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The Spitfire Site

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Author Topic: Malta Spitfires  (Read 9363 times)
mhase
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« on: August 19, 2009, 10:35:59 PM »

Good evening!

Quite recently I had the opportunity of travelling to Malta and also paid a visit to their excellent Aviaton Museum. Quite interesting and absolutely recommended - not only because of the extremely friendly Maltese enthusiasts and the good "cuppa" there.

I bought a lot of magazines and books published in Malta and now I am trying to build one of the Mk Vb or Mk Vc delivered during the "2nd Great Siege" in 1942 or 1943.

I learnt from the Osprey book "Malta Spitfire Aces" that (most?) of these Spitfires were re-painted in blue either on the carrier during their ferry or at Malta after "delivery". This one might be a good addition to the differnet land and sea schemes available.

Has anyone an idea how these might have looked like or which colours were used for the upper sides and the lower parts of the Spits? The Osprey book seems to be quite good concerning the research work done by Mssrs Nichols and Galea, the latter from Malta - but astonishingly there is almost no further information on this topic in other sources and media to confirm this "theory".

In case anyone has an idea or additional info, just drop a note.

Many thanks in advance

Yours

Michael





 
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Hamden
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2009, 04:25:21 PM »


   Hi

I believe Clive Denny(?) arranged for the HAC Spitfire V and Hurricane XII to fly from Duxford to Malta a couple of years ago and the Spitfire was repainted in the blue scheme specially for this trip. It was well publised at the time in magazines such as Aeroplane Monthly sothere should be some photos of it available, or even try contacting HAC direct at Duxford for colour info.

Hope this helps

Roger
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Edgar Brooks
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2009, 09:28:35 PM »

I went to the National Archive, at Kew, yesterday, and found three files on movement of Spitfires to Malta.  There are clear, and unequivocal, instructions that Spitfires, on the "Calendar" and "Oppidan" runs, should be painted in "Sea Scheme."  There's also a signal, from Malta, after those two deliveries, asking that all future deliveries should be in the sea scheme, because it meant that the aircraft could be got into service that much quicker.  With the sea scheme including Slate Grey, it could explain one CO remarking on how good they looked resplendent in their fresh green paint; under the Malta sun, it would probably look very green.  There's no such instruction for "Bowery," which makes me wonder if it was planned too quickly for a new paint job, hence the repaint on Wasp, probably using their blue intended for metallic upperworks. 
 Also in the file is a complaint about being sent desert converted airframes, and the reply was that they had larger oil capacity, which was felt to be vital on the long flight in.
 4 cannon were fitted, with 60 rpg for only two, and the .303" were all removed, since Malta said that they could replenish from their own stocks.
 The overload tanks were not dropped (until "Bowery,") but were offloaded in Malta, and flown back, via Liberators, to Gibraltar.
Edgar
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Antoni
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2009, 09:18:27 PM »

The Dark Sea Grey/Dark Slate Grey scheme was called the Sea Temperate Scheme or Temperate Sea Scheme., developed for aircraft that spent most of the time operating over water. As you might expect from the name it was for northern latitudes. There was also a Tropical Sea Scheme for which the colour Dark Mediterranean Blue was developed (before the war). The original purpose of Light Mediterranean Blue, best known for being used on the undersides of aircraft in the Desert Scheme, was as a ‘shadow shade’ for Dark Mediterranean Blue in the Tropical Sea Scheme. That is, it was to be painted on the upper surfaces of the lower wing of biplanes to compensate for the shadow effect of the upper wing. Light Earth and Light Green served the same purpose in the Land Temperate Scheme.

So which of the two schemes does Sea Scheme refer to? Temperate, intended for use in the North Atlantic, North Sea, Channel etc., or Tropical, intended for use in the tropics and Mediterranean?

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Edgar Brooks
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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2009, 10:16:23 PM »

There was no such (official) scheme as "Tropical Sea,"  AMO 664/42 lists only Temperate Sea scheme for all naval aircraft, anywhere.  Ic, or VIc, Beaufighters ("c" denoting coastal) were painted in the Temperate Sea Scheme, not blues, while operating in the Med.  The AMO lists only four schemes:- temperate land, temperate sea, day fighter, desert.  If AOC Malta, and DO (UK) used the term "sea scheme" temperate sea would have been the only one that they knew of.  If there was an AMO, designating a "tropical sea" scheme, I'd dearly love to have the reference, since they can all be found in the yearly listings of all AMOs, in the National Archive at Kew.
Edgar
« Last Edit: October 06, 2009, 02:04:42 PM by Edgar Brooks » Logged
NZTyphoon
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2009, 01:28:02 PM »

Personally I have real doubts about the Spitfires on Wasp being painted in the "Deck Blue" used for the metal decks of USN ships. The Wasp still had a Fitron (Fighter Squadron VF-71) of 19 F4Fs on board to do CAP duties; I would strongly suggest that the Blue used on the Wasp Spitfires was the USN's standard Blue Gray (as used on the upper surfaces of all USN aircraft) hastily brushed or sparayed over the top of the Light Earth/Dark Earth/Sky or Sky Blue scheme.






Photo scanned from  Malta: The Spitfire Year 1942 by Shores, Cull Malizia p. 199.  The Deck Blue was a much darker blue than this when fresh, nearly as dark as RAF roundel blue. Note, too, that the uniforms of the Wasp's deck crew are also darker than the colour which has been used on U-2 BR124. Even the exhausts - which would have been reasonably new - are darker.  Somehow Hyperscale came to completely different conclusions. I don't agree at all - for one the claim that this blue was darker than that on USN aircraft in 1942 is wrong.

What  Steve Eisenman is forgetting is that USN aircraft were spotted on the carrier deck more often than not - this exposed them to salt spray, wind, rain, sun etc which had a bad habit of weathering and fading blues. To compare a freshly painted Spitfire with a Wildcat which may have been exposed to weathering for some time is erroneous. His claim that the spinners were red also needs to be examined. If anything the spinner of U-2 is exactly the same colour as the rest of the upper surfaces - why would it be painted red when the objective was to camouflage the aircraft for a long over water flight?

BM597, which has been painted as U-2, does not show enough contrast between the upper surface solour and the blue of the roundel - compare with the wartime photo.



I like this version Malta Spitfire Mk. Vc which looks more realistic.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2009, 01:31:29 PM by NZTyphoon » Logged
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