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The Spitfire Site

A Tribute to Britains Finest Fighter

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Matty
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« on: June 07, 2009, 09:39:38 PM »

My name is Matt ("Matty") Stein; I am a modeller (mostly naval-related), just finishing up a "SeaFire".  In quotes because it is really a crude, quick-as-possible, mostly OOB build of a very humble, Revell 1:48 kit; a tribute to a (now deceased) friend, who used to be a great kick to watch, building that way.

I have some questions about (at least halfway-correct) markings, with which I'm sure you folks can help steer me right.

Please forgive my newness here; I don't know if you like to track progress with "build blog" type posts - if so, I can post one shortly.  If not - or in the meantime - I already have one underway at my naval-related board, "ModelFleet" (http://members.boardhost.com/modelfleet/msg/1243172820.html ).

Speaking of which, I am going to solicit the guys over there for help ID'ing the RN warships I noticed some of you sleuthing here: http://www.spitfiresite.com/photos/historic/2009/05/seafires-combat-debut.html .  (I can already tell you the second-in-line is not a cruiser but a Nelson-class battleship - HMS Rodney, IIRC - or if not, it's Nelson herself.)

In any case, GREAT site - great to have found you here - and I look forward to any advice on accurate markings for early-model shipboard SeaFires.


Cheers,

-Matty
« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 04:11:06 AM by Matty » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2009, 07:46:03 PM »

Mattty,

welcome onboard. Interesting blog and it's good to see that you have make use of some of our material and made further analysis of it. With regard to the Seafires photo from Operation Torch, to my mind it is not obvious if the spinners were or were not different colours. The diferrences in shade, minor as they are, may depend on the position of each aircraft with regard to sunlight (of the sun standing fairly low above the horizon). Of course, there is no way of knowing, but I'd like to challenge your asessment.



Also, thanks for the note on HMS Rodney.

/Martin
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Matty
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2009, 03:53:56 AM »

Hi, Martin!

  Thank you for the kind welcome.  I decided the battleship isn't Rodney, but Nelson - and that the carrier isn't Victorious, but Indomitable - and commented the details on that thread: http://www.spitfiresite.com/photos/historic/2009/05/seafires-combat-debut.html

  Your challenge regarding the spinners noted, sir - and I can lay out an (probably off-topic) argument - but first, can you "answer my questions three"?  ("e're the other side, he see..." (LOL) For any who may be Python fans here.)

  Actually, it's not 3 but just one question.  The SeaFires in the picture, having the 3-bladed props, must all be Mk1b's (right?) - which means they must be #801 Squadron (right)?  Of the code on the bird in the left foreground, I can just make out: "-8*D", where the "D" is of course unmistakeable (plus repeated under the nose); the top of the numeral "8" seems likewise inescapable but the "-" preceding it, much less so.  Can you (or any of your gurus here) tell me just what were the markings to the left of the roundel on (right sides of) 801 Sqn. SeaFires at this time?

  OK, so that IS 3 questions, after all (LOL) - but the last is the really important one.  My Revell "SeaFire" is just about ready for markings - here's the latest pic of it: http://smsm.ipower.com///modelfleet/board/SEAFIRE_7991_lg.JPG
Please take a look and let me know if it looks even good enough to pass muster here.  But, I definitely want to hear your answer(s) to the above, either way!

Again, thanks for the welcome and great to be here.

-Matt "Matty" Stein
Sanibel, Florida
USA
« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 04:12:41 AM by Matty » Logged
gingerbob
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2009, 12:47:13 PM »

Quote
The SeaFires in the picture, having the 3-bladed props, must all be Mk1b's (right?)

Wrong.  <Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh...>  They are IIc's, as you can tell by the unused cannon stub outboard of the cannons.  I'm afraid I can't help with the other questions.

bob
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Antoni
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2009, 05:10:09 PM »

The photograph is, I believe, of Force H around the time of the Salerno landings (Operation Avalanche), September 1943. During Operation Torch white stars were painted on top of the roundels. I don’t know anything about battleships but those in the photograph are usually identified as King George V and Queen Elizabeth class. Taking the date into consideration, then HMS King George V and HMS Warspite would seem to be the likely culprits as both took part in the Salerno landings.

The Seafires are all MK IIcs. The one in marked ‘D’ definitely has a coloured spinner, probably red, the others do not. These all have retained their cannon stubs but many Seafires had them removed and the hole faired over in an attempt to save weight.


Seafire Mk IIc MB156, 885 NAS HMS Formidable. Standard Temperate Sea Scheme (Dark Slate Grey and Extra Dark Sea Grey) with Sky under surfaces. Fighter Command rear fuselage band Sky as is the spinner. Codes are Sky, not white, and read O6*G on the other side. NB. The FAA codes did not work the same way as the RAF. Some kit/decal manufacturers and profile artists do not understand this and sometimes show the codes as 6G*O on the other side. It does not matter how the characters are grouped but the order must remain the same, always O6G from left to right. O is the base (sometimes omitted), HMS Formidable; 6 is the squadron, there usually being two fighter squadrons on a fleet carrier allocated 6 and 7; G is the identity of the aircraft.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2009, 05:13:57 PM by Antoni » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2009, 07:57:29 PM »

Excerpt from my book manuscript Smiley:

"Operation Torch was also to be a combat debut of carrier-borne Supermarine Seafire. In support of the Center and Easter Task Forces were three large Royal Navy carriers, HMS Furious, HMS Victorious and HMS Formidable. Onboard HMS Furious were two large Seafire units, No. 801 Suadron FAA with Seafires Mk. IB  and No. 807 operating Seafires Mk. IIC.  The Merlin 46 engine of Mk. IIC was tuned to provide maximum power at low altitude, making the aircraft better suited for naval operations and for ground attack work. Additionally, Nos. 884 and 885 Squadrons, each with six Mk. IICs were operating from HMS Victorious and HMS Formidable respectively."

It is an interesting comment if really this photograph shows Torch and not Avalanche. The caption in the HMSO book (published post-war IIRC) from which the photo has been sourced, says Torch. However, it would be easy for them to pick just about any photo of Seafires aboard a carrier and make it act as a document of Torch landings.

Any further views appreciated. Are we positively SURE that all RN Seafires were marked with stars, not roundels at the time of Torch? The RN operated well inte the Mediterranean off Oran and Algiers, far from the American zones in Morocco.

/Martin   
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Antoni
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2009, 03:57:08 PM »

All the British aircraft that took part in Operation Torch, Seafires, Sea Hurricanes, Fulmars, Martlets, Albacores, Swordfish and Walrus on battleships and cruisers, had American white stars painted over their roundels. Some aircraft even had Royal Navy changed to US Navy. An additional order issued from Allied Air Force Headquarters dated September 1942 required a two inch wide yellow outer ring to be added to the fuselage and under wing insignia of both British and American aircraft. This was not always adhered to, some having yellow rings on all surfaces and other none at all. Various reasons for the modified markings have been suggested and argued about. The British wanted ‘Torch’ to look like an entirely American affair as the French were very anti-British and it was hoped that the French would be less inclined to fight against the Americans. It would reduce the incidence of ‘friendly fire’. British aircraft could be mistaken for French aircraft as they also carried roundels. That some FAA aircraft were marked US Navy would seem to support the ‘all American’ thesis. The total FAA carrier force strength was 130 fighter aircraft and 30 Albacores/Swordfish.

During Operation Torch HMS Furious was not with Force H. The naval forces were divided into three task forces.

Western Task force was entirely American, bound for Casablanca. Air support was provided by the fleet carrier USS Ranger and escort carriers USS Santee, USS Suwannee and USS Sanamon. USS Chenango carried P-40F Warhawks of the USAAF 33rd Fighter Group which would operate from the Port Lyautey airfield after it was captured.

Central Task Force was an American land force carried on British ships bound for Oran. Air support was provided by HMS Furious and the escort carriers HMS Biter and HMS Dasher.

Eastern Task Force was an Anglo-American land force carried on British ships. Support was provided by HMS Argus and the escort carrier HMS Avenger.

Force H was a covering element for the Task Forces with the fleet carriers HMS Victorious and HMS Formidable.

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