Jump to content

RAAF Beaufighter colours


Recommended Posts

Syd,

 

What is your overall opinion of Airframe Album #14 (at least we know the Oz section will be good).

 

I'm a bit wary after knowing how Dick Hourigan (Mr CAC) pointed out major problems with parts of the Boomerang volume.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Sydhuey said:

me slightly peeved!    

Very restrained of you Syd, I'd be wanting to rip some buggers throat out. Have you communicated with Mr Franks on this? It would persuade me to leave this volume alone knowing that.

Steve.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, 72modeler said:

Kinda off-topic, but that bare metal Beau in the foreground- is that the one that was fitted with P&W R-2800 engines? IIRC it had the elongated nacelles as seen in the photo. I would make a very interesting modeling conversion project. I have enjoyed reading all of the posted material in this thread and have learned a lot about Aussie Beaus- that's what makes this site THE one for serious modelers and enthusiasts!

Mike

Yep, that is A19-2 after conversion. The attached drawing, taken from the wind tunnel report, gives a good indication of the differences between the two nacelles. Printed at 1:1 should come out to 1/48 scale, the scale I did my model in. Engines donated from an old Monogram B-25.

Peter M

 

resized_2163e371-ff8c-4a40-893b-807218fa

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Hornet133 said:

Syd,

 

What is your overall opinion of Airframe Album #14 (at least we know the Oz section will be good).

 

I'm a bit wary after knowing how Dick Hourigan (Mr CAC) pointed out major problems with parts of the Boomerang volume.

Haven't gone cover to cover but found mistakes on armament fit to RAAF Beaus, no mention of experimental under fuselage bomb racks fitted to Mk Ic's with 31 Sqn, has that Mk Ic's carried under wing bombs which they didn't and a few other things in the RAAF ops section so far , its not bad but unfortunately like many professional authors where once they may have been passionate about the subject he now obviously just collects a stack of data from various sources , correlates it and churns the books out .

I had correspondence with US Author Scott Thompson who told me just that , he has done quite alot of aviation books , some on subjects he is an expert on, some like his books on the A-20 Havoc and A-26 Invader he was contracted to write. 

 

Though one point he brought up worth looking into, he believes some of the late Mk X Beaufighters to the RAAF may have been in the late TLS scheme and not TSS scheme as applied to Beaufighters issued for ops in Burma , as the official RAAF scheme was still Foliage Green/Earth Brown over Sky Blue, so the RAF equivalent Dark Earth/Dark Green over Medium Sea Grey may have been delivered , though 31 Sqn would not have liked them and held out for TSS deliveries , as some Mk X's were delivered in the short lived White scheme (and repainted on delivery to Australia) it is possible, I will look into this more.    

Edited by Sydhuey
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Magpie22 said:

Yep, that is A19-2 after conversion.

OK, my bad! So A19-2 was fitted with Wright R-2600 radials, not P&W R-2800's as I posted. Makes sense then that using B-25 cowlings would work on your conversion, as the R-2600 was the engine used on Mitchell's. Thanks for the reply, the serial, and the description! Good on yer!

Mike

Edited by 72modeler
corrected spelling
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, 72modeler said:

OK, my bad! So A19-2 was fitted with Wright R-2600 radials, not P&W R-2800's as I posted. Makes sense then that using B-25 cowlings would work on your conversion, as the R-2600 was the engine used on Mitchell's. Thanks for the reply, the serial, and the description! Good on yer!

Mike

When the conversion was done there were lots of B-25 and A-20/Boston's operating with the R2600 and the RAAF also had a big fleet of Vultee Vengeance also with the R2600, so if the Hercules became unavailable the Wright R2600 was the obvious choice. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Sydhuey said:

When the conversion was done there were lots of B-25 and A-20/Boston's operating with the R2600 and the RAAF also had a big fleet of Vultee Vengeance also with the R2600, so if the Hercules became unavailable the Wright R2600 was the obvious choice. 

Makes perfect sense! Thanks!

Mike

Link to post
Share on other sites

A19-2 was a Ic that served for more than 6 months with 30 Sqn in NG then went to DAP at Fishermans Bend for testing and the conversion program, note in the photo's, the bottom one it still has the flat tail plane while the upper photo taken later she has been moded with the later dihedral tail, a rare refit on a Mk I. 

Edited by Sydhuey
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Sydhuey said:

A19-2 was a Ic that served for more than 6 months with 30 Sqn in NG then went to DAP at Fishermans Bend for testing and the conversion program, note in the photo's, the bottom one it still has the flat tail plane while the upper photo taken later she has been moded with the later dihedral tail, a rare refit on a Mk I. 

She was flown with both types of tailplane to correlate wind tunnel tests with flight tests. The wind tunnel tests were done for both Hercules and Wright R-2600 engines and, for flat and dihedral tailplane. Pitch stability of Beaufighters, particularly the flat tailed A/C, was a matter of some concern. The wind tunnel tests showed that the pitch stability was improved for the Wright-engined A/C with the flat tailplane, but there was only minimal change with the dihedral tailplane. I have never found a record of the flight tests but, for the technically minded, a section of one of the the pitching moment vs wing angle curves from the wind tunnel report is attached below. 

Peter M

 

bac53b8e-ebc9-4902-a344-86bae5a612e7.jpg

Ideally, the slope of the curve should be negative at all points, i.e. the curve should slop down continuously from left to the right for positive stability. The Wright-engined A/C with dihedral T/P is close to ideal and the Hercules-engined A/C with dihedral T/P is also positively stable.

For the Hercules-engined A/C with a flat T/P, the curve flattens out between 5 degrees and 11 degrees of alpha wing, even assuming a slightly positive slope, denoting negative pitch stability. A heavily loaded A/C would be flying in this range. It would also affect turning flight at all loadings as you pulled on alpha.

The Wright-engined A/C, although showing a significantly reduced stability in this range still remained positively stable.

Here Endeth the Lesson. 😁

Edited by Magpie22
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, dogsbody said:

A couple more views of A19-2:

Thanks, Chris! That is one nasty-looking Beau! Gotta keep this one in mind as a possible conversion project- sure wish it had been camouflaged, though!

Mike

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/2/2020 at 3:26 PM, Sydhuey said:

Well I just received the book Airframe Album #14 The Bristol Beaufighter, a detailed Guide to Bristol's Hard-hitting Twin by Richard A. Franks, I have a few of these books and like them a lot but ..................

Wasn't I surprised when I got to page 149 to 152, on Beaufighter markings in Australian service to find almost the contents of this thread in the book with the core of the section incredibly similar to what I wrote in the first post at the start of this thread, I don't mind the fact it was used it's on public domain but this is the third time script I have written has been copied to books/magazines without acknowledgment were it came from, US Author William Wolf copied almost word for word the text I wrote on Australian Bostons on The ADF Serials web site into his book on A-20 Boston/Havoc's, a Boston article in an aircraft Magazine was a copy of my work and now this on Australian Beaufighter markings , as I said I don't mind the fact it was used but the lack of acknowledgement that almost the entire contents of the section came from this thread on Britmodeller got me slightly peeved!    

Happens all the time unfortunately, the articles I wrote covering the 75 Sqn deployment on Op Falconer for Hyperscale ended up providing a fair chunk of both articles in Australian Aviation and the relevant Osprey volume on Hornets in OIF.

  • Sad 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...

Question on RAAF Foliage Green... concerning Mk. 21 Beaufighters has a consensus been reached on the issue of Foliage Green versus RAAF Dark Green raised in Vol. II of Pentland’s book. Was it just a variation in the suppliers of the Foliage Green paint or a concerted effort to create a darker color? I am underway in doing a series of Mk. 21 builds and would like to represent a variation from a weathered Foliage Green to the pseudo RLM 70 dark green described by Pentland. Can anyone shed more light on this subject?

Edited by BobinTn
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I've read right through this and I think I'm a little wiser! I still would like a considered opinion on the following:

 

The 1/72 DK decals version of A19-27 has it finished in TSS. Looking at the photos of this aircraft after coming to grief in June of 1943 it looks to me that it has been repainted - I'd reckon the wavy demarcation on the lower fuselage is a good clue as I don't recall any RAF Beaufighters painted in that style. So I'm guessing that it would have been in Foliage Green/Dark Earth/Sky Blue at this point.

 

What say the experts?

 

Cheers,

 

Matt 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is just in the std TLS scheme and just had a repaint and the painter did a wavy line like on the Bostons  , though anything is possible with Beaufighters, but as Beaufighters and Boston's were maintained by the same MU in Port Moresby , I believe they just stayed in the std Dark Green/Dark Earth over Sky , I always though DK (Franta) was wrong with the TSS schemes below A19-54, he corrected that on his latter sheets, New Guinea aircraft were usually in the DG/DE colour scheme, it was 31 Sqn in Dwn with the strange maritime schemes, the 30 Sqn machine with the strange scheme is A19-87 "R" , this one was delivered in TSS scheme and got repainted , I think the Slate Grey (which fades very fast in the tropics) was overpainted with Dark Green with the original Extra Dark Sea Grey, which would have faded hence the high contrast colour.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/10/2020 at 11:20 PM, BobinTn said:

Question on RAAF Foliage Green... concerning Mk. 21 Beaufighters has a consensus been reached on the issue of Foliage Green versus RAAF Dark Green raised in Vol. II of Pentland’s book. Was it just a variation in the suppliers of the Foliage Green paint or a concerted effort to create a darker color? I am underway in doing a series of Mk. 21 builds and would like to represent a variation from a weathered Foliage Green to the pseudo RLM 70 dark green described by Pentland. Can anyone shed more light on this subject?

The colour K3/177 Foliage green was specified by the RAAF in its K5 specification document. Several reports show that the paint delivered from four different paint manufacturers did not always meet the RAAF's specs both for sheen and hue, so there was some variation in the colour that was applied in service.

 

The Foliage Green applied to Beaufighters by the DAP was ordered by them and not subject to the RAAF checking procedure.  Based on recovered samples taken from A/C in the knackers yard, it appears to heve been maybe a little darker than the Foliage Green used by the RAAF. I don't have Pentland's book handy, so not sure what he said, but DAP Beaufighters were not finished in K3/216 Dark Green.

 

One thing to consider with your Mk.21 builds is the interior colour. On early A/C, the pilot's cockpit was apinted black, the rest of the interior being K3/322, 'cockpit green enamel. light absorbent'. This was more 'apple green' in colour than the earlier standard interior color of K3/193.

 

HTH,

Peter M

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, bombernut said:

OK, I've read right through this and I think I'm a little wiser! I still would like a considered opinion on the following:

 

The 1/72 DK decals version of A19-27 has it finished in TSS. Looking at the photos of this aircraft after coming to grief in June of 1943 it looks to me that it has been repainted - I'd reckon the wavy demarcation on the lower fuselage is a good clue as I don't recall any RAF Beaufighters painted in that style. So I'm guessing that it would have been in Foliage Green/Dark Earth/Sky Blue at this point.

 

What say the experts?

 

Cheers,

 

Matt 

I don't fully agree with @Sydhuey's assement.  I do, however, share his reservations re the accuracy of the DK decal sheet. For starters, A19-27 was on squadron strength in May 1943 not 1942 as stated on the instructions.

 

Not an expert, but my assessment, for what its worth, of the colours on A19-27 is as follows.

 

Originally it was painted in an Australian requested scheme to approximate RAAF requirements pertinent at the time. When received by the RAAF in May 1942 it was most likel;y painted in RAF Dark Earth and Dark Brown on the upper surfaces. The underside colour is open to some conjecture. It may have been RAF Sky, currently in use by the RAF on TLS finished aircraft or, it could have been RAF Sky Blue, which was also available at the time and would have been closer to the colour desired by the RAAF.

 

However, this is where I part company with Syd. A19-27 initially served with No. 5 OTU and, while with them suffered an accident when the starboard undercariage leg collapsed on landing in late January 1943. It was sent to No. 5 Aircraft Depot for repairs. It would undoubtedly have been repainted, at least on the undersurface, as part of that process. Another aircraft that went through repairs at No. 5 AD, and ended up with a similar 'wavy' line on the camouflage demarcation, was A19-37.

 

After repairs, A19-27 was allotted to No. 30 Sqn in late April 1943, replacing A19-8, the original 'H', (which suffered major structural damage after being 'shot up' over Lae). Just over a month later A19-27 suffered another accident on 8 June when she was bellied in after the starboard undercarriage failed to extend for landing. The photo to which you refer is probably of that incident. She looks to have fairly pristine upper surfaces, not what I would have expected after several months at the OTU and, I believe that there is a strong chance that she was completely repainted in the, then, standard RAAF scheme of the time, K3/177 Foliage Green and K3/178 Earth Brown on the upper surfaces, and K3/195 Sky Blue on the undersufaces.

 

Of course I have no positive proof of that colour scheme, nor can I positively verify the emblems that DK provides on the decal sheet. 

 

HTH

Peter M

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, thanks gents. I think in the long run I'll go with a Foliage Green/Earth Brown/ Sky Blue scheme. The paintwork looks too new to my way of thinking to be the original TLS in the photos of the crash. And just to throw some oil in the fire I just found this page at the 30 Squadron site by Jim Turner - http://www.beaufighter30squadronraaf.com.au/A19-27.html This contains an aerial view of what purports to be A19-27 taken by Damien Parer in February 1943, but I suspect from he information on ADF Serials this is actually A19-8, which was also coded H.

 

Oh well, this has been an interesting exercise, if for no other reason that on examination of the photos I found I put my tail planes on downside up! Now fixed!

 

Cheers,

 

Matt

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter I think you meant Dark Earth and Dark Green for the original colour of A19-27 not Dark Brown.

I didn't realise this was a 5 OTU machine before 30 Sqn so getting repaired in Australia may well have Australian colours applied, I don't believe the Australian colours Foliage Green, Earth Brown or Sky Blue were used on machines in NG (Beaufighters and Boston's) except for small patches/repairs and they stuck with Dark Green, Dark Earth and Sky with the MU in Port Moresby, you get oddities like 27 and 87 which may have been to AD's (in Australia) for 240 hrly's and repaints but I think they generally stayed in the basic TSS and TLS schemes. The DB-7B Boston's stayed in the DG/DE scheme till mid 44 when those left went to the allover Foliage Green scheme .  But as we know the Beaufighters are a mixing pot of colours  .

The pics of "H" on 30 Sqn site are probably a mix of 8 and 27, something I hadn't picked up before 

Edited by Sydhuey
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, getting Dark Earth and Earth Brown confused! :banghead:  I can only plead senility.

 

Pretty much agree with your comments, Syd. The RSU was looking after Boston and Beaufighter, both with TLS, (or US approximation therof), so it makes sense to use Dark Earth and Dark Green for touch ups. But even that was fraught with problems, as apparently Fairey had used syhthetic paints without a good primer coat, and the RAAF cellulose paints reacted badly when applied over the synthetic paint.

 

I hadn't seen all those photos on the 30 Sqn site, a while since I visited. The in-flight shot of 'H' is definitely A19-8 as, I believe, is the servicing shot. At least they set my mind to rest re the emblems being on A19-27. Ah, the mess that is Beaufighter camouflage!

 

Cheers,

Peter

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 weeks later...

No comments to make about paint schemes.  Data from the RAAF weekly reports and British production reports.


Coastal version Beaufighter production was only mark I at Fairey August 1941 to January 1942, Bristol started VIc in February 1942 (only 1 for the month), Fairey in March.  Mark X production began in December 1942, but given the first 60 tend to be classified as VI (Interim Torpedo Fighter), really in March 1943, by which time Fairey was building the last six VIc.  Mark XI production was January to April 1943.  So if you wanted coastal version Beaufighters those were your choices.


The first RAAF Beaufighter order was under Overseas Indent (OI) 910 in mid 1941, for 54 aircraft.


In the 21 August 1941 report confirmation was being requested of the Beaufighter delivery schedule ex UK of 12 in December 1941, then 14 per month January to March 1942, the confirmation arrived within a week.  The 27 November 1941 report from the UK has the first 12 aircraft in various stages of assembly, and the first to be test flown "this week", but none were shipped until February 1942.


In March 1942 the RAAF went to a 73 squadron plan, the 54 Beaufighters ordered on OI 910 were joined by another 308 on OI 1110, a reply to the request came within a week, little chance of any of the extra order.  In early May OI 910 was expanded by an additional 18 for wastage requirements, at 6 a month from May.  Then came reports of mark VI tentatively allocated for August and September, again 6 per month.  In early September OI 1110 dropped to 18 aircraft at the same time as the first mark IV shipment was notified.


In early November 1942 the 6 aircraft per month shipments were to be continued indefinitely as wastage requirements, by late November the number shipped and arrived was greater than the number on order, even though quotas were running towards a month behind, 102 Beaufighters had arrived or were reported en route.  So OI 1110 was raised to 72 aircraft, to cover 12 months wastage, July 1942 to June 1943, presuming there would be approval, which came later.  So a total of 144 officially ordered to date.


The two lost on the SS Ceramic on 14 January 1943 were going to be replaced but effectively never were.  The shipping quota was raised from 6 to 8 per month for 4 months from February/March onwards to replace those on Ceramic and build up a reserve in Australia against further losses at sea, with the extra quota to be extended if there were any further such losses.  However four more lost at sea (plus 10 Ansons) on 2 April 1943 on the SS Melbourne Star were again effectively never replaced.


By end June 1943 the number arrived plus those en route once again exceeded the number on order, by mid August 12 more, the initial idea was to order another 36, quickly amended to 72, and in early October it became OI 1334, finally approved in early November, raising the total order to 216, by which time 162 Beaufighters had arrived and 12 were en route.  First Australian Beaufighter production was in May 1944, with 112 accepted by the end of the year.

 

To the individual aircraft.  The ADF serials site was updated in September 2019, so this is a chance to see if it still has any holes.  Also like most RAAF aircraft the Beaufighter aircraft cards, accident and casualty reports are mostly digitised and can be viewed on the Australian Archives web site.  As are the squadron history sheets.  Interestingly the RAF Delivery Logs record the RAAF serials of the Beaufighters which helps cross checking, unlike say the Spitfire entries.  Why the RAAF ended up with 20 out of the 163 mark XI built is unclear, possibly while waiting for the definitive mark X to come into production.


The RAAF issued 218 Beaufighter serials, while reporting 210 were imported.  The difference of 8 is made up of the 6 lost at sea, plus A19-218/LX815 which was officially the pattern aircraft for local production (Like L4448 for the Beaufort production), meaning it was not classified as an RAAF order.  In the 25 March 1943 report one of three Beaufighter on an unnamed ship was damaged crossing the Atlantic and offloaded at New York, this was most probably A19-105/EL412 which ultimately ended up in India on 28 August 1943 and SOC 22 February 1945.  Note also in March 1943 A19-109/EL518 arrived damaged in transit and needed repair before RAAF service.


The initial batch of T serial mark I for the RAAF were taken on RAF charge 21 December 1941, nearby serials that stayed in Britain are reported as being delivered to Maintenance Units in late November.  There does not seem to be any major delays between production and packing for shipment.


The UK export report is built on the weekly summaries so tends to have 4 and 5 week months, the following table is reported UK Beaufighter exports, reported Australian imports (which are for the calendar month), and notes.  Why the RAF thinks 226 Beaufighters were exported to Australia and what happened to the difference of 8 aircraft is unknown, nor when they wre exported.  Essentially a continuing supply, no clear breaks.

 

Month / Export / Arrive / 
Jan-42 /  /  / 
Feb-42 / 14 /  / 
Mar-42 / 37 / 2 / 
Apr-42 / 3 / 18 / 
May-42 / 7 / 19 / 
Jun-42 / 10 / 19 / 
Jul-42 / 1 / 4 / 
Aug-42 / 3 / 8 / 
Sep-42 / 3 / 1 / 
Oct-42 / 11 / 7 / 
Nov-42 / 11 /  / 
Dec-42 / 6 / 11 / 
Jan-43 / 5 / 5 / 2 lost at sea, 14 January 1943, on SS Ceramic
Feb-43 / 2 / 6 / 
Mar-43 / 12 / 8 / 1 reported unloaded in New York due to damage, probably A19-105/EL412, one needing repairs on arrival, A19-109/EL518 damaged in transit
Apr-43 / 8 / 7 / 4 lost at sea, 2 April 1943 on SS Melbourne Star (plus 10 Ansons)
May-43 / 13 / 3 / 
Jun-43 / 10 / 9 / 
Jul-43 / 14 / 11 / 
Aug-43 / 4 / 12 / 
Sep-43 / 4 / 6 / 
Oct-43 / 10 / 6 / 
Nov-43 / 8 / 6 / 
Dec-43 /  / 6 / 
Jan-44 / 4 / 4 / 
Feb-44 / 9 / 6 / 
Mar-44 / 5 / 2 / 
Apr-44 / 7 / 10 / 
May-44 / 5 / 2 / Australian Beaufighter production begins, 1 in May, 2 in June, 8 in July.
Jun-44 /  / 4 / 
Jul-44 /  / 8 / 
Total / 226 / 210 / 


The 3 February 1943 report from the Air Member for Engineering and Maintenance states A9-93 (ex EL438) was the first dihedral tail Beaufighter delivered, at 2 Aircraft Park for erection, ADF serials have it arriving in January 1943.


A19-2 as of 19 July 1944 it was at 1 Aircraft Performance Unit, with Wright engines, awaiting return of reconditioned fuel tanks and with cowl gill modifications proceeding.  As of 20 September it was ready for the latest test flights, on 4 October 1944 a dihedral tail plane was being installed, in mid November undercarriage door modifications were being done, in January 1945 hydraulically operated undercarriage doors were being installed and so on.


For hopefully better detail than in the weekly reports,
A9186 307 RAAF Unit History sheets (Form A50) [Operations Record Book - Forms A50 and A51] Number 1 Aircraft Performance Unit Dec 43 - Nov 60
is digitised

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...
On 12/06/2020 at 10:29, Magpie22 said:

The Foliage Green applied to Beaufighters by the DAP was ordered by them and not subject to the RAAF checking procedure.

 

On 12/06/2020 at 10:29, Magpie22 said:

appears to heve been maybe a little darker than the Foliage Green used by the RAAF.

 

Hi Peter,

 

Would you be able to suggest a reasonable match for the DAP-sourced equivalent of Foliage Green? Quite an ask, I realise, but as a modeller with little knowledge or pre-conceived ideas of Australian camouflage colours, I'd be grateful for advice.

 

Also

 

On 12/06/2020 at 10:29, Magpie22 said:

One thing to consider with your Mk.21 builds is the interior colour. On early A/C, the pilot's cockpit was apinted black, the rest of the interior being K3/322, 'cockpit green enamel. light absorbent'. This was more 'apple green' in colour than the earlier standard interior color of K3/193.

 

Were the later Mk.21 cockpits finished in Cockpit Green Enamel all over? Another big ask: can you give an idea of the change over point?

 

Again being unfamiliar with Australian colours, to give me an idea of the hues of the interior greens, was K3/193 similar to RAF interior grey-green, which is quite a pale shade? If so, would you say that K3/322 was a more "apple-ey" (presumably yellower?) version of that, or a different shade?

 

Many thanks for any help, and a happy New Year.

 

Kind regards,

 

Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...