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jenko

Brewster Buffalo 1, 805 NAS,Lt. Brabner, Crete 1941. (1/48)

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Now if we could only find a photo of one of the ex-Belgian aircraft in markings for 71 Sdn RAF in late 1940...

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On 11/23/2019 at 2:10 PM, JWM said:

Very interesting!

I did not know about use of Buffalos by RN and use of it in Crete area is more surpriseing to me .... One learn everday :)

Regards

J-W

 

RN Buffaloes were part of French & Belgian orders taken over by the British Purchasing Commission in Washington - not their biggest success! Most UK Buffaloes went to Commonwealth and RAF Squadrons in Singapore, where they were quickly lost to the Japanese.

 

Three were used by the RN in Crete, where they were found to be poorly built (e.g. guns failing due to over-tight wiring that snapped when fired) and were considered worse than useless. Subsequently, some fought successfully with RN Squadrons in the Western Desert; the remainder ended life in Yeovilton as fighter trainers and local defence aircraft.

 

It wasn't a bad aircraft; the USN originally preferred it over the WIldcat and the Finns used the Buffalo with great success against both Germans and Russians; but only after they had rebuilt them to their own satisfaction. A case of poor build standards and sloppy procurement, British disappointment was repeated 2 years later with the Brewster built Corsair III, leading to a US Senate Investigation of Brewster, amidst (unproven) accusations of sabotage, Nazi sympathisers and enemy agents within their workforce.

Edited by gengriz

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Additional info - one was shot down over the Western Desert, the pilot lost was an MP.  The investigation of Brewster was by a House of Representatives subcommittee; the Senate investigation was of Curtiss and made a name for Sen. Harry S Truman.  The allegations of sabotage were mainly directed toward the union at Brewster, Local 365, which had a number of questionable actions during the war.  The company was not a shining light, changing executives often.  At one point there were issues with tools being left inside wings that had been closed up.  The odd wrench/spanner fouling aileron cables was annoying to the check pilots.  A new president came up with a solution - a gantry at the end of the SB2A production line to pick the plane up, turn it over and shake it.  The chief engineer asked "like you'd shake your trousers for loose change?". The president said "exactly" but this brilliant idea was never put into practice. 

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On 11/23/2019 at 4:10 PM, JWM said:

I did not know about use of Buffalos by RN and use of it in Crete

Me neither.  Lovely build!

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5 hours ago, gengriz said:

Most UK Buffaloes went to Commonwealth and RAF Squadrons in Singapore, where they were quickly lost to the Japanese.

The RAF had some 160 odd 339E Buffalo's spread across RAF and and Article XV Squadrons

(Commonwealth manned squadrons under RAF Control) the aircraft arriving (circa) mid 1941 in the Far East.

Some were lost due to operational attrition from then to December 1941.

When one thinks of the Pacific War against Japan starting Dec 8 (an hour or so before Pearl Harbour)

and the eventual capitulation/surrender of British/Dutch Forces early March 1942, I would say

the 160 odd Brewster Buffalo did quite well given it was close to three months fighting.

A number of Pilots from various Squadrons became Aces, other pilots gaining 3 or so kills, so the

Japanese AAF got a bit of a Bloody nose so to speak.

Regards

 

Alan

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And the figure of 160-odd is itself misleading.  There were five Commonwealth squadrons in Malaya and Burma.  A normal squadron compliment would be about 20 pilots.  That's  100 pilots.  Extra aircraft are great for spare parts but pretty useless shooting down Sallys and Nates if there's no one to fly them.  The problem in SEA,   for both the British and the Netherlands Indies, was lack of pilots, experience, and a robust system of radar.  

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On 11/23/2019 at 2:10 PM, JWM said:

I did not know about use of Buffalos by RN and use of it in Crete area is more surpriseing to me .... One learn everday :)

"Use" of it in the Crete area is perhaps a little flattering to the Buffalo.  Three aircraft (AS419, AS420 and AX814) are recorded as having arrived in Crete on 6 March 1941.  AS419 was written off on 19 March 1941 when its engine failed and it overturned on landing (pilot Lt RA Brabner).  The other two were unserviceable by 28 April 1941 though they continued to be strafed regularly by the Luftwaffe.  So their involvement was brief and inglorious.  There are a number of photos around of the wrecks after the fall of Maleme airfield.

Edited by Seahawk

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Great stuff. I was at Maleme earlier this year and have a hankering for one of these!

 

Nick

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On 12/22/2019 at 1:24 AM, LDSModeller said:

The RAF had some 160 odd 339E Buffalo's spread across RAF and and Article XV Squadrons

 

The 339D's (with more oomph due to the use of the 1200 hp R-1820-40) for ML-KNIL ended up being used there as well, alongside the  British ones.

I'd expect there to be some airframe swapping in that period as well considering the nature of warfare (CW pilots flying KNIL planes & vice versa).

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59 minutes ago, alt-92 said:

The 339D's (with more oomph due to the use of the 1200 hp R-1820-40) for ML-KNIL ended up being used there as well, alongside the  British ones.

I'd expect there to be some airframe swapping in that period as well considering the nature of warfare (CW pilots flying KNIL planes & vice versa).

Considering that at least one Dutch NEI (KNIL) Squadron shared Kallang with RAF Buffalo Squadrons,

that would not be unsurprising.

488(NZ) Squadron records, record training flights between Dutch/488 Squadrons personnel/aircraft.

Later the few surviving RAF 339E's were passed onto NEI forces in Batavia.

Regards

Alan

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What a lovely model, great work, I was surprised to learn about the FAA usage also.

 

All the best

Chris

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