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  #1  
Old 3rd October 2018, 21:09
Hamsterman Hamsterman is offline
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USS Ranger air wing camo scheme during and prior to Op. Leader, September/October 1943

Hi all,
I was wondering if I could get some opinions about the camo scheme(s) depicted on these F4F-4s from VF-4 aboard USS Ranger in the fall of 1943, just prior to Operation Leader. At the time of Operation Leader, VF-4 (as well as VT-4 and VB-4) aircraft should have been painted in the 3 (or 4) tone camo scheme but it appears that at least a couple of the F4Fs in these pictures may still be painted in the blue/gray scheme. If Kyrre Ingebrethsen is on this forum, he might have an opinion on this subject as he pointed out on a different forum about 14 years ago that some of VB-4s SBDs were still painted in the two-tone blue/gray scheme.

In the first photo, Wildcat #2 appears to be painted with the 3/4 tone scheme and has the smaller star-n-bars with red surround on the fuselage. The Wildcat to the right (I can't determine the tail number - thoughts?) looks like it's painted in the two-tone blue/gray scheme. Notice the painted over star-n-circle insignia on the starboard wing. Also notice the larger fuselage insignia with bars and red surround. The second picture is a larger version of the Wildcat on the right.

The third photo shows a larger portion of the Ranger air wing. Most of the planes appear to be painted in the 3/4 tone scheme but there are a few that look like they have the two-tone blue/gray scheme. On a few of these (especially the SBDs) the national insignia on the bottom of the port wing is painted out in a color that is lighter than the bottom surface of the wing. I'm assuming the wing color is gray and the color used to paint over the insignia is white. I think I see a similar feature on the bottom of the port wing of F4F #10 in the fourth picture.

On top of all of those observations, I'm still trying to figure out the size of the national insignia on the wings of those potential blue/gray F4Fs. Were they repainted the correct size or were bars and a red surround just added to the existing star-n-circle insignia.

Thanks for any and all thoughts you all might have.
Cheers!
Chris
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  #2  
Old 7th October 2018, 13:38
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Buckeye30 Buckeye30 is offline
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Re: USS Ranger air wing camo scheme during and prior to Op. Leader, September/October 1943

Chris. AN-1-9 (1 March 1943|) ordered wing insignia of 30"-60", the size nearest to 9/10 fixed chord, and fuselage 20"-50" nearest to 3/4 of fuselage depth. However some early F4Fs ( and F6Fs in VF5 / 9 ) retained the earlier 24" fuselage as per Bu.AER.001085 ( 5 Jan. 1942). They can be seen in some training units stateside, the wing insignia matching instead of the specified wide chord.
The visible TBFs are in 4-colour unusually with ID numbers at the wing root. Some were still in 2-colour when RANGER arrived in Iceland later (you can see the wavy underside division).
The SBDs were -5s which should have been in 4-colours, some LEADER photos show this eg. nos. 22, 19, 5. Some of the ones on deck may be in the earlier scheme as they have large underwing insignia minus bars.
This is a typical mix of markings etc. for 1943 ; Navy preferred the Blue-Gray / Light Gray for Europe ie. Atlantic rather than the blues; there would be no urgency to re-paint operational aircraft even had there been time. After RANGER returned to the East coast to train crews later the insignia was no doubt up-dated .
Air Group 4 for LEADER comprised
VF-4 (27 F4Fs), VT-4 (18 TBFs) and VB-4 ( 27 SBDs). RANGER's Air Group normally was 36 fighter, 36 bomber and 4 utility ( no provision for torpedo, but these were added for LEADER which may account for the differences in camouflage etc.).
Nick

Last edited by Buckeye30; 7th October 2018 at 13:45. Reason: Addition
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Old 7th October 2018, 15:37
twocee twocee is offline
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Re: USS Ranger air wing camo scheme during and prior to Op. Leader, September/October 1943

VT-4, equipped with the TBF-1, had operated from Ranger since January 1943and so it is not correct to say that it was aboard for Operation Leader only.

The TBF-1s were received in July 1942, replacing Douglas TBDs, and ten aircraft were aboard for Leader.
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Old 8th October 2018, 15:02
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Re: USS Ranger air wing camo scheme during and prior to Op. Leader, September/October 1943

Thanks George you are right of course; I think when RANGER was commissioned in 1934 it was not planned for a VT squadron. Possibly a Detachment in January 1943?

"www.history.navy.mil/research/histories" had a very useful section on US Navy aircraft locations in WW2 but it seems to have gone; have you come across it lately?
I've got a page I saved on Atlantic CVE compositions and RANGER was on it too,dated 7 March 1944 back on the east coast; the F4Fs had been replaced by FM-2s.
Regards

Nick
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Old 8th October 2018, 20:52
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Re: USS Ranger air wing camo scheme during and prior to Op. Leader, September/October 1943

Nick,

Ranger was built without any provision for torpedo stowage, but it would seem that this was rectified during her post-Torch refit in late 1942, allowing her to operate the 9 TBFs of VT4 in 1943/4.
Air Group 4 was detached from the ship in mid-April 1944 and soon afterwards VF4 received F6F-3s to replace the FM-2s.
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Old 9th October 2018, 00:22
Hamsterman Hamsterman is offline
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Re: USS Ranger air wing camo scheme during and prior to Op. Leader, September/October 1943

Thanks guys! I kind of suspected the picture represented a mixture of schemes but wanted a second or third opinion.

If you don't mind, let me pick your brains about this picture of Wildcats 21 and 24. Check out the camo pattern on the starboard engine cowl of #24. There appears to be 4 separate colors on the cowl ring and then a darker color just below the bottom cowl flap. The darker color around below the cowl flap looks like a possible repair job. I'm wondering if the color between the white on the bottom of the engine cowl ring and the blue/gray or intermediate blue is a remnant of the neutral gray from the prior camo scheme.

Now look #21. Look at the insignia on the port wing. Do you see a shadow between the leading edge of the wing and the top of the red surround on the insignia? It's faint but I still see the effect when I adjust the contrast and brightness of the picture so I think it's real. Could the size of the insignia on the wing have been changed after the non-specular sea blue was added to the top of the wings? I'm wondering if the shadow is just a slightly fresher coat of non-specular sea blue.

The application of the 3/4-tone scheme on these two F4Fs looks rushed which begs the question, was intermediate blue applied over the blue-gray camo or was the blue-gray paint left as is and used in place of a fresh coat of intermediate blue.

I never that the Navy preferred the blue/gray scheme in the Atlantic versus the 3/4-tone scheme.

Oh, FYI, Ranger also had one TBF during the Torch landings. It was flown by Commander David Overfield, Commander Ranger Air Group.
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Old 9th October 2018, 03:08
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Re: USS Ranger air wing camo scheme during and prior to Op. Leader, September/October 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye30 View Post
Thanks George you are right of course; I think when RANGER was commissioned in 1934 it was not planned for a VT squadron. Possibly a Detachment in January 1943?

"www.history.navy.mil/research/histories" had a very useful section on US Navy aircraft locations in WW2 but it seems to have gone; have you come across it lately?
I've got a page I saved on Atlantic CVE compositions and RANGER was on it too,dated 7 March 1944 back on the east coast; the F4Fs had been replaced by FM-2s.
Regards

Nick
Hello Nick.
Does this site http://www.wings-aviation.ch/index.htm help?
Go to the US Navy section and you can get info via either Carrier or aircraft type/squadron
Cheers
Peter
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Old 9th October 2018, 18:01
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Buckeye30 Buckeye30 is offline
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Re: USS Ranger air wing camo scheme during and prior to Op. Leader, September/October 1943

Thanks Peter. Glad you reminded me, I saw it some time ago but hadn't bookmarked it; I must admit I skipped over the modern stuff!
George---that "Location" site is up again , this is the link to the dates. There is a date of 28 Sept. 43, ie. just before LEADER with AG4 composition ( as you say 10 TBF-1s).
Hope it works anyway. Very useful site.
Nick

https://www.history.navy.mil/researc...ld-war-ii.html
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Old 10th October 2018, 03:04
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Re: USS Ranger air wing camo scheme during and prior to Op. Leader, September/October 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye30 View Post
Thanks Peter. Glad you reminded me, I saw it some time ago but hadn't bookmarked it; I must admit I skipped over the modern stuff!
[/url]
??
The site covers all periods .....
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  #10  
Old 12th October 2018, 11:52
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Buckeye30 Buckeye30 is offline
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Re: USS Ranger air wing camo scheme during and prior to Op. Leader, September/October 1943

Peter. Just meant that I'm more interested in the WW2 period rather than the post-war !

Regards
Nick
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