Wildcat with invasion stripes ? WTF ?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Maestro, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Messages:
    2,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Security Officer
    Location:
    Beaupré, Province of Québec, Canada
    Greetings ladies and gentlemen.

    I just found this picture of a RAF Wilcat with invasion stripes. I thought Wildcats were used on carriers only... And (as far as I know) there was no British carriers involved in the D-Day landings, since RAF fighters could take off from land bases in southern UK.

    So, does anybody have more information on those Wilcats ? What branch of the RAF (FAA, Coastal Command, Fighter Command) ? Land-based or carrier-based ?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Student, Casual
    Location:
    Adelaide
    its not just a mock up?
     
  3. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Messages:
    2,711
    Likes Received:
    165
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    In June 1944 Wildcats of No. 846 Squadron participated in the widespread fighter activities over the landing-zones during the D-Day operations.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. antoni

    antoni Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    397
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hellcat Mk I, JV105/E.W of No 800 NAS, aboard HMS Emperor, off Kyhos, Greece, early September 1944, following the squadron’s part in the invasion of the south of France in August.

    Avenger Mk I, of either No 849 or 850 NAS, both based at Perranporth, on anti-submarine patrol off Cornwall, August 1944.

    Rocket-armed Swordfish Mk II NF????/Q of No 816 NAS, based at St.Merryn, looking for ‘trade’ off the French coast, July 1994. Avengers and Swordfish often had the white stripes outlined with a thin black stripe. Compare with the Wildcat and Hellcat.

    Wellington GR Mk XIV, NB839/2.R of 407 Squadron RCAF, based at Limavady, Northern Ireland, June 1944. White bands also outlined in black.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    Messages:
    19,419
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    Network Engineer/Photographer
    Location:
    Moorpark, CA
    Home Page:
    Hellcat at Chino 2006
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Messages:
    2,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Security Officer
    Location:
    Beaupré, Province of Québec, Canada
    Thanks for the pictures. But does anyone have more information about those "invasion striped" Wildcats ? Were they from the FAA, Fighter Command or Coastal Command ? Carrier-based or land-based ?

    You know, it makes me wonder because why would the RAF use carrier-based forces to do a job that land-based forces could easily do ? I don't see the use of sending a carrier in the English Channel to attack targets that could be reached by fighters from Tangmere or Hawkinge (as an example).
     
  7. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Home Page:
    Hi All,

    The Grumman F4F Wildcat was used by the Royal Navy as part of the Fleet Air Arm and was part of the lend-lease program if I recall correctly. It was re-named the ‘Martlet’ in British service. They were carrier based and a number took part on D-Day. 846 squadron was one of the participants I believe.

    Web Martlet.jpg

    Cheers

    Owen
     
  8. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    At least three carriers were involved in operation Neptune, the naval part of Overlord. They were to support ASW forces that had to stop U-boats eventually going from tha Bay of Biscay ports to the Channel.
    HMS Emperor had 20 Hellcats Mk I (F6F-3) embarked, from No. 800 and No. 804 squadron
    HMS Pursuer had about 20 Wildcats Mk V (FM-1) from No. 881 and No. 896 squadron
    HMS Tracker had 12 Avengers Mk I (TBF-1) from No. 846 sqn. and 7 to 9 Wildcats Mk V from a det. of No. 1832 Squadron.
    They could have been painted with invasion stripes.
    All the planes mentioned before belonged to FAA, but there were many other naval squadrons land based in UK under RAF operational control.
    They were most probably painted with stripes. There was a Naval Fighter Wing equipped with Seafire Mk III under ADGB, and several Avenger or Swordfish squadron under Coastal Command, not all of them operating on the Channel, however.

    From HMS Tracker Story - Chapter 12 - The Stormy West Continued

    D.Day

    Greenock was full up just then, but the end of May was a sudden tinning of the ranks,
    The big show was on. We were given a small part on the wing. We left the Tail O' the
    Bank on the 3rd June and flew 12 Avenger [646 Squadron] and 9 fighters ["L Flight of
    Squadron 1632. Again we were dodged by tragedy at the onset. One fighter pilot made
    his first and last landing. He bounced on the flight deck and dived straight into the sea,
    leaving no trace.
    Two days out [the 5th of june] there was a rush to paint all the aircraft with the black and white "Bumble Bee" reorganization stripes.


    Note that both squadron nos. are both wrong by 200 (no. 846 and 1832).

    Max
     
  9. Marshall_Stack

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Messages:
    393
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Missouri
    I'm an American and I had a hard time reading the HMS Tracker Story. It is kind of like watching Monty Python. It takes awhile before you get used to the British English.
     
  10. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Messages:
    2,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Security Officer
    Location:
    Beaupré, Province of Québec, Canada
    Okay... Thanks for the info, guys.
     
  11. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Why is it so difficult? Is it harder than Italian-English or French-English?

    Max
     
  12. Marshall_Stack

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Messages:
    393
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Missouri
    What does the following mean?

    "For the work of oiling [which demanded large numbers to light the
    hose aft when veering and keep it off the deck when heaving] had to be done by the watches
    below."
     
  13. Elvis

    Elvis Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Little Norway, U.S.A.
    Marshall,

    I think they're referring to pumping oil onto the ship.
    Big hoses can be pretty heavy and I wouldn't be surprised if it took a team to man-handle it.

    ...and has anyone noticed that (so far), we're all showing the same airplane as an example of an F4F

    Well far be it from me to break tradition, so here's that same plane, flying around...


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3AXv6lisac



    Elvis
     
  14. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Messages:
    2,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Security Officer
    Location:
    Beaupré, Province of Québec, Canada
    FYI, British Wildcats were renamed "Martlet" only until 1944. They were then renamed to their original name of "Wildcat".
     
  15. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    a US Navy Spitfire with invasion stripes? (Official USN Photo)
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Elvis

    Elvis Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Little Norway, U.S.A.
    Why do you say that plane is with the US navy?
    Rondel's mean RN or some other Commenwealth force...at least to me.


    Elvis
     
  17. antoni

    antoni Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    397
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Photos:

    Lt Cahill prepares for another sortie. Aircraft appears to be coded 4X. Note black band still requires painting under the roundel.

    Lt Doyle shakes hands with his wingman after return from a mission in which they broke up an enemy column. (Looks staged to me.)

    VCS-7's CO Lt Cdr Denton in front of Spitfire 4X.

    Lt Calland in front of Spitfire 4R

    US Navy groundcrew maintaining Spitfire 4Q before another sortie. Kill marking might be from previous owner as no claims were made by a VCS-7 pilot.


    During the planning of 'Operation Overlord', it was intended that a major element of the initial fire support to the landing forces on the days immediately following D-Day would be provided by naval bombardment from Allied battleships and cruisers sitting off the Normandy coast. The gunfire support spotting was clearly seen as a Naval task, so several Fleet Air Arm squadrons, as well as a number of RAF units, were specially trained and formed the Air Spotting Pool.
    This Pool also had another, somewhat unusual, squadron - a spotting unit of the US Navy. Most major US Navy warships embarked catapult seaplanes for spotting duties, but it was recognised that over Normandy the possibility of enemy fighter opposition meant the current embarked types, the Curtiss SOC Seagull and Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplanes, would be highly vulnerable. It was therefore agreed that Britain would loan the US Navy sufficient Spitfires for a spotting squadron and so Cruiser Scouting Squadron 7, (abbreviated as VCS-7), came to fly the only Spitfires ever operated by the USN, albeit in British markings.
    On 8 May 1944, VCS-7 and the Catapult Flights from of the battleships USS Nevada, USS Texas and USS Arkansas and the cruisers USS Quincy, USS Augusta, and USS Tuskaloosa came together as VCS-7 under Lt H W Calland. The floatplanes were catapulted off their parent ships and alighted on the Solent where they were then put into open storage at RNAS Lee-on-Solent, which was also to be the unit's operational base.
    The USN pilots were all experienced at artillery spotting, but needed conversion onto the Spitfire - the switching of floatplane pilots over to fast single-seater fighters was seen as an experiment. Once ashore, VCS-Ts engineers had a period of technical training whilst the pilots underwent conversion flying training with the USAAF's Spitfire-equipped 67th Reconnaissance Group based at Membury. Their training also included air-to-air gunnery and formation flying, skills new to the pilots.
    However, any concerns the USAAF had were dispelled when all the Navy pilots converted without problem and at the end of the training the VCS-7 pilots were led on a twenty-ship formation sweep over northern France to just short of Paris! Soon after this, Lt Cdr William Denton took over command and led his squadron back to Lee-on-Solent where, on 29 May 1944, its own Spitfire Mk Vbs arrived. These wore the standard RAF Day Fighter camouflage and markings, and, in addition to an individual aircraft letter, VCS-7's aircraft were identified by the numeral '4', both of which were carried just forward of the cockpit.
    Although a part of the Air Spotting Pool, VCS-7 was intended to co-operate solely with the Western Naval Task Force which mainly comprised US Navy warships. VCS-7's aircraft were standard Spitfire Mk Vbs which, on operational sorties across the Channel, would carry 35 gallon 'slipper" tanks to increase their endurance, which could be jettisoned when arriving on scene.
    In an attempt to prevent fratricide, on 3 June 1944, the aircraft were all painted with broad back and white recognition stripes which covered most of the fuselage aft of the cockpit including the aircraft serial number. Missions would be flown as pairs with one pilot doing the spotting whilst being covered by his wing man, the 'weaver', flying 2,000 feet above. This system allowed the 'spotter' to concentrate on seeing the fall of the ships' fire and calling in the correction. Each sortie lasted up to two hours.
    The first sorties from the Spotting Pool were off early on D-Day, 6 June, although the weather was poor, but gradually improved. Throughout this momentous day, VCS-7 provided pairs of Spitfires to provide the 'eyes' to their allocated warships as they pounded the enemy defences on the beaches.
    Typical was that flown by Ensign Bruce Carmichael who made his first sortie during the afternoon of the 6th, and after contacting USS Texas which was sitting off Omaha beach, began to direct fire at camouflaged guns inland, although he received minor flak damage to his aircraft. Despite the carnage at Omaha Beach, the landings were largely successful and as there was a reduced need for bombardment spotting some of the squadron's sorties, allowed the eager Navy pilots to indulge in some ground strafing and they claimed several enemy MTs destroyed during the day! However, the spotting sorties did prove vulnerable and were engaged by both fighters and by accurate light flak, but during thirty-nine sorties, the squadron only lost one aircraft.
    The following day the enemy began to target the spotters, when they could get through the Allied fighter cover. Sorties continued on subsequent days whenever the weather allowed, but after D+3 many were weather limited and occasionally VCS-7 pilots encountered the Luftwaffe.
    Ensign Carmichael and his wing man were intercepted by a Bf 109 on one mission, although they evaded successfully.
    During another mission Lt(jg) Bob Doyle and Ens John Mudge sighted a German armoured column moving forward and directed effective fire so that it was broken up. One of the squadron's pilots also gained for himself a unique 'first' when on one mission, Ens R J Adams, (believed to have been flying BL729/4G), force landed at a recently constructed Advanced Landing Ground to become the first US Naval aviator to land in France after the invasion.
    However, from as early as D+4, there was a gradual decrease in the primary tasking as the available artillery support ashore increasingly met the fire support requirements. By 15 June, there were considerably fewer calls and in VCS-7's sector in the west, the American advance had put targets outside the range of the ships' guns.
    After D-Day itself, the squadron's busiest day was during the assault on the port of Cherbourg on 25 June, when the Western Naval Task Force bombarded the enemy coastal defences. The wisdom of equipping VCS-7 with the Spitfire was shown when an OS2U Kingfisher launched from one the ships weas shot down as soon as it came within range of the enemy.
    After the fall of Cherbourg, the requirement for the squadron ended and the bombardment tasking ended. Most of the VCS-7 pilots had flown upwards of ten operational sorties each on the Spitfires, although Lt(jg) Doyle of the USS Arkanas flew seventeen. As tasking reduced some of the squadron's pilots began air testing their floatplanes once more pending a return to sea and their parent ships. On the
    26th, the squadron was informed that its task was complete and that it was to be withdrawn after a commission of just fifty days.
    Possibly because of their lack of fighter experience, during fourteen days of combat operations, the squadron lost nine aircraft during 209 sorties. Nonetheless, the squadron had gained a small but unique niche in the annals of US
    Naval aviation.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    Antoni -

    Thanks for the detailed follow up. Yup, VCS-7. I first became aware of a USN Spitfire squadron way back in the mid 1960's, in my model building days, when my father observed a USAAF Spitfire I had produced and tossed me an off the cuff, "Nice . . . you do know the Navy had a squadron flying Spitfires don't you?"

    Saved me from saying some like "You might want to look real hard at the uniforms and flight gear."

    :lol:

    And there's always VCS-8 roaring around the Med in its P-51's, too.

    Rich
     
  19. Elvis

    Elvis Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Little Norway, U.S.A.
    ...and as my father used to tell me, "ya learn somethin' new, everyday".

    Thanks Antoni. I was not aware of the existance of VCS-7 (or -8?).



    Elvis
     
  20. wm3456

    wm3456 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    The stripes were obviously not painted on the aircraft by a model builder. I guess he didn't realize that the judges are gonna take away points for all the brush strokes and not masking them off properly. Interesting thread though and certainly something to consider doing with one of my Spitfire Vb kits growing dust in the garage.
     
Loading...

Share This Page