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KRK4m

RAF SEAC No.27 & 177 Squadron Beaufighter VICs colours

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Among several RAF squadrons flying the Beaufighter over the CBI theatre most were either anti-shipping strike units using the Mk.Xs or night fighter squadrons equipped with the Mk.VI. As far as I know only No.27 Squadron (since November 1942 till July 1944) and No.177 Squadron (between May 1943 and May 1944) used also the Mk.VI in anti-shipping and coastal patrol roles.

However I haven't seen any photos of these a/c and my question concerns their camouflage. For how long could they wear the factory-applied Temperate Sea Scheme (typical for the Coastal Command Mk.VIs)? Or were they repainted into the Temperate Land Scheme (like most Mk.Xs) before the delivery to the front-line units?

BTW were the undersides of DE/DG Beaus painted Sea Grey Medium (like on Thunderbolts and Hurricanes) or Azure Blue (like on Mosquitoes)? Or maybe were they left in Sky Type S like on Blenheims and Vengeances?

Cheers

Michael

Edited by KRK4m

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You might find this thread of interest.

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234924309-seac-beaufighter-tf-mk-x-no-22-sqn-bay-of-bengal-1945-picture-profile/?hl=%2Bbeaufighters+%2Bseac#entry1100771

There is at least one more thread which included considerable discussion about the actual operations of Beaufighters along the Burmese coast, but I couldn't find it in a quick look.

IIRC the conclusion was that some units did indeed retain TSS.

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Graham,

I have inspected (probably) all those threads before starting this new one. There are several photos of night fighter VIFs in SGM/DG "semi-wraparound" camouflage and numerous torpedo-carrying TFXs either in TSS or in DG/DE over (perhaps) SGM.

But what I'm looking for is a anti-shipping strike Mk.VI (with no torpedo and no thimble-nose) from the Indian Ocean coast. And this is the reason I have limited my search to these two squadrons listed in the topic for. I still do hope that such an a/c could be the fine subject for the TSS-camouflaged model with small SEAC "blue" roundels.

Cheers

Michael

Edited by KRK4m
misprint found

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Your original premise that SEAC Beau units were either anti-shipping or night fighter is wrong. The primary role of 27 Sqn was long-range, low-level interdiction across Burma although initially it provided a brief night fighter response capability at Calcutta. Targets included road, rail, river and coastal transport as well as enemy airfields and their zone of operations stretched from the west coast of Burma inland as far as Myitkina and as far south as Henzada and eventually beyond.

177 Sqn performed similar duties as part of 224 Group's 901 Wing in 3rd Tactical Air Force, their main objectives being "the destruction of enemy transport systems and attacks on enemy airfields" up to 700 miles behind Japanese lines. In 177 Sqn the radar thimble nose of the X was replaced with a standard nose cone housing a Fairchild F24 mapping camera.

In the context of the Burma campaign their role though officially considered tactical was almost strategic in nature and was much broader than "coastal" or "anti-shipping" although targets of opportunity came into both categories.

Nick

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Thank you, Nick - I had no idea about such "deep penetration" possibilities of Beau. But their "almost strategic" role is some kind of justification for the DG/DE camouflage. And this makes my search for the TSS-camouflaged SEAC Mk.VI almost chanceless :(

Cheers

Michael

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Michael

There is a slim possibility for 22 Sqn (RAF) Beaus (not to be confused with 22 Sqn RAAF which also flew Beaus). 22 Sqn were deployed on convoy escort and ASW duties from Ratmalana in Ceylon with Beauforts. They re-equipped with Beau TFX in June 1944 but did not move to Assam until December when they were based at Kumbhirgran, which is near Imphal, and later at the more primitive strip at Joari (Joarianala) north of Ramu, to undertake ground attack duties as part of 901 Wing. They were noted as routinely operating at higher altitudes on their sweeps than the other Beau squadrons.

I'm not sure whether in that 5 month Beau period in Ceylon, first at Ratmanala and then at Vavuniya, they continued with an intended operational coastal role or were just working up on the Beaus and practicing rocket firing. Others might know more about that. For operations over Burma they seem to have worn TLS. The interdiction sorties were usually flown in singles or pairs of aircraft. This thread might be of further interest in your quest:-

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234924309-seac-beaufighter-tf-mk-x-no-22-sqn-bay-of-bengal-1945-picture-profile/

Btw the 177 Sqn Beau crews considered the P-38 to be more dangerous to them than the Japanese Ki-43. They lost two aircraft to Lightnings.

Nick

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One caveat you may happen upon when researching ACSEA Beaufighters is the Mk.VIF's (Fighter configured) of 89 Squadron.

89 Sqn had a similar record of movement to 22 - first at Ceylon and then Assam but with a lot of detachments to different airfields presumably for night air defence. The other air defence Beau Sqn in theatre was 176 which operated Beau VIf (after earlier types) in A flight and radar-equipped Hurricane IIc (NF) (until Jan 1944) in B flight all over the shop including Bagaichi (Calcutta), Assam and Ceylon. According to one source the Beau VIf were in Temperate Land but painted black underneath and the Hurris ditto but stripped of their tropical filters, armour and in order to chase Dinah in daylight their radar too.

Air HQ India orders of April 1944 required all fighters to be in Temperate Land with Medium Sea Grey under surfaces without distinguishing day or night roles. Whether aircraft delivered in TSS and re-painted TLS had their under surfaces re-painted is moot. It might explain descriptions of duck egg blue under surfaces.

The Beaus on interdiction duties were categorised as long-range fighter.

Nick

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Categorising Beaufighters (VIC and TFX) as fighters can explain their SGM undersurfaces (like Thunderbolts and Hurricanes) if they have been repainted from the factory-applied TSS with Sky undersurfaces. I understand thus that Mosquito FBVI wasn't a fighter for the Air HQ India, as most sources describe their undersurfaces as painted Azure Blue (although some profiles show SGM too).

Cheers

Michael

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Categorising Beaufighters (VIC and TFX) as fighters can explain their SGM undersurfaces (like Thunderbolts and Hurricanes) if they have been repainted from the factory-applied TSS with Sky undersurfaces. I understand thus that Mosquito FBVI wasn't a fighter for the Air HQ India, as most sources describe their undersurfaces as painted Azure Blue (although some profiles show SGM too).

Cheers

Michael

TLS over Azure Blue was required for day fighters overseas until Air India HQ issued their own order for MSG in April 1944 . I think the change had something to do with the situation in the Middle East as the air campaign moved into Italy but have not been able to confirm that.

Nick

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I'm not sure I get your meaning with "Whether… …is moot" statement though. Can you elaborate please?

Cheers,

Terry

Per the ICI Report on paints and finishing in SEAC. They toured SEAC from Sep to Dec 1944 and their comprehensive report contains many interesting if somewhat paint-geeky details but this commentary suggests a possible inconsistency in re-finishing practices. For example Air India HQ stated that coastal GR aircraft with Azure Blue under surfaces would only require re-finishing when maintenance schedules permitted. Azure Blue was sometimes referred to as "sky blue" in theatre. The precise crossover from Azure Blue (and in some cases Sky) to Medium Sea Grey is uncertain but the practice seems to have preceded the April 1944 order. I hope that you can share any future insight from Atholl Sutherland Brown as that may provide important clues as to whether the whole aircraft was re-finished or just the upper surfaces. On Mosquitoes I think I have more to say on that but need to dig it out. The documentation is mind bogglingly complex to establish a clear chronology around and much Air India HQ internals are missing.

ICISEACTourReport-vi.jpg

ICIDSEACTourReport2-vi.jpg

Nick

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Per the ICI Report on paints and finishing in SEAC. They toured SEAC from Sep to Dec 1944 and their comprehensive report contains many interesting if somewhat paint-geeky details but this commentary suggests a possible inconsistency in re-finishing practices. For example Air India HQ stated that coastal GR aircraft with Azure Blue under surfaces would only require re-finishing when maintenance schedules permitted. Azure Blue was sometimes referred to as "sky blue" in theatre. The precise crossover from Azure Blue (and in some cases Sky) to Medium Sea Grey is uncertain but the practice seems to have preceded the April 1944 order. I hope that you can share any future insight from Atholl Sutherland Brown as that may provide important clues as to whether the whole aircraft was re-finished or just the upper surfaces. On Mosquitoes I think I have more to say on that but need to dig it out. The documentation is mind bogglingly complex to establish a clear chronology around and much Air India HQ internals are missing.

ICISEACTourReport-vi.jpg

ICIDSEACTourReport2-vi.jpg

Nick

Common sense in a WW2 report,......wonders will never cease!! It must have been written by a civvie and not an officer! Thanks for sharing this Nick, much appreciated indeed,

Cheers

Tony

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So - are there any photos existing of the Beau Mk.VI © (neither TF.X nor night fighter VI F) operating over the CBI theatre to discuss this topic further?

Cheers

Michael

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So - are there any photos existing of the Beau Mk.VI © (neither TF.X nor night fighter VI F) operating over the CBI theatre to discuss this topic further?

Cheers

Michael

Yes.

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Thank you, Gentlemen for these exhaustive answers :) That's what I wanted to know...

Knowing that such photos do exist I can start looking for them now.

Cheers

Michael

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On the other hand: which kit is a better start point to build a Mk.VIc - Hasegawa Mk.VIF or Airfix TF Mk.X ?

Cheers

Michael

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There is a WIP topic on a comparison build of the Airfix Mk X and Hasegawa's VI, buried several pages back by now I suspect. From what I remember from it, the AIrfix kit has better overall dimensions (Hasegawa was marginally short in either length or span). I built the Hasegawa kit when it was new, typical mid-90s Hasegawa, reasonable fit, with no landing gear bay detail and minimal cockpit detail. I also have the Airfix kit currently in progress. Typical new generation Airfix, lots more detail than Hasegawa but not as crisp.

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234988073-beaufighter-comparison-build/?hl=%2Bairfix+%2Bbeaufighter is the comparison WIP, that may be your best way to choose.

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Thanks, Chuck. I have seen that topic last autumn, but it ended nowhere. We still don't know whether Hase is 1:74 or Airfix 1:70 as JWM asked there.

My doubts concern the details of both kits, like rear gunner canopy (for the Mk.VIc), wing MGs, carb intake filters, exhausts, tailplanes, a.s.o.

Cheers

Michael

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There were excellent scale plans published earlier this year in Airfix magazine, so the kit scale problem, whatever it is, should be easy to sort. I think Chuck's comment is right, but need to check.

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If the dimensional data I have is correct, i.e. wing span 17.63m, overall length (no spinners on props) 12.60m, fuselage length (pug nose) 11.94m then Hasegawa is almost spot on. Scaled 1:72 dimensions should be 245mm span, 175 length o/a and 166mm fuselage.The kit shows 244mm span, 174 overall and 164 fuselage length, thus being 1:72.3.

I do not have the new Airfix in the stash, but if it displays 6mm more in both directions this is the new (laser/lidar measured!) Airfix kit that is DIMENSIONALLY WRONG. A 1/4" in this scale makes a difference - if Enzo Matrix had measured the Airfix kit correctly with 250mm span and 180/170mm length it's something about 1:70.4.

Cheers

Michael

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If the dimensional data I have is correct, i.e. wing span 17.63m, overall length (no spinners on props) 12.60m, fuselage length (pug nose) 11.94m then Hasegawa is almost spot on. Scaled 1:72 dimensions should be 245mm span, 175 length o/a and 166mm fuselage.The kit shows 244mm span, 174 overall and 164 fuselage length, thus being 1:72.3.

I do not have the new Airfix in the stash, but if it displays 6mm more in both directions this is the new (laser/lidar measured!) Airfix kit that is DIMENSIONALLY WRONG. A 1/4" in this scale makes a difference - if Enzo Matrix had measured the Airfix kit correctly with 250mm span and 180/170mm length it's something about 1:70.4.

Cheers

Michael

Michael,

Airfix go out and measure an actual, extant airframe using modern methods and their kit is pronounced 'dimensionally wrong'? Whilst I concede that there could be errors in processing the raw data that filter through to the end kit, what makes you so confident that your dimensional data is correct? Did you run your tape measure over that same airframe? Is it from Wikipedia? Is it from the A.P., which is not always as accurate as it could be, or some other such source?

I'll also admit there could be problems in relying on measuring one airframe. For example, is it typical of the type? What is the modification history of the airframe? Is it a hotch-potch of parts?

Please don't feel this is an attack on you, I'm just curious to know where you are coming from and the provenance of your data that gives you such confidence to declare the Airfix kit "dimensionally wrong" despite opening with "If the dimensional data I have is correct...". Indeed, if your data is correct then the Airfix kit is wrong, but if your data is incorrect, then it follows that the Hasegawa kit is wrong.

Mark.

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Michael has a number of "ifs" in his posting, but you have a bigger one. Is it true that Airfix measured the aircraft with LIDAR? By no means all of their new models have been measured this way.

Please don't haul out this business of differences between individual aircraft - if they are to the same standard of nose, fin, wingtips etc then there will be no measurable difference in a small scale kit - and precious little if any on the real thing. Aircraft are not built up in stages, one by one where small errors can combine. They are built on overall jigs with the accuracy on overall length measured to thousands of inches.

Generally, the measurements of British aircraft quoted in sources agree with each other and are based on official service or factory documents. That doesn't mean there isn't the odd mistake, but generally they are reliable. The dimensions I have found in Putnam's "Bristol Aircraft since 1910" are a length of 41 ft 4 in (actually 42 ft 6 in for the MK.X, but presumably this is for the radar nose) and a span of 57 ft 10 in. This suggests a length of 175 mm and a span of 244.8 mm, much as argued above.

There has been an exceptionally good set of Beaufighter plans published in Airfix magazine recently (earlier this year) done by Terry Higgins of Aviaeology. They are based on BAC (Bristol Aircraft Corporation) drawing #441302, issue 4, September 5th 1944, with details taken from other company sources. I don't have the Airfix kit, but do have the Hasegawa unassembled. The Hasegawa rear fuselage is approximately 2 mm short, between the panel line immediately before the gun position to the rudder hinge line, as compared to Terry's 1/72 fuselage side views. The plan view measurements I used have to be multiplied by 1.333. I measured from the wingtip to where the fairing from the fuselage meets the wing. This was 84mm, or 112mm in 1/72. The kit measures approximately 110mm. This suggests that the kit has an overall shortfall in span of 4mm (assuming the fuselage is the correct width, but any errors here would be much more noticeable, and in length of 2mm. So overall it is about 2% undersize, but not consistently.

If Terry is reading this, perhaps he could say what overall dimensions he found quoted, and whether the plans as published are accurate as drawn. Errors have been known in this last respect.

From his drawing, I measure a span of approximately 246 mm and a length of 176 mm, both some 1mm over the official numbers. Good enough for me.

Edited by Graham Boak

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My measurements of Hasegawa kit from my stash gave 110.7mm for the wing and 11.1mm for the fuselage half.

This makes 121.8mm for each half of span and 243.6mm for the whole aircraft - so 1.2mm or 0.5% under scale.

Mark - I don't feel attacked and there's a point where I do agree with you thoroughfully: "...there could be errors in processing the raw data that filter through to the end kit..."

You also ask me what makes me so confident that my dimensional data is correct? Hundreds of books and articles I have read about the aircraft (mostly military, mostly WW2, mostly British and US) for last 50 years. Plus 20 years of work as the main keeper of aircraft in the Aviation Museum...

Cheers

Michael

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Your numbers made me go back. In a late article Terry did have a 1/72 plan view, so I held the kits parts together, on the principle that any small measurement errors I'm making would be reduced in importance over the longer distance. This suggests that 2% was an exaggeration on span, and it is closer to 1%.

Which leads to the question - does it matter? To my way of thinking, getting overall distances to within 1% is about as good as it is reasonable to expect - it's nice to be closer but possibly fortunate. So the Hasegawa wing is not a problem. The fuselage is another matter - the 2mm error is all in the rear fuselage so it is possible that it will appear stunted to those who really like Beaufighters.

For those who argue that small percentages don't matter, consider the kits that appeared in 1/75. These are visibly shrunken next to their 1/72 counterparts, but this is 4%. Remember 4% on a linear dimension is 12% on volume/bulk. It isn't surprising that this is visible. 2% linear gives 6% volume, and I feel this is on the edge of perceptions. 1% linear is 3% in 3D, and I suggest few if any will notice. If you do, park it on your shelf away from other Beaufighter kits.

Edited by Graham Boak

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...the 2mm error is all in the rear fuselage so it is possible that it will appear stunted to those who really like Beaufighters.

But Beaus ARE stunted!

Terry, is this the Hyperscale comment (down the thread a bit) you alluded to?

bob

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