Wingleader Magazine - Issue 10

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INGLEADER

MAGAZINE

DIGITAL ISSUE TEN

For all those1 who still run to the window when something flies over...

DIGITAL ISSUE TEN

COVER STORY - 1000 BOMBERS OVER BREMEN


IN THIS ISSUE LIKE A BAT OUTA HELL Managing Director: Simon Parry (Co-Founder) Editor and Design Director: Mark Postlethwaite (Co-Founder) Technical Director: Wesley Cornell (Co-Founder)

PHOTO ARCHIVE - B25s AT THE A&AEE 1000 BOMBERS OVER BREMEN

Contributors to this issue: Dave Johnson Gareth Jones Robin Hill Simon Parry

Jeff Carless Geoff Leach Theo Boiten Rod Mackenzie

Editorial Submissions: If you have any editorial content (news, comment, articles etc.) that you would like us to consider for inclusion in the next edition of Wingleader Magazine, please email us at editorial@wingleadermagazine.co.uk

Advertising: advertising@wingleadermagazine.co.uk T: +44 (0)845 095 0346 E: hello@wingleadermagazine.co.uk W: www.wingleadermagazine.co.uk All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © Wingleader Magazine Ltd 2019. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Wingleader Magazine is published by Wing Leader Ltd (08559824), registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 12 Jordan Street, Liverpool, L1 0BP, United Kingdom. All information contained in this magazine is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Wingleader Magazine cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Wingleader Magazine nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage. The views expressed in Wingleader Magazine are not necessarily the views of Wing Leader Ltd, its editors or its contributors.

THE HURRICANE THAT NOBODY FOUND

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elcome to issue 10 of Wingleader Magazine. This year has been incredibly hard work for the Wingleader team as we have effectively created, designed and published 10 magazines and three printed compendia in our already sparse spare time! However, I’m very happy to say that the late nights have been worth it and the feedback and readership figures are well above what we dared imagine in the beginning. We must now turn our attention to plans for next year and how we might continue the development of Wingleader Magazine. One sure thing is that we’ll soon need someone to take over the editor’s seat from me so that I can get back to the easel (and my family)! If anyone is interested in taking over please contact me directly at mark@wingleader.co.uk. I’ll still be on hand to help and continue with the odd article but we do now need someone with enough free time to allow us to take the magazine to the next level.

As part of our development plans, we’ll be introducing new features in the November issue including a competition with some fabulous prizes and a letters page. If you would like to write to us on any subject please email your letter to hello@wingleader.co.uk Again we’ll be offering a prize for letter of the month. Also in next month’s issue we’ll be carrying the next of my aviation art interviews, this time with living legend Roy Huxley who painted nearly all of the Matchbox box art back in the 1980s and 1990s. Please do keep spreading the word about the magazine. To keep it free we need to continually find new readers which in turn will make sponsorship and advertising with us an attractive proposition. You really can make a difference!

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Thanks!

On the cover: Stirling Service by Mark Postlethwaite GAvA Prints available from

Mark Postlethwaite. October 2019

www.posart.com


LIKE A BAT OUTA HELL...

DAVE JOHNSON TAKES ON HK MODELS’ MIGHTY 1/32 SCALE B-25J MITCHELL 3


MODELLING

The B-25 Mitchell saw service in most theatres during WWII, but it was over the Pacific where it probably had the most impact, with the heavily armed J variant wreaking havoc on low level strafing sorties. Dave Johnson guides us through his build of a fearsome version of HK Models’ 1/32 scale B-25J Mitchell.

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hen the announcement of a newly tooled, large scale B-25 Mitchell came about a few years ago, I was one of many modellers looking forward to seeing this released in large scale. I was in the middle of building two commissions when a huge box arrived at my door. Due to the size of the box, it was a dead giveaway what it contained! I had no plans to start the HK Models B-25J straight away, but after taking a lunch break from one of my commission builds, I couldn’t help taking a peek into the box. Next thing I knew…. I had all the interior parts built up in sub-assemblies, ready to be painted. Well, I couldn’t fight the urge not to continue!

Starting off with a Bang! Since the HK Models B-25J is a large kit, it has been smartly designed to be assembled in workable sub-assemblies. This is my preferred method of working when I’m constructing a model kit. This means you can work on a different assembly while the freshly applied

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Above: The rear yellow stripe was masked off with 2mm Kabuki Tape.

Above: Mr Color Olive Drab was sprayed over the bomb, and masking stripes were removed to create the stripes that are a distinctive feature on the 500lb bombs.

The instructions advise that each bomb should be painted British Dark Green. Usually, these bombs would feature a couple of yellow stripes around the nose and tail, but this isn’t mentioned. I did a quick check of the decal sheet to see if these stripes were included, but they weren’t, so I decided to add them myself. Each bomb was firstly airbrushed with Mr Color C329 Yellow. Once dry, I then proceeded to mask off a tail stripe on each bomb using 2mm Kabuki masking tape. For the front stripe I opted to make a masking disc using my circular Punch Set. Using 12mm Tamiya tape, I punched out the inner diameter circle/disc first. Then, using the largest size punch I had, punched out the outer circle. This resulted in a doughnutshaped masking disc. This was placed on the top of each of the bombs for the stripe on the nose. Prior to painting each bomb with Mr Color C304 Olive Drab, I pressed a single toothpick into one of the locating holes of each of the bombs to make handling a lot easier during spraying, and ensuring that I could paint each bomb entirely in one session.

Once dry the masking tape was removed from each bomb giving me the required stripes. The bomb bay was assembled into two separate pieces comprising of a sidewall, front, roof, and the second piece was the other sidewall and rear. This is one of the first errors that I noticed in the paint instructions. HK Models would have you to paint this area as Interior Green, but in one of my reference books, it states that the bomb bays and the interior side of the bomb bay doors were supplied from North American Aviation in ‘Natural Metal’, not Interior Green. This is the same case for the wheel wheels, firewalls and engine cowlings. With this information, I airbrushed the internal walls of the bomb bay with Mr Color Super Fine Silver which was thinned down using PPG Two Way thinners, my favourite thinner for Mr Color lacquer. At the same time, I planned to spray the inner parts of the bomb bay doors, but I noticed a few ejector pin marks that I failed to clean up on the outer door half (Parts M32&34). Luckily these pin marks would be covered after attaching the inner half of the door (Parts M31&32), so I proceeded to spray them. While the bomb bay parts were drying, I decided that I would do something different with the bombs. When I was searching for photos on the internet for 500lb bombs as reference to help me to paint the stripes, I came across a photo from the Famous B-25 Doolittle Raid where the 500lb bombs had some graffiti messages written on them. I thought this would be a neat addition to add. Using a white coloured pencil that I liberated from my oldest son’s art case, I wrote a couple of small messages on the bombs, “With More Bang!! and “Tojo Eats SPAM”. This helped liven up the dull bomb bay area.

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MODELLING

Above: Masking tape doughnuts were applied to the nose of each bomb using a pair of finepointed tweezers, due to the small size of them.

paint or glue is drying on another assembly. As most aircraft kits released these days get you to start in the cockpit, it was refreshing to see that you start with the upper gun turret column assembly instead. Still, with the design of the kit using sub-assemblies, you can start with any interior component. My choice was to start with the bomb bay assembly. I started by glueing and sanding the 500lb bomb halves. I wasn’t too worried about getting a super smooth surface on the bomb, as the bomb casings would often be dirty and scratched from movement around the airfield and being stored in outside conditions.

Above: The Bomb Bay paint instructions are incorrect, this area should be bare aluminium as per references. Below: A white coloured pencil was used to create graffiti messages on the bombs.


MODELLING

The bombs were attached to the sidewalls, and each half of the bomb bay received a quick dark black/brown oil wash to tone down the shiny silver paint before the two bomb bay halves were glued together with Tamiya Extra Thin Clement With the first interior sub-assembly complete, I turned my focus onto the Upper Gun Turret and tail gun assembly, as these comprised a small number of parts but took no time at all to glue together. These were put aside to be painted at the same time as the cockpit and inner fuselage halves. The two Browning .50 cal bodies in the tail gun were also left off to be painted separately as they would be attached before everything would be sandwiched together. Now it was onto the final internal sub-assembly that needed to be built.

The Cockpit I turned my attention to the cockpit sidewalls on each fuselage first, as each wall had four substantial ejector pin marks that needed some attention. These pin marks would be obvious through the canopy. My usual routine would be to apply Mr Surfacer 500 to each pin mark and allow it to dry, and then to refill the pin mark again until it was over-filled with Mr Surfacer. Then, each spot would be sanded until I was happy with the result. This time however, I tried something new. I had read about a modeller making Evergreen discs to fill the injector pins and thought to myself, what a simple idea, and why didn’t I think of that before! I proceeded to raid my Evergreen sheet stocks and used some .04 thick sheet, which would allow the discs to protrude just higher than the pin mark when the disc was glued into place. Using a scrap piece of 2x4

Above: Plastic discs were punched out evergreen sheet to fill the injector pin marks in the Fuselage halves, which were then sanded back flush with the surface.

Below: Mr Color Interior greens were used to paint the interior, C351 was used as the base as it was the darker shade, and C27 was misted in random patches.

wood, I placed the sheet of Evergreen on top of the piece of wood, and lightly tapped the top of my punch with a hammer to create the required number of discs to fill each ejector pin mark. Each disc was glued in place with Tamiya Extra Thin Clement and received a coat of Mr Surfacer 500 over the top to ensure that there were no spots missed. Once dry, each disc was sanded flush with the sidewall of the cockpit. This new method was straightforward and will become my new practice to tackle ejector pin marks, as it is quicker than the method I used to use. Most of the cockpit was then assembled that had to be painted Interior Green. This meant leaving off the instrument panel and the levers

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on the control column, as these were to be painted with different colours. With most of the interior assemblies built and the fuselage halves ready, I headed off to the spray booth. All of the Interior Green sub-assemblies were pre-shaded with Mr Color Flat Black which will aid in achieving some colour depth in the finished result. For the next step, I used my Tamiya HG-III airbrush and sprayed on Mr Color C351 Zinc Chromate Type 1, on all the interior components. At the same time, I was careful not to obliterate the black shading that I had just done beforehand, but instead, just leaving a hint of it underneath in random areas and especially around framing and corners. Once this was dry enough to be handled, which is not very long thanks to one of the advantages of using lacquer based paints, I then used the lighter shade of Interior Green (Mr Hobby C27) and sprayed it in random spots in the middle of panels and components very lightly. This resulted in a nicely blended shade of interior


Above: Mithril Silver from Citadel was dry brushed for high worn areas.

Above: Tamiya Acrylics were used to pick out buttons and switches on the Instrument Panel.

Above: Eduard USAF Harness set was used as a replacement from the kits one piece photo etch Harnesses

Now with this done, it was time to start picking out the details in the cockpit. Fast wearing areas like walkways, seats etc received a dry brushing of Mithril Silver from Citadel. The Instrument Panel was airbrushed with Semi-Gloss Black and received a dry brushing of Tamiya’s XF-67 German Grey to help to scale down the black colour. The dial faces are supplied as a decal and fitted nicely to the front of the panel insert. Using a fine paintbrush, Tamiya acrylic green, red and yellow paints were used to pick out the warning lights and switches on the Instrument panel. The Instrument Panel then was finished off by applying some PVA/White glue to each dial face. Once the glue dried on the face of the dial, it will give a glossy finish and give the appearance of glass over each dial. I wasn’t too impressed with the photo-etch harness that was supplied with the kit, so I opted to replace them with tan coloured belts from the Eduard USAF & USN harness set. Since Eduard only supplies one tan and one green harness per etch sheet, I had to use two sets from my stockpile. These multi-part harnesses took about 10-15 minutes each to assemble, but they can be positioned and draped to your requirements. One of the final items to finish off the cockpit was to add the levers to the control column. These are one of the great additions to the kit and make the cockpit more lively. The levers for throttle, propeller pitch, engine mixtures and supercharger boost are moulded as one item, but with a fine spacing between them. I opted to slice the levers in half with a sharp scalpel blade and trimmed off linking tabs. Each lever was then glued

individually into their grooves on the control column. By doing this, I was able to place the levers in different positions dynamically, and also lost the the plastic link between them, giving a more realistic look of the lever. Placement of each single lever was a little bit tricky with the seats and control wheels glued in place, but with some fine pointed tweezers, the task was manageable with some care involved. The reason I opted to do this last was that knowing with my luck and my fat fingers, I would have most likely knocked them out of place and lost them to the hungry carpet monster that all modellers dread.

MODELLING

green which gave life to the interior, instead of just one stark colour.

Above: A view of the completed cockpit before the fuselage sides were joined together.

All the interior parts were then given an oil wash using Raw Sienna and Black oil paint that was thinned down to a watery mixture using Mineral Turpentine. Once the oil wash was semi-dry, cotton buds were used to wipe off the excess wash leaving enough oil paint behind to highlight all the details. The last step before sandwiching all the internal parts between the fuselage halves was to paint and fit the tail and waist .50 cal’s bodies. With the design of the .50 cals, the barrels have been moulded as separate parts that slot into the gun body at final stages of the build. Using these holes, toothpicks were inserted into them, and then they were sprayed with Mr Color Flat Black. Once dry, they were dry brushed with Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey. The ammunition belt feeds for the waist guns tail guns were airbrushed with Super Titanium from the Mr Color Super Metallic range, and the ammo rounds were brush painted with Brass. To finish everything off a light black oil wash was added to pick out the details.

Above: Ammunition track links were airbrushed silver and then brushed painted with Mr Color Metallic Brass.

Whilst gluing the waist guns into position, the ammo feed belt kept popping off from the

Above: I couldn’t get the waist guns to stay in place when gluing with plastic clement, so a dab of Super Glue bonded them instantly in place.

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MODELLING

gun body as the plastic cement wasn’t drying fast enough to hold them into place. By using a dab of thin super glue on the tip of a toothpick, each belt was quickly fixed into position on the body of the .50 cal and the locating positions on the fuselage.

A Foot Long Sub! Gluing the fuselages halves together was the next task that I thought would cause problems. Gladly I can say this went off without a hitch! All the internal sub-assemblies fitted into position and lined up perfectly when the two fuselage halves were dry fitted together. I proceeded to run Tamiya Extra Fine Cement down the seams in intervals of about 2 inches at a time and allowing the cement to melt the mating surfaces prior to them being pushed together. At this point, I thought I would have issues due to the size and weight of the fuselage, but with a couple of pieces of 12mm Tamiya tape carefully placed, everything held into place beautifully. There were only a few spots that required some filling and sanding. The only area that I didn’t glue together on the fuselage was the front wheel bay. Unfortunately, the only major downside of this build was that you have to fit the nose landing gear so early in the build process. I am not a fan of this as I prefer to leave landing gears off until the last stages, as I tend to break them off when handling the model during building. The nose gear was painted, as per the kit’s paint instructions and then glued into place. I had to spread open the unglued area of the fuselage to get the front gear located into position, and then it was glued along with the unglued seam on the front of the fuselage.

As I mentioned earlier, the kit has been smartly designed to be built as sub-assemblies, so I decided this would be the best option to take with the rest of the kit. The large wing halves lined up with ease and were glued together, along with the engine nacelles. The tail section was quickly built up and attached to the fuselage with only a small amount of clean up due to the attachment seams not corresponding with the panel lines. These lines were quickly filled using Tamiya Basic Putty and 6mm Tamiya Tape to keep the putty located in the small area that was required, thus avoiding losing any detail. At that stage I opted to leave off the tail and wing control surfaces, as they were designed to slot into place without any requirement of glue. This would also help during the painting process as I wouldn’t have to mask them, as I had planned to paint them a lighter shade due to them being covered with fabric on a real airframe.

Now, with most of the assembly steps up to step 17 now complete, I took a considerable jump to step 36 where the nose was to be built. With the scheme I was planning to do, the glass nose was painted over, and you couldn’t see anything inside. So with this, all the items within the nose were left out. This provided me with ample room to add weight and less painting of the interior components. After reading a few posts on a couple of online modelling forums from other modellers that

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Top: Interior components are built as subassemblies and locate nicely into the fuselage. Above: The large fuselage halves were taped in a couple of areas, as encasing weight of the plastic could pop them apart.


Below: The engine cowls were left on the sprue to ensure they stayed round while the cowl panels were glued into place

While the glue was drying on the fuselage and nose, I turned my attention to the engine cowls. The instructions would prefer to have you build up the engines and then attach them to the cowl framing and then adding the exhaust pipes and cowl covers. I dry fitted one of the engines into the cowl and thought that alignment of the pipes could be an issue. I decided to glue the panels into place first and then add the engine and exhaust pipes later on. I left the engine framing on the circular sprue and attached the front cowl ring to the framing prior to gluing down each panel. This was for two reasons, firstly, a larger area to make it easier during handling, and secondly, to ensure the cowl would stay circular if a small amount of pressure was applied during handling. Each panel was then cleaned up and applied as per the instructions, working in an

anti-clockwise movement. Most of the panels lined up perfectly, but I did have a couple of corners that stuck up slightly higher than the others. These higher points were just sanded down using 1000 grit sandpaper and then polished with an old piece of 2000 grit. At this point, I took the opportunity to prime everything with the Mr Surfacer mixture that I use. To produce this mixture, I thin down Mr Surfacer 1200 with Two Way thinners to around a 30/70 mixture. Due to the amount of airbrushing that was about to take place, I broke out my Tamiya HG Trigger airbrush and replaced the standard paint cup with the larger plastic cup and filled it to the top with the primer mixture. I ensured that my airbrush compressor ran for a few minutes’ prior, as there was going to be a lot of spraying going to happen! During spraying, I had to stop a few times to allow the tank to refill as it is only a small one. This wasn’t a massive problem as it allowed me to take a quick break while I was waiting. After the primer was dried, I gave all the surfaces a quick rub down with 2000 grit wet and dry sandpaper. Doing this gave me all the high/low spots that needed some attention. These spots were attended with Tamiya Basic Putty and were filed flush and smoothed off using 800 through to 1500 grit sandpaper. Unfortunately, along the fuselage seam lines, some of the rivet and panel lines were lost, but some of the rivets were still partly visible. The rivets were restored by using a sharpened pin in a pin vice which was pressed down on the partly lost rivet. I did this quite a few times, maybe around 100+ times, but the process went very quickly and was quite relaxing!

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MODELLING

Above: To make sure this wasn’t going to be a tail sitter, 230 grams of weight was added... A bit of overkill!

were building this kit at the same time, there were mixed comments on the required weight to add to ensure this colossal model didn’t sit on its tail. The instructions state that 80 grams is required, but some posts were stating that they were adding up to 120 grams. Well, with all this extra space, I went overboard and added 230 grams using fishing weights. Yeah, this bird isn’t going to be a tail sitter for sure! After adding all this weight to the nose section, it occurred to me that gluing the nose to the fuselage may cause a small problem with it falling off while the glue is trying to set. To combat this, Tamiya Extra Thin was applied over the mating surfaces and then pressed together. Four pieces of 12mm Tamiya were taped to the side, top and bottom which held everything in place while the glue was left to set. To ensure that the glue was fully cured, the tape wasn’t removed until 24 hours later.

Above: Wings were sprayed separately due to the huge size of the built-up kit. Below: Rivet Lines were restored using a sharp pin mounted into a pin vice.


MODELLING

Prior to heading back to the spray booth, all the clear parts were attached to their places with Tamiya Extra Thin cement. The clear parts were masked off using a Profimodeller canopy mask set. I had mixed results with this set, as some masks were either too large or undersized in areas. The larger masks were trimmed back just by running a sharp scalpel blade over the offending areas, and the excess masking film was removed using a pair of fine-point tweezers. For spots that were too short, 6mm Tamiya Tape and 2 and 3mm Kabuki tape were used to fill in these areas. Once the

masking was completed, all the framing on the clear parts received a blast with Interior Green as the internal framing would be visible through the large windows on the completed model. After the top and bottom fuselage seams were cleaned up, these were re-checked by spraying the camouflage colours of my chosen scheme over them, proving that they didn’t require any more work. Here, I proceeded to pre-shade all of the panel lines and hatches with flat black paint prior to spraying the Olive Drab and Natural Grey of the camouflage colours of my chosen scheme. When preshading the panel lines, I am not too worried about keeping them straight or tidy if they run past the detail that I am spraying over. I find having irregular lines will provide the airframe with some character when spraying the covering colours.

Above: Panel Lines were pre-shaded with Flat Black paint, and the upper seams were rechecked with spraying Olive Drab.

Above: Olive Drab was lightly misted onto the fuselage, slowly building up the different areas to get a patchy/weathered look.

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Researching & Painting

The 345th had four squadrons under their group command; these were 498th BS (Falcons), 499th (Bats Outa Hell), 500th (Rough Raiders) and the 501st (Black Panthers). Two of these Squadrons jumped out at me straightaway, the 498th and 499th. This was due to the nose art that both squadrons carried. The Falcons carried a green bird head with a yellow beak over the nose area, and the 499th Bats Outa Hell carried a huge blue bat. I chose the latter. I was thinking of Sag’s Harbour Express as my scheme, but as soon as I learnt that Zotz Decals was to release a sheet with this scheme, I ruled this one out. I usually like schemes that are not normally offered commercially, to be a bit different from

While I was waiting for the mask set to arrive from the United States, I dove straight into painting. Again, working with each of the sub-assemblies that had already been preshaded, I started to spray Mr Color Olive Drab to the Upper Surfaces. I wanted to make this airframe look used and slightly battered due to the harsh sunny and dusty conditions that it would have seen in the Pacific. To achieve the patchy paintwork, I lightly misted on the Olive Drab working on a panel at a time and building up darker patches in random areas. With areas I wasn’t thrilled with, I just revisited the area repeating the same process. Once the upper surfaces were complete, I moved onto the Neutral Grey lower surfaces. Masking off the lower surfaces from the Olive Drab, I used Blue Tack sausages that were rolled out longer

MODELLING

During the early stages of my build, I always spend a little time researching my subject and looking for an interesting/different scheme. While doing my research, I started to look at photos of ship raiders in the Pacific Theatre. These early B-25J gunships would have their glass noses modified in the field to carry extra .50cals to provide maximum firepower for skip bombing attack missions against enemy ship convoys or ships at port. During these attack runs they would typically turn the top turret to face forward so that they would have maximum firepower rain down on the ship during their approach run. I couldn’t imagine I would want to be on the receiving end on one of these strafing runs with having up to eleven .50 cal’s pouring hot lead down your throat. I wanted to do an early paint scheme of Olive Drab over Neutral Grey, so this naturally turned my interest to the 345th Bombardment Group that were based in the Southwest Pacific and known as the Air Apaches.

everyone else. Next on my list was My Duchess, a B-25J-11-NA, serial 43-36174 piloted by N. E. Wiley. This B-25 fitted all my criteria…Cool nose art with the huge Bat splashed across the nose and lots of kill markers. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out much information on this B-25… The serial wasn’t listed on Joe Baughers’ website of US serial numbers (http://www. joebaugher.com/) and the only photo that I found was a very grainy one from an Internet search. I also managed to find on eBay, an old 48th decal sheet from Pro Modeller that included My Duchess as one of the marking options. With all the info that I could gather for markings, I arranged for a set of custom masks to made up for this project. The designer of the masks was a little concerned about the massive bat on the nose as he didn’t have the kit to measure it himself, but he was confident that I would be able to make the mask set work.

Above: Lower surfaces were masked off using Blue Tak.

Above: Pre-shading applied to the port wing. Below: The same wing after the olive drab was applied, showing the subtle effect pre-shading has.

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MODELLING Above: The paint mask for the fuselage was lined up using the vertical row of rivets to ensure it was kept straight.

than the fuselage and were tacked into place in a wavy line. Usually, I would place some masking tape on the outer side of the Blue Tak to protect the painted upper surfaces, but due to the size, it would require quite a lot of tape. Instead, I carefully rolled the fuselage in my hand during spraying, making sure that no overspray would land on either side of the Olive Drab fuselage. The same misting method of the paint was used on the lower surfaces and again repeated with the wings. With having the paint masks arrive, I was very eager to get onto one of my favourite parts of a build, spraying on the markings!

Bat or Hell??

Above: Once in place, the white background is sprayed onto the mask.

Above: The star and bar mask is then prepared.

Turnaround time for the mask set was pretty quick. Upon opening the envelope that contained the mask set, there was a small note from the designer saying that he included another mask set. He did this in case something went pear-shaped, as the mask for the bat is quite complex and could easily go to hell on me, literally. Eager to get some markings on the Mitchell, I started by applying the outline mask for the National Markings to the fuselage and wing surfaces. Each mask was rubbed down with a little bit of pressure using my index finger, to ensure that the mask fully adhered to the surface. This was done to make sure that no paint would go underneath the masked area when spraying, and the outline of the painted area would be nice and tight when the mask was removed. This was quickly blasted with Flat White, so the area was fully covered but patchy, to keep it within that worn airframe look. The next part is to apply the inner masks over the white area. Using a large section of masking film that wasn’t required, I placed the film over the top of the mask that I wanted to remove from the backing paper.

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By doing this, it keeps the mask in place and prevents it from going out of shape when you are trying to place it. It also makes it easier for handling and placement of the mask. The Insignia Blue areas of the mask were removed whilst the mask was being lifted. The tip of a scalpel blade was good for this, and the mask was placed over the white painted area. Mr Color C326 Blue FS515044 was then sprayed to complete the national markings. With the Stars and Bars now applied, the Mitchell was now starting to come to life. Before tackling the huge Bat on the nose, the Mission and Tail numbers were sprayed on. These details were sprayed with an undercoat of flat white to provide the maximum yellow opacity over the olive drab upper surfaces. With all the markings now applied, it was time to tackle the standout feature of this B-25, the enormous blue bat on the nose. The outline of the bat was split down the middle and was provided in two masks. Each half of the mask was lined up on the nose using the lower curved outline of the canopy. Only the starboard side gave me a small amount of grief as it wouldn’t line up on the lower surface. However, this was quickly sorted as the masking film is thin enough to manipulate into place. Tamiya Tape was then applied to the edges of the mask to prevent any overspray from messing up my paint job. Mr Color C326 Blue was used again to spray the bat onto the masked off area on the nose. Once dry, the inner mask was applied. This provides the white outline of the bat, the ship kills markers and wing detail of the bat. Unfortunately, the mask on the port side, that included the ship kill markers crinkled and air bubbled up on me. Even with all my efforts for it not too. To sort the crinkled areas, I made slits with a scalpel

Above: The tricky bit is to line up the masks exactly to the background shape.

Above: Bright colours that required to be painted on top of the Olive Drab, received an undercoat of white paint.

Above: The yellow bomb markers only require a light coat of yellow due to the white undercoat.


Top: The inner nose mask has been applied and the ship killer markers are blocked out as they were out of shape due to the large mask. Above: A small amount of paint need to be touched up, due to being pulled up with masking film.

The final touch to the markings was the requirement of the two Indian head insignias for the Air Apaches, as these weren’t cut as paint masks. My only option for these markings was to purchase the Zotz Decal sheet, Mitchells at War, Part 1 which included the heads I required. The decals stuck down very well over the Semi-Gloss finish, with a few drops Microsol over the decal to get them to snuggle around all the rivet details. Since most of the paint that was sprayed was in lacquer semigloss finish, I normally would apply an oil wash directly over this for weathering. But since there were some areas that were sprayed with a flat paint (mostly the white) and decals that

Right: The ship kill markers and the wing detail were cut from a second mask set and applied separately.

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were applied on to the tails, I gave the whole model a quick coat of Mr Color Clear to aid the flow of the oil wash. I made a huge mixture of wash using Burnt Umber, Raw Umber and a couple of drops of black oil paint, which was thinned Mineral Turpentine to a watery mixture. The wash mixture was brushed on all the surfaces using a broad brush and left to dry for about 30 minutes. After about 30 minutes, most of the oil wash was dry on the surface but still wet to touch. A large paper towel was used to wipe down all the surface areas. This resulted in removing most of the oil paint residue but leaving behind the residue in the panel line and rivet details. Cotton buds were also used to get into the hard to reach places. While the surfaces were wiped down, it was done in the direction of the airflow, so if there was any residue or staining left behind, it would look natural. Once I was happy with the finished result of the oil wash, all the subassemblies were put aside to dry for 48 hours for the oil residue to thoroughly dry before handling again for the final clear coat to seal everything in. Being impressed with the Alclad II Klear Kote when I first started, I opted to finish that way too. I loaded up my Tamiya trigger airbrush once again for the tremendous spraying job that was ahead of me. All three large assemblies were sprayed for the final time. The drying time of the Klear Kote was sped up using a hair dryer, so everything could be handled and attached earlier than expected. The attachment points for the wings to the fuselage have been smartly designed as interlocking gates that slot together and don’t require any glue. This is an excellent idea for breaking down of the completed model for transport or storage.

MODELLING

blade around the kill markers and pushed out most of the crinkles and air bubbles. In doing this, all the ship kill markers were all out of shape. I opted to block this area off with Tamiya Tape and sprayed the white on the unmasked areas. With the second mask set that was provided, I cut out the kill markers and applied them as a separate mask which was then sprayed with Flat White. With Mr Color Lacquers, I have no issues with spraying white over a dark base colour, even when the paint has been heavily thinned. With most of the bat now complete, the mouth outline was applied by spraying the white. The teeth masks were applied, and the rest of the area was painted red to finish off the bat’s mouth to complete the huge bat nose art. When removing the masks throughout each masking stage, a tiny amount of the paint pulled up with the mask. This was expected when working with such a large area. These areas were touched up by using a small pointed brush with the required colour.


MODELLING

Engines With the Mitchell coming towards an end, there were only a couple of things to tackle to complete it, and one of the items was the power plant… well two items, to be more accurate! The parts for the two Wright R-2600 engines were removed from the sprues and cleaned up and test fitted. The two rows of cylinders and pushrods slip neatly over a locating tube that is moulded on the rear of the engine cover which holds everything into place. One of the minor flaws with the kit is in this area… The engine cover, unfortunately, has an incorrectly shaped profile and is missing the governor. The governor is a standout item on top of the engine cover and could have been easily produced in plastic. Luckily, AMS Resin produced a correction set that replaces the incorrectly shaped engine cover and propellers and provides the missing governor. AMS Resin replacement set is available directly from Sprue Brothers (www.spruebrothers.com) in the US. While waiting for the AMS correction set to arrive, I got to work on the engines. The cylinders were sprayed with Mr Color SM05 Super Titanium, pushrods in Semi-Gloss Black. The exhaust pipes were sprayed with Mr Color C29 Hull Red and then were weathered using the Soot and Dust shades in the Tamiya Weathering Master sets. These were applied by dusting on the different shades with the brushes supplied with the sets and sealed with a coat of Flat Klear. Now I had to make a hard call… I had been waiting for a while for the AMS set to arrive, and I needed to finish the engines off so I could attach the cowls and be on the final stages to finish off the Mitchell. Well, I stewed over it for a couple of hours, and bit the bullet and went with the kit covers.

With all the engine parts now painted, I slotted all the components together and attached all the rocker covers to the top of the pushrods. After completing one bank of rocker covers on both engines, I found that I had them on the wrong way and they had to be removed and reattached. Even seasoned modellers make mistakes, it always plays to double-check the instructions! Ignition harnesses are included as plastic parts, but after attaching them to the first bank of cylinders, they didn’t look right as I thought they were a tad over scale. Using a pin vice, holes were drilled into each cylinder and 0.6mm soft metal wire from Tuner Model Manufactory was used. The plastic ignition harness was replaced with the soft metal wire which was slotted into the holes that were drilled earlier. A black oil wash was applied to both engines to make all the engine detail standout. This resulted in making the air-cooling fins pop out from the silver-painted cylinders. I also added a few spots with a brown oil wash to the engine covers for the appearance of oil leaks and stains. With both engines now complete, I proceeded to attach the cowls. Now I had to figure the best way to attach the exhaust pipes as I skipped this stage earlier in the build. I couldn’t just attach the pipes on to the rear of the engine, as the cowl plates that I fitted earlier would interfere with the fit. I decided to thin down the plastic around the cowl exhaust openings by using a scalpel blade and cut away the plastic. After this task was completed on all the openings on both of the engine cowls, each pipe was lightly pushed down into place through each exhaust hole and then glued to secure them into place. Having both the engines and cowls now completed, they were attached to the rest of the model.

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Above: The R2600 engine comprises mostly of 9 parts, with the Rocker Covers being separate items. Below left: HK Model’s R2600 engine is nicely detailed, but unfortunately they totally missed the Governor and produced the engine cover with an incorrect shape. Below right: Diverting from the kits instructions, each exhaust pipe was slotted into place by using the openings on the cowl.


Below: The completed model looks every bit as mean as its full sized counterpart.

MODELLING

Final Touches and Weathering … Being on the home straight now, there were only a few minor things to do. Glue the bomb bay doors on, add the top turret, attach the wheels, add the barrels to the .50 cal’s bodies and add the final weathering touches that needed to be done. I decided

to replace the plastic barrels with an aftermarket replacement. I usually use Master Model barrels, but I saw that ProfiModeller also did barrels when I was ordering the canopy mask set. They offer their barrels as a complete replacement set in two different options, and even individual barrels could be purchased too. This would suit me perfectly as I would require an extra two barrels for the field converted gun nose. I opted for the Set

B from ProfiModeller, as Set A has the Flash/ Muzzle suppressors on the four barrels for the fuselage gun packs where Set B doesn’t. Each barrel consists of two parts, the barrel and the cooling jacket. These parts were glued together using CA/Super Glue, and then sprayed with Mr Color Flat Black. Once the barrels were dry, they were fitted into place. Some of the barrels pushed into place and didn’t require any glue to hold them. The barrels that didn’t

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fit required the locating holes to be enlarged slightly. This was done using a larger diameter drill bit in a pin vice. The propeller blades that are supplied with the kit are not quite the right shape. Although these could be filed and sanded into the correct shape I decided to use after-market replacements. The corrected propellers are finely cast and bubble-free. To prep the blades,


MODELLING

Left: A close up of the nose art, all painted with masks, not a decal in sight!

streaked along the surfaces, making sure that it was getting lighter towards the end of the streak. This was repeated with each exhaust pipe. Using the brush that is supplied in the Tamiya Weathering sets, I lightly dusted the sand shade over the wings and the fuselage to give the aircraft a dusty appearance as if it had been sitting out in the elements. The propellers were also toned back by dusting light sand from the Tamiya sets. Chip and scratches were added to the fuselage, leading edges of the wings and propellers by using a silver coloured pencil. Weathering the tyres was created by using a combination of both methods mentioned previously. The tyre’s sidewalls were dusted over with the brush, and the treaded areas had the wet paste brushed over it. Once dry, a damp cloth was wiped over the raised tread areas to remove the dried paste.

they were sanded smooth and then blasted with Mr Color Flat Black. No yellow tips were painted on the blades, as they don’t appear to be on blades in the only reference photo that I have. The propeller hub was sprayed with SM01 Super Fine Silver and weathered with a black oil wash, prior to each blade being attached to it with CA/Super Glue. The propellers are then pushed into the location pins on the engine, allowing them to be moveable in the future if they need to be repositioned or removed for travelling.

end, I had to repaint the nacelle and upper wing to be 100% happy with it. This plainly taught me not to differ from my usual route! Now with everything back to how it was, I used Soot and White from the Tamiya Weathering Master sets to create the exhaust stains. A medium-soft brush was dipped into water and then was brushed along a paper towel to remove a small amount of the excess water on the brush. The wet brush was then worked into the colour shade to create a paste. The brush was placed at the tip of the exhaust pipe then

Now with everything complete, it was time to add the final touches to the weathering. Usually, in the past, I would use Tamiya Weathering Master sets and pigments to create exhaust stains along the upper wings and nacelles, but for some reason, I tried to airbrush Tamiya Acrylic for them. Well, that turned out to be a complete disaster on the first few passes with the airbrush. I wasn’t happy with the results that I got, so I tried to remove the paint with some isopropyl alcohol. This did remove most of the paint, but in the

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Since I built my B-25, HK Models has released different variants of the J Model Mitchell. The kit is nicely detailed straight from the box and builds easily which will suit any level of modeller. There are plenty of aftermarket items available for those that want to venture beyond the parts within the box. Be warned!!! The size of B-25 isn’t small, so will require some display space once completed!


MODELLING

Above: Close up detail of the weathering on the uppersurfaces. Exhaust stains were created by streaking Tamiya Weathering Master Soot and Snow with a few drops of water. Air Apache’s Unit Tail markings were sourced from Zotz’s decal sheet.

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MODELLING

REFERENCES USED AJ-Press - #078. North American B-25 Mitchell Pt. 1 AJ-Press - #079. North American B-25 Mitchell Pt. 2 AJ-Press - #082. North American B-25 Mitchell Pt. 3 Squadron #1034. B-25 Mitchell in Action Squadron #5512 North American B-25 Mitchell

MODEL KH Models 1/32 B-25J Mitchell Kit# 01E01 ACCESSORIES USED Eduard - USAF & USN Seat belts (32506), ProfiModeller - B-25J gun barrels set modification B (32081), Browning .50cal Barrel x2(32085), Canopy Masks Scale Precision Masks – Custom Made Paint Masks Zotz Decals – B-25J Mitchell at War Part 1 (32054)

PAINT AND FINISHING PRODUCTS USED Mr Color Lacquers - C8 Silver, C12 Olive Drab (1), C13 Neutral Gray, C22 Dark Earth, C27 Interior Green, C29 Hull Red, C33 Flat Black, C46 Gloss Clear, C62 Flat White, C92 Semi Gloss Black, C137 Tire Black, C181 Semi Gloss Clear, C304 Olive Drab FS34087, C326 Blue FS515044, C327 Red FS11136, C329 Yellow FS13538, C351 Zinc Chromate Type 1 FS34151, Mr Hobby Super Metallic Paint Range - SM01 Super Fine Silver, SM05 Super Titanium.2 Tamiya Acrylic Paints – X-5 Green, X-7 Red, XF-3 Yellow, XF-56 Metallic Grey, XF-63 German Grey Citadel – Mithril Silver Marie’s Oil Paint – 687 Burnt Umber, 688 Raw Umber, 793 Black Alclad II - ALC314 Klear Kote Flat Faber Castell Silver Pencil PPG Two Way Thinners Mineral Turpentine

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Photo Archive: B-25s at the A&AEE 19


PHOTO ARCHIVE

The Lend-Lease Agreement between the USA and Great Britain ensured that the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) was kept very busy during WWII, evaluating and testing many exotic US aircraft types. Several B-25s were flown out of Boscombe Down by the A&AEE, here we present a selection of photographs taken by the A&AEE’s own photographers at the time.

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hen the North American B-25 was offered to the RAF under the Lend-Lease agreement, the RAF was both curious and sceptical about this strange nose-wheel equipped machine. The RAF had ‘tail-draggers’ and that was the ‘right way’ to do things. In June 1942 two Mitchell MkIs arrived at Boscombe Down. Both were flown to evaluate the nose-wheel configuration and general handling characteristics. Shortly afterwards, the first MkII arrived in the form of FL671. The second MkII to arrive was the prototype FL191, which had a very short life at Boscombe Down when it cartwheeled on take-off on its first day of testing and was wrecked. Title page and left: Although never on charge with the A&AEE, B25J-5 (Mitchell MkIII) HD378 certainly flew for the benefit of the A&AEE’s regular photographers as seen here in these superb studies.

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Testing at A&AEE soon revealed that the handling characteristics of the B-25 were very good and, when flying on a single engine, superior to equivalent types in RAF service. Most tests revolved around various combinations of armament and fittings. In particular the Bendix mid-upper turret came in for criticism for being too difficult for a man to get into – or out of. It was proposed that

this be replaced in RAF service by the FrazerNash FN64 turret, but this proved too difficult to install easily.

Above: FK161 was the first B-25 to arrive at the A&AEE, the remotely controlled retractable ventral turret is clearly visible in this shot.

In total over 900 B-25s were delivered to the RAF with the MkII and MkIII being used extensively on bombing operations over Europe in the second half of World War II.

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PHOTO ARCHIVE

FKI6I


PHOTO ARCHIVE

FKI6I

FK161 Photographed 8th June 1942. Ex 40-2341 B-25B Mitchell MkI An early production Mitchell on the A&AEE photo shoot dated 8th June 1942 only days after its arrival at Boscombe Down for handling trials. Two B-25Bs arrived in the UK from the same the production batch as the ‘Doolittle Raiders’ aircraft. Bomb load was 3,600 lbs. No MkIs went into RAF operational service.

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B-25 Mitchell MkI FK161 June 1942. Ex 40-2341 FK162 Swung on take-off and crashed June 1942. Ex 40-2340 B-25 Mitchell MkII FL185 Armament trials March 1943. FL189 Armament trials July 1942. FL191 Crashed on take-off October 1942. FL215 Armament trials July 1943 – fitted with an FN64 mid-upper turret. FL671 Handling trials July 1942. FL688 Handling trials with rockets May 1943. FR208 Armament trials with 75mm cannon July 1943. FR209 Armament trials with 75mm cannon July 1943. FR370 Armament trials November 1942. FV903 IFF tests July 1943. FV904 Armament trials March 1945. FV906 Armament trials July 1943. Damaged on landing March 1944. FV922 Armament trials and smoke laying July 1943. FV984 Handling trials March 1944. FW143 Armament trials with 8 x 500 lb bombs under wings April 1944. FW151 Armament trials February 1945. FW266 Armament trials with 4 x 0.5 machine-guns in the nose April 1944.

Above: FK161 displays her undersides for the camera. The ventral guns were accommodated in slots in the fuselage when the turret was retracted.

B-25 Mitchell MkIII HD347 Bombsight trials March 1945. HD361 Handling trials November 1944. HD373 Bombing and gunnery trials June 1944. Ex 43-28001

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PHOTO ARCHIVE

FKI6I

A&AEE B-25 MITCHELLS


PHOTO ARCHIVE

FKI6I

Above: In the main photo of FK161, the photographer has used a red filter on the camera, resulting in green areas appearing dark (fields) and red areas appearing very light. This highlights the propeller warning stripe just under the cockpit which is not so visible on the inset shot. Note how the camouflage contrast is hugely enhanced with the red filter.

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The artillery piece fitted in the nose of the B-25G was 9 feet 6 inches long. - The largest gun fitted to any operational aircraft in WW2. The ‘50 cals’ in the nose were used as aiming guides for the cannon as well as for ground strafing. Each 75mm shell weighed 15 pounds and had be hand-loaded one at a time by the navigator, and 21 rounds were normally carried. Although tested, and the cannon fired, the B-25G did not enter RAF service.

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PHOTO ARCHIVE

FR209

FR209 22nd July 1943. Ex 42-64823 B-25G – a sub variant of the Mitchell MkII 75 mm M4 cannon


PHOTO ARCHIVE

FR209

FR209’s blunt nose housing the 75mm cannon is nicely illustrated in this view. Note the sheet of armour plate bolted to the fuselage side just forward of the cockpit.

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This topside view of FR209 shows the painted out USAAF markings on the fuselage and port upper wing surface.

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PHOTO ARCHIVE

FR209


PHOTO ARCHIVE Although the RAF never used the 75mm cannon armed B-25 in service, the Americans certainly did in the Pacific Theatre. One single shell could cause serious damage to most things, even a large Destroyer, but the manual reloading of the weapon meant that only three or four rounds could be fired on any attack run. The aircraft also needed to remain steady during the attack which left the B-25 very vulnerable to return fire.

FR209 28


Useful upper and lower surface views of FR209 showing that the blunt nose was actually quite pointed in plan view.

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PHOTO ARCHIVE

FR209


PHOTO ARCHIVE

HD36I

Above: With the upper turret moved forward on the MkIII, the DF loop was repositioned underneath the fuselage to give the gunner a clear field of view.

HD361 Ex 43-27767 B-25J-1 Mitchell MkIII The B-25J was the model produced in the largest number, 4,318 being built and 240 supplied to the RAF as the MkIII. The most noticeable changes in the MkIII are the turret position – moved forward to just behind the cockpit – and the Perspex rear turret to house a gunner and two ’50 cals’.

Right: The MkIII also introduced staggered waist gun positions as seen here on HD361.

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PHOTO ARCHIVE

HD36I

A nice plan view of HD361 banking away from the camera aircraft. One of the few drawbacks of this advanced American design was the close proximity of the engines to the cockpit. With the individual exhausts placed around the cowlings, the noise at full throttle was quite deafening and many B-25 pilots suffered hearing problems in later life.


PHOTO ARCHIVE

HD36I

Background photo: This view of HD361 shows the mother of all whip aerials on the upper fuselage! It’s so distinct that it has been retouched on some of the other photos, presumably mistaken for a giant hair on the lens. Inset: HD361 displays the B-25’s unique dihedral/anhedral wingspan.

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1000 BOMBERS OVER BREMEN

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WORLD WAR II

In late spring 1942, ‘Bomber’ Harris unleashed his ‘1000 Bomber Raids’ on Cologne, Essen and Bremen. The purpose was to demonstrate the growing threat of Bomber Command to the German population as the war remained finely balanced. Theo Boiten analyses the Nachtjagd’s response to the third raid against Bremen on the night of 25/26 June 1942.

F

or the third and final 1,000 bomber raid, 904 Main Force bombers and OTU aircraft plus 102 Hudsons and Wellingtons from Coastal Command were dispatched to attack Bremen between 01.20 and 02.25 hrs. 117 Fighter Command, 2 Group Bomber Command, and Army Co-Operation Command intruder sorties supported the raid to keep the Luftwaffe night fighters on the ground. Out of a total of 1,123 sorties despatched, 50 Bomber Command ‘heavies’ plus eight Coastal, Fighter and Army Co-Operation Command aircraft were lost. It appears that the large scale intruder effort, which patrolled and attacked 17 Luftwaffe airfields in the Low Countries and North Western Germany, was largely ineffective. Two Army Co-operation Command Blenheims, tasked to intrude upon St. Trond and Venlo airfields, failed to return. One of them was Left: An impressive Flak barrage over Bremen. (Coll. Carsten Petersen)

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FLAK LOSSES 25/26 JUNE 1942 -13 Sqn Blenheim T2254: hit by 11./Flak Rgt. 32, crashed at Aartselaar at 02.36 hrs. -unidentified aircraft: hit by M. Flak Abt. 222, schw. Flak battery Schweiburg and crashed near Rönnelmoor Neustadt at 01.05 hrs. -unidentified Wellington: hit by 1.-3./Res. Flak Abt. 265 and 1. & 2./Flak Regt. 46, went down twixt Kieselhorst and Winkelsett, SSW of Harpstedt at 01.20 hrs. Note: claim annotated by OKL: ‘8. Fl. Div + N.J.’, but no Nachtjagd Abschussmeldung has been found that could be tied to this claim. -unidentified Halifax (?): coned by Scheinwerferstaffel, hit by 1. & 2./lei. Res. Flak Abt. 988 and Marine Flak and crashed in sea near Juist Island at 01.31/51 hrs. -320 Sqn Hudson T9435 ‘Balikpapan’: hit by 1. & 3./Res. Flak Abt. 162 (o) (Grossbatterie Steilshoop), crashed near Farmsen/Hinschenfelde, NE of Hamburg at 01.55 hrs. -15 OTU Wellington DV737: hit by 1.-3./schw. Flak Abt. 611, 3./Res. Flak Abt. 222 and 5./Res. Flak Abt. 334 (III. Zug), crashed into the Schlosspark at Bremen-Sebaldsbrück at 02.05 hrs. -83 Sqn Lancaster R5620: hit by 3./schw. Flak Abt. 531, 2./Res. Flak Abt. 231, 2./Flak Regt. 46 and 1., 2. & 4./Res. Flak Abt. 265 (III., V. and VI. Zug), impacted at Kirchseelte, Muna at 02.08 hrs.

Note: mis-identified by claiming Flak units as ‘Wellington’. -35 Sqn Halifax W1105: hit by 2./Res. Flak Abt. 117, 2./Res. Flak Abt. 265, 1./Res. Flak Abt. 334 and 1., 3. & 4./Res. Flak Abt. 231, crashed near Colmar II-Nordmentzhausen at 02.21 hrs. -50 Sqn Manchester L7289: coned by 1., 2. & 4./Res. Flakscheinw. Abt. 138 and 4./Res. Flakscheinw. Abt. 498, hit by 2. & 3./lei. Flak Abt. 922, 1./lei. Flak Abt. 879, 3./schw. Flak Abt. 531 and 5./ Res. Flak Abt. 615, crashed at Grambke in Bremen at 02.25-27 hrs. -11 OTU Wellington X3213: hit by 1.-3./schw. Res. Flak Abt. 611, 1. & 2./Res. Flak Abt. 606, 4./lei. Flak Abt. 879 and 2. & 3./Res. Flak Abt. 117, impacted at Aschhauserfeld, Richtmoor, near Bad . Zwischenahn at 02.30 hrs. Also claimed by M. Flak Abt. 236 (‘Wellington near Aschhausen (Bad Zwischenahn) 01.48 hrs’). Note: confirmed as 29th confirmed victory to M. Flak Abt. 236 -102 CF Halifax V9987: coned by 1. & 4./Res. Flakscheinw. Abt. 498, 1./Res. Flakscheinw. Abt. 138 and 2./Res. Flakscheinw. Abt. 268, hit by 1., 2. & 4./Res. Flak Abt. 231, 1. & 2./Res. Flak Abt. 265 and 1./Res. Flak Regt. 46, crashed near Delmenhorst-Dwoberg at 02.30 hrs.

Above: An official wartime photo captioned as Lancasters lining for for take off on the third ‘Thousand Bomber Raid’ against Bremen The leading Lancaster is R5620 OL-H which was shot down by Flak that night with no survivors. The Flak crews actually claimed it as a Wellington. Note how the two main Lancasters only have exhaust shrouds on the inboard engines. (Coll. ww2images.com)

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WORLD WAR II

shot down, following an eight-minute radar chase in Raum 6 B, by Oblt. Von Bonin and his Funker Fw. Johrden in Bf110 F-4 G9+DP of 6./NJG1 north of Tirlemont at 01.38 hrs. A second Blenheim fell foul of Flak. There was considerable light and moderate heavy Flak over Bremen. Even though the prevailing cloud conditions hampered the operation of searchlights, the combined Luftwaffe and Marine Flak defences were credited with the following 17 confirmed Abschüsse:


WORLD WAR II

FLAK LOSSES 25/26 JUNE 1942 continued -prob. 11 OTU Wellington DV778: hit by 6./Marine Flak Abt. 226 and IV./2./lei. Res. Flak Abt. 988, crashed near Juist Island in sea at 02.30 hrs. -301 Sqn Wellington Z1479: hit by 1. & 3./Res. Flak Abt. 222 and 2. & 3./Res. Flak Abt. 262 over Bremen, the schw. Flak battery Sibethshaus (II. Marine Flak Brigade), and, after taking a final burst of light Flak from 1./Lei. Flak Abt. 872 (Einsatz Wittmundhafen), force-landed on mud flats 2 km NW of Westeraccumersiel at 02.40 hrs. -unidentified aircraft: hit by Flak of M. Flak Abt. 236 and crashed near Utlandshรถrn at 03.21 hrs. Note: confirmed as 31st

confirmed victory of M. Flak Abt. 236. -14 OTU Hampden P5312: hit by 1. & 3./lei. Flak Abt. 988, Marine Flak Abt. 216, 7./M. Flak Abt. 246 battery Ameland and Vorpostenboot H 630, crashed on Borkum Island (seaplane base) at 03.32 hrs. -Wellington, prob. 18 OTU T2717, 21 OTU X3179 or 22 OTU X9980: hit by Flak of 6./M. Flak Abt. 246 battery Terschelling-Ost, crashed in flames in sea off Terschelling at 03.50 hrs. -unidentified Blenheim: hit by Flak of 3./M. Flak Abt. 246 battery Vlieland-West, crashed in flames in sea off Vlieland at 04.19 hrs where it kept burning until 04.27 hrs. -18 OTU Wellington DV765: shot down by 4./Res. Flak Abt. 306, crashed at Lollum, north of Bolsward at 05.00 hrs.

Above: 301 Squadron Wellington Z1479 lying on its belly in the mud flats near Westeraccumersiel, one of the victims of Flak on 25-26 June 1942. (Coll. Dietrich Janssen) Left: 50 Squadron Avro Manchester L7289 was another victim of Flak on this night, seen here in her earlier service with 83 Squadron. (Coll. ww2images.com)

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Between 00.01 and 06.15 hrs, Nachtjäger flew approximately 65 Dunkelnachtjagd sorties, in ideal clear weather for night fighting. Returning bombers reported 94 night fighter interceptions, the Nachtjäger of the XII. Fliegerkorps claiming 37 victories. 10 further combats ended undecided, the bomber aircraft involved returning to the UK with battle damage. Remarkably, out of 152 sightings of night fighters, bomber crews identified 72 as single-engined aircraft, whereas no such types were actually operating. In turn, just three

Nachtjäger were shot down in air combat (Bf110 D-0 G9+IK of 2./NJG1 near Roermond, Bf110 F-4 R4+IM of 4./NJG2 near Juist and Bf110 C-3 D5+CM of 4./NJG3 near Sylt), four NCO crew members being killed or missing and one injured. Led by Hptm. Lent, II./NJG2 achieved 17 Abschüsse. These included two victories achieved by Major Holler, the Kommandeur of III./NJG4, who was on a temporary attachment to the Leeuwarden-based Gruppe. II./NJG2’s

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success is partly explained by the fact that several Bf110s of the Gruppe were already equipped with the Lichtenstein AI radar. The Gruppenkommandeur Lent himself and his Funker Fw. Kubisch achieved a double Abschuss in Bf110 R4+AC, during Lent’s 120th Nachtjagd Einsatz, a short patrol from Leeuwarden that the Experten crew flew between 02.20 and 03.06 hrs. Lt. Denzel and his Funker Uffz. Dunger in Bf110 R4+FP of the 6. Staffel achieved their first confirmed victory, under control of box Salzhering.

WORLD WAR II

Below: Bf110 F-4 G9+AS was the mount of the St.Kpt. of 8./NJG1 Oblt. Lütje and his Funker Uffz. Bogumil at Twente during the summer and autumn of 1942; the crew achieved 11 Abschüsse in this aircraft between June and December of the year. (Coll. Dr. Dietrich Schmidt-Barbo)


WORLD WAR II

III./NJG1 claimed seven RAF aircraft destroyed, mainly on their inward flight, in the border area between Eastern Holland and Germany. The Twente-based Gruppe operated in Raum 4 A (at Lingen, JLO Ofw. Michallek, five Abschussbeteiligungen or ‘contributions to aircraft shot down’ achieved with Lütje, Geiger, and Rowlin), and Raum 4 B (at Oldenzaal) and 4 C (based at Diepenheim). During a patrol in the latter box, Hptm. Haesler of the 9. Staffel claimed a Halifax shot down at Weerselo, to the NW of Oldenzaal. His claim has been matched to the loss of 102 Squadron Halifax W7759, which crashed and exploded

Ops briefing at Leeuwarden. Ofw. Paul Gildner (5. Staffel, on left) and Oblt. Lent (Gruppenkommandeur) briefing aircrew of II./NJG2 in the ops room at Leeuwarden airfield sometime in 1942. During the 1000 Bomber Raid on Bremen, the Gruppe achieved 17 kills. (Coll. Heinz Huhn, via Wim Govaerts)

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near Weerselo. Five, possibly six, of the crew were buried as unknown airmen at Weerselo cemetery, where they rest to this day. The complete crew of W7759 are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Oblt. Werner ‘Red’ Hoffmann, St.Kpt. of 5./ NJG3 and his Funker Ofw. Köhler, operating from Schleswig probably in Dunkelnachtjagd box Wal or Pelikan, scored their first two night Abschüsse shooting down a 206 Squadron (Coastal Command) Lockheed Hudson into moorland near Heide at 02.26, and a 19 OTU Whitley at 03.24 hrs 6 km north of Büsum.

Below: The wreckage of 10 OTU Whitley BD201, which was shot down by Hptm. Lent near Wervershoof on 25-26 June 1942. (Coll. Hans Nauta)


The Kommandeur of III./NJG2 Hptm. Bönsch, one of eight Nachtjäger from E. and III./NJG2 that were active from Gilze-Rijen between 23.55 and 04.25 hrs, claimed a ‘Boston’ shot down into the Grevelingen, Zeeland Province. His claim actually concerns the loss of an intruder Hurricane IIC which was engaged in an intruder sortie to Gilze-Rijen. The aircraft was observed going down in flames in the Oosterschelde at 01.15 hrs by both the Marine Artillerie Abteilung 202 and HM21 of the Maas Flotilla, which recovered parts of wreckage from the sea.

Their adversary was a 10 OTU Whitley which crashed near the village of Emen, about 12 km from the Dutch frontier. As late as 1952, the remains of the aircraft and two of its crew were salvaged from the crash site. Uffz. Paul Gärtig noted in his wartime diary:

WORLD WAR II

Later that same sortie, the Hoffmann/Köhler team had a Feindberührung with a third aircraft, but before going into the attack Werner Hoffmann inadvertently only switched on his machine guns and not his cannon armament. His burst of fire apparently caused no serious damage, and his quarry escaped into the night. On his return to Schleswig, Oblt. Hoffmann was told off by his Kommandeur for letting an almost certain third victory slip away so easily. Hoffmann survived the war as Ritterkreuzträger and Kommandeur of I./NJG5 with 51 Abschüsse to his credit, 47 of which were achieved with his regular Funker Ofw. Köhler. (Serving as a Zerstörer pilot in 1./ZG52, Werner Hoffmann also achieved a -probably unconfirmed- Spitfire Abschuss in daylight near Dunkirk on 24 or 25 May 1940). A member of Oblt. Hoffmann’s Staffel, Lt. Jank in Bf110 C/D D5+DN reported Feindberührung with a Wellington, but was wounded by shrapnel during the combat. He managed to return to Schleswig at 02.43 hrs but was out of action for the next three weeks.

“Our takeoff is from the airfield at Vechta, just before 2 a.m., as part of the second wave, in Bf110 D5+DL. Powerful enemy formations have been detected. After a few minutes we’re in the Roland C box and searching, in fact our eyes are popping out of our heads. It’s a bright moonlit night. Then we suddenly see a Wellington on a reciprocal course. We haul the Bf around, but the bomber must have seen us, and has disappeared. We’d seen the first bomber of our flying careers, we’re completely worked up, without even being aware of it, all we want to do now is shoot down an enemy bomber. Now the ground station brings us back into the action. According to our on-board radar, there’s a bomber ahead of us. Suddenly we make visual contact, the moon that night was quite bright after all. Now it’s just a question of holding our nerve. We approach just as if we were on a training exercise, and I yell ‘shoot!’, as we are already very close to the bomber. We fire into the starboard wing and hit the engine. The machine is immediately ablaze, we are moments from a collision. We pull away to port, the bomber goes down steeply. We watch it fall. After it crashes, we shout ‘Sieg Heil!’ and in doing so let our ground station know of our victory. It is our first. We aren’t put onto any more bombers, and we fly back to the airfield at Vechta”.

Above: On 25-26 June 1942, Oblt. Werner Hoffmann, St.Kpt. of 5./NJG3 (on left) opened his nighttime score with a ‘double’. He is depicted here with fellow aircrew at Schleswig airfield in early 1942. (Coll. Walter Waiss)

Lt. Hubmann and his BF Uffz. Gärtig of 3./ NJG3 claimed a Whitley shot down at Meppen.

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WORLD WAR II

THE THIRD 1000 BOMBER RAID - BREMEN 25 - 26 JUNE 1942 ROUTES AND CRASH LOCATIONS

Lost Without Trace : 16 OTU X9982, 18 OTU T2717, 76 W7747, 22 OTU X9980, 27 OTU R1162 Crashed in the North Sea : 10 OTU P5004, 115 X3554, 158 DG225 Crashed in the United Kingdom : 156 BJ594 Crashed into the sea off Rugen Island : 206 AM606 (Coastal Command) Luftwaffe - Crashed near Sylt : II./3 3556 (For RAF losses yellow text indicates bomber, blue indicates Coastal Command, white indicates intruder.)

Map by Rod Mackenzie

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PILOT

STAFFEL

CLAIM

LOCATION

TIME

ACTUAL VICTIM

Oblt. Ludwig Becker: 25

6./NJG2

Stirling

Wieringermeer/Oude Zeug (Salzhering or Hering) 00.39

Uffz. Heinz Vinke: 3

5./NJG2

Halifax

IJsselmeer, N. Molkwerum (prob. Eisbär)

00.42

218 Sqn Stirling W7503 78 Sqn Halifax W1067

Lt. Adolf Kaiser

4./NJG2

Stirling

sea 40 km N. Juist (Jaguar): 2.700 m.

00.52

Bremen raid, unidentified

Note: claim not listed in OKL/RLM Confirmed Abschussübersicht of 4./NJG2. Entry in Flugbuch of Uffz. Lotze, BF to Oblt. Kaiser: ‘Bf110 R4+EM, t/o W(ilhelms) hafen 00.05, landing Langeoog 01.45, 00.52 Abschuss Short-Stirling, 01.18 Feindberührung Hampden.’ Oblt. Herbert Lütje: 6

8./NJG1

Wellington

Wietmarschen, NE Nordhorn (4 A)

00.58

12 OTU Wellington DV951

Oblt. Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weissenfeld: 28

5./NJG2

Wellington

Terschelling (Tiger)

01.05

20 OTU Wellington T2723

Ofw. Heinz Strüning: 19

7./NJG2

Liberator

area Hoek van Holland-Rotterdam (Biber)

01.13

prob. 76 Sqn Halifax W7747

Uffz. Wolfgang Heymann: 1

1./NJG3

Wellington

-

01.20

Bremen raid, unidentified

Lt. August Geiger: 3

8./NJG1

Wellington

near Schale, 20 km NE Rheine (4 A)

01.20

11 OTU Wellington R1078

Lt. August Geiger: 4

8./NJG1

Whitley

Dalum, 10 km NW Lingen (4 A)

01.30

10 OTU Whitley AD689

01.32

1651 CU Stirling W7442

Note: also claimed by Flak of I./3./Res. Flak Abt. 747 (‘Whitley V near Dalum 02.15 hrs’) Lt. Lothar Linke: 8

5./NJG2

Stirling

Wadden Sea, NE Wieringen (prob. Salzhering)

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Above: These two pilots of the crack Gruppe II./NJG2 were successful on the night of 25-26 June 1942. Lt. Robert Denzel (of the 6th Staffel, on right) opened his score with a 12 OTU Wellington Abschuss, whereas Lt. Lothar Linke of the 5th Staffel achieved his 8th confirmed victory over a 1651 CU Stirling W7442 (seen below during her time with 7 Squadron). (Coll. Rob de Visser)

WORLD WAR II

NACHTJAGD FIGHTER CLAIMS/RAF LOSSES 25/26 JUNE 1942


WORLD WAR II

NACHTJAGD FIGHTER CLAIMS/RAF LOSSES 25/26 JUNE 1942 continued PILOT

STAFFEL

CLAIM

LOCATION

TIME

ACTUAL VICTIM

Hptm. Herbert Bönsch: 8

Stab III./NJG2

Boston

in Grevelingen 1 km S. Ouddorp (Biber)

01.32

1 Sqn Hurricane HL589

Oblt. Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin: 7

6./NJG1

Blenheim

200 m NW Houwaart, N. Tirlemont (6 B): 700 m

01.38

13 Sqn Blenheim Z6084

Oblt. Rudolf Sigmund

Stab II./NJG2

Halifax

Assen

01.50

Bremen raid, unidentified

Note: claim not listed in OKL/RLM Confirmed Abschussübersicht of Stab II./NJG2 Oblt. Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weissenfeld: 29

5./NJG2

Wellington

E. de Kooy airfield (Salzhering)

01.52

1 OTU Hudson P5147

Lt. August Geiger: 5

8./NJG1

Stirling

Bimolten, 6 km NW Nordhorn (4 A)

01.58

7 Sqn Stirling N3754

Hptm. Alfred Haesler: 3

9./NJG1

Halifax

Weerselo, 8 km NW Oldenzaal (4 C)

02.05

102 Sqn Halifax W7759

Oblt. Fritz Carstens: 2

7./NJG1

Halifax

1 ½ km N. Luttenberg (4 B)

02.09

1652 CU Halifax V9993

Lt. Paul Szameitat: 6

6./NJG3

Halifax

Cuxhaven

02.11

102 Sqn Halifax R9446

Lt. Hans-Heinrich König: 4

8./NJG3

Hudson

sea S. Fehmarn Island

02.14

206 Sqn Hudson AM606

Oblt. Werner Hoffmann: 1

5./NJG3

Hudson

Fiel, 6 km SE Heide (prob. Wal or Pelikan)

02.26

206 Sqn Hudson AM762

Lt. Robert Denzel: 1

6./NJG2

Wellington

5 km E. de Kooy airfield (Salzhering)

02.32

12 OTU Wellington R1349

42

Below left: 102 Squadron Halifax W7759 crashed and exploded with a full bomb load into a farm at Dulder near Weerselo following an attack by Hptm. Haesler of 9./NJG1 in the early hours of 26 June 1942. His Funker Uffz. Heinz is seen here inspecting the still smoking remains later that same day. (Coll. Dr. Rolf Ebhardt) Below: Hptm. Haesler (wearing a white officer’s cap) and his BF Uffz. Heinz at the same crash site of 102 Squadron Halifax W7759. (Coll. Thomas Knauf)


PILOT

STAFFEL

CLAIM

LOCATION

TIME

ACTUAL VICTIM

Hptm. Helmut Lent: 46

Stab II./NJG2

Wellington

near Andijk, NW Enkhuizen (Hering)

02.37

18 OTU Wellington T2612

Lt. Armin Hubmann: 1

3./NJG3

Whitley

Meppen (Roland C)

02.50

10 OTU Whitley P4944

Maj. Kurt Holler: 2

Stab III./NJG4, det. II./NJG2

Whitley

sea N. Vlieland (Tiger)

02.54

1481 Flt. Wellington X9812

Hptm. Helmut Lent: 47

Stab II./NJG2

Whitley

Wervershoof (Hering)

02.56

10 OTU Whitley BD201

Oblt. Werner Rowlin: 4

8./NJG1

Wellington

3 km S.W. Borne, NW Hengelo (4 A)

02.56

23 OTU Wellington DV475

Oblt. Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein: 10

9./NJG2

Wellington

-

03.07

Bremen raid, unidentified

-

5./NJG3

-

03.08

prob. 102 Sqn Halifax W7654

Bremen raid, unidentified

-

Note: victory confirmed on 20.1.1944 Hptm. Erich Simon: 7

E./NJG2

Blenheim

25 km WNW Walcheren (2246, Hamster)

03.18

Oblt. Werner Hoffmann: 2

5./NJG3

Whitley

sea beach, 6 km N. Büsum (prob. Wal or Pelikan)

03.24

19 OTU Whitley Z6730

Wellington

sea NW Terschelling (Tiger)

03.37

prob. 12 OTU Wellington R1410

Maj. Kurt Holler: 3 Stab III./NJG4, det. II./NJG2

43

Below: 12 OTU Wellington R1410 which was shot down on this night off the Dutch coast. This photo shows her many months before, when in service with 311 (Czech) Squadron. (Coll. ww2images.com)

WORLD WAR II

NACHTJAGD FIGHTER CLAIMS/RAF LOSSES 25/26 JUNE 1942 continued


WORLD WAR II

NACHTJAGD FIGHTER CLAIMS/RAF LOSSES 25/26 JUNE 1942 continued PILOT

STAFFEL

CLAIM

LOCATION

TIME

ACTUAL VICTIM

Lt. Hans-Hermann Müller: 4

7./NJG2

Wellington

sea 20 km W. Den Haag (3385, Biber)

03.58

prob. 23 OTU Wellington X9875

Oblt. Franz Buschmann: 1

II./NJG2

Wellington

sea W. Terschelling (Tiger)

04.02

prob. 24 OTU Whitley BD379

Lt. Günther Löwa: 1

5./NJG2

Whitley

sea 10 km SW Den Helder (Salzhering)

04.26

24 OTU Whitley BD266

Lt. Hans-Georg Bötel: 1

6./NJG2

Wellington

sea 10 km NW Terschelling (Tiger)

04.29

20 OTU Wellington T2723

Below: Oblt. Rowlin and his regular Funker Fw. Heinz Wehner. Rowlin claimed his fourth victory on this night but was shot down and killed just four nights later. Wehner bailed out wounded. (Coll. Kurt Schönfeld)

Note: also claimed by Flak of 5./M. Flak Abt. 246 battery Terschelling-West (‘Whitley, crashed in flames in sea 10 km N. Terschelling at 04.18 hrs’), confirmation date of victory Lt. Bötel unknown Lt. Hans-Georg Bötel: 2

6./NJG2

Wellington

sea 15 km NW Vlieland (Tiger)

04.38

prob. 12 OTU Wellington R1410

Oblt. Hermann Greiner: 1

II./NJG2

Wellington

IJsselmeer S. Harlingen

06.00

15 OTU Wellington DV935

Note: in the Abschussliste of II./NJG2, this victory was marked as ‘T’, or ‘Tag’(‘day’), as a daylight victory

Text and photos extracted from the NACHTJAGD COMBAT ARCHIVE - THE EARLY YEARS PART 3. This remarkable series covers every night of the RAF Bomber Command offensive over Germany in this amount of detail. Available NOW from wingleader.co.uk

44


THE HURRICANE THAT NOBODY FOUND

P3673 UNEARTHED AFTER 79 YEARS 45


ARCHAEOLOGY

For many years, local digging groups had been convinced that Hurricane P3673 had left very little behind when it fell to earth on 3 September 1940. However, a new eyewitness and state of the art ground penetrating radar discovered something big was still there. Simon Parry, the team historian for the dig, takes up the story.

B

y the first week of September 1940 Fighter Command was nearing a point where it would be unable to successfully defend its airfields against the relentless attacks of the Luftwaffe. Losses of aircraft were high, and so was the loss of pilots. Whilst the focus is often upon aircraft completely destroyed and pilots killed, the full story is far more complicated for, by this time, too many aircraft were ‘unserviceable’ awaiting repair and too many pilots were injured or unable to fly. Whatever the extent of damage or injury, short or long term, they were not now available at that critical moment. So it was for 17 Squadron and its pilots and Hurricanes based at Debden in Essex. Twelve pilots took off on patrol at 10.12 and sighted about 40 Dorniers with two large formations of Me110s above them crossing the coast near the River Crouch. Pilot of P3673 YB-E was 20-year-old Australian ‘Dizzy’ or ‘Des’ Left: The rear fuselage structure from immediately behind the cockpit was found in one compressed mass, undisturbed since the moment it crashed. The steel tubing that formed the internal fuselage structure and part of the main spar had rusted badly, but the stainlesssteel bracing wires were unaffected.

46


“After getting a probable Do17 I was engaged by a couple of Me110s and ran out of ammunition. Whilst avoiding one of these the other dived away and came up underneath me and managed a burst of cannon fire in the belly of YB-E which really started a bad fire in the radiator which was below the cockpit and promptly set that on fire with me in it. I therefore left fairly hurriedly by parachute at about 17,000 ft, both burning, and I finished up in a wood about 2 miles from Brentwood.

My parachute was caught in the trees and I landed with my toes just touching the ground still smouldering - in fact I was still smouldering when I arrived at Brentwood District Hospital. As soon as I had landed I was set upon by the local farmer and had a bit of a job convincing him that I was British due to my burnt clothes. However, a few choice bits of language convinced him!”

Due to the serial number of this Hurricane being obscured, it has always been difficult to positively identify it. However, a close examination of the prop blades reveals them to be clipped by about 2 inches! This therefore is the only known photo of P3673 YB-E with possibly Desmond Fopp sitting in the centre of the three pilots on the wing.

47

ARCHAEOLOGY

Fopp. ‘Des’ wasn’t keen on flying this particular Hurricane because one of the propeller blades had been damaged in an accident and, to keep it flying, all three blades had been shortened by 2 inches by sawing the tips off! This affected the aircraft’s performance and made it less pleasant to fly. Nevertheless, Desmond Fopp threw himself into the combat:


ARCHAEOLOGY

17 Squadron losses for this combat Hurricane R4224 S/Ldr A G Miller – safe. Shot down by Me110s and force-landed at Thornwood Common, North Weald. Hurricane P3892 P/O D H Wissler – safe. Landed at Castle Camps with a damaged radiator. Hurricane P3673 Sgt D Fopp – wounded. Crashed near Handley’s Dairy Farm, Ingrave, Essex. Hurricane P3539 F/O D H W Hanson – killed. Shot down following destruction of Do17 and crashed on Brickhouse Farm, Foulness, Essex. Right: Desmond Fopp with his newly issued service revolver.

‘Des’ had baled out at 17,000 feet and became completely blind during the minutes it took him to float to earth due to the burns and swelling to his face. He was in a terrible mess and remembers, just before being taken to hospital, a young boy saying, “He’s bought it.” (And then hearing the boy being slapped by his mother.) Desmond Fopp spent three months in hospital recovering from his injuries and was about to re-join his squadron when he rolled his MG sports car and was back in hospital again. His next posting was as a staff pilot at 3 School of General Reconnaissance, Blackpool, before re-joining 17 Squadron in July 1941. Desmond went on to have a distinguished career in the RAF and aviation. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 85. His son, Michael, did not follow in his father’s footsteps due, in part at least, to incurable hay fever. However, he became a highly successful director of the RAF Museum and created the Battle of Britain Hall at Hendon.

Below right: Fopp on the wing of a Harvard during his flying training. Left: Desmond Fopp’s log book showing the entry for 3 September, on the opposite page he noted that his parachute descent took 15 minutes! (All images Dr Michael A Fopp)

48


17 Squadron claims for this combat Me110 destroyed - shared Do17 destroyed - shared - shared Do215 destroyed - shared - shared Me110 destroyed Me110 probable Do215 destroyed Me110 probable

Maldon - Chelmsford Chelmsford

south east of Chelmsford

south of Maldon south east of Chelmsford east of Chelmsford Maldon

49

Below: Pilots of 17 Squadron posing for the Press in July 1940. Harold Bird-Wilson is sitting on the tailplane. Denis Wissler is leaning against the wing and Jack Ross is standing on it. All three made claims in this combat. The Hurricane is P3878 YB-W in which Bird-Wilson was shot down and wounded on 24 September.

ARCHAEOLOGY

F/Lt A W A Bayne P/O D H Wissler F/Lt A W A Bayne P/O D H Wissler P/O D C Leary F/O H Bird-Wilson P/O J K Ross Sgt D A Sewell F/O M B Czernin F/O H Bird-Wilson P/O D H W Hanson P/O D C Leary


ARCHAEOLOGY

The North Weald Raid - 3 September 1940

17 Squadron was just one of many involved in this engagement. 257, 46, 222, 54, 19 and 310 Squadrons all engaged the enemy. 249 Squadron got up, but could not gain height in time to engage the bombers and were forced to look on helplessly as their airfield was bombed. An estimated 100-plus bombs fell on the airfield, two hangars were set alight, various buildings were wrecked and almost all the telephone lines cut. Luckily, a single bomb that scored a direct hit on the new Operations Room did no damage. All available aircraft had been ordered up to save them from the bombs, including some Blenheims of 25

RAF Losses A/C Destroyed Pilots Killed A/C Damaged

13

6

8

Pilots Injured 10

Below: A 17 Squadron pilot walks away from his Hurricane as it is quickly refuelled for the next sortie. The light coloured spinner was common on 17 Squadron Hurricanes and is believed to be a result of the ground crew following the instructions to repaint the undersurfaces in ‘Sky’ more literally than others!

50

Squadron who were to stand guard over the airfield. Unfortunately, pilots of 46 Squadron misidentified the Blenheims for Ju88s and shot two down. Overall, the engagement had not been favourable for Fighter Command. It was alarmed at the ability of the Luftwaffe to attack its chosen target and retire with ‘minimal’ losses. The sky had been clear with excellent visibility, yet the squadrons made attacks against superior enemy forces individually and suffered as a consequence.


ARCHAEOLOGY

The North Weald Raid - 3 September 1940 Numbers, losses and locations.

51


ARCHAEOLOGY

79 Years later - Finding P3673

The crash site, once a ploughed field, has now become a beautifully kept paddock and great care was taken to protect the surrounding area. The excavation was precisely targeted over the Merlin to minimise the size of the hole. The engine itself was badly smashed by the impact – becoming a V-6 !

52

The crash site of P3673 ‘YB-E’ had been accurately recorded for many years and several recovery groups and individuals claimed to have recovered assorted fragments. It had generally been assumed that the Hurricane spiralled gently down and did not bury itself to any great extent. However, one recent eyewitness account seemed to indicate that the Hurricane fell steeply in flames into a paddock which prompted a further investigation by the team. Magnetometer readings appeared to indicate that something significant might lay buried beyond the range


With the kind assistance and permission from the landowner, an excavation was arranged for 22 September 2019. Compared to some excavations the team have undertaken recently, this was not technically difficult, simply requiring a standard JCB. After securing the work site the hole was opened precisely over the target, but it wasn’t until the excavation was nearly a metre deep that significant wreckage appeared. The remains of the cockpit had been compressed into a small area and forced into the back of the Merlin engine, which had itself been badly damaged by the impact. Within a few hours the concentrated pocket of wreckage had been thoroughly recovered and the site carefully reinstated, the parts being taken away for cleaning and eventual display – perhaps at the RAF Museum!

ARCHAEOLOGY

of normal metal detectors, but whether this was Hurricane or something mundane could not be determined.

The force of the impact is clearly illustrated (below) by the iconic lettering on the rocker covers – the ‘Royce’ by chance being neatly smashed away from the rest of a rocker cover. Some, seeming fragile, items miraculously survived, such as the gearing from an instrument (right) and the glass from the gunsight (bottom right) through which the graticule would have been projected onto the angled glass of the sight.

53


ARCHAEOLOGY

The control column survived almost intact in the pulverised cockpit. Seen before and after initial cleaning the aluminium of the spade grip has started to corrode away as a result of the post-impact fire and ground conditions over 79 years.

54


T

In simple terms, the NCA is a comprehensive record of over 6000 Luftwaffe Night Fighter Claims and over 2100 Flak claims which have been painstakingly matched to RAF Bomber Command losses, resulting in over 95% of them now being identified. This means that for the first time ever, the fate of the vast majority of RAF Bomber Command losses can be clearly understood with exact locations, times and identities of the pilots or Flak units responsible for bringing them down. This wealth of information has been further brought to life with over 1200 original photos, full summaries of each night’s operations and compelling first-hand accounts of the Luftwaffe night fighter pilots who often were the only witnesses to the last moment of thousands of RAF airmen. The books are further enhanced with maps that detail the crash sites and routing of RAF bombers for selected raids. To make this huge work accessible for everyone, the publishers have decided to break it down into a series of 128 page softback books that are grouped into years. This will allow Bomber Command researchers to focus on particular periods of operations without having to invest in a single huge and expensive hardback book. The series is now published up to the beginning of 1944. The first volume of 1944 will be published towards the end of 2019. The series will be concluded with volumes on 1945 and on the night airwar over Russia and the Med. Click on any cover for more details and sample pages.

55

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