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  #1  
Old 26th December 2005, 21:48
atckyrre atckyrre is offline
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Cool Force-landed Typhoon information needed...

Here's a wee challenge:

I have a modelling project in my head, with a force landed Typhoon, an evading pilot, and German tank personnel searching for the pilot. (Title could perhaps be "The hunter becoming the hunted (huntee? )" or something to that effect.)

Admittedly Typhoons are not my forte, though I find the aircraft to be one of the coolest around during the war. So I need some help in order to make the diorama "sort of" authentic, though I don't mind a lot of artistic license.
So what I'm looking for is this:
- Serial and preferably individual squadron letter of a Typhoon 1b with 4-blade propeller and Tear-drop canopy.
- Force landing behind enemy lines post invasion. Falaise or Bodenplatte period is preferable. Pilot must have survived.
- Hopefully rocket rails though not important.

I paid a visit to this excellent 198 Sqn site and came up with a few serials, though no individual letters. If anyone's got anything on any of these flights that would help me a long way on my way...

JP900 Hit by flak and crashed on the 28th November 1944. (Pilot, Flt/Lt D. C. Colebrook, taken POW.)

JR306 Hit by flak and crashed on the 10th August 1944. (Pilot, Flt/Lt MacLennan, survived.)

JR384 Forced landed and crashed on the 14th September 1944. (Pilot, P/O Goblet, survived.)

JR512 Shot down by flak on the 14th June 1944. (Pilot, Flt/Sgt Stratford, survived.)

MN119 Reported missing from operations on the 19th August 1944. (Pilot, Flt/Lt S. G. J. Lane, taken POW.)

MN293 Hit by flak and crashed on the 25th July 1944. (Pilot, Flt/Lt Sheppard, survived.)

MN314 Forced landed after hit by flak on the 18th June 1944. (Pilot, Flt/Lt R. Armstong, taken POW.)

MN573 Forced landed after engine failure on 2nd April 1945. (Pilot, W/O Ryan, survived.)

PD508 Crashed after engine cut out on the 13th of April 1945. (Pilot, F/O Bastin, survived.)

I did find this story quite along the lines I was thinking...

"Flt/Lt DENIS CHARLES COLEBROOK RAF
On the 28th November 1944 Typhoons of 198 and 164 Squadrons RAF attacked the German HQ in the village of Houten, Netherlands. During the course of the attack Flt/Lt Colebrook, flying JP900, (TP.O) was hit by flak and crashed landed at Culemborg. Subsequently he was taken POW on the 21st December after making several attempts to elude capture by crossing the river Waal with the aid of the Dutch Resistance. Transported to Stalag 111A he was liberated from captivity by a Russian armour spearhead on the 9th of April 1945 before returning to an RAF career after the war. It is thought that Flt/Lt Colebrook, from Upminster in Essex, died during the late 1990's."

I know I'm asking a lot, but I appreciate input, be it plausible pilot fates, possible serials/letters, anectodes or just your thoughts on my idea for a diorama or perhaps just the title.

Regards,

Kyrre

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  #2  
Old 27th December 2005, 14:58
Kutscha Kutscha is offline
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Re: Force-landed Typhoon information needed...

MN314, TP-Z, f/l S of Caen.
JR512, TP-J, f/l N of Carentan
JR384, code unknown, f/l Llangenning beach
MN293, TP-D, f/l Cuverville
MN573, TP-H, f/l near B.89
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Old 27th December 2005, 16:11
atckyrre atckyrre is offline
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Re: Force-landed Typhoon information needed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kutscha
MN314, TP-Z, f/l S of Caen.
JR512, TP-J, f/l N of Carentan
JR384, code unknown, f/l Llangenning beach
MN293, TP-D, f/l Cuverville
MN573, TP-H, f/l near B.89
My man Kutscha!

Just what I needed. I think I'll just stick to 198 Sqn and perhaps do one of those August machines with red painted TP-letters. Perfect!
(Did anyone read the notes on the red letters? Fascinating, though it may have come up here earlier)

"Unofficially, however, 198 Sqn's code letters changed from sky blue to blood red, much to the surprise of other RAF squadrons. It was rumoured at the time that because 198 was proving to be such an aggressive attack squadron that it had been allowed, or at least honoured, to do this, unfortunately the truth is more mundane. It had more to do with a supply problem of the correct coloured paint. When someone mentioned he couldn't repaint the squadron's aircraft code letters (TP) because of a lack of sky blue his C/O is said to have remarked, "Well, what colour do we have", the answer came back, only red, "Then use that" the C/O is alleged to have retorted, and from then the legend was born. (Supplies of the correct paint arrived some time later and the code letters, begrudgingly, were eventually changed back to sky blue. "

Kyrre
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  #4  
Old 28th December 2005, 17:37
Chris Thomas Chris Thomas is offline
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Red latter day? ... well maybe

Someone has prodded that 'bee in my bonnet' again. Despite a long search I have not been able to find any first-hand or documentary evidence that supports the use of red letters on 198 Squadron' Typhoons in |Normandy or elsewhere. The handful of photos (back and white of course) which show some variation in the shade of the letters are inconclusive to my mind. The CO at the time, a flight commander, several pilots and groundcrew have all been questioned on the topic and did not recall any use of red letters.

The whole saga seems to stem from the colourful 4-view painting of 'TP-F' RB222 which appeared in 'Profile 81' in the 60s. No photo of the aircraft has ever come to light - I would be surprised if it did - as RB222 never flew with 198 Squadron and did not even reach the RAF until after thr Normandy campaign. The artist told me that the painting was based on "notes" supplied by the author but I feel that the inappropriate serial number immediately casts doubt on their authenticity. However, frequent reappearances of this colourful scheme in paintings, profiles, box art and decals seems to constantly add to its acceptance. I find it hard to believe that one unit would choose to paint its letters red and spinners orange at a time when other units were toning down their markings - removing stripes and in some cases painting spinners black. If someone can prove me wrong I would be pleased to release the bee.

If you choose to model a 4-blader don't forget it should also feature a 'Tempest' tailplane - not in any of the kits but available 'after-market'.
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Old 28th December 2005, 18:58
atckyrre atckyrre is offline
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Re: Force-landed Typhoon information needed...

Chris,

While I agree there are no conclusive evidence the photos still do tell a tale. There IS a difference between the letters, and the colour cannot be the same as the sky band and the individual letter.

I just scanned this picture. Note the colour demarcation between the sky band and the white undersides. The temporary paint was apparently removed with gasoline or similar and thus the sky band has been exposed.
The question that really isn't answered is WHY would they need to repaint the TP letters if the invasion stripes was washed away and not overpainted?
One plausible answer could be that the Typhoons were received with no squadron letters to start with, simply because the invasion stripes were painted on at the factory before delivery, alternatively at the propeller/tailplane-changing facility. When the top stripes were ordered removed come July they had to apply squadron lettering for the first time, while the individual letter would be painted in front of the stripes at an earlier stage.
It does make sense that they simply haven't got the right paint at a certain point in time.
Whether this paint actually was red remains to be said, but the tonal values/hues certainly seem to be in the same range, also if you use photoshop to transpose paint from the lettering to the roundel centre. A slight difference could be explained with the letter-red not being roundel-red...
Two pics, the first as scanned, the second with a slight change for greater contrast.





Very interesting discussion I might add,

Kyrre
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  #6  
Old 29th December 2005, 21:14
Chris Thomas Chris Thomas is offline
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More 'red letter' photos

Kyrre
Thanks for your well reasoned reply and your certainly plausible theory. Just to add some weight, the only 'red letter' photos I have seen (2 more see attachment) are of Typhoons which joined 198 Squadron after D-Day. Your photo shows MN880 TP-Q and although the TP looks nearly as dark as the centre of the roundel, the letters are viewed through a cloud of dust which may have some effect.

Attached are MN882 TP-E and MN526 TP-V, neither of which are as dark as the roundel red but they are darker than the 'sky' bands. I cannot imagine that the only paint available would be red! I think the shades are quite close to the undersides of the aircraft - Medium Sea Grey. The third shot shows MN880 TP-Q when it crashed on 2 October 1944; the codes are much lighter in this shot but still darker than the sky band. They could have been repainted of course.

MN882 TP-E was Sqn Ldr Ezanno's aircraft and he was the CO that stated the codes were definitely not red. I have just heard from John Cripps who compiles the 198 Squadron website and he states that he asked the question to 8 surviving squadron members; none could recall red letters. He has added come notes on this controversy at the end of the 198 site.

So, plausible theory or not, I still think not red until proven! Like you say - an interesting debate!
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Old 29th December 2005, 22:15
atckyrre atckyrre is offline
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Re: Force-landed Typhoon information needed...

You can't argue against that kind of evidence, that's for sure

In the second picture it's obvious the TP letters aren't the same colour as the roundels, and it certainly looks very similar to the MSG undersides in the topmost pics. In the bottom pic it seems they've repainted the letters sky again.

I'm going with MSG. It is after all the most likely colour to choose if you haven't got any re.. sorry, Sky.
While we're at it, should the spinner be Ocean Grey or Black at this point? I know black wasn't introduced in 2TAF until Jan 7 1945 but I've seen at least one profile (yes I know) with a black nose...

This discussion certainly has made me want to do one of those "bastard-coded" machines so it is on my bench this moment, waiting to be cut into.

The Red letter controversy brings me to another issue more in my ballpark, namely the myth that Coastal Command machines wore red letters in 1945, despite the order stating the colour should be (mostly) Light Slate Grey. A typical example would be 330 Sqn Sunderlands depicted in many a profile with red WH letters. Colour footage shows the colour of Sunderland codes was a darkish kind of grey.
Light Slate Grey has the same tone as Red in black and white pics and the only way to differentiate the twos is by looking at orthochromatic film.
But I digress.

Thanks for your replies Chris,

Kyrre
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Old 30th December 2005, 12:41
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Force-landed Typhoon information needed...

Beg me pardon, but when those aircraft arrived to the Squadron and where they were attached previously? I am wondering of individual code letters on nose and tail, the one on fuselage being outside of stripes.
Regarding dark/light Sky band/letters, such phenomena might be observed on several photos, also RAF Mustangs of the period. Please allow me another suggestion however. MN880 on Kyrre's photo may have codes freshly applied and on Chris' one already faded.
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Old 30th December 2005, 14:04
Kutscha Kutscha is offline
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Re: Force-landed Typhoon information needed...

Chris if 'TP' is viewed through a dust cloud and changes the 'color', then why does the tail band also not change color?

In Mason's Typhoon-Tempest book there is a profile with the squadron codes red. Not that is any proof. On page 85 there is a pic of a 198 Typhoon (no dust) and and the squadron code is clearly a different color than the a/c ID letter.

In the Thomas/Shores book, pg174 the same pic pic (closer view) of the a/c shows the squadron code a different color than the a/c ID letter (V).

Both are very close to the roundel red.

Maybe it was only a few a/c that had a red squadron code as other pics looked at had sqd and ID letters the same color.
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Old 30th December 2005, 14:35
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SMF144 SMF144 is offline
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Re: Force-landed Typhoon information needed...

Kutscha,

Painting the squadron codes with red paint doesn't make any sense at all unless there was absolutely no other option. Bomber Command had one helluva problem with red codes, hence the reason why they were outlined in yellow or white. If we are to surmise that the photo of 'Q' was taken shortly after the stripes were removed, (July?) then I don't think that would have been a factor. So, I have to side with Chris on this one that they aren't red unless proved otherwise with a period kodachrome slide.

I have to agree with you about the cloud of dust from the prop wash as I can't see the dust singling out the squadron codes and not the tail band. So, strike that one off the list.

My personal opinion is that the squadron code letters on TP+Q have been darkened through the removal of the D-Day invasion stripes. There is way too much disturbance around the codes and the fuselage and I have a funny feeling that the stripes were washed and rubbed off with either water or gas, causing the white and black to mix. Remember, there's a strong chance that the codes were most likely painted over as I don't see any evidence of them being blocked. Also keep in mind that the stripes were applied using a temperate paint so they could easily be removed in the field.

Another point to consider, and Chris touches on this, is how memories or black and white photos are interpreted. Case in point is an early short-lived recognition aid that was applied to the spinner on the Typhoons. The first half of the spinner was painted white while the rest was dark green. Now, this has been interpreted as being white and red and consequently this shows up on plastic scale model box art , profiles and in decals and consequently, due to the lack of knowledge or research, the domino effect starts.

Anyhow, I digress...as I am only interested in Typhoons from No.143 Wing RCAF

Stephen
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