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  #1  
Old 13th October 2008, 02:57
JACK COOK JACK COOK is offline
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Exclamation Gabreski T-Bolt Questions

Everyone know's Gabby's T-Bolt was s/n 42-26418 HV+A and he was lost in it on 7-20-1944. My question is did any other pilot have the same camo on his P-47D or was this a one off scheme? Was Gabby really downed in this a/c or is the serial number off? Look at this pictiure. The date is unknown but clearly post D-Day. Capt Jim Carter and Lt Earl Hertel are preparing for a dust DB mission. This seems to be Gabby's 47 and his armorer Joe DiFranza is IDed in the center of the 3 ground crewmen on the left. Note also a large block is painted over under the cockpit. It looks to be were 28 kill flags were! Does anyone know anything about his a/c. Over to the experts!
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Old 13th October 2008, 04:56
fsbofk fsbofk is offline
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Re: Gabreski T-Bolt Questions

Intriguing question. The distinctive swirls of the camo gray on the fuselage immediately behind the cowling matches that visible on Gabreski's P-47 - I've never seen photos of other 56 FG T-bolts with this same scheme, though other planes (Schilling's for one) had camo with broad areas of gray and od. One thing I noticed is that in close-up color and b/w photos of Gabreski sitting in the cockpit (the scoreboard is visible), the canopy framing is noticeably natural metal, whereas it appears to be painted in the photo you posted - if Gabreski was shot down in another P-47, mayabe the frame was painted when the scoreboard was painted over ??
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Old 13th October 2008, 06:07
JACK COOK JACK COOK is offline
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Re: Gabreski T-Bolt Questions

Clearly the same a/c with the upper invasion stripes painted over, painted canopy frame and painted over kills. More questions.....................

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Old 13th October 2008, 17:02
lampie lampie is offline
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Re: Gabreski T-Bolt Questions

Hi all.
First post on the forums.
Here are a couple of photos of the downed HV-A.


Whats interesting about these photos is that in Gabbys book he states that T'bolts from Don Smiths flight strafed HV-A and set it on fire.(Although Gabby was in the woods at this time running from the scene) Praeger Neyland also says in his book "One Small Cog" that Don Smiths flight set HV-A alight.
One explanation could be that when Gabbys plane was first seen to go in it was described as a cloud of dust travelling along the field. Smoke and dust are easily confused.
As for P-47s of the 56th with similar markings, Albert Knafelz's "Button Nose" of the 62nd FS definately carried the softer edge camo.


As regards the evening photo. The scheme is very similar and is very likely Gabbys P-47. The canopy frames seem dark, but the gunsight glass also appears solid in this photo. A silhouette.
Not exactly a firm starting point to discuss canopy frame colours I believe.
The two photos of Gabbys plane in the second post...
In the second one the upper wing invasion stripes have been removed and the paint chipping is evident. No paint chipping in the top photo where the invasion stripes are intact.
This chipping is very similar to the chipping visible in the "evening" photo.

Nige

Last edited by lampie; 14th October 2008 at 13:45.
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Old 13th October 2008, 19:21
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drgondog drgondog is offline
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Re: Gabreski T-Bolt Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by JACK COOK View Post
Everyone know's Gabby's T-Bolt was s/n 42-26418 HV+A and he was lost in it on 7-20-1944. My question is did any other pilot have the same camo on his P-47D or was this a one off scheme? Was Gabby really downed in this a/c or is the serial number off?

According to J-1663 Gabby was flying this ship, 20% damage so obviously it was NOT set on fire. According to this report Gabby 'defended himself with a pistol and escaped' (to be captured later.

Also noted was the '28' victories on his ship HVA, serial number '226418' so 42-26418 was correct serial number and squadron code.

MACR 6843 (not in armyairforces.com data base)

Look at this pictiure. The date is unknown but clearly post D-Day. Capt Jim Carter and Lt Earl Hertel are preparing for a dust DB mission. This seems to be Gabby's 47 and his armorer Joe DiFranza is IDed in the center of the 3 ground crewmen on the left. Note also a large block is painted over under the cockpit. It looks to be were 28 kill flags were! Does anyone know anything about his a/c. Over to the experts!
In Capt Donovan Smith's Eyewitness Report attached to the MACR they destroyed the jug - according to German Report it was 20% damaged.

As to mystery of upper D-Day stripes, 8th AF issued directive on July 9 to remove all upper stripes. Took awhile for order to be 100% completed
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Old 13th October 2008, 22:18
Flavio Flavio is offline
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Re: Gabreski T-Bolt Questions

[quote=lampie;74791]Hi all.
First post on the forums.
Here are a couple of photos of the downed HV-A.


Hi Nigel,

where did you find these photos of Gabreski downed plane?

Regards
Flavio
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Old 14th October 2008, 05:32
fsbofk fsbofk is offline
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Re: Gabreski T-Bolt Questions

Well, no doubt Gabby was shot down in his HV-A, as Lampie's photos confirm. The camo pattern on the plane in the evening photo matches the pattern of Gabby's 47, so that's his - the canopy framing is mostly likely just silhouetted against the lighter sky, giving it a dark tone. What appears to be an overpainting of the victory scoreboard is probably the background sky reflected off the scoreboard - perhaps the flag paint had a somewhat glossier finish than the camo so at the view angle, the reflection masks the flags, giving it the appearance of a solid color.
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Old 14th October 2008, 05:42
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SMF144 SMF144 is offline
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Re: Gabreski T-Bolt Questions

Jack,

I suspect the two A/C are the same. See page 129 of Zemke's Wolfpack by Hess as it shows a rear 3/4 port view of 'A' in full D-Day garb. My assumption is the photo in question, which is obviously a staged one, (did Gabby ever drop a bomb?) was taken during the transition of toning down the D-Day invasion stripes and Gabby's score was possibly covered over for the PR shot. Remember, those "flags" were stickers as period footage shows a member of Gabby's ground crew sticking one on as the plane comes to a halt. Either way, it's an interesting photo/query but I don't think there's anything out of the ordinary here; especially the framing of the canopy appearing to be painted. Look at the prop boss... it's somewhat dark even though the flash or light has caught it whereas the canopy is in the dark.
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Old 14th October 2008, 13:05
lampie lampie is offline
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Re: Gabreski T-Bolt Questions

Either way, it's an interesting photo/query but I don't think there's anything out of the ordinary here.

Exactly. No conspiracy theories in this case.

The victory markings on Gabbys plane were indeed stickers/decals which the man himself confirms in his book. These would have certainly reacted to the light in a different way to the paint on the aircraft itself.
As for Gabby ever dropping a bomb?
I have never seen a photo of Gabbys T'bolt with the underwing shackles fitted, so given that the only attachment point for a drop tank remaining is the centre fusalage shackles I think its very unlikely that he ever dropped ordnance.
Nige
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Old 14th October 2008, 14:11
lampie lampie is offline
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Re: Gabreski T-Bolt Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by JACK COOK View Post
Clearly the same a/c with the upper invasion stripes painted over, painted canopy frame and painted over kills. More questions.....................

Jack.
Interesting that you post this second reply which includes a photo of Gabreski with the invasion stripes of his aircraft already painted out, and indeed partly answers your own question.

There are plenty of photos showing Gabbys T'bolt with the upper invasion stripes removed.

As regards the staged "evening photo". Theres nothing "covered over" in the scoreboard area.
Look closely and its possible to see the straight top edge of the scoreboard area, and the area where the ground crews names are recorded also stands out clearly in this light.


To sum up.
Upper surface invasion stripes were removed from Gabreskis final T'bolt.(documented in photos)
The canopy framing was not painted over in a darker colour.(In the evening photo its a silhouette)
Gabby was flying HV-A when he belly landed and was taken POW.(documented in photos)
The scoreboard has not been covered over for the staged PR photo.( its visible albeit very faintly)

Clearly the same a/c with the upper invasion stripes painted over, painted canopy frame and painted over kills. More questions.....................
It is the same aircraft yes,and the invasion stripes have been painted over, but thats as far as it goes.

Just my 2 cents worth
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