DONE: F4F-4 Wildcat "13", VF-3, W. N. Leonard, USS Yorktown, Battle of Midway, GB

Discussion in '#2 Pacific Theater of Operations' started by Lucky13, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    This is my second GB project, Tamiya's F4F-4 Wildcat as "13" of Fighting Squadron Three (VF-3), (Bureau # 5244). As flown by the squadron Executive Officer, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) William N. Leonard on combat air patrol from USS Yorktown CV-5, during the morning of 4 June 1942, Battle of Midway.

    Maybe someone could confirm the numbers on the wings and fuselage, are they white on the wings and black on the fuselage??

    Edit: The below WWII photo caption says,

    A Grumman F4F-4 "Wildcat" fighter (Bureau # 5244) takes off from USS Yorktown (CV-5) on combat air patrol, during the morning of 4 June 1942.
    This plane is Number 13 of Fighting Squadron Three (VF-3), flown by the squadron Executive Officer, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) William N. Leonard.
    Photographed by Photographer Second Class William G. Roy, from the ship's forecastle. Note .50 caliber machinegun at right and mattresses hung on the lifeline for splinter-protection.
     

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  2. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Obviously I'm the guy who should be answering this question. Yes, white 13. Was white 25, but the original white 13 got crunched on 29 May, an accident which killed the VF-3 XO, LCDR Don Lovelace. Next senior was the Flight Officer, LTJG Leonard, TAD from VF-42 along with 15 other VF-42 pilots and the entire complement of VF-42 enlisted folks (gotta list of them around here somewhere). When Thach gave Leonard the additional XO hat to wear, the VF-42 maintenance folks struck white 25 below, and, voila, the next morning it was white 13, the proper side number for an XO (halfway through the squadron numbering).

    Rich Leonard
     
  3. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Hi Lucky,

    Not sure if these will help but was messing around and found these photos with your lucky 13 number you are always looking for.

    Paul
     

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  4. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Here's a jpg of an actual VF tactical orgnization memo in my possession, drawn up after Lovelace was killed, one of the very few VF-3 Midway documents in existence. Note it is signed by Bill Leonard.
     

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  5. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    And Bill Leonard in an F4F aboard USS Hornet sometime after 6 June 1942. No, this is not b/n 5244; this is the photo-op plane. Slap on one flag and everybody with one credit gets his picture taken. Slap on another and everyone with two credits gets a go, and so on. I've pictures of other VF-3/VF-42 pilots sitting in the same plane.

    Rich
     

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  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Great stuff Rich.
     
  7. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Thank you VERY much Rich, very much appreciated! I really look forward to do this one and Vejtasa's SBD-3, even if I have to wait two weeks, when I back in Glasgow, to start buuilding.
    Thanks for the pics Micdrow, appreciated!

    :notworthy:
     
  8. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Your welcome!!!
     
  9. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Excellent stuff here lads.:D
     
  10. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    13's, 13's, everywhere...great in:D fo and pics you Guys!
     
  11. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Indeed it is lads, ever so grateful! Think all you should wait for me to get back to Glasgow, otherwise´you'll get two weeks longer than me to build....and that's sooo nooot faaair! :( :lol:
     
  12. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Well....you only have 2 arms...remember!, otherwise you would be on it already..:lol: :lol:
     
  13. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    My father's pilot's log book pages for June 1942
     

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  14. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Thank you ever so much Rich! :notworthy:
     
  15. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Rich, u have any decent pics for Jan of White 13???
     
  16. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    No, none of b/n 5244 as white 13 except the already posted 80-G-312016. We were not aware of that one until the early 1980’s when it turned up in John Lundstrom’s and Bob Cressman’s research for their respective works.

    Typical VF-3 F4F-4s immediately prior to the Midway deployment can be found at
    http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/g60000/g66154.jpg
    which shows b/n 5171 - white 1 - which was Jimmie Thach’s assigned plane and at
    http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/g60000/g61533.jpg
    which shows (L-R) b/n 5167 - white 5 - and 5149 - white 10.

    This is a shot of Tom Cheek’s wrecked b/n 5143 - white 16 - on Yorktown’s hangar deck after his barrier crash. A good shot for placement of side numbers and the VF-3 insignia (centered on that six-sided access panel just forward and below the windscreen on both sides of the plane).
    http://www.internetmodeler.com/2002/june/aviation/Cheek-CheekF4F.jpg

    MaritimeQuest - USS Hornet CV-8 Page 13
    shows three of shots of the wounded Ens Dan Sheedy landing his shot-up b/n 5239 - white 24 - aboard USS Hornet upon his return from the morning strike escort mission, a landing incident in which his guns fired and resulted in the deaths and wounding of several crewmen.

    Same thing happened somewhat later when Ens Bill Barnes came aboard Hornet in b/n 5167 - white 5 - but no one got hurt in that incident. This is a nice clean shot of white 5 showing markings -
    http://www.maritimequest.com/warshi...iers/hornet_cv_8/1942_06_04_k_f4_from cv5.jpg.
    The website says this is Ens Horace Bass in white 5, but, no, it was Bill Barnes

    There is an obvious discrepancy between assigned aircraft and aircraft the VF-3 pilots actually flew in the battle. That is simply because one took what was spotted on the flight deck. Thach, for example, flew white 23 in his morning strike escort mission and then, later, as the Japanese torpedo attack came in took off in “his” white 1. Counting that flight, there were only four pilots who actually flew their nominally assigned aircraft. The other three were Leonard in white 13 and Mach.Tom Barnes in b/n 5142 - white 17, and Ens Horace Bass (ah ha!) in b/n 5050 - white 22.

    Rich
     
  17. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Thank you very much fro your help Rich! Really look forward to build this Wildcat!
     
  18. 109ROAMING

    109ROAMING Active Member

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    Beaut choice Jan!
     
  19. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  20. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Except the site developer doesn't seem to know that VF-5 was replaced by VF-42 in June 1941 and that VF-42 remained Yorktown's fitron in all of the ship's actions through Coral Sea. VF-42 was replaced by VF-3 at the end of May 1942 for the Midway deployment.

    He also seems to have missed VT-5 being replaced by VT-3 and VS-5 being replaced by VB-3 for the Midway deployment. He also needs to work on his squadron complement numbers just a bit.

    I can't figure out why he heads up his sections with "Commander Enterprise Air Group", either.

    And I wonder why he couldn't come up with a VB-5 squadron insignia; he found VS-5 and that one tends to be a little more obscure. Not to mention there's no VF-42 insignia . . . oh, that's right, he doesn't mention VF-42.

    No, I'd be leery of this site.

    Of course you need to always remember that I suffer from an extreme form, probably terminal, of USS Yorktown CV-5 pickiness coupled with incurable Midway-itus.

    Regards,

    Rich
     
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