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MeneMene

Fairey Swordfish underwing racks

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Hello-

 

I'm doing the Tamiya Swordfish I as one of the Bismarck attack aircraft with a torpedo loadout, and I'm trying to figure out what to do about the underwing hardpoints. I've found the one picture from the deck of the Victorious before the first attack, but not in high enough resolution to see what's actually under the wings of the aircraft.

 

1) There are three bomb racks under each wing. I know the bombs were not carried during the attack, but should the empty racks still be present? I've seen photos both with and without

 

2) Same questions about the smaller racks for the smoke/flares. I would imagine a torpedo + flare loadout would be very believable, but I'm not finding any reference to flares used in the Bismarck operation.

 

Thanks

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My next build is a Swordfish so I've been doing a lot of research but not specific to the Bismark I'm afraid. Going through my information this was the best I could find:

 

 

o9gxop.jpg

 

The image is from "Swordfish The Fleet Air Arms Versatile, Long Serving, Legendary "Stringbag" Pg. 41" but can also be found in "Squadron Signal - Aviation - In Action - 1175 - Fairey Swordfish Pg.19". I have been unable to find the image source for a clearer view I'm afraid.

 

Hope it helps.

 

EDIT:

The text accompanying the image in the second reference states that this launch was to target the Bismark and that it was during this sortie that the 15 swordfish mistook the HMS Sheffield for the Bismark. The second strike that night found the Bismark.

 

There is another image which may be helpful here which was taken in April 1941 aboard the Ark Royal.

Edited by KelT

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8 hours ago, MeneMene said:

Hello-

 

I'm doing the Tamiya Swordfish I as one of the Bismarck attack aircraft with a torpedo loadout, and I'm trying to figure out what to do about the underwing hardpoints. I've found the one picture from the deck of the Victorious before the first attack, but not in high enough resolution to see what's actually under the wings of the aircraft.

 

1) There are three bomb racks under each wing. I know the bombs were not carried during the attack, but should the empty racks still be present? I've seen photos both with and without

 

2) Same questions about the smaller racks for the smoke/flares. I would imagine a torpedo + flare loadout would be very believable, but I'm not finding any reference to flares used in the Bismarck operation.

 

Thanks

As kELT'S image above shows the  wing mounted universal carriers were still fitted on the attack.  If you look carefully There are 8 stores fitted to the  wing  Light series carriers, what they are is not clear due to the poor quality of the image they might be flares?

The additiuonal IWM image also shows these stores but again not clearly.

 

Selwyn

 

 

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During my research one thing I have come to learn is that there is often no definitive answer. For example I looked at the instructions for your Tamiya Swordfish and it has the aircraft flown by A.W. Beale during the Bismark attacks, marked as "2P" with serial number V4372. According to Ray Sturtivants Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939-1945 all he has entered for V4372 is:

 

Deld. Lee SS 2.4.41

 

In his book "The Swordfish Story" he has the following:

 

AIRCRAFT INVOLVED IN BISMARCK ATTACK, 26 MAY 1941
No 2 Sub-Flight
'2P' / L2826?  Sub-Lt(A) A. W. D. Beale RN,     Sub-Lt(A) C. Friend RN,     L/ A K. Pimlott

 

So even with his thorough research he was not certain of the Aircraft flown by A.W.D. Beale. Although he does have the following which identifies L2826 as "2P":

 

L2826         Deld 4 ASU Ternhill 1.12.37; FAA Pool Gosport 28.11.38; AMDP; FAA Pool Gosport: 820 Sqn Ark Royal ('A4L'), crashed on landing Ark Royal 26.6.39; 810 Sqn Ark Royal ('A2P'; '2P') 3.40-3.41.

 

However on 5.4.42 A.W.D Beale was flying V4371:

 

788 Sqn China Bay. Shot down by A6Ms [possibly the a/c shot down by A6Ms from Hiryu while in line astern passing along balloon corridor N of Colombo, crashed into sea, in which S/L A. W. D. Beale & LA F. H.Edwards both killed].

 

I guess what I am trying to show is that often absolute accuracy is not possible since many stories differ and references often contradict each other. From the images above, which are the closest I could find to the actual event you are trying to model, the Light outer racks appear to be carrying some small rounded arms. Quite what they are I've not been able to determine but they don't appear to be included in your Tamiya kit whatever they are. I did identify the source of the images as being from Lt. Cdr M. B. W. Howell and in fact there is another image - almost as though the original had been cut in two - of the deck to the left of the one I posted above. Unfortunately it doesn't help clarify matters any.

 

The most important lesson I've learned so far is to do your research by all means but at the end of the day just make the model in a way that makes you feel happy, you're likely to be as right as the next man.

 

 

EDIT: I forgot to add. Theses were the loads carried during the raid on Taranto according to Sturtivant's Swordfish Story:

 

The relevant loads were:
(I) 1 x 18in Mk XII torpedo (setting 27kts, 33ft); 1 x parachute flare (setting 7).
(2) 4 x 250lb SAP bombs; 8 x parachute flares (setting 7); 8 x parachute flares (setting16)
(3) 6 x 250lb SAP bombs; 1 x parachute flare (setting 7).
(4) 2 x 250lb SAP bombs; 8 x parachute flares (setting 7); 8 x parachute flares (setting 16).

 

So a torpedo/flare configuration was used in other situations and there was certainly means to carry 8 parachute flares so perhaps these are indeed what were on the outer wings?

 

Edited by KelT

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9 hours ago, KelT said:

During my research one thing I have come to learn is that there is often no definitive answer. For example I looked at the instructions for your Tamiya Swordfish and it has the aircraft flown by A.W. Beale during the Bismark attacks, marked as "2P" with serial number V4372. According to Ray Sturtivants Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939-1945 all he has entered for V4372 is:

 

 

True, but we can often rule out some possibilities and narrow the search to those that are credible. In the case of 810:2P there is no need because definitive evidence exists that 2P was L2826, along with at least two photographs (in one of which the serial is clear).  So Tamiya's instructions are simply wrong if they relate to a Bismarck Swordfish (are you sure they don't refer to 810 squadron on Illustrious in 1942?)

 

During the Bismarck operation 2P:L2826 was flown three times on the 26/5: on the 0835-1145 search (S/Lt C.M.T Hallewell (P), S/Lt A. Pearce (O), L/A R. Soden (TAG)); torpedo striking force HMS Sheffield 1455-1735 (S/Lt C.M.Jewell (P), L/A Miller (TAG) - no observer carried); and torpedo striking force Bismarck  1905-2205 (S/Lt A.W.D. Beale (P), S/Lt C.Friend (O) and L/A K.Pimlott (TAG)).  

 

Note that a small number of Ark Royal's Swordfish at this time were fitted with long range tanks in the observer's position. For the Sheffield attack, there were not enough observers available, so 2P flew without one. 2P carried the "Royal Navy" legend in a non-standard position forward of the fuselage roundel.

 

As for the stores carried, the Admiralty records do not provide this level of detail. However, smoke floats would be quite likely, especially since at various points aircraft were detailed for search/shadow/strike roles.

 

Edited by iang

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Is there a reference available the shows what parachute flares or smoke floats looked like? It may perhaps help to determine what might be on those underwing racks by being able to match a shape.

Steve

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I haven't been able to find any image of a parachute flare unfortunately, perhaps someone else will have more luck. I did zoom in and play with the levels on the image above though and came up with this:

 

2gvshhe.jpg

 

 

Not much to look at I know but this is another image from the Ark Royal of aircraft 2F. I don't have a date for this one and doubt it was anything to do with same attacks on the Bismark as the one above. Again I played with levels and cropped the image to show the under-wing better.

 

2qk1q9d.jpg

 

These do look very much like the Smoke Bombs (Tamiya parts E22/E23) and are clearly loaded with a torpedo. Whether they are the same item as the blurry grey blobs in the image above is anybody's guess but if it were me I'd say yes and build it that way. They're certainly nothing like the two in the IWM image though which look more like small bombs.

 

2j0m2bo.jpg

 

Small bombs were carried on the outer wing later on as these images from HMS Tracker in 1943 show. The main pylons held some kind of rocket which were censored in the photos at the time but the outer pylons and small bomb looking items scattered around the deck were not.

 

r04mkz.jpg

 

6id2lj.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 7/3/2018 at 9:56 AM, stevehnz said:

Is there a reference available the shows what parachute flares or smoke floats looked like? It may perhaps help to determine what might be on those underwing racks by being able to match a shape.

Steve

details on smoke floats found here

 

https://ww2data.blogspot.com/2017/02/british-explosive-ordnance-aircraft_13.html

 

& parachute flares (British about 1/4 way down page)

 

https://ww2data.blogspot.com/search?q=parachute+flare

Edited by Circloy
links

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I don’t know whether it is relevant or not, but the standard tactic for attacking a ship at night (which continued right into the 1960s - Sea Vixens and Wasps both used a version) was to drop flares and then attack the ship sillhouetted against the flare path.  The flares had no performance penalty, so it seems entirely plaisible (to me, anyway) that they might fly strike sorties carrying both weapon and flares.

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There must have been some performance penalty, but on a loaded Swordfish it might have been difficult to notice.   I gather much the same technique was used with Wellingtons in the Med, but ideally there'd be one machine maintaining the flares, because by the time you'd dropped them and then worked your way around to an attacking position. they would have gone into the sea.  However, even a loaded Wellington was faster than a Swordfish.

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