Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

72nd SQN

Hellcat NF.II - Help please !

Recommended Posts

Hi all, just reaching out to see if anyone has a copy of the source photo referenced for this drawing of an FAA F6F-5N. It quotes Aviation News Vol 2, No.18, p6. If anyone has a copy of this would be greatly appreciated !

 

cheers Paul.

 

resized_3f1ca6fd-5916-4b81-940a-546184b3

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a copy of the Photograph, but I reckon that this 1978 Publication from Rene Francillon is the title referenced above- less than a tenner from a well known online retailer!

 

US Navy Carrier Air Groups 1941-45

 

Doh! Wrong ref. soz. 

 

Might get the book anyhoo. 

Edited by Troffa
Not reading the question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sturtivant, "FAA aircraft 1939 to 1945" and "FAA Squadrons" refers to KE122 as 'D5K', serving with No. 784 Squadron in 1945/46.

This makes me think the fuselage roundel would actually be a standard 'C1' type, rather than an EIF roundel.

That is, assuming your reference is indeed about KE122.

 

Claudio

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks Claudio, yes I have my suspicions as well. The line drawing is very definitive about some things (ie Codes overlapping the Royal Navy, white nose to APS, it shows a rectangular external rear view mirror etc), but is a bit vague about other things (like the actual serial and the white nose ring etc). So if we can get to the source photo, at least we will be able make a more informed call. Cheers -Thanks heaps for the thoughts.

 

Paul

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The codes would have been of the form C5.X, or perhaps C.5X, in the Indian Ocean Fleet, but they didn't use C5, which was used for TBR training at Crail.  Only one or two Mk.II(NF) appear to have reached Coimbatore, with no reference to further attachment to units.  The second edition of FAA Squadrons contains reference to 800 Sq operating JX999/C3.H as an NF, operating with the 29th Naval Fighter Wing, but the book contains no history of the 29th and the companion volume FAA Aircraft of WW2 has JX999 as a vanilla Mk.II.  The third edition of FAA Squadrons has altered the reference to a Mk.II with the 3rd NFW.  None of the constituent units operated with the codes C5.X.

 

So a photo would be very interesting.  Unfortunately I threw out my Aviation News some years ago.

Edited by Graham Boak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The chap might well know would be @iang,  this will notify him.

 

On 2/9/2018 at 22:36, 72nd SQN said:

It quotes Aviation News Vol 2, No.18, p6. If anyone has a copy of this would be greatly appreciated !

 

ask the seller if has the picture in question

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AVIATION-NEWS-VOL-2-18-1974-NO-54-SQUADRON-J-MORGAN-T-CARLTON-KAWASAKI-KI-61/163105534946

but for £2.85 posted may well be worth taking chance?

 

HTH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny how these things resolve, but a mate of mine recognised the cover of the Aviation News that Troy posted and being an FAA modeller he had saved this edition and just sent me the pic. On the pic, it looks like the wing roundels are standard B's with red centres and with the light it is impossible to tell if the C1's have been painted out, but would guess they are haven't been altered but there is no description of where or when which always helps - the deck crew gear doesn't look too tropical. The codes are clear, the white cowling ring is purely speculative and the serial is impossible to read, but is referenced as KE122 in the description above the pic. Looks like a Fleet carrier with armoured deck but I could be way off on that. One thing is right - the exhaust staining is heavy !. Original Source quoted is FAA Museum and its one of Ray Sturtivants articles- so a quality researcher. Keen on thoughts from the the collective brains-trust to help complete this picture...

 

resized_17c2bd49-2b47-45c9-b89f-87ded075 

Edited by 72nd SQN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rarely was Troy's maxim "Never trust a profile without a photo" more appropriate.  I am surprised that this fanciful artwork originates from Martin Streetly, whose research is usually as punctilious as that of St Ray of Sturtivant himself.

 

Short answer: this is aircraft 5C of 892 Squadron in standard European markings, the carrier is probably HMS Ocean and the date almost certainly between 22 Nov 1945 and 19 April 1946.

 

Long answer.  (Ian Gazeley, Tony O'Toole and I batted around the subject of 892 Sq's Hellcat NFs back in 2013 but it may have been off forum.  I hope I have not betrayed any confidences and I wouldn't be surprised if they have more to add.)  As has been hinted, the code presentation C-5 is anomalous for FAA aircraft of the period whose full codes would have been Letter/Number/Letter.  What's painted on the aircraft may be Letter (individual aircraft), Number/Letter (unit and individual aircraft) or Letter/Number/Letter (ship or station or wing/squadron/individual aircraft).  When 892 formed as a Hellcat unit and was working up at Drem, it used individual aircraft codes only, placed forward of the roundel.  When it embarked on HMS Ocean on 7 Dec 1945 (with what looks like a week of deck landing training a fortnight before that), it added a squadron letter.  The number should have preceded the letter on both sides eg 5C : on the port side it did (eg 5-C) but, AFAIK anomalously, the presentation on the starboard side was C-5.  There is photographic evidence for the same anomalous presentation on 5B and 5R.  Later still, 892's Hellcats acquired the carrier letter O: at this point the starboard side presentation was standardised ie O-5x on both sides of the aircraft.  After one deployment to the Mediterranean on board Ocean, the squadron disbanded in the UK on 19 April 1946.

 

None of the photos I have is clear enough to show the serial.  Although Sturtivant gives several serial/code correlations for the single code Drem period, most if not all the aircraft used during the workup period were in store at Donibristle by 1 October 1945, having been replaced by a new complement of aircraft prior to embarkation in Ocean, so it is unwise to assume any carry-over.  Given the shortness of the deployment it can however be assumed reasonably safely that 5x and O5x were the same aircraft.  From Sturtivant's FAA Aircraft 1939-45, during the Drem period serials were mostly JZxxx with a couple of KDxxx towards the end.  Given how few KExxx series Hellcats bore squadron codes, I am inclined to SPECULATE  that Sturtivant's "D5K" for KE122 is a misreading of O5K.  He also identifies KD158 as a IINF serving with 892 from Dec 1945.

 

NB the upperwing roundel in the photo above is a standard Type C (clearer on the starboard wing).  None of the photos I have seen support the presence of a white cowl ring (and I have seen some from a more head-on view).  The bit about 4-gun armament is nonsense though some of 892's aircraft had 2 x 20mm cannon plus 4 x 0.50s. The code letter is carried on the forward undercarriage doors.

 

There is a photo of a very scruffy O-5B (starboard side) on p.218 of Vic Flintham's Aircraft in British Military Service since 1946.  Note the quirky style of the 5, with a slanting upright portion: I haven't found a 1/72 transfer sheet that replicates that yet.  Flintham's identification of the aircraft as JZ823 is in error as this is one of the original aircraft back in store at Donibristle before 892 went to sea.

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by Seahawk
Typos and grammar. Correction of final code presentation following review of photos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

resized_c44cf588-1276-43e7-98ce-7b8e1bee

 

 

 

There has been a thread on FAA Hellcat NF before.  

 

The above photo is 892 Squadron, HMS Ocean 1946,  though the War ended before her intended deployment with the BPF. I don't know the serial of O5C and can't read it from the very good print I have of the photo above.

 

I have some clear photos of several Hellcat II NF on HMS Ocean.  I believe that the codes evolved from 5x to O5x and I have examples of each . One or two of these show serial and code together, though in each case I'm not certain of one letter or number of the serial - including 5D (JZ951 or JZ955), 5B (KD125 or KE125) and 5R (JZ957 or JZ967). I also have a nice photo of 892 ranged showing O5K (assume JZ910), O5L (assume JZ911), O5D (either JZ951 or JZ955), 05C (unknown) and 05S (unknown), which was 20mm cannon armed, and 05H (unknown).

 

These aircraft carried the aircraft letter repeated on the wheel cover in white, with serials in the standard position. Generally, C type roundels on the upper-surfaces of the wings (though O5C may not) and C1 on the fuselage sides.

Edited by iang

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Guys - this is a great response and really appreciate your thoughts. What do you think of this as a summary ?

 

Hellcat II(NF) 5-C, Serial Unknown (could be in JZ or KD range), 892 NAS, HMS Ocean 1946.

Overall Gloss Sea Blue. Codes, serial and Royal Navy in white. Codes read 5-C on port and C-5 on starboard. Factory C1 roundels on fuselage, C roundels on Wings. Standard three colour fin flash. Radome GSB, 6 x .50cal armament. Long NF style exhaust with heavy exhaust staining. Round rear vision mirror added.

 

Feel free to add/correct or feedback 👍

 

cheers P

 

 

Edited by 72nd SQN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, 72nd SQN said:

Feel free to add/correct or feedback 👍

FWIW:

 

The starboard wing roundel is not so strongly lighted as the port one. In these conditions, I'd expect the white of a C roundel to show up a bit. So, I'd agree with Ian that wing roundels MAY be B type (blue/red only).

 

Comparing with other GSB Hellcats, I think what we see on the fuselage below the 'ROYAL NAVY' title is just the number part of the serial, with the letter part hidden by the tailplane. We all may have fun trying to guess which set of numbers best fits the rather indistinct white blob on the picture: Sturtivant records NF Hellcats in these serial ranges: JX965-JX967, JZ822-JZ827, JZ890-JZ911, JZ947-JZ959, JZ979-JZ980, KD103-KD117, KD153-KD157, KE160-KE179 (total: 95 machines, if my math helps me).

 

Incidentally, JZ824 is given as 'C' with 892 Sqn. from July 1945, but then it went to the Storage Section at Donibristle from 1 October 1945.

And '824' is not a good fit for that white blob, IMHO.

 

Claudio

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This might help the guessing game:

 

e8b1b0b1-8411-49ca-bc7c-c9719d3314b3.jpg

 

Tantalisingly close to being able to read it. My best guess is (KE)157. I think the first numeral is "1" and the last "7" The second looks like it could be a "3", which doesn't fit, or "5", which does. However, in the past I have found that when it is not possible to read a serial, my best guess has been revealed to bear little relationship to the actual serial as revealed by, say, a clearer print.

Edited by iang

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nothing to correct, that I can see.  Additions:

  • Individual letter C in white on front undercarriage door.
  • Ian's blow-up shows some of the stencil markings: NB the blob on the rudder which would read "F6F-5N" and the diagonal white line below the "5" connecting the foothold covers.  These at least need adding but a Hellcat issued from new for the Ocean deployment might well have had the full set of factory stencils.
  • As Ian and Claudio have said already, the serial might be in the KExxx range as well. 
  • Type C upper roundels were mandated in January 1945.  That may even be before the aircraft was built in the US, especially if it is in the KD or KE serial ranges.   I would certainly be surprised to find an aircraft issued new in October 1945 (NB in peacetime) not compliant with a markings directive issued 9 months earlier.   Balance has a photo of 891 Sq's II(NF) JZ912 with a properly marked Type C upperwing roundel on 3 Sep 45.   I can't explain the possible B type on O5C (serial unknown) beyond speculating that the aircraft might have been one of the original issue that persisted in squadron service for some reason.   So Type B not ruled out but balance of probabilities against it.  Edit: the balance of probabilities may be against it but photographic evidence nevertheless suggests that 5C/O5C does indeed have an upper wing Type B roundel.  See posts 25 and 26.
Edited by Seahawk
Blob is on rudder, not fin. Reassessment of upper surface roundel type: see post 26.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks heaps Claudio, Ian and Seahawk.

 

Here goes:

 

Hellcat II(NF) 5-C, Serial Unknown (possibly KE157 but not confirmed), 892 NAS, HMS Ocean 1946.

Overall Gloss Sea Blue. Codes, serial and Royal Navy in white. Codes read 5-C on port and C-5 on starboard. Individual letter C in white on front undercarriage door. Factory C1 roundels on fuselage, C roundels on Wings- but may otherwise be B roundels. Standard three colour fin flash. Radome GSB, 6 x .50cal armament. Long NF style exhaust with heavy exhaust staining. Round rear vision mirror added. Factory stencils including white line connecting footholds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/6/2018 at 1:04 AM, 72nd SQN said:

Thanks Guys - this is a great response and really appreciate your thoughts. What do you think of this as a summary ?

 

Hellcat II(NF) 5-C, Serial Unknown (could be in JZ or KD range), 892 NAS, HMS Ocean 1946.

Overall Gloss Sea Blue. Codes, serial and Royal Navy in white. Codes read 5-C on port and C-5 on starboard. Factory C1 roundels on fuselage, C roundels on Wings. Standard three colour fin flash. Radome GSB, 6 x .50cal armament. Long NF style exhaust with heavy exhaust staining. Round rear vision mirror added.

 

Feel free to add/correct or feedback 👍

 

cheers P

 

 

Yes,..... they also had the 20mm cannon armament,....... although the guns were not always fitted. This all nightfighter equipped  CAG were used to help locate Jewish refugee ships heading for Palestine,...presumably at night time using their radar?

Some NF.II`s were also fitted with clear blown Malcolm hoods,..... although I`m not sure if any reached 892 NAS.

 

Here are a couple of models that I made of NF.II`s if these help, note the first one has had the 20mm cannons removed;

hellcat nf-5hellcat nf-1glossy hellcat 1glossy hellcat 4

 

Cheers.

           Tony

Edited by tonyot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, yes.  Rocket stubs.  From photo evidence it looks as if most of 892's Hellcats had 3 sets of HVAR rocket stubs under the wing.  These were generally redundant in FAA aircraft which did not use HVAR during WW2.  However photographic evidence suggests that at least one of 892's aircraft had pylons reinforced eg by struts so that it could use HVAR: I believe I read about this modification in the 24 Jan 1946 Aeroplane Spotter.  But I overcomplicate things: personally, for 5C I'd stick with the WW2 standard rocket stubs.

Edited by Seahawk
Correction of magazine reference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a pic showing one of the NF.II`s fitted with a Malcolm hood;

Hellcat-FAA malcolm bubble canopy

 

 

And here are two pics showing 892 NAS NF/II`s embarked,...... fitted with 20mm cannons and rocket stubs;

S-20mm cannon poss KD110- Ocean- FAAM20mm cannon- Ocean- FAAM

 

 

The B Type upper wing roundels were later modified into C Type by adding a white ring and the carrier designator `O' was added to the unit codes, thus making 5A+ into O5A+. 

 

Cheers,

          Tony

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My father served on board HMS Ocean - but not until 1951, when Ocean was deployed in the Korean war.

 

He did, a few years before he died, obtain a privately printed book authored by the secretary of the HMS Ocean Association, and I inherited it when he died.

 

having seen this thread I decided to check the book and it has one photo of 892 Hellcats lined up on deck durung the deployment in the Eastern mediterranean in 1946.

I'm afraid the photo isn't very clear, but you can see the layout of the serials on the starboard side pretty well, the first two planes in shot have NF radomes on the starboard wing, and I am pretty sure you can see the underwing rocket stubbs mentioned by someone earlier.

 

here it is, perhaps it will help.

 

a73d2e4b-94f0-4c74-9533-62ed9da63b9e.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/6/2018 at 7:06 PM, Seahawk said:

Type C upper roundels were mandated in January 1945.  That may even be before the aircraft was built in the US, especially if it is in the KD or KE serial ranges.  I would certainly be surprised to find an aircraft issued new in October 1945 (NB in peacetime) not compliant with a markings directive issued 9 months earlier.  I can't explain the possible B type on O5C (serial unknown) beyond speculating that the aircraft might have been one of the original issue that persisted in squadron service for some reason.   So Type B not ruled out but balance of probabilities against it.

Very good point.

Indeed my thought is that, if the upper wing roundel is Type B, this may perhaps help find out the serial batch. I dug out a Hellcat NF picture (in Airfix Magazine Annual no. 5) that shows JZ903, and this has Type C roundels. I still believe that the white circle would definitely show up on the starboard roundel of '5C' in the picture, so if it doesn't, overwing roundels could be Type B.

As you say, I'm now speculating that '5C' might be one of the original squadron aircraft remaining in service. Sturtivant notes that JZ822 to JZ825 were delivered to the Royal Navy in December 1944 and were with 892 by July 1945. In this case JZ824:'C' would be an obvious candidate.

 

BTW, the practice of placing individual letters aft of the fuselage roundel may suggest that, at the time the picture was taken, codes were in the process of changing to the full 'O5x' format.

I may think that '5' was simply added ahead first. Completing the full starboard side presentation O-5C would then be a matter of turning the existing 'C' into 'O' (just add a vertical strip) and painting a new 'C' forward. That is, assuming the aircraft was retained in service for the whole period. 

 

15 hours ago, tonyot said:

This all nightfighter equipped  CAG were used to help locate Jewish refugee ships heading for Palestine,...presumably at night time using their radar?

Thanks for the info, Tony. I had always been wondering why an all night-fighter carrier was sent out on a cruise to the Med in 1946.

 

Quote

Some NF.II`s were also fitted with clear blown Malcolm hoods,..... although I`m not sure if any reached 892 NAS.

 

glossy hellcat 1

Is it me, or there's a Malcolm hood on KD127? I can see no frame on the canopy and the top looks a bit bulged. 

 

VERY nice models (as always...!) and thanks for sharing the information that come with them.

 

Claudio

Edited by ClaudioN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ClaudioN said:

BTW, the practice of placing individual letters aft of the fuselage roundel may suggest that, at the time the picture was taken, codes were in the process of changing to the full 'O5x' format.

I may think that '5' was simply added ahead first. Completing the full starboard side presentation O-5C would then be a matter of turning the existing 'C' into 'O' (just add a vertical strip) and painting a new 'C' forward. That is, assuming the aircraft was retained in service for the whole period. 

Ingenious but wouldn't explain the same presentation on 5B and 5R (photographic evidence I've seen somewhere along the line).

 

Digressing slightly, Eduard provide markings for X during the Drem period (as modelled by Tony) in their 1/72 F5F-5N kit.  Well done, Eduard (though an O5- coded aircraft would have been even nicer!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Seahawk said:

Ingenious but wouldn't explain the same presentation on 5B and 5R (photographic evidence I've seen somewhere along the line).

Agreed, but number '5' would still be in the right place for a full-code starboard side presentation.

"Squadrons of the FAA" (2nd edition) gives codes as single letters first, then 'O5x', then '5x'. Given the pictures, maybe it was '5x', then 'O5x'?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not nearly informed enough to comment but whilst looking for something else (the side numbers for M Crosley's 3rd NFW Seafire NN341 that he flew around D day) when I found this:-

 

https://www.maritimequest.com/misc_pages/raymond_j_stenner_collection/raymond_j_stenner_collection_page_5.htm

 

Hope it helps a bit...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Grey Beema said:

I am not nearly informed enough to comment but whilst looking for something else (the side numbers for M Crosley's 3rd NFW Seafire NN341 that he flew around D day) when I found this:-

 

https://www.maritimequest.com/misc_pages/raymond_j_stenner_collection/raymond_j_stenner_collection_page_5.htm

 

Hope it helps a bit..

It does, it's the source for the photo I scanned in to this thread yesterday!

 

Amusing that throughout the pages the Hellcat is called a martlet.

Edited by Whofan
Spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/8/2018 at 7:56 AM, ClaudioN said:

Indeed my thought is that, if the upper wing roundel is Type B, this may perhaps help find out the serial batch.

I still believe that the white circle would definitely show up on the starboard roundel of '5C' in the picture, so if it doesn't, overwing roundels could be Type B.

Compare the four photos of Hellcats taking off, in Page 5 of Raymond J. Stenner's collection.

https://www.maritimequest.com/misc_pages/raymond_j_stenner_collection/raymond_j_stenner_collection_page_5.htm

I'd suggest C-5 (second photo) and another fully coded aircraft (first photo) do have type B upper wing roundels.

 

Thanks Grey Beema for posting this link!

Share this post


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

×