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Grey Beema

Fairey Firefly F.I Mission Load April '45 - Help Required

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Fairey Firefly F.I - Mission load out

 

I am trying to figure out what would be the likely load-out configuration of a Fairey Firefly F.I on an ASR escort mission in April 1945.

 

On the 12th April 1945 two Fireflys flew escort to a US Navy Mariner searching for a downed Pilot after raids by the Fleet Air Arm on Northern Formosa during Operation Iceberg Oolong.  During the Escort mission the two Fireflies engaged with five Ki51s, shot down two each and shared the fifth.  One of the two aircraft (DV119/S281) was piloted by S/Lt JP Stott with Lt B Ward as Observer, flying from HMS Indefatigable with 1770 NAS.  With two enemy aircraft confirmed destroyed and 3 confirmed shared destroyed (two from earlier in the year) S/Lt Stott became the top scoring Firefly pilot.

 

I am currently building S/Lt Stott’s aircraft (1/48 SH Kit) and would like it as it would have looked that day.  It is highly unlikely that I will find a dated photograph of DV119 showing the load out, so I am trying to use some logic to figure out how the aircraft would have been configured.

 

1770 & 1771 NAS had been involved in the air attacks earlier in the month during Operation Iceberg.  My understanding is that they were RP armed and used for Flak suppression during the attacks.  I would assume that for the raids on airfield of Northern Formosa (11-13 April) from which Special Attack Squadrons (Kamikaze) were believed to be operating the Fireflys would be RP armed.  I know that, even with bad weather, Avengers and Corsairs operated over Formosa on 12th April but I don't know if the Fireflys were part of the attack.

 

Down to my dilemma then.

  1. If the Fireflys were either part of the attack or scheduled to be part of the attack on 11th would they have had the RPs fitted?
  2. If the Fireflys were RP fitted and the next day you wanted to fly, a probably unplanned, Escort mission, would you have dropped off the RP Rails and blast plates and possibly add long range tanks or would you have left all the RP gubbins there because you might need RP capability later in the day?

 

Any thoughts?  I would guess it's down to how long it takes to fit Blast plates and RP rails.

 

Thanks in advance..

Edited by Grey Beema

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I don't have an answer to your specific question.

 

However there is movie footage of  276/S and 278/S in BPF markings.  From Sturtivant it appears that between 1/45 and 4/45 these were DT941 and DV123 respectively but I have no more precise date than that: I expect @iang does.  Anyway the footage show them armed with droptanks only.  276 has a small "S" at the top of the fin.  278 has a large "S" at the base of the fin, a small white 78 next to the air intake and a large 78 on the undercarriage doors.

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For the airfield attacks I'd consider bombs a likelier payload than rockets. As such there'd be no problem changing to tanks. 

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54 minutes ago, Seahawk said:

I don't have an answer to your specific question.

 

However there is movie footage of  276/S and 278/S in BPF markings.  From Sturtivant it appears that between 1/45 and 4/45 these were DT941 and DV123 respectively but I have no more precise date than that: I expect @iang does.  Anyway the footage show them armed with droptanks only.  276 has a small "S" at the top of the fin.  278 has a large "S" at the base of the fin, a small white 78 next to the air intake and a large 78 on the undercarriage doors.

Thanks for your answer @Seahawk.  Whilst not answering the question directly, you have indicated a couple of variances that I need to consider.

 

DT941 276/S is the aircraft that destroyed the other 2.5 Ki51s during the Escort mission.  I suspect Lt Thompson was the flight leader.  As you say according to Sturtivant the aircraft was with 1770 from 01.45 to 04.45.  Notable is that the small tail S and the 276 are in a colour darker than the white of the Roundel - I am guessing that these are Sky as they seem to match the under surfaces.  There is also the mounting for the AI equipment under the aircraft.

 

DV123 278/S was with 1770 until 01.45 04.45 (using the same source) but the BPF Roundel was only introduced in 03.45, so the picture must be after that.  I cannot tell if the codes are Sky but in a previous post with regard to @iang suggested that there were variances across how codes were applied between Carriers and It appears that Indefatigable could. Have used Sky coloured codes.

 

So at this moment I am thinking Sky codes, either Small or Large S maybe with the aircraft number repeated on the nose and U/C covers (that gives me a lot of scope)....

 

Maybe just Fuel Tanks and the mounting for the AI equipment...

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33 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

For the airfield attacks I'd consider bombs a likelier payload than rockets. As such there'd be no problem changing to tanks. 

Thanks @Graham Boak.  I do know that Fireflies were deployed with RPs before but not sure specifically for Iceberg.  I haven't seen pictures with them toting bombs in BPF markings but that doesn't mean much.  

 

I am thinking of going with tanks though based on the file of the BPF Operations pointed out above..

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I agree that Ian's the most likely one to have a documented answer, but if they were escorting an ASR mission, I'd think fuel would be the most important thing to bring along!

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The two 1770 Squadron Fireflies were S/281:DV119 (Stott and Ward) and S/276:DT941 (Thomson and Miller). These two Fireflies took off from Indefatigable at 07.45 on 12 April on a DUMBOCAP to rendezvous with, and provide cover for, a USN Mariner on ASR duties off Yonakuni Shoma. I have both Firefly combat reports as well as Indefatigable's Report.  Neither are unambiguous with respect to the weapon loading, but my reading of the documents suggest 20mm canon only.  If RPs were carried (which I doubt), they certainly weren't fired. Given that there were 20mm canon feed jams noted in the Combat Reports, if RPs had of been carried, I'd imagine they would have been fired. The two Fireflies were quickly relieved by additional 1770 Fireflies, so drop tanks may not have been carried either, though logically you'd expect they would have been given the mission. For information, other 1770 Fireflies involved in attacks on shipping and shore targets on 12 and 13 April were all equipped with 8 x RPs, not bombs.

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RPs would be much more effective on shipping strikes, but less so if the intention was to break up the runway.

 

Does this imply that the FAA attack on the Japanese carrier Kaiyo was carried out with rockets?  I don't recall seeing a description of the weapons used?

 

Firefly training was done locally, with RP training on Sea Hurricanes based even more so, so I should have been well aware of their use - at least in principle.

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29 minutes ago, iang said:

The two 1770 Squadron Fireflies were S/281:DV119 (Stott and Ward) and S/276:DT941 (Thomson and Miller). These two Fireflies took off from Indefatigable at 07.45 on 12 April on a DUMBOCAP to rendezvous with, and provide cover for, a USN Mariner on ASR duties off Yonakuni Shoma. I have both Firefly combat reports as well as Indefatigable's Report.  Neither are unambiguous with respect to the weapon loading, but my reading of the documents suggest 20mm canon only.  If RPs were carried (which I doubt), they certainly weren't fired. Given that there were 20mm canon feed jams noted in the Combat Reports, if RPs had of been carried, I'd imagine they would have been fired. The two Fireflies were quickly relieved by additional 1770 Fireflies, so drop tanks may not have been carried either, though logically you'd expect they would have been given the mission. For information, other 1770 Fireflies involved in attacks on shipping and shore targets on 12 and 13 April were all equipped with 8 x RPs, not bombs.

Perfect - thanks Ian..  Maybe the tanks were dropped as the Fireflys engaged in the action.  Certainly after a combat of a few minutes at full power, your reserve would be somewhat depleted...   Great information thank you very much..

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15 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

RPs would be much more effective on shipping strikes, but less so if the intention was to break up the runway.

 

Does this imply that the FAA attack on the Japanese carrier Kaiyo was carried out with rockets?  I don't recall seeing a description of the weapons used?

 

Firefly training was done locally, with RP training on Sea Hurricanes based even more so, so I should have been well aware of their use - at least in principle.

Thanks Graham, I think the he Fireflys were used more for Flak suppression rather than cratering the runway.  I think that was the job of the Avengers..  Great information though.  

 

This is to me is the real benefit of this forum..

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The rocket rails attach to the aircraft on the same pick up as the bomb rack (and aux drops on the later Marks)

Change out is as simple as pulling the release lever and, from experience wouldn't take longer than a few minutes with a

couple of stout chaps to assist.

I'd suggest for a longer duration mission they would have dropped them off.

 

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13 minutes ago, NAVY870 said:

The rocket rails attach to the aircraft on the same pick up as the bomb rack (and aux drops on the later Marks)

Change out is as simple as pulling the release lever and, from experience wouldn't take longer than a few minutes with a

couple of stout chaps to assist.

I'd suggest for a longer duration mission they would have dropped them off.

 

Thanks Steve,

 

I think I'm going for the tanks.  There are no fitting instructions for the tanks in the kit (mind you there were no fitting instruction for the intakes either side of the radiator either).  There does seem to be a cut out in the pylon though on the tanks though, which I assume align with the cartridge and link shoots allow clearance and the tanks line up between the cannons.  Does that sound about right?

Edited by Grey Beema

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5 minutes ago, Grey Beema said:

  Does that sound about right?

Spot on.

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Big THANK YOU to all for your contributions, that why I enjoy this forum so much...

 

Now if anyone out there knows the Serial to SLt DM Jerams 213 Sqn Hurricane - AK*U flown 11-12.08.40 or the serial & aircraft letter of Lt D Price & SLt R Armitage 29 Sqn Mosquito XIII flown on the night of 17-18.09.40 that would really make my week...

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On 1/22/2019 at 4:24 AM, Grey Beema said:

Now if anyone out there knows the Serial to... Mosquito XIII flown on the night of 17-18.09.40...

He he, I know- it's a trick question!  (I tried to look for a few years later, but didn't see anything serialish.)

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25 minutes ago, gingerbob said:

He he, I know- it's a trick question!  (I tried to look for a few years later, but didn't see anything serialish.)

Yup nothing in the ORB or combat reports.  

 

I'm going to get into me TARDIS go back and tell whoever rights up the ORBs and combat reports that they need to record Aircraft ID, Serial and a picture taken on the day of both sides of the aircraft just before it takes off...

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On 1/21/2019 at 9:50 PM, Grey Beema said:

Thanks Steve,

 

I think I'm going for the tanks.  There are no fitting instructions for the tanks in the kit (mind you there were no fitting instruction for the intakes either side of the radiator either).  There does seem to be a cut out in the pylon though on the tanks though, which I assume align with the cartridge and link shoots allow clearance and the tanks line up between the cannons.  Does that sound about right?

B&@@er - the kit has four left halves for the tanks and pylons.

 

 I would have to reverse two halves of the tanks to make them and two new opposite halves of the pylon....

 

 I'm thinking of modelling the aircraft when it got back to the carrier sans tanks....

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