USS Ranger - Air Group 4 - Operation Leader 1943 Markings Request

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by CliffyB, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. CliffyB

    CliffyB Member

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    #1 CliffyB, Oct 2, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
    Hey guys,

    I want to build one aircraft of each type (Wildcat, Dauntless, and Avenger) from USS Ranger's Air Group 4 during Operation Leader (the raid on Bodo, Norway). I have a profile for the SBDs but can't for the life of me find any photos or profiles for the Wildcats and Avengers. I've found a profile for VT-4 Avengers but they're from 1944 on CV-9.

    Air Group 4 consisted of:
    VF-4 - F4F-4s
    VB-4 - SBD-5s
    VT-4 - TBF-1Cs

    All were in tri-color camo with stars and bars having the Insignia Red surrounds. The SBDs unit markings consisted solely of their aircraft numbers on the cowling edges and the vertical tail. In 1944 VT-4s Avengers had the same kind of markings but had a small white horizontal stripe on the top of the tail. I'm almost sure that that stripe is unique to CV-9 and not CV-4.

    If anyone can help I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    -Mike
     
  2. HOUSTON

    HOUSTON New Member

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  3. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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  4. CliffyB

    CliffyB Member

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    Thanks Bill!!! I missed that particular article while I was rooting around on that site earlier. I managed to find some photos on there from the strike and the months immediately prior so here goes.

    VF-4 F4F-4s - Tri-Color with fuselage and cowling aircraft numbers and red surround Stars and Bars
    VB-4 SBD-5s - Tri-Color with fuselage and cowling aircraft numbers and red surround Stars and Bars
    VT-4 TBF-1Cs - Blue-Gray over Light Gray with fuselage and cowling aircraft numbers and the original large Star on Circle.

    Looks like VT-4 didn't get the memo about the camo change :) All kidding aside I've found photos of all aircraft from that particular time period wearing both schemes. Looks like it was a transition period with the change taking place whenever they had time to re-paint.

    VF-4 (The Red Rippers) at the time carried their squadron badge (Boar head and shield) on the port side near the cockpit. I'm not sure if the other squadrons did the same but I doubt it. I might make some custom badge decals and put them on each bird anyway just for the heck of it.

    Unless I can find any more info I'm going to go with the list above. Given the fact that all the 1/72 kits of each model will require a mess of scratch building, corrections, putty, and PE to make them accurate I'm going to spring for the 1/48 versions. Accurate Miniatures TBF and SBD and a Tamiya F4F. I'll scratch a carrier deck and probably get a set of pilots and deck crew and depict them all manning their planes just prior to take off.

    Thanks for the help and feel free to add more photos/info if you find any. :thumbup:

    -Mike
     
  5. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    Glad you found something to help.....
     
  6. CliffyB

    CliffyB Member

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    Hey guys! I was rooting around over on the Naval Historical Center's website and I found some more info regarding Ranger's air group.

    I found a neat little section entitled "Location of USN Aircraft in WWII 1942-Sep 1945" which is full of PDFs giving you a ridiculously detailed and concise breakdown of EVERY carrier, carrier air wing, cruiser, land base, etc... including aircraft model and squadron assignments.

    I found several for October of 1943. Here's one dated 10/5/43

    http://www.history.navy.mil/a-record/ww-ii/loc-ac/1943/oct43/26-10-43.pdf

    Scroll to page 7 for the start of the Atlantic section and you'll see that Ranger's Air Group 4 consisted of the following:

    VF-4 F4F-4 Wildcats (22)
    VB-4 SBD-5 Dauntlesses (30)
    VT-4 TBF-1 Avengers (9)

    It also lists one more TBF-1 as being aboard but not assigned to VT-4 or any other squadron for that matter; typo? VT-4 didn't get -1Cs until they returned stateside and transferred to CV-9 later on that year.

    So then, from looking at these documents and the photos from Action on the USS Ranger - Air Group 4 my revised aircraft group will now have the following markings:

    VF-4 F4F-4s - Tri-Color with large tail and small cowling aircraft numbers and red surround Stars and Bars
    VB-4 SBD-5s - Tri-Color with large tail and small cowling aircraft numbers and red surround Stars and Bars
    VT-4 TBF-1s - Blue-Gray over Light Gray with fuselage aircraft numbers (?) and the original large Star on Circle.

    You'll notice 2 photos of F4Fs taken in October of 1943. One is in tri-color and red surround Stars and Bars and the other is still in Blue-Gray over Light Gray and the original large Star on Circle. Looks like there is some leeway in the camo schemes during that particular deployment.

    I'm still unsure of whether or not VT-4 even carrier aircraft numbers though. I know in late 1942 they had small "4-T-x" codes forward of the fuselage national insignia. I'm looking through photos taken on board Ranger during late 1943 and the few close ups of the TBFs I can find don't show ANY numbers at all on the aircraft. Just the standard "large" star in circle national insignia in the standard 4 positions.

    Side note, I did find one photo of one of VB-4s SBDs that proved interesting. The aircraft is in tri-color but the upper right wing shows evidence of a star and bar having been over-sprayed with a darker color. I'm not sure if the Sea Blue on the wing had simply faded and the national insignia had been painted over later on with fresh paint or if a different color had been used IE, Insignia Blue which is darker then Sea Blue.

    So the search continues for the last few little details! Thanks for the help and feel free to add more photos/info if you find any. :thumbup:

    -Mike
     
  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Nice find Mike, and thanks for posting!
     
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