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mark457

Hurricane Mk.II in China

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Good Afternoon,


I recently acquired a photo and would really like to pin down some details on the airplane. It is Hurricane Mk.II HW805 photographed in China at the end of the war in US markings.


Mark

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Me too,.....are you sure that it is China? There were some Hurri II`s used by the USAAF in Sardinia wearing American markings.

Tony

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HW805 Mk.IId Far East Struck off charge 12.1.44. That's all that Air Britain has. Not one of the US-operated ones in the Med, however.

There is a story of one RAF fighter that landed in China after bad weather during an operation over Burma. I don't recall whether it was a Hurricane or Spitfire, but probably not a Mk.IId? Presumably it is somewhere in Shores or Franks works.

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Information with the photo says Kunming. New at posting the photos here, still trying to work that part out. Mark

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There is a Help and Support section here on BM. Here is a recent thread on uploading pix

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234990470-uploading-photos/#entry2140530

I hope it works for you as I would be interested to see the photo :)

Trevor

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Kunming is my son-in-law's birthplace. Next time I speak to him, I'll try to remember to ask if he knows anything. He's very aware of the US involvement in the air war in China.

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The WW2 Kunming airfield does not seem to have been situated near a river or lake.

Would someone really fly a Hurricane over "the Hump" by choice?

When I enlarged the photo' the buildings in the background were too blurred to help in identification of the locale

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Hi

interesting there are two hurricanes in the photo

thanks for posting it :)

cheers

jerry

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Hmmm... one thing I notice is that there appears to be a red border to the US markings which suggests an early 1943 date (could be wrong). Also the aircraft look a little clean to my eye. Perhaps a still from a film?

Edited by MilneBay

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The aircraft is basically clean and fresh, but there's a fair bit of exhaust staining from lean running suggesting new aircraft at the end of a long ferry flight, or series of flights. The RAF fin flashes have been painted out carefully using paints chosen to restore the original camouflage rather than, as more normally seen, just a patch of (say) Olive Drab to cover the original markings in a casual way. This suggests that we are seeing something official not a casual hand-over of a used hack, which is backed by the lack of any RAF service history and the presence of two such aircraft (at least). The use of the old HF radio aerial suggests use away from the main areas of operation - although that may have been true of SEAC in general when this aircraft arrived.

The 40mm guns don't seem to have been fitted. A quick look at close serials shows several other aircraft with no known RAF use, but sadly gaps are a feature of the records rather than a useful guide (other than eliminating the majority), and none of them are Mk.IID.

I did wonder about plans to operate Hurricanes in the close support role in China, as the US had no airborne anti-tank weapon in the theatre, but think that even if aborted this would not have gone unnoticed in the histories. There is mention of a plan to operate an RAF squadron in China, but in that case why change the markings? However the hand-over of a couple of Hurricanes for use as fast despatch aircraft could go unnoticed, though the need doesn't seem vital and you'd have expected them to turn up in other photos by US Veterans.

A bit more background: HWxxx serial Hurricanes were arriving in the first half of 1943. 20 Sq began converting to the Mk.IId in May 1943, with the first operation in December. So we can expect a date for the photo around early summer? The aircraft would not have been carrying the gunpods on ferry flights anyway, but the underwing ferry tanks in their place. Not visible here.

Edited by Graham Boak

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The WW2 Kunming airfield does not seem to have been situated near a river or lake.

Would someone really fly a Hurricane over "the Hump" by choice?

When I enlarged the photo' the buildings in the background were too blurred to help in identification of the locale

Kunming is on a lake in which one of the Flying Tigers crahed during the war.

The general terrain and the distance to the hills in the background appear consistent with other images taken at Kunming.

I agree that no-one would be likely to fly a Hurricane over the hump by choice, but many people hings are done through lack of choice, especially during war.

I still can't find anything about these Hurricanes, though.

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Would they have been originally destined for Singapore but diverted after it was captured? There is at least one that was appropriated by the FAA and converted on ship to Sea Hurricane status.

Trevor

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Kunming is on a lake in which one of the Flying Tigers crahed during the war.

The general terrain and the distance to the hills in the background appear consistent with other images taken at Kunming

Yes Kunming is on a lake but as far as I can discover it is not adjacent to the now defunct WW2 airfield.

Could the photo' have been taken in India? It seems more likely that the USAAF might have had Hurricane hacks there than in China.

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Trev: the FAA Hurricane Mk.II was one that went unserviceable on the way to Java/Sumatra, and this was at least a year before HW805.

Ley: I agree that India would appear more logical, and many fewer photos have appeared of the USAF in India than in China. But logic depends upon the assumptions started with, and tends to be often abandoned in wartime. (OK, I would agree that many apparently illogical decisions only seem that way because we don't know the full background...) However the problem I see with the hack option is that this was a new aircraft: 20 Squadron were only just equipping with it and training for a new role. There were after all a lot of older Hurricanes around in India for handing over as hacks.

Edited by Graham Boak

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The early 1943 style of US markings and the general cleanliness of both aircraft is really odd. I cannot think of any reason why the Americans would have bothered to fly two hurricanes over the hump into China. Not in 1943 when they were able to deliver more modern aircraft there (albeit with a great amount of effort). Also what would the Americans be doing with Hurricanes in China. There were probably other expired fighter types around if some sort of single seat hack was needed (P40s and generally these would be in war weary condition anyway) so why would they bother with the difficulties of delivering what appears to be two quite clean and new Hurricanes.

Hurricanes were used in the SE Asian theatre so that is the logical place for these to be, either there or in India. Perhaps they were hacks attached to one of the US depots in India that were assembling the US aircraft being sent to China. Even then Hurricanes were needed in the air war in Burma so why would such a valued commodity as what appears to be a couple of new aircraft be shunted off to be used as hacks by the Americans when they had a growing supply of their own to choose from including necessary spares support. As I suggested earlier perhaps a still from some long forgotten movie. An interesting conundrum.

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