too blunt to be a regular pointed tip. Or maybe I'm just imagining things.

bob

Edited by gingerbob

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Hi.

Agree with Bob. Port red light is in front and not on wing tip.

1 SAAF had red wingtips

2 sqdn red horisontal stabelizer tips

4 sqdn ref fin tips

7 sqdn red fuselage bands

(Hope this helps)

Stefaan

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