Bryce It is on record that the RNZAF N-25s were all delivered to the OTUs at Ohakea and never saw any combat service. Still want to model them? Lack of actual combat usage often results in loss of interest when it comes to applying the markings for some reason! These were the first RNZAF P-40Ns to revert back to a full blind-flying panel which had been deleted when the N-1 specification was agreed, in the interests of saving weight. I have seen a comment somewhere penned by a pilot who thought it a shame that these more weather capable aircraft never made it up to the Pacific where their extra instruments would have been much appreciated, but I think it was really just a case of bad timing (too late to be sent up, as plans already underway to return all RNZAF P-40s from the forward area with advent of the F4U.) The RNZAF often took off from strips in the Pacific before dawn, with minimal blind-flying instruments, and sometimes got caught out in instrument conditions, but most pilots seem to have survived the experience. A couple of exceptions were two P-40Ns (an N-1 and an N-20) of a group of 18 being ferried back to NZ in April 1944 by 19 Squadron which were accidentally led into thick cloud by the navigation lead Hudson, although exact cause of loss could never be determined. David D
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 23, 2012 18:50:58 GMT 12
No they were theatre-wide for a while, and were designed to stop friendly-fire incidents. Which US unit is that with the sharks mouths? They don't look to be the Chinese-Burma based "Flying Tigers", are they? I have never seen a flying tiger with the white stripes. And the location looks like south Pacific.
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 23, 2012 19:18:07 GMT 12
Once the US finally got into WWII the Flying Tigers units became USAAF I believe, so I assume they remarked the aircrfat eventually.
Just because they don't wear the sharks mouths mean nothing, the aircraft could be new replacements not yet painted up. But the thing is lots of P-40 units wore that shark's mouth nose art, starting in No. 112 Squadron RAF in North Africa. I believe even some RAAF P-40's wore it, so it wasn't just a Chinese Air Force thing.
Post by Luther Moore on Aug 23, 2012 19:28:27 GMT 12
I didn't know that about switching back to USAAF.
I watched a documentary where they interviewed one of the Flying Tigers,he said they saw a photo of a Aussie P-40 with the sharks mouth and liked it, that's where he said it came from.I have googled it once or twice and it only ever says they got the idea from the RAF,so who knows.
Nice clear picture! Those American P-40Fs (who noticed the Merlin engines then? No ram intake atop engine for carb air, also long and short fuselage versions) belong to 68th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, served at Guadalcanal, etc., although the large code number on one in foreground is a worry - makes it look like the aircraft kept back stateside for training (ZI = Zone of the Interior!) Interesting thing about this squadron is that they re-equipped with these Merlin (actually Packard V-1650 engines) powered P-40s after giving up their original complement of P-40E-1s (and two P-40K-1s) to 15 Squadron, RNZAF at Bleacher Field, Tongatabu at end of October 1942. I think this was the only USAAF squadron to fly Merlin powered P-40s in the South Pacific, although the 44th Squadron also flew some at the same location, apparently a lot of mixing of aircraft at one stage of proceedings. See "P-40 Warhawk Aces of the Pacific" by Carl Molesworth, Osprey Publications, 2003. Incidentally the story implicating Gerry Westenra as a possible "inventor" of the sharks teeth on P-40s with No. 112 Squadron was debunked many years ago - Gerry himself apparently denied having anything to do with it! David D
Reading earlier on this thread where it was stated that aircrew logbooks were called in by "the powers that be" but were later returned to their original owners on application. I wonder if there is confusion here with those logbooks of aircrew who were killed - their logbooks were initially held by Air Department (Wellington) but I am pretty certain that they were all returned to the next of kin after the war was well and truly over (if they could locate them of course). However before they were handed back, they were used to compile reasonably detailed obituaries of all these personnel, which are still available to this day (at RNZAF Museum for instance). And they sometimes left some physical evidence (in pencil) in these books - often they added up all the operations completed by the individual, and these totals were included in the obits. Sometimes they numbered each operation so that they would arrive at the correct count and not double count or miss any by mistake. Another thing I am aware of is that many pilot's log books at least were rounded up in about March/April 1945 by Air Department in Wellington, and details of flying hours, tours and operations flown were noted, as well as types of aircraft flown, such details then being noted in their personal records. All these books were returned to their rightful owners fairly promptly. David D
Post by Luther Moore on Aug 23, 2012 21:31:06 GMT 12
Would these notes of been also stuck in the logbook? When I received my logbook (handed down) it had post-it's all through it marking certain things.I always thought it was my Grandad that put them there.
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 23, 2012 22:52:34 GMT 12
Ah, great to find out they were 68th Fighter Squadron P-40F's, thanks for that David.
Sorry if I misled anyone over the Westenra story, I didn't know it had been debunked.
I cannot recall who told me about having to hand in the logbooks and then wait to get them back but I'm sure it was a living veteran, not a deceased ones' relative. Maybe he was in that 1945 pilot logbook round up you mention?
The photo of about 4 Kittyhawks plus many Harvards at Ohakea (Dave H's reply No. 2 on page 1 of this thread, first photo) shows No. 2 OTU in about July 1943, at about the time that this unit only had about six Kitties. And this reminds me that SOMEWHERE on this thread (or on another one on this Board) I read the statement that RNZAF P-40s with "FE" codes belonged to 4 OTU, and "OD" ones were from 2 OTU. This is the opposite of reality, there is absolutely no doubt that it was 2 OTU (FE), 4 OTU (OD). I do not know who started the reversed order problem, but it has been repeated in various books, etc for about 30 or 40 years to best of my knowledge. Actually I have just tracked down the culprits! Acting on certain information (actually a hunch) I checked on my copy of a 1962 mini-production titled "Warhawk" by Charles Darby and Phil Hanson; the wrong order of codes is given here. Presume this was inadvertently influenced by alliteration - Four OTU and FE-?. However in Darby's 1978 book "RNZAF - The First Decade" he has the corrected version, so he did get there in the end. Possibly this error was also picked up by others years ago too. On subject of corrections to captions on this thread (mostly airfield locations) the first three or so pictures on page 1 were taken at Torokina strip, Bougainville (which had a ditch alongside the single runway, and beach/sea beyond.) Further down the thread, the Kittyhawks lined up on a paved runway were NOT at Ohakea as the original RNZAF captions stated, but at RNZAF Whenuapai, in about February 1943, shortly after 14 Squadron transferred here from Masterton. Within a very short time these aircraft were dispersed to other squadrons when 14 Sqdn was re-equipped with the first of the new P-40Ks and shortly thereafter ferried these plus some P-40Ms up to Espiritu Santo on its first operational tour. The 1 SU aircraft (the one with the roundel sign on a coconut tree trunk) was taken at Kukum fighter strip (Fighter 2) at Guadalcanal in early months of 1944, by which time this strip was far from the shooting war. Conversely the many other official photographs taken of 14 Squadron at Kukum, with P-40Ks and P-40Ms, were taken in about July 1943 when it was still very much in the "front line". Just to confuse things, the photographers on this trip (July 1943) around the forward bases took many photographs of 16 Squadron at Espiritu Santo, and 14 at Guadalcanal just days apart, as well as the famous formation photos of six P-40Ms "escorting" a 3 Squadron Hudson (the Hudson was of course escorting the Kitties!) Pilots of these aircraft were from 17 Squadron, probably taken between Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal. I intend to provide locations for a few other Kittyhawk airfields that either have no location given, or a wrong one. Correct ones or aircraft in flight will naturally attract no comment. David D