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Hamsterman

Roundel colors on this HMS Ameer Hellcat?

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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

 

Seeing as I'm in the mode of planning for some future builds, can anyone give me a hand interpreting the colors of the roundels on this FAA Hellcat 6G?  Ron Mackay's Fleet Air Arm: British Carrier Aviation, 1939-1945, dates this photo as April, 1945 while Eyes for the Phoenix and the HMS Ameer website (http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/ESCORT/AMEER.htm#.XLYprqROlhE) gives the date as 28 May, 1945.  I'm fuzzy on the dates and changes of FAA roundels so I'm guessing here but see three colors on the starboard wing (white, red, blue) and three on the fuselage roundel (white, thin red, blue).  Wasn't there a period where the wing roundel was a large blue disk with a small white center and the fuselage roundel a small blue disk with small white center?  Is the red supposed to be on 6G?  What roundel was on the bottom of the wings?  Looking at the Hellcat on the left, below 6G, what's visible on the bottom of the wing looks like a large blue roundel.  Pictures of other similarly marked Hellcats show a small blue/white roundel.  I'm sure this is a very basic question but I'm confused.  Thanks for your patience.

 

Chris

 

Grumman-Hellcat-MkII-RN-FAA-809NAS-6G-JW

 

Edited by Hamsterman
Forgot to indicate which Hellcat I was referring to...

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1 hour ago, Hamsterman said:

I'm fuzzy on the dates and changes of FAA roundels so I'm guessing here but see three colors on the starboard wing (white, red, blue) and three on the fuselage roundel (white, thin red, blue).  Wasn't there a period where the wing roundel was a large blue disk with a small white center and the fuselage roundel a small blue disk with small white center?  Is the red supposed to be on 6G?  What roundel was on the bottom of the wings?  Looking at the Hellcat on the left, below 6G, what's visible on the bottom of the wing looks like a large blue roundel. 

Hmm, the Hellcat ion the right is overall Gloss sea Blue, hence white rings round the wing roundels.

6G is more lilkely to have had a different blue used to over paint the red on the roundels, and then a white spot added, and the new blue didn't match or has faded.

Quote

May 28th 1945: Four aircraft were put out of action when Lt. T H Pemberton's aircraft, Hellcat JW723, bounced on landing,  missed all the wines and broke through the barriers into the aircraft park, causing damage to JX827, JW733 & JX889. 

, @iang  will most likely know the date of the incident from the serials, but given the Mackay book is quite old,  I suspect the 28 may date is the correct one.

 

Hopefully this will wheedle out a better answer :rolleyes:

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Posted (edited)

I share Troy's assessment of what has happened to the upper wing roundels of JW723 "6G" as a result of converting it from a European Type B roundel to an East Indies Fleet (EIF) roundel with 9" white centre. 

 

In converting JW723's fuselage roundel, the painters have honoured the spirit rather than the letter of EIF marking instructions by simply overpainting the whole of the 36" Type C1 European with Roundel Blue (apart from the 6" white centre) rather than applying a correctly-sized 16" roundel and having to reinstate the camouflage all around it.

 

[EDIT: IGNORE THIS PARAGRAPH.  THE PHOTOS I "SEEM TO RECALL" ARE OF A DIFFERENT INCIDENT (SEE POST 11) AND DO NOT DEPICT JW723.] This is a well-known incident and I seem to recall other photos showing work to clear away the wreckage.  IIRC, one of those shots is of the undersides of JW723 and shows that the painters have taken the same short-cut with the underwing roundel: simply overpainted the whole of the 32" European Type C roundel Roundel Blue and added the prescribed 6" white centre.  The photo sequence also shows that JW723 is a Tac R variant of the Hellcat, with a port for a vertical camera in the fuselage bottom roughly in line with the wing trailing edge and a deflector in front of it to deflect oil.  There were several configurations of Tac R Hellcats (Eyes For The Phoenix reproduces as an appendix a period memo describing them in detail)  and I'm afraid I can't remember exactly what JW723's configuration looked like.  I expect some clever person will find the photos to which I am referring and post them [EDIT: THEY DID - SEE POST 11.]: I'm more steam era myself.  NB the Tac R conversions were British lash-ups and quite distinct from the US F6F-5P configuration (which the FAA also used later - look at the Hellcat in the FAA museum!).

 

Also of interest:  

- I think the tail to the left of JW723 belongs to the comprehensively trashed blue Hellcat to the right: note from the reflections how glossy Gloss Sea Blue is when new.

- note that JW723 retains a full European-style fin flash (red/white/blue).

- the aerial mast on the top of the fin has been cut down to a stump, a common mod on FAA Hellcats.

 

HTH.  Sorry: I'm half-blind away from my references!

Edited by Seahawk
Eating humble pie.

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Is there a possibility that the original roundels were delivered in American paints (as was the entire aircraft), so the darker outer ring is insignia blue, while the inner blue is British roundel paint, followed by the white center?

 

regards,

Jack

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4 hours ago, JackG said:

Is there a possibility that the original roundels were delivered in American paints (as was the entire aircraft), so the darker outer ring is insignia blue, while the inner blue is British roundel paint, followed by the white center?

Hellcats were all built by Grumman, who as they had been building planes for the British, used US made version of MAP colours, not equivalent paints used by say Eastern on the TBM.

Yes, it is most likely British Roundel Blue,  why it appears a different colour?  thinner brushed on paint, actually different paint than the US made paint, which may weather differently.

Not turning up an image,  but in the Falklands RN Sea Harriers ended sporting two tone blue roundels when the white was over-painted on-board for an example of the same blue appearing different..

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Or maybe they used grey? 

You'd imagine that Ameer would have Roundel Blue in it's paint locker, assuming that roundel was painted out onboard, but it doesn't look dark enough for Roundel Blue to me (though as Troy observes, a thin coat might produce the effect seen in the photo, but I'm a little doubtful). Also, why leave the red on the fin flash when modifying the wing roundel to comply with EIF instructions, when the same instructions mandate a change to the flash? Or has the red on the flash been "greyed " out rather more neatly? Finally, has the fuselage roundel been  modified?  I assume it has, and there seems to be an irregular lighter tone in parts, otherwise this would be a particularly curious example of an aircraft originally finished with wing roundels and flash appropriate for the ETO and fuselage roundel appropriate for EIF.  

 

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Or is it just that the white centre has been added but they haven't yet got round to finish the job properly?

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Posted (edited)

It could be a combination of factors, but can only guess without knowing exactly the procedures taken to repaint the roundels.  It could be the red was first painted out with white, followed by British Roundel Blue over top - the white acting like a primer and giving the fresh blue a much brighter appearance.  Could be difference in sheen too, British paints may have been dull(flat) while the original US paints were anything but?

 

On their own, US and British blues are different when side by side.   Taking a look at their FS values, Paul Lucus gives FS 35048 as an approximate for ID Blue, while the American Insignia Blue is FS 35044.

 

zFBH3ii.png

 

regards,

Jack

Edited by JackG

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Thanks for all the thoughts.  One thing that I didn't notice until last night is the roundel on the starboard wing of the left-most Hellcat.  You can only see the wing but it's painted similarly to 6G.  The roundel on that wing is different than 6G.  I don't see anything resembling a middle circle in red or lighter blue or gray.  I only see dark blue and white.  Does this affect how we interpret 6G?  If we are looking at two shades of blue on 6G, why don't we see this on the other Hellcat? If gray/grey was used on 6G, why not this other Hellcat?  (Unless we assume the dark blue paint stocks ran out before they got to 6G.)  If we assume red on 6G then we assume the other Hellcat was painted first and the painters just haven't finished 6G yet.  

 

15 hours ago, Seahawk said:

This is a well-known incident and I seem to recall other photos showing work to clear away the wreckage....  I expect some clever person will find the photos to which I am referring and post them...

I hope so!  I've only ever seen this photo of the incident.

 

15 hours ago, Seahawk said:

There were several configurations of Tac R Hellcats (Eyes For The Phoenix reproduces as an appendix a period memo describing them in detail)  and I'm afraid I can't remember exactly what JW723's configuration looked like. 

From Eyes For The Phoenix:  "Another major modification was the installation of at least three different camera mountings within the rear fuselage. One permitted the use of oblique cameras, another of vertical cameras, a third of both at the same time. In later documents (including Grumman post-war archives) these different aircraft have been designated FR.I and II, and PRI and II but it appears that all were classed as Hellcat Mk.I(P) or Mk.II(P) at the time.  The aircraft with mountings for oblique cameras only were issued principally to 804 Sqn to serve in the fighter reconnaissance role." and, "No.804 Sqn was unusual in eventually being equipped entirely with F6F-3 and F6F-5 model Hellcats for use in the Tac/R role."  This would suggest JV723 was PR II that only had the oblique cameras on both sides?

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1 hour ago, Hamsterman said:

The aircraft with mountings for oblique cameras only were issued principally to 804 Sqn to serve in the fighter reconnaissance role." and, "No.804 Sqn was unusual in eventually being equipped entirely with F6F-3 and F6F-5 model Hellcats for use in the Tac/R role."  This would suggest JV723 was PR II that only had the oblique cameras on both sides?

Thomas' use of US terminology (F6F-3, F6F-5) isn't altogether helpful.  He may have meant USN F3F-3P and F6F-5P variants with the oblique cameras.  The later Gloss Sea Blue aircraft damaged in this incident may possibly have been US -P variants: if I had access to my copy of Sturtivant's FAA Aircraft 1939-45 I would be able to check.

 

As regards JW723, the photo I recall is incontrovertible in showing a vertical camera (it is in fact just about the only one I can recall to show the fitting so clearly).  And NB Thomas' use of the word "eventually": not necessarily at the time of this incident.

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1 hour ago, Seahawk said:

Thomas' use of US terminology (F6F-3, F6F-5) isn't altogether helpful.  He may have meant USN F3F-3P and F6F-5P variants with the oblique cameras.  The later Gloss Sea Blue aircraft damaged in this incident may possibly have been US -P variants: if I had access to my copy of Sturtivant's FAA Aircraft 1939-45 I would be able to check.

 

As regards JW723, the photo I recall is incontrovertible in showing a vertical camera (it is in fact just about the only one I can recall to show the fitting so clearly).  And NB Thomas' use of the word "eventually": not necessarily at the time of this incident.

I've never seen that photo of JV723 your describing.  The only photo I can recall seeing that incontrovertibly shows a vertical camera is this one.

Royal-Navy-F6F-Hellcat-01.jpg

Thomas suggests this is JV282 on HMS Khedive.  However, and maybe I'm completely wrong here, but both the NavSource entry for CVE-39 Cordova / HMS Khedive D62 ( https://www.navsource.org/archives/03/039.htm ) and  the Royal Navy Research Archive entry for HMS Khedive ( http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/ESCORT/Galleries/KHEDIVE_Gllery_2.htm ) have a striking similar set of photos which I believe show the same plane, just earlier in the salvage process.  The Royal Navy Research Archive page indicates the plane was K6K JV255 piloted by Sub-Lt West-Taylor.  (Below photo is from the Imperial War Museum https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205160233 )

mid_000000.jpg

 

The photo on the NavSource page also shows the ventral camera location. 

0303912.jpg

 

Where I really get confused is other sources list K6K as JV316.  This photo of K6K shows an oblique camera under the fuselage roundel. 

Grumman-Hellcat-MkII-RN-FAA-804NAS-K6K-J

 

Two different K6Ks?  I'm not sure I see the same starboard side oblique camera in the above salvage photos. 

 

 

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Collapse of stout party!  Those are indeed the pictures I was thinking of and they are NOT rpt NOT of JW723.  Apologies for wasting everyone's time.  I did start out by saying "IIRC": I clearly do not recall correctly.  I will go back and edit my posts accordingly.

 

They do at least illustrate a Hellcat with the underwing roundel modified in the same way as JW723's fuselage roundel.  The presentation of JW723's underwing roundel is now of course moot.  As is JW723's PR configuration: I'm saying no more until I have checked the entry for this aircraft in Sturtivant's FAA Aircraft 1939-45.  

 

I have no problem in believing in 2 (or more) different K6Ks.  Perhaps some kind soul would check out the records for the 3 aircraft you mention (JV255, JV282, JV316) in FAA Aircraft 1939-45.

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Ha!  No worries.  I didn't realize there were more photos of K6K and if it hadn't been for your post, I wouldn't have gone looking.

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In answer to the queries about the histories of the various Hellcats noted above, I’ve looked at FAA Aircraft 39-45 and also had a look at Joe Baugher’s website. I’ve set out below the histories of all the serials listed above.

 

All those listed were F6F-5 Hellcat II (Joe Baugher however lists JX827 &JX889 as from a batch supposedly built as F6F-5N). None are noted as PR versions (either US built or British conversions) in either source.

JV255    (BuNo 58753) 808 Sqn (Q then K6K) 12/44. Overturned on Khedive (no date)

JV282    (BuNo 58780) 808 Sqn 12/44. Deck landing accident on Khedive 9/3/45. Katukurunda 8/45.

JV316    (BuNo 70016) 808 Sqn (K6Y) 12/44-4/45. RNAMY Clappenberg Bay (Trincomalee) 7/45. 757 Sqn Tambaram and damaged 29/10/45. To Trincomalee.

JW723   (BuNo 70238) Tested RNARY Wingfield SA 24/11/44. 804 (6G) from 6/12/44. 28/5/45 Deck landing accident on Ameer & hit JX827, JW733 & JX889. 881 Sqn 8/45. Wingfield Storage Section 3/9/45. Trincomalee 1945 written off charge.

JW733   (BuNo 70248) Shipped Norfolk, Virginia in Thane 14/8/44. RNARY Wingfield SA 3/9/44. 804 Sqn (2L then K6L) 6/12/44-7/45. Damaged by JW723 25/5/45. 808 (K6L) 7/45

JX827     (BuNo 71650) Air ferried from UK to RNAMY Coimbatore between 27/2/45-3/45. 804 Sqn (no code given). Damaged in accident with JW723 28/5/45. Trincomalee and written off charge sometime after that.

JX889     (BuNo 71712) Tested RNARY Wingfield SA 10/10/44. RNARY Coimbatore. 1839 Sqn. Damaged on Indomitable 31/3/45. 804 Sqn 4/45. Accident with JW773 28/5/45 (typo for JW723).

Note this history seems incorrect to me as Indomitable was in the Pacific by 31/3/45 so it is unlikely that it could then be repaired and with 804 Sqn in April in the East Indies

JW370   (last photo in post #11 is in Thomas’ book at top of page 154 as JW370 K6K of 804 Sqn taken 20/6/45 and is listed as an FRII). No Hellcat wore this serial. Possibly JW730 see below.

JW730   (BuNo 70245) Shipped Norfolk, Virginia in Thane 14/8/44. RNARY Wingfield SA 3/9/44. 804 Sqn Ameer 6/12/44-4/45. 808 Sqn (6K later K6K) 6-7/45.

 

The squadron codes in the East Indies Fleet changed during 1945 (twice in the case of 804) and this is where the confusion starts. Both 804 and 808, both flying Hellcats, wore the code K6A+ during this period. So it is entirely possible to have 2 Hellcat serials coded K6K, and not just to account for replacement aircraft in the same squadron. This is borne out above with JV255/K6K in 808 squadron and JW730/K6K in 808 squadron.

 

The confusion is not helped by squadrons spending time in several Ruler class carriers (which had only minor differences between them) over the time period. For example, 808 which arrived in the East Indies in Feb 1945 in Khedive and spent most of their time when afloat in Khedive, also had a detachment on Emperor in April 1945. 804 is even worse. While mostly associated with Ameer, detachments served on Khedive, Empress, Hunter and Shah at various times while the whole squadron was in Emperor for a time in May 1945 at the time of the sinking of the Haguro.

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We are currently going through the Hellcat histories for the second edition of FAAA39-45. If anyone has specific amends they feel are necessary, I'd be grateful if you could message me. We've got a lot of material to wade through and cross-check, so highlighting alterations would be helpful.

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