AVG P40E Camouflage

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by Indystock, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. Indystock

    Indystock New Member

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    #1 Indystock, Feb 7, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010
    I'm interested in the camouflage markings applied to the first batch of AVG P40E models. I've seen
    color plates showing the 104 ship with the green and brown, yet the 106 108 seem to have the
    standard olive drab. Were these planes all later given the two color scheme?

    The black white pictures don't always show the color shade differences, even on the earlier B/C models.

    Anything you can provide will be appreciated!

    chuck
     
  2. Glenn Sprouse

    Glenn Sprouse New Member

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    Hey Chuck:

    I am about ready to pull my hair out on this very topic. The photos that I have access to show some very contradictory things, especially about #104.

    First off, the inital batch of P-40Es came from USAAF stocks in Africa. According to everything that I have seen in photos and read in books, they were picked up by AVG pilots in their standard Olive Drab 41 over Neutral Grey 43. They had all of the stars in the proper places (the stars had the red dots in the center) and had "U.S. ARMY" on the undersides of the wings. There are several photos of these aircraft in Larry Pistole's A Pictorial History of the Flying Tigers. The only additions the pilots made when they ferried the aircraft was to put a "chalk" white top on the spine of the fuselage and chalk numbers on the aircraft. Once they reached China, the stars on the sides were painted out with a green color (probably either British Dark Green or the Du Pont green that was used on the original Tomahawks), the wing stars were covered with the Chinese "White Sun" and shark mouths were applied. The U.S. ARMY on the undersides of the wings were usually left untouched, but there are some photos that suggest that this was overpainted. Also left up to conjecture was if the aircraft had the squadron color fuselage stripe. Photos show that some did and others did not. The first batch went to the 2nd Squadron which suggests that the stripes should be Chinese Royal Blue, however drawings of #108 as well as a restored P-40E done up as #108 show the stripe as red. This should be totally wrong as red was for 3rd Squadron and they did not get P-40Es until after the 23rd FG took over. In fact, 3rd Squadron was where all the leftover Tomahawks from 2nd 1st Squadrons were transferred to when those two squadrons started receiving Kittyhawks.

    Now we come to #104. In Larry Pistole's book, there is a flight lineup photo with #104 in the foreground. #104 is clearly in Olive Drab and Gray with the fuselage star painted out in green. I can't remember if it had a fuselage stripe or not, but I seem to remember it did not. I'll check at home tonight. A photo of #104 is seen again in Carl Molesworth's P-40 Warhawk Aces of the CBI from Osprey publishing. This photo of #104 in flight clearly shows the aircraft in Dark Green/Dark Brown over Gray camo. Close inspection of the two photos does not help. It appears that the #104 was painted exactly the same way on both aircraft (position, character style, etc.) and the shark mouth appears exactly the same (I even counted the teeth, although this is somewhat inconclusive considering that part of the mouth appears obscured by the wing in Pistole's book). This leaves us two posibilities:

    1. The aircraft was painted cammo in the field after being taken over by the 23rd FG. This was unusual, but not impossible. It does look like the cammo on the P-40 aces book goes around the markings, as if to avoid repainting them.

    2. The two #104s in the books are actually different aircraft.

    All of the refrences about #104 in the 23rd Fighter Group state that it was a hand-me-down from the AVG. In that case it should have been in O.D. Gray, but it was in cammo by late 1942.

    The best suggestion that I can make is to check your photos for the time period you are looking for. The cammo and markings was constantly changing, especially once the 23rd FG took over from the AVG. If you don't have a copy of Larry Pistole's A Pictorial History of the Flying Tigers, see if you can find on either online or through your local library. If your library is part of the Inter-Library Loan program, you should have no problem finding a copy without shelling out any money.

    In any case, I hope this info helps. Please let me know what you find out.

    Glenn
     
  3. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    Curtiss-Wright gave a distinct factory model number to the China-bound Hawks: H81-A3. These planes were taken at random from a line assembling H81-A2 fighters for Britain and should have been indistinguishable from the RAF Tomahawk IIB. However, there is evidence that Curtiss-Wright may have fitted the China-bound fighters with parts intended for the Tomahawk IIA (equivalent to the U.S. Army P-40B).

    January allotment
    Taken from a block with RAF serials AK100/570. Other aircraft in this series went to No. 73, 112, and 250 squadrons in North Africa, and some went to Russia--including three since returned to the U.S. No machineguns fitted. Arrived Rangoon May 1941.

    Tail # Mfg # RAF # fuselage # flown by remarks
    P-8101 15337 AK466 92 Hedman last plane assembled in Rangoon
    P-8102 15338 AK467 13 Cross -
    P-8103 15339 AK468 3 Rossi, Bartling abandoned Rangoon
    P-8104 15423 AK471 5/9/24? Bond, Burgard? Bond recalls this as his aircraft
    P-8105 15424 AK472 67 Hodges Wrecked 23 Oct 1941
    P-8106 15425 AK473 11? Sandell? first aircraft assembled in Rangoon
    P-8107 15430 AK478 - Schiel crashed Toungoo
    P-8108 15431 AK479 37 Ricketts -
    P-8109 15432 AK480 68 Older damaged in forced landing near Lashio, March
    P-8110 15433 AK481 42 Fish -
    P-8111 15438 AK486 - - first a/c with thrust bearing sump
    P-8112 15439 AK487 Armstrong crashed Toungoo
    P-8113 15444 AK492 2 - -
    P-8114 15445 AK493 11? Sandell? crashed Rangoon?
    P-8115 15452 AK500 69 Bishop, Martin, McGarry crashed Thailand 24 Mar 42; wreckage on display at Chiang Mai.
    P-8116 15453 AK501 89? - crashed Rangoon 23 Jan 42
    P-8117 15459 AK507 - Bright crashed Toungoo
    P-8118 15460 AK508 70 Olson -
    P-8119 15466 AK514 71? Overend, C Smith, Shilling -
    P-8120 15467 AK515 43 Keeton -
    P-8121 15473 AK521 88 Jernstedt -
    P-8122 15474 AK522 - - -
    P-8123 15480 AK528 36 Rector -
    P-8124 15481 AK529 - - leaky thrust bearing
    P-8125 15487 AK535 1 Atkinson crashed Toungoo
    P-8126 15488 AK536 - Hammer crashed Toungoo
    P-8127 15494 AK542 47 Petach, RT Smith,
    Layher? crashed in China; engine said to be on display at Torrence airport, California
    P-8128 15495 AK543 54 Christman crashed Rangoon?
    P-8129 15501 AK549 - - -
    P-8130 15502 AK550 - - -
    P-8131 15508 AK556 35/27 Blackburn, Prescott? -
    P-8132 15509 AK557 15 Martin -
    P-8133 15514 AK562 49 Swartz, Haywood -
    P-8134 15515 AK563 48 Hill -
    P-8135 15521 AK569 79 Hedman, Reed -
    P-8136 15522 AK570 40 Cole -


    February allotment
    Taken from a block with RAF serials AM370/519 (other aircraft in this series went to No. 73 and 112 squadrons in North Africa). Arrived Rangoon June 1941.


    Tail # Mfg # RAF # fuselage # flown by remarks
    P-8137 15828 AM375 - - -
    P-8138 15834 AM381 57 Howard -
    P-8139 15841 AM388 99 Olson -
    P-8140 15848 AM395 96 - -
    P-8141 15855 AM402 - - -
    P-8142 15862 AM409 41 Paxton, Merritt, Bacon, Boyington -
    P-8143 15869 AM416 10 Farrell crashed Rangoon 23 Jan
    P-8144 15876 AM423 25 Mickelson -
    P-8145 15882 AM429 - -
    P-8146 15884 AM431 7? Neale? -
    P-8147 15886 AM433 52 Shilling, Martin, Hill sometimes identified as the AVG photo plane
    P-8148 15888 AM435 86/98? McMillan -
    P-8149 15890 AM437 58 Shapard, Houle -
    P-8150 15892 AM439 91 McMillan -
    P-8151 15894 AM441 33 Little -
    P-8152 15896 AM443 56 Bright -
    P-8153 15898 AM445 71?/78? Shilling most likely the AVG photo plane, which Shilling identified as #53
    P-8154 15900 AM447 97 Foshee, Moss -
    P-8155 15902 AM449 8? - crashed Rangoon 23 Jan
    P-8156 15904 AM451 46 Lawlor -
    P-8157 15906 AM453 100 - lacking instruments, its wing assembly went to complete P-8194 and the fuselage was trucked to Loiwing, where it was completed with parts from damaged aircraft
    P-8158 15908 AM455 5? Bond? -
    P-8159 15910 AM457 - - -
    P-8160 15911 AM458 - -
    P-8161 15913? AM460? 59 Bacon one RAF source says this aircraft served in North Africa; the plane that went to China may have been AM498 (Curtiss serial 15951)
    P-8162 15915 AM462 94 Haywood, Neale, Groh -
    P-8163 15916 AM463 - -
    P-8164 15918 AM465 11? Sandell? crashed Rangoon?
    P-8165 15920 AM467 45 Bartelt, Moss forced landing near Lashio, March
    P-8166 15921 AM468 - - -
    P-8167 15923 AM470 - - -
    P-8168 15925 AM472 85 Brouk, Hurst, Greene Shot down 23 Dec 1941
    P-8169 15926 AM473 43 Keeton -


    March allotment
    Taken from the same block as February allotment. Arrived Rangoon July 1941.

    Tail # Mfg # RAF # fuselage # flown by remarks
    P-8170 15928 AM475 53/13 Layher, Little, Hill -
    P-8171 15930 AM477 50? Ricketts, Hill? -
    P-8172 15931 AM478 50/7? Ricketts, Neale -
    P-8173 15933 AM480 77 RT Smith, Rossi belly landing Magwe
    P-8174 15935 AM482 - - -
    P-8175 15937 AM484 - - -
    P-8176 15939 AM486 - - -
    P-8177 15940 AM487 38 Geselbracht -
    P-8178 15942 AM489 76? 5? McMillan? Bond? -
    P-8179 15944 AM491 - - -
    P-8180 15945 AM492 - - -
    P-8181 15947 AM494 51 Cole -
    P-8182 15949 AM496 21 Boyington, Schiel -
    P-8183 15950 AM497 83 Hodges -
    P-8184 15952 AM499 44 Laughlin, PWright -
    P-8185 15954 AM501 13? Cross? -
    P-8186 15955 AM502 75 Reed some say this plane had RAF roundels
    P-8187 15957 AM504 6 Dean belly landing
    P-8188 15959 AM506 23/45? McGarry, Jones, Bartelt? -
    P-8189 15961 AM508 - - -
    P-8190 15962 AM509 16/6? Dean -
    P-8191 15963 AM510 90 Dupouy -
    P-8192 15964 AM511 - - survived to serve with 23rd Fighter Group
    P-8193 15965 AM512 74 Conant belly landing 31 Oct 1941
    P-8194 15966 AM513 7? Sawyer, Neale? wings ruined by salt water when off-loaded in Rangoon; plane made complete with wings from P-8157
    P-8195 15967 AM514 84 Greene crashed Rangoon?
    P-8196 15968 AM515 34 Newkirk crashed Thailand
    P-8197 15969 AM516 18 Kuykendall -
    P-8198 15970 AM517 5? Bond? destroyed Loiwing?
    P-8199 15971 AM518 - Neale -
    P-8200 15972 AM519 39 Moss -


    Tomahawks numbered 1-33 were assigned to lst Squadron, 34-66 to 2nd Squadron, 67-99 to 3rd Squadron.

    In addition to aircraft identified above, the following fuselage numbers are known: #17 Croft, #19 Hoffman, #30 Moss, and #67 Prescott, but these numbers cannot be tied to a specific aircraft. Note, however, that pilots often flew any plane available.

    Compiled from Pentecost, Bowers, Christy, Clements, Rawlings, Chennault Papers, Tullis, Baisden, Losonsky, and AVG Archives (see the AVG bibliography). Additional input by Jim Settle, Craig Busby, and Paul McMillan.
    http://www.warbirdforum.com/avg.htm

    Lots of good information on here, I know its not cammo marking but maybe something will help with it. I will still look for the marking you are looking for, but might take some time. :rolleyes:
     
  4. Indystock

    Indystock New Member

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    Thank you both, gentlemen.

    I recently purchased Tigers Over China by Thomas A. Tullis.

    It was copyrighted in 2001, but this was the first time I had ever seen it.
    Excellent color prints and serveral black and white photos that I have seen
    elswhere have been enhanced. I've seen one picture of a group of E Models
    in 2 color camouflage and having the Chinese markings on the bottom of
    their wings. It's not in Tullis' book, but it proves to me that there were
    A.V.G. E models that had the 2 color scheme. The picture has the planes
    too far away to see what their numbers were. I'll probably build all my E models with the
    2 color scheme and just live with the criticism. :oops: If you ever do get a photo that
    clearly shows this, PLEASE post it.

    Thanks again!!!

    chuck
     
  5. Glenn Sprouse

    Glenn Sprouse New Member

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    Sounds good to me Chuck. I am going to do two AVG P-40Es for my collection, one will be in O.D. the other in two color cammo, just to cover both possibilities. The cammo one will be # 104, but I haven't decided if it will be in Chinese markings or I will show it during the two week transition period in July when the 23rd FG took over and they applied U.S. stars over the Chinese white suns. I've been leaning toward the U.S. markings because the photos I have with cammo show 104 wearing U.S. stars. The O.D. one will be # 108, which Tex Hill flew during the later part of his time in the AVG. These two will at least make for an interesting contrast.

    Glad to be of help. Happy modelling!

    Glenn
     
  6. Unit6

    Unit6 New Member

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    #6 Unit6, May 6, 2010
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
    This is from an old issue of Air Classics. Pictures are slow, give it a minute.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Glenn Sprouse

    Glenn Sprouse New Member

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    Hey Guys:

    I know it has been forever since anyone posted on this site but I just got a book that addresses the cammo on #104. It is Osprey's 23rd Fighter Group Aviation Elite Units books and the author, Carl Molesworth, has this to say about Rector Holloway's P-40E #104:

    "Since recent findings suggest all of the AVG's P-40Es were finished in Olive Drab over Neutral Grey, the two colour camouflage on '104' possibly indicates that it was one of the few replacement E models that trickled into China for the 23rd FG before the improved P-40Ks began to arrive in the summer of 1942. This aeroplane was flown by two successive commanders of the 76th FS in Majs Ed Rector and Bruce Holloway in the latter half of 1942. The latter pilot once suggested to the author that '104' may have been repainted during its service with the 76th FS."

    I'm not sure if this helps the discussion, but I did want to add it since it does pertain directly to the AVG and their P-40Es.

    Glenn
     
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