Lancaster Squadron Leaders Marking Question

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by ghensgen, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. ghensgen

    ghensgen New Member

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    All,

    I'm having trouble establishing accurate tailfin markings for Lancaster HW-Z (ED 905) Grog's the Shot. One internet site shows double yellow stripes on the tailfin yet the latest Revell 1/72 kit release shows all-yellow tailfins. See attachments!

    grogs.jpg

    lanc_1.gif

    Can anyone tell me which markings are correct (if not both by time period)?

    Thanks much for any help you can provide.

    Geoff H.
     
  2. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    All yellow in the photo (and wing tips). Markings applied to Group Leaders for Berchtesgaden raid 25th April 1945. Will write more later. No time at the moment.
     
  3. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    Some photos
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Antoni - :thumbleft:
     
  5. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    Nice work.

    Curious to see how the new revell model turns out.
    Heinz
     
  6. ian lanc

    ian lanc Member

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  7. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    Sqn Ldr Scott DFC, B Flight Commander, No 100 Squadron, regarded LM739 as his 'personal' aircraft, although the majority of its sixty ops were actually flown by other crews. The Berchtesgaden raid on 25 April 1945 targeting Hitler's Berghof 'Eagles Nest' and accompanying SS barracks, was the last major 'main force' Bomber Command raid of the war in Europe, (although there were a couple of subsequent smaller ops).

    The 1 Group Form B operational orders for the raid, (PRO AIR 25/17), specified recognition markings for formation leaders as follows: 'Fins rudders and wing tips of the Group Leaders, (six a/c from 13 Base), are to be painted yellow No other a/c is to be painted. As an additional means of identification, the Group Leaders will fire yellow Verey cartridges and trail yellow pyrotechnic stars from the rear turret at six specified positions. Navigators from 13 Base in the leading vics should be the best available. Marking is to be undertaken by 'Oboe' Mosquitoes.'
    Form B also specified details of fuel load, (2,154 gallons, full tanks on a Lanc). and bomb load, (1 x 4,000 Ib, 4 x 1,000 Ib, 1 x 500 Ib, and where possible 1 x 250 Ib). Time on target was to be 09:00hrs for 5 Group aircraft and 09:45 for 1 Group aircraft. The 100 Sqn ORB, (PRO AIR 27/798) identifies that sixteen 100 Sqn Lancasters were detailed for the attack, with fifteen actually bombing and one 'abort'. The Elsham Wolds Operational Record Book Form 540 monthly summaries for April 1945, (PRO AIR 28/255). contains a summary by the Station OC which states that the six leaders of the attack were provided by 100 Sqn. This would indicate that six 100 Sqn Lancasters were painted with the special recognition markings.

    The 'Scott crew' comprised Sqn Ldr H F Scott DFC, with Navigator Fit Lt J H. Harwood DFC; Bomb Aimer Pit Off J S Sanderson DFC (Canada); Flight Engineer Fig Off J B McQuaid DFC; Wireless Operator Pit Off R H Jones; Mid-upper Gunner Fit Sgt C A Johnson; Rear Gunner Pit Off J C O'Riordan (Australia).

    The crew photos with LM739, taken on completion of their tour of thirty operations in April 1945, actually shows Fit Sgt C Nelson as rear gunner, Pit Off O'Riordan having already completed his tour. Sgt Nelson, the sole survivor of his previous regular crew, stood in as a 'spare bod'. By that time, the Scott crew were actually the 'oldest' crew on the Squadron, having been on the strength since June 1944.

    Lancaster Mk Ill, LM739
    The aircraft was built by Avro at Yeadon, and delivered to 100 Squadron RAF Grimsby, (Waltham). in September 1944. The Squadron relocated to RAF Elsham Wolds in April 1945. A small numeral '2' was added to the aircraft code letter on the nose and rear fuselage, i.e. Z-Zebra ‘squared’. following relocation to Elsham Wolds because there were then two squadrons with aircraft coded 'Z' on the Station. LM739 was struck of charge, cannibalised for spares and scrapped at a maintenance unit in October 1945, having undertaken 60 operations plus five 'Manna' food drops and one 'Exodus' PoW repatriation.

    Of note in the photos of the aircraft are features such as the extended exhaust flame
    shields. These were removed altogether, as shown in some photos, once night operations ceased and aircraft were flying 'Manna' food drops and 'Exodus' PoW repatriation missions. The large, later style, bomb-aimer's 'bubble' with IFF ‘Z' equipment and a Perspex downward visibility blister under the nose in place of the bombaimer's window was also fitted. These were open at the rear and actually were not draughty, as warm air was pulled down from the cabin. However, some bomb-aimers reported suffering airsickness from lying with their head in the blister looking down and to the rear to guard against attack. A cockpit blister was fitted on the starboard side only and a 'Window' chaff chute on the starboard side of nose.

    The aircraft had late style pitot mast and trailing aerial mounts. The engines were Packard built Rolls Royce Merlin 38s with 'needle-bladed' props, Armament was Browning 0.303 inch throughout. The aircraft was equipped with H2S navigation, the rear of the radome being clear, and 'Rebecca' blind landing systems, with the aerials on the sides of the nose. The rear turret centre Perspex was removed to improve visibility, (if not comfort!), for the rear gunner.

    No 100 Sqn aircraft had carried 'Monica' rearward-facing radar to detect approaching aircraft, with the antenna beneath the rear turret, but this was generally removed following the discovery in late August 1944 that Luftwaffe night fighters were using it to 'home onto' their prey using their Flensburg apparatus. It is assumed therefore that by April 1945 the aerial was no longer fitted to LM739. The yellow pyrotechnic stars used on the Berchtesgaden op were trailed by some sort of equipment from the rear turret.

    The tail fins were painted yellow on both their inner and outer faces as were wingtips, on the upper and lower surfaces, to denote a formation -leader's aircraft. The mainwheel hubs were painted black, tyres were smooth, untreaded and areas of the main undercarriage legs appear to be in natural aluminium rather than painted black. The tail wheel would probably have been the Marstand anti-shimmy grooved type usually fitted to later Lancasters. Some late Lancs had a long flat cabin heater air-intake on the fuselage side above the starboard wing trailing edge, although LM739 did not.

    The bomb tally on the nose was a mixture of yellow and white bombs to denote night and day operations. The swastika 'kill' marking was painted backwards. the reason for this is not known but similar reversed markings are on other aircraft - possibly some sort of superstition or maybe even just a mistake? It represents a Ju 88 nightfighter 'kiIl over Hanau on 18/19 March 1945, whilst being flown by Flg Off Roder.


    Standard night bomber scheme camouflage, in Dark Earth and Dark Green, with Night undersurfaces was applied and LM739's exterior finish was heavily weathered, chipped and stained, with rear fuselage windows painted over. The individual aircraft letter on the nose was painted in yellow. Codes were in regular dull Red with no outline. Nose art on both sides featured a beer glass on a dull Red shield with 'Grog's the Shot’ in white on a roundel Blue background and outlined in yellow, the name being part of a toast, 'Grog's the shot for a long life',

    The crew's comments.

    “We were pleased to be detailed to be a lead aircraft for the Berchtesgaden trip because only the best crews were chosen to do this. Also we wanted to have a go at Hitler and other leading Nazis - we thought they were hiding there with a load of SS and Hitler Youth fanatics, turning it into a last-ditch mountain stronghold. Hitler had his birthday a few days before, (on April 20th), and it wasn't too late for 360 Lancs with 4,000Ib'ers to pay him a visit, (the Force also included sixteen from 617 Sqn dropping 12,000lb Tallboys).

    However, we were apprehensive about the high visibility markings and flares because we thought they would attract every Jerry fighter pilot and flak gunner going. It was a long trip, over eight and a half hours, and we had a hell of a way to flyover enemy territory to get there and back. It was the last op' of our tour, we knew the war was ending soon and we didn't want our luck to run out….

    As it transpired, there was some flak but we didn't see any fighters; thankfully the Luftwaffe was pretty well finished by then, out of fuel. Just as well because it was a gin clear sky and you could see for miles. We had beautiful views of the Alps, covered with snow and twinkling in the bright morning sunlight. We bombed visually, (because the mountains interfered with the signals for the Pathfinder Mozzies 'Oboe' marking, and from 18,000 ft which was pretty low when you take into account the height of the peaks. We weren't to know that Hitler wasn't down there; he was in Berlin where he shot himself five days later as the Red army closed in. After we made it back, we had our picture taken. I'd love to see photos and film of good old Z-Zebra with those yellow markings."


    James McQuaid, DFC, Flight Engineer, No 100 Sqn


    "On the 22nd April we did a daylight to Bremen. That trip made my tally up to thirty and so finished my tour. The rest of the lads still had one more to do so I went with them. This last trip came on the 25th and it was to Hitler's 'Eagle's Nest' at Berchtesgaden. At briefing, the orders were that 100 Squadron was to lead the attack all the way to the target. The trip turned out to be the last (Main Force) operation over Europe, so 'Scatty' and the rest of our Squadron led the whole of the Bomber Force, (actually led 1 Group, 5 Group bombed 45 mins earlier). Our tour was now completed. We had been together for nearly a year, (during which they had become the 'oldest' crew on the Squadron). We had lived through some hair-raising moments but had got through with thanks mainly to the skill of our pilot - 'Scatty' was the best skipper a crew could have had!"

    Jimmy Johnson - Mid-upper Gunner
     
  8. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    Continued:-

    "We were a lead aircraft for the Berchtesgaden raid and dropped flares en route and towed yellow pyrotechnic stars from the tail. They were to aid formation and keep the bomber stream as compact as possible. They were streamed out on cables from the aircraft after take-off once we reached operational height and I cannot remember exactly but I think we jettisoned them over the sea when returning home as I seem to remember 'Mac’ saying, "I think we can ditch these lights now Skipper' It was glorious weather with clear visibility and a spectacular view flying over the Alps. 'Scatty' commented "I wouldn't like to try a crash landing here." We were told at briefing that we expected to catch a lot of Nazi top brass hiding out there awaiting the end of hostilities but the rumour that circulated afterwards was that a lot of children had been evacuated there from the Ruhr."

    Reggie Jones - Wireless Operator
     
  9. Screaming Eagle

    Screaming Eagle Active Member

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    nice antoni :thumbleft: and I had a look at the hyperscale page ian and it is a very good model, I love the detail in it!
     
  10. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    It is said to be better then the Hasegawa kit at half the price.
     
  11. ghensgen

    ghensgen New Member

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    All (and especially Antoni),

    Thank you very much for this absolutely fantastic advice. Let's hope I can make a model that lives up to this aircraft's history.

    Geoff
     
  12. stutes

    stutes New Member

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    thanks for all the information i am currently building the revell kit and its nice to have some information about the aircraft, also why it had yellow tips and fins.
     
  13. iangedwards_104

    iangedwards_104 New Member

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    Hi guys
    I think I've seen Heinrich Weigmann's Lanc model on the RAF Forum - it seems to have a rail/aerial (probably one on each side) behind the radome. Anyone know what that's for?
    Ian Edwards (new boy/sprog!)
     
  14. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Hi Ian. The rail aerial you mention I think would be the beam Approach antenna, mounted on one side only. Which side, I'd need to check, but I think Port.
    This was a 'blind landing' aid, used to establish the aircraft on the approach to the runway, more or less a forerunner of today's Instrument Landing System (ILS) beacon, which equips all major airports.
     
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