Need information on CAG-86 (VF-86) Hellcat markings

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by JimM, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. JimM

    JimM New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Greetings,

    I’m doing a profile illustration of my fiance’s grandfather’s Hellcat that he flew off
    of the carrier Wasp late in the war.

    I’m unable to locate any pictures of VF-86 hellcats thus far. These Hellcats have an X on the vertical stabilizer…and that’s about all I know.

    Any help appreciated.

    Jim
     
  2. Jank

    Jank Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Not what you wanted but I did come across this.

    From: The Name's the Same

    Duplication Causes Confusion
    Confusion was set early on with disestablishment of many prewar squadrons and air groups in 1942. For instance, Hornet Air Group in CV-8 was disbanded that year, and the FitRon stood down after Midway. A second VF-8 was established in 1943, while similar examples existed for squadrons numbered Two (USS Lexington (CV-2)) and Five (Yorktown (CV-5)). The record for numerical duplication probably belonged to VF-52, with two day squadrons and a night fighter outfit sharing the same number.

    The problem persisted well after the war. There were two VF-11s in 1959: the Sundowners from 1942 and, via VA-156, on to VF-111; and the Red Rippers (previously VF-5B, -4 and -41) of CVW-14, one of the Navy’s oldest squadrons today.

    Names as well as numbers could be duplicated. Perhaps the best example is the VF-11/VF-86 Sundowners. Formed at Atlantic City in June 1944, VF-86 gained approval of the name in November, ignorant of the fact that VF-11 had carried the name and the emblem through two combat deployments. Finally somebody in BuAer caught the error, and VF-86 became the Wild Hares in June 1945 while embarked in Wasp (CV-18).

    Also --

    From: http://www.history.navy.mil/download/vf-lin.pdf

    VF-86
    Established as VF-86
    15 Jun 1944
    Disestablished
    21 Nov 1945
     
  3. JimM

    JimM New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    One of the few references that I've found, but thank you for the effort nevertheless. 8)

    I'm in contact with a few of his living squadron mates, and they have been of some help, but any pictures they have are in books.

    I think I'm going to order the Carrier Air Group 86 Cruise Book that I found online.
    That will at least yield me the proper markings, if not his exact aircraft.

    I'm writing a book on the 352nd Fighter Group, and I have almost boundless information there...with their squadron historian and original member Bob Powell helping me out, as well as their highest scoring living ace. Whereas there isn't a single accurate photo of a VF-86 Hellcat anywhere on the web...a stark contrast in available info!

    I'm normally against relying in the web too much anyway...bad, lazy habit really.

    Jim
     
  4. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    CVG-86, huh? Could be your lucky day.

    CVG-86 was assigned to USS Wasp in March 1945 and participated in operations off the coast of Japan. The ship was hit and after a cursory exam at Ulithi was sent back to Pearl for repairs and from there back to the states. After operating ashore in a training mode, CVG-86 rejoined Wasp as the ship was finishing undergoing repairs from battle damage at Bremerton NSY. Leaving there, and after a short stay at Pearl Harbor, Wasp and CVG-86 sortied on 12 July 1945 for duty with TF-38. Following a warm-up strike on Wake Island on 18 July, and a final stop at Eniwetok, Wasp joined up with the carriers Ticonderoga, Randolph , Essex, Monterey, and Bataan in TG-38.3 (CarDiv 6) on 26 July. Task Group escorts were BatDiv 6 - North Carolina and South Dakota; CruDiv 17 - Pasadena, Springfield, Wilkes-Barre, Astoria, and Oakland; DesRon 48 - Erben, Walker, Hale, Abbot, Stembel, Bullard, Black, Chauncey, and Heerman; and DesRon 62 - English, Charles S. Sperry, Ault, Waldron, John W. Weeks, Hank, Wallace L. Lind, and Borie.

    CVG-86 was composed of:
    CAG-86 - Comdr George R Luker (1 F4U-4)
    VF-86 - Lieut Comdr Cleo J Dobson (30 F6F-5, 4 F6F-5N, 2 F6F-5P)
    VBF-86 - Lieut Comdr Horace E Tennes (36 F4U-4)
    VT-86 - Lieut Comdr Lawrence F Steffenhagen (15 TBM-3E)
    VB-86 - Lieut Comdr Paul R Norby (15 SB2C-5)

    VF-86’s commander, Cleo John Dobson, was an Ensign on 7 December 1941 and was one of the Enterprise VB-6 SBD pilots caught up in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was still in VB-6 during the Battle of Midway, participating in the attacks on the Japanese carrier Kaga and Hiryu. He also flew the SBD from which the famous photos of the sinking cruiser Mikuma were taken. He subsequently served as an ACTG instructor until assigned as Horace Tennes’ exec of VF-86. He moved up to CO when Tennes moved over to the newly established VBF-86 as their CO in late January 1945.

    Back on 7 October 1944, ComAirPac issued direction for a standard set of twenty-eight geometrical designs for the CV and CVL class carriers that made up Task Force 58. These designs were assigned to the carriers themselves, not to air groups, and were applied to all aircraft of the attached air group as long as it was aboard.

    On 28 July 1945, a 2d Fast Carrier Task Force (TF-38) order assigning one or two alphabet letter characters to each fast carrier (not air group) went into effect. The impetus behind the change was that in the whirl of combat the geometric markings were often difficult to discern and, when described in a report or, worse, over the radio, seemed to lose something in the translation. Thus it was sometime difficult to decipher the involvement of aircraft from different ships in various actions. Aboard the FCTF flagship, VAdm McCain ordered that something be done to remove confusion, that a new, Navy-wide, system for CV, CVL, and CVB carriers be created. In the Operations shop, Ops Officer Captain John S. “Jimmy” Thach turned the problem over to his assistant who decided that letters were the answer and assigned letters, one or two, two these classes of carriers (CVEs had their own system of stripes and colors), specifying 24 inch high, block capital letters with 2 inches wide strokes to be placed on both sides of the vertical tail surfaces and the upper right and lower left wing tips of the aircraft assigned to the carrier. These codes remained in effect until 7 November 1946. These codes were:

    A - USS Cowpens (CVL 25)
    AA - USS Lake Champlain (CV 39)
    B - USS San Jacinto (CVL 30)
    C - USS Monterey (CVL 26)
    CC - USS Saratoga (CV 3)
    D - USS Independence (CVL 22)
    E - USS Intrepid (CV 11)
    EE - USS Coral Sea (CVB 43)
    F - USS Essex (CV 9)
    FF - USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB 42)
    H - USS Lexington (CV 16)
    K - USS Langley (CVL 27)
    L - USS Randolph (CV 15)
    LL - USS Franklin (CV 13)
    M - USS Enterprise (CV 6)
    P - USS Belleau Wood (CVL 24)
    PP - USS Ranger (CV 4)
    R - USS Cabot (CVL 28)
    RR - USS Yorktown (CV 10)
    S - USS Hornet (CV 12)
    SS - USS Bon Homme Richard (CV 31)
    T - USS Bataan (CVL 29)
    TT - USS Bennington (CV 20)
    U - USS Hancock (CV 19)
    V - USS Ticonderoga (CV 14)
    W - USS Antietam (CV 36)
    X - USS Wasp (CV 18)
    Y - USS Bunker Hill (CV 17)
    YY - USS Midway (CVB 41)
    Z - USS Shangri La (CV 38)
    ZZ - USS Boxer (CV 21)

    So, within two days of joining TF-38 off the coast of Japan, Wasp and its CVG-86 aircraft adopted the “X” letter as their identifier. Prior to 28 July changeover, CVG-86 used the earlier Wasp geometric identity scheme of a single white band centered horizontally on the vertical stabilizer with the aircraft’s side number centered therein in black. This band was approximately 32 inches wide and the aircraft numbers were 24-inch block. The white band was repeated on the upper right and lower left wings, centered on the wingtip, parallel with the leading edge and approximately 50 inches in length.

    I can probably come up with one or two photos tonight when nearer my picture sources. In the meantime, if you can provide a last name, or even initials, of this pilot I can probably, note, probably, not promise, come up with a period picture of the gent.

    Note the REAL Sun Downers insignia, avatar, at left.

    Rich
     
  5. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    Okay, VF-86, the Wild Hares . . .
    First, squadron insignia
    next
    The CO, Cleo Dobson . . .
    next
    VF-86 F6F with white band
    next
    Don't really have a usable shot of a VF-86 F6F with the "X" on the tail. I have a small number of SB2Cs, TBMs, and F4Us shots that illustrate typical placement and side numbering. Example shown.

    These are all USN shots from the CVG-86 WW2 cruise book. Book includes shots of just about all the pilots in the air group.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Rich
     

    Attached Files:

  6. JimM

    JimM New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    You sir...I'd frankly like to kiss you right now.:D
    Seriously, THANK YOU!!!

    You've brought me much closer to getting this project done.

    His name was Earl T. Morton.
     
  7. JimM

    JimM New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    So, those pics are from the Cruise book then?
    I'm just wondering, in light of the pics you posted, if I even need to bother ordering the thing?

    With those pics, and a few descriptions from his living squad mates, I just may have all I need.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    The leader of the VF-86 night fighter division was Allen Rothenberg. He was a PBY driver earlier in the war and participated in the night torpedo attack on the Japanese invasion force during the Battle of Midway. A really nice guy, lived down the street from my parents.

    My father was briefly aboard Wasp during the short period that she was the TF-38 flagship. Fast forward 21 years and he was back aboard Wasp, this time as his flagship when he was ComCarDiv14.

    Don't know if you really need to purchase a cruise book or even a reproduction. No better pictures in it than already posted as far as VF markings are concerned. But, below, from the cruisebook, Earl T. Morton, from Yakima.

    On the otherhand, reaching into one of the storage boxes over the weekend yielded an interesting USN photo, also below, of a post 28 July 45 VF-86 F6F-5.

    Regards,

    Rich
     

    Attached Files:

  9. BearCub

    BearCub New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    CAG-86 Reunion this week-end in Norfolk/Virginia Beach area. At least 5 pilots expected to be there. (Lots of extended families.)
     
  10. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Do you have a list of tail symbols on CVEs? Did they changed on 28th july?
    I know that describing a symbol is much harder than writing letters, do you know a web site with photo or drawings?

    Thanks
    Max
     
  11. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    No, Max, the CVEs were not included in the lettering system. They had their own system of stripes on tail and wing surfaces. This system was established on 2 June 1945 in a tech letter from ComAirForPac:

    "1. Enclosure (A) is a series of aircraft tail and wing tip markings to be used by CVEG's, MCVG's and VC's assigned to ships of the Escort Carrier Force, Pacific.

    "2. These markings are hereby allotted to the CVEs as indicated by Enclosure (A).

    "3. This action is being taken to standardize the marking of aircraft bsed on combat CVEs, and thereby facilitate identification and operations.

    "F. W. McMAHON
    Chief of Staff"

    Personally it looks a little complicated to me, though I suppose one would get used to it. I think letters work better.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Wonderful!
    Does it happen you have codes for all carDivs?
    Symbols are complicate to be described, but they had some rules to facilitate remembering, i.e CarDiv 24 one vertical stripe on the tail, CarDiv 25 2 stripes. Within the division there were one or two obliques stripes, black or white. Was it the same for Fast carriers, or were the symbols independent each other?
    I don't believe that CVs in TF 38/58 were divided by CarDiv, since there were many changes between task groups.

    Max


    Max
     
  13. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    Hi Max!

    The only ones I didn’t post were for CarDivs 26 and 27. I can put them up if you wish. One thing I should have mentioned, though, and I apologize as it has obviously created an in advertent dis-information, is that where you see “black” in the diagram you need to think “yellow” as shown below for CarDiv 22.

    TF-38 did, indeed, have carrier divisions. Car Divs are administrative entities and not necessarily related to task groups or task forces, which are operational entities. A ship could be part of a particular division or squadron for administrative purposes, but “chopped” to another task group for operational purposes. You see this a lot with cruisers and battleships being assigned to ad-hoc task groups for specific missions. For example, when my father commanded CarDiv 14, he flew his flag from USS Wasp. The operational designation was Task Group Bravo. TG Bravo was part of the Atlantic ASW command.

    In TF-38 at the end of the war:

    Task Force 38 (TF 38) - Vice Admiral J. S. McCain (Com2ndFasCarForPac)
    TG 38.1 - Rear Admiral TL Sprague, ComCarDiv 3
    Bennington
    Lexington
    Hancock
    Belleau Wood
    San Jacinto
    Bataan

    TG 38.3 - Rear Admiral GF Bogan, ComCarDiv 4
    Wasp
    Ticonderoga
    Randolph )
    Essex
    Monterey
    Bataan

    TG 38.4 - Rear Admiral AW Radford, ComCarDiv 6
    Yorktown
    Shangri La
    Bon Homme Richard
    Independence
    Cowpens

    The Escort Carrier Force at the end of the war:

    Escort Carrier Force - Rear Admiral C. T. Durgin
    ComCarDiv 22 - Rear Admiral W. D. Sample
    Suwannee
    Chenango
    Santee
    Detached: Sangamon

    ComCarDiv 23 - Rear Adm. H. M. Martin
    Kitkun Bay
    Hoggatt Bay
    Nehenta Bay
    Shamrock Bay
    Anzio
    Detached: Wake Island, Kadashan Bay, Matanikau

    ComCarDiv 24 - Rear Adm. H. S. Kendall
    Marcus Island
    Shipley Bay
    Steamer Bay
    Kasaan Bay
    Detached: Corregidor

    ComCarDiv 25 - Rear Adm. A. K. Doyle
    Saginaw Bay
    Natoma Bay
    Petrof Bay
    Rudyerd Bay
    Sargent Bay
    Tulagi

    ComCarDiv 26 - Rear Adm. E. W. Litch
    Makin Island
    Fanshaw Bay
    Manila Bay
    Lunga Point
    Salamaua
    Savo Island

    ComCarDiv 27 - Rear Adm. D. Ketcham
    Block Island
    Gilbert Islands
    Cape Gloucester
    Vella Gulf
    Siboney
    Kula Gulf
    Detached: Makassar Strait

    Prior to January 1945, carriers were pretty much free to design their own unique identifiers, some did, some did not.. In January, the Geometric, or “G”, symbols were codified by ComAirPac. Even so, Enterprise persisted with its earlier design. Enterprise was assigned a G symbol consisting of three parallel diagonal stripes going down, right to left. Enterprise continued to use its earlier white hollow “spearhead”. The same occurred with the change to letters at the end of July. While all CVs and CVLs were included in the list, generally only those actually assigned to the 2d Fast Carrier Task Force seemed to comply. All eventually did, and the assigned letters remained in effect until 1946 when new letters were assigned to the active carriers.

    I wish I had a copy of that order, as the designs are just too hard to describe, I’ve tried and I get only as far as Essex and I’m stumped as to what to call it.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Rich,
    thank you very much for the splendid color drawing.
    I really believed that the black stipes were, indeed, black! The difference is stronger between black and white than yellow and white, but now I take in account the dark blue of the plane's camouflage, and the black can lead to an invisible symbol! Anyway I still believe that yellow vs white is not the best.

    Yes, can You post the CarDivs 26 and 27 schemes, if not too time consuming?

    I did know about CarDivs of fast carriers, my English sometimes fails to formulate the best phrase. BTW, the ONLY :eek: carrier Bataan was assigned to TG38.3.
    My question is: Were the symbols of Fast carriers organized as CarDivs (as for CVEs) or independent as later letters (one or two to each carrier without any apparent rule)?

    And You are right, the symbols were really hard to be described. A good example of Essex's CVG-83 is USS Essex and AVG-83 Part One - History. By Mark Beckwith
    Was it a general rule that VF/VBF had 1xx, VB 2xx and VT 3xx? And what about CVL/CVEs?
    Thanks for answering my endless list of Navy questions!

    Max
     
  15. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Rich,
    I would be interested in having them. Thanks if you can post them.

    Max
     
  16. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    Sorry Max, that one got away from me for a bit. Here's the third sheet.

    As far as I can tell, there was neither rhyme nor reason in assigning a particular geometric tail markings to a particular CV or CVL.

    Rich
     

    Attached Files:

  17. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Rich,
    thank you very much!
    I was afraid that the thread was to be buried for too long time.

    Max
     
  18. oneslim

    oneslim New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hi,

    I'm looking for the shape tail code for USS Monterey when Air Group 28 was aboard, May of 44 thru Jannuary 45. My Dad was Photographer's mate in the fifties. I, m building 1/700 scale version from that time period.

    Here is the link:

    Model Ship World :: View topic - 1/700 USS Monterey

    Thanks

    Bob Wescott
     
  19. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    White triangle, pointed forward, base extended onto the rudder and parallel with the vertical line. Also appeared on the upper right lower left wing tips, pointed towards the fuselage.

    Don't have a photo handy, but I'm looking.

    Rich
     
  20. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    51,156
    Likes Received:
    847
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Adelaide Sth. Aust.
    Nice info and pics R Leonard, thanks for sharing...and great build on the USS Monterey Bob, got a couple of Independence carriers to build myself!
     
Loading...

Share This Page