B-24 Liberator "Sage Lady" Color Marking Help

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by 69dodgechrgr, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr New Member

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    I'm looking for some assistance in researching the B-24 Liberator "Sage Lady". This plane was piloted by Lt. Charles "Chuck" Stiede who was my wife's uncle. The plane was part of the 450th Bombardment Group "Cottontails" / 723rd Squadron. On February 16th 1945 she was on a mission to bomb Hall West Marshalling Yards in Germany when the crew had engine problems, fell behind and turned back. Over the Adriatic Sea she encountered German ground fire and a head on attack from an FW-190 crippling her to the point the crew had to attempt to ditch in the sea. Further malfunctions, due to damage from enemy fire, caused her to crash into the sea killing the entire crew except the Flight Officer who was miraculously thrown free and picked up by German's who had comandeered a fishing boat.

    I can find no photographs of the plane. Her serial number was 41-28607. Researching this number I discovered she was formerly assigned to the 459th and was previously named the "Hot Shotsie". There are some photos of the Hot Shotsie showing she was a bare aluminum aircraft. She was a B-24G whereas the Sage Lady was a B-24H. I am building a model of the Sage Lady and want to get the paint scheme as correct as possible. Unfortunately this leaves me having to make an educated guess as to the aircraft's color and tail paint. Obviously I will likely never know what the nose art looked like so I plan to go with plain script style "Sage Lady" lettering on the nose. My educated guess on the overall color would be green given her renaming as the Sage Lady possibly being a reference to her Sage green color. However in researching the term Sage this also refers to a wise well traveled person. So it could be a reference to the aircraft's former extensive combat record as the Hot Shotsie. My thought is the color reference is more likely. It is also worth noting she went from a B-24G to a B-24H. This involved improved front and rear gun turret's, bomb sight and other misc upgrades. My reasoning is she may have been taken out of service, upgraded and painted prior to being reassigned to the 450th. As for the tail paint I have several photographic examples of 450th tail markings and all seem to be different in one way or another. I am strongly considering the below tail paint but I'm not sure if it is correct for a late war 450th aircraft. I'm also unsure if it is only correct for a formation lead plane which I'm sure the Sage Lady was not.

    I'm hoping some of you more experienced WWII aircraft enthusiasts can help me figure this out or at least make a more informed decision on the final paint. Any help is appreciated and I will attempt to load more pictures and information in the next few days.

    green tail.png
     
  2. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr New Member

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    #2 69dodgechrgr, Jul 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
    Thought I'd add a photo of the crew. The entire crew lost is listed below but one of the regular crew, Cpl. Elmer Grusendorf, was ill and grounded on the day of the crash. I'm not sure which of the other Cpl's was his replacement for the mission but this explains why I have listed 11 names instead of 10. As far as the picture goes I only know a few of the men. The bottom left is 2nd Lt. Charles Stiede. The two men front and center are F/O's Robert Levenson and Reece Davis Jr. although I don't know which is which. The bottom right is 2nd Lt. Norman Walker. The rest are the Cpl's and Sgt. Schafer although again, I don't know which is which.

    2nd Lt. Charles Stiede - KIA
    2nd Lt. Norman Walker - KIA
    F/O Robert Levenson - POW
    F/O Reece Davis Jr. - KIA
    Sgt. Robert Schafer - MIA
    Cpl. Cecil Roscoe - MIA
    Cpl. Larry DeSpain - KIA
    Cpl. Gailon Gunter - MIA
    Cpl. Vernon Collins - KIA
    Cpl. Burl Price - KIA
    Cpl. Elmer Grusendorf - Grounded


    Sage Lady Aircrew.jpg
     
  3. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Guess that good luck charm didn't work...
     
  4. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr New Member

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    Well after much research I've decided she was most likely bare aluminum. It seems most late war planes in the 450th had the same paint scheme on their tails. Here's the final tail paint I decided upon. Anybody with thoughts feel free to let me know.
     

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  5. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    I'll see if I can find a photo of another aircraft from that squadron from the same time frame.

    Geo
     
  6. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr New Member

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    Here's a photo of the Judy Lee 68 and the Swamp Rat 77 in flight together. Both have the same tail paint scheme.
     

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  7. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    These Liberators seem to wear the Olive Drab/Natural Grey camo. Therefore the number 68 is painted on th white background. According to the AJ-Press monography for B-24 the 723rd BS Liberators in NMF ( bare metal ) had the yellow/black strips painted like in your profiles but the numbers were black without the white background. Also the black triangle was without the white disc buit painted in the black ring.

    450th BG.jpg

    However the pis shows the white disc for the black triangle.

    B-24J 450BG.jpg
     
  8. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr New Member

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    Looks like you are probably right Wurger. I did some further research and almost all of the late war 450th BG bare metal planes have the tails painted as you describe. I even located a rare color photo of one which is attached below. I was assuming all of the planes had some white on the rudders because the unit was referred to as the Cottontails. It looks like early on 450th BG planes had rudders painted completely white but they got away from this later in the war. Perhaps because of this information I found on the 450th BG website:

    Early in combat the 450th earned the name by which it became known in the Mediterranean Theater and in the United States. The white rudders of the big tailed Liberators were spotted by the German Luftwaffe when the 450th led the devastating attack against the Prufening Aircraft Factory in Regensburg, Germany on 25 February 1944. Smarting under the blows of the 450th bombing, “Axis Sally,” better known to the airmen as “The Berlin Bitch” came on the air that night with a threat and a warning to: “The White Tailed Liberators.” On subsequent bombing over Germany, hundreds of ME-109's and FM-190's supported rocket firing JU-88's attacked aggressively, knocking down several 450th bombers. From Berlin came the gloating voice of Sally: “How did you like it, White Tailed Liberators?” From “white-tails” the obvious nickname of “Cottontails” developed.
     

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  9. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    There were markings on top of the stabilizers as well but I'm not sure if they were the same as this when the aircraft were aluminum..

    Capture1.JPG

    Geo
     
  10. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr New Member

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    fubar, that was the earlier scheme. Here's a picture showing the latter. Looks like a band of black-yellow-black on the leading edge with bare aluminum underneath.
     

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  11. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I am just going thru some of my Davidson files to sort and there was John T Davidson, an engineer on Swamp Rat!
    Do we have anything on the fate of the Swamp?
     
  12. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #12 Wurger, Aug 13, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
    As memo serves there were waering the standard OliveDrab/ Natural Grey camo scheme the early B-25H/J only. All later batches were of the NMF. First, bare metal H and J variants of the b-24 bomber appeared at the end of 1943. Below is another pic I found via the net. According to the info above it seems to be of a Liberator of the 722nd BS - Black Triangle, balck serial and the black number painted at the top of the rudder. It seems to be similar to that one in your colour picture and the B&W in the post #10. The 723rd BS was painting the black number at the middle of the rudder.

    B-24 450BG.jpg
     
  13. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies and input guys. I've redone my tail art once again to reflect the information received over the past couple days. Once again let me know any thoughts on improving the accuracy.
     

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  14. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    There doesn't appear to be the bit of yellow on the rudder at the bottom. Might have to make that all black.
    Serial and the diamond seem to be all over the place, no real consistancy.
    Nicely done tho mate.
     
  15. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #15 Wurger, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
    Looking good. But the black triangle should be thinner and smaller and inscribed of a thin black circle if it was a B-24 of the 723rd BS.

    723bs.jpg
     
  16. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr New Member

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    Ok, version number 4 with black rudder and small thinner triangle surrounded by a black circle.
     

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  17. javlin

    javlin Well-Known Member

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    It looks good what you have done so far.T-Bolt/Glenn dad I believe served on B-24 see if he has any info.
     
  18. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Looking good to me. :thumbright:
     
  19. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr New Member

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    Thanks again for all the help guys I really appreciate it! Now I can be confident when I lay down the tail paint. I'll start another thread in start to finish builds once I get a little more work done on her. I do need some additional help figuring out the bomb mission marks on the nose. I have no idea how many bomb runs the Sage Lady made. A letter recounting the day of the crash written by Levenson states they did do a bomb drop on a target of opportunity on their way back to base. They also engaged at least a couple of FW190's and Levenson says they shot one down prior to crashing. I plan to have at least those two marks on her even though they never would have been able to add them obviously. It's a tribute build so I plan to include them as part of the tribute. Any ideas on how I could go about finding the battle record? I know she had at least one other crew that wrecked her on 25 June 1944 during a taxying accident. She had quite a record as the Hot Shotsie before being renamed but I don't know if she would have retained her marks or not. Also not sure if she would have retained the Hot Shotsie nose art with a new name. Any help or advice is again appreciated.
     

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  20. Warbird1974

    Warbird1974 New Member

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    Stumbled across this thread by complete accident. Looks like you've made some good progress on this. It looks just like what I've come up with. **For those that don't know his wife is my cousin and we are working on similar projects in tribute to our Great-Uncle Chuck and 'Sage Lady'.

    I do have one question because I couldn't figure it out...how did you come up with the ship number of '94'? Out of all my reference books I could only figure that was a random assigned number. So really wasn't sure what to go with there.

    I knew she was with another group and had been damaged but I didn't realize that 'Sage Lady' had another name in her previous role with a different group, I completely overlooked that fact. Pretty cool to see photos of at least that version and know that was eventually his aircraft, nice job. I have feelers out wherever I can think of in hopes that someone would miraculously have a photo of her or at least the nose art since all of Aunt Jills photos were destroyed in a fire :( . Your idea of just script on the nose was what I had planned as well.

    One thought I did have about the name / color was that maybe this was a design in response to the B-24D 'Strawberry Bitch' which was a pinkish colored aircraft serving in North Africa. Just an idea I had, no real significance to it.

    What model / scale are you going with on this? I have a Hobbycraft 1/72 scale B-24H. I have actually considered doing the two halves differently covering both the natural metal finish and green/grey camo finish. Haven't made a final decision on that yet.

    I look forward to seeing your project on this one. I have another project to finish for Cam's birthday before I can move on to this one.

    Happy building! :)
     
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