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Hot!14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage.

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Paul E.
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2011/08/21 15:35:57 (permalink)
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14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage.

I found this video clip on Critical Past of a 14th FG plane wearing a most unusual mottled desert camouflage pattern with the number 77 on the tail boom, indicating that it was from the 37th FS.  The planes appear starting at 25 seconds and continue until 40 seconds.  The other plane in this scene looks to be number 02 or 82 (almost illegible) which would be either the 49th FS or the 37th FS.  It is in the conventional OD color.  This film was made on June 12th, 1943, 29 days before the invasion forces landed.
Can anyone provide more information about the camo painted A/C?  I've never heard of a P-38 in desert camouflage.
http://www.criticalpast.c...t_in-flight_drop-bombs
Paul
post edited by Paul E. - 2011/08/24 15:21:45

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    barneybolac
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2013/12/30 18:01:07 (permalink)
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    Picture I found.
     

    buckeyeuk
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2013/12/31 07:36:04 (permalink)
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    This may be one of the P-38s painted in the short-lived NWAAF scheme for this type ( the others were A-20, P-40, B-17, B-24 and B-25). The patterns came from HQ NWAAF Engineer's Section on 10 March 1943 and were Army rather than AAF colours. Colours were Field Drab 303, Olive Drab 319, Earth Yellow 305, Earth Brown 302, Earth Red 312, Sand 306 , undersides Light Blue; P-38s were to use Field Drab over the existing Olive Drab 41 ( "General Scheme"). 303 was a darkish brown shade which would contrast well with faded OD41.
    The Spec. was Corps of Engineers T-1213 dated Dec. 15 1941, this order entitled " Instructions for aircraft camouflage NW African Theatre". The actual patterns could be amended if necessary. The aim was better concealment from the air following the German successes at Kasserine in Feb.
    The 37FS moved to Algeria from the US on 27 Feb. 1943 under NWAAF; the 14FG stood down from Jan.-May for re-equipping etc ( some planes went to the 82FG). It's possible some P-38s were re-painted towards the end of this period but photos are rare , the scheme could be mistaken for normal desert weathering which led to various patchy finishes.
    From May the group was bombing with 1,000 lbs.( Axis surrender in the area was 13 May).
    I posted some stuff on these schemes in another thread somewhere.
    Nick
     
    Paul E.
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2013/12/31 15:25:05 (permalink)
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    How nice to get some additional, and very useful, information on this paint scheme after over two years.  Plane number 86 was the A/C of the eventual ace Maj. William L. Leverette of the 37th FS.  Maj. Leverette was credited with seven victories plus two damaged (Ju88s) on 9 Oct, 1943.  He went on to the rank of Lt Col with 11 confirmed kills.  Maj. Leverette is the third from the right in this photo.
    My guess is that the plane in the video I mentioned in my original posting, and that had an indistinct number (02 or 82) was most likely 82, a 37th FS number.  That would be 2nd Lt. Harry T. Hannah's A/C.  He shot down five Ju87s plus 1 probable in the same battle on the 9th.  Lt. Hannah may well be in the photo above - I just can't identify him.  It was a memorable day - four other pilots claimed victories that day; 2nd Lt. Wayne Blue - 1 Ju88, 2nd Lt. Donald Clark - 1 , Lt. Homer Sprinkle - 3 victories plus 1 probable, 2nd Lt. Robert Margison - 1 Ju87, 2nd Lt. Donald Clark - 1 victory.  Not bad for 15 minutes work for seven guys.  There were seven men from the 37th in that engagement and there are seven men in the photo.   I only can clearly identify Maj. Leverette.  Anyone recognize the others?
    Ref:  The 14th Fighter Group in World War II.  John W. Lambert.  ISBN: 978-0-7643-2921-0
     
    Paul
    post edited by Paul E. - 2013/12/31 17:43:38
    buckeyeuk
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2014/01/01 10:22:55 (permalink)
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    Paul   I think you are right that these are the 7 concerned; Margison is 2nd from right next to Leverette ( attached photo is these 2 pilots later--- USAF photo via Ethell); Hanna was a short skinny chap with thin black moustache, probably 3rd from left and Sprinkle may be 2nd from left ( there are photos of him online ).
    Regards
    Nick
    post edited by buckeyeuk - 2014/01/01 12:46:37

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    Paul E.
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2014/01/01 21:20:48 (permalink)
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    Nick,  I agree that the man second from the left is Lt. Sprinkle.  The reference I sited shows him in front of his plane, number 66.  It says that he was killed in a crash of a two seat P-38 at St. Marie Du Zit.  No mention of the date but mentions it was just after the events of the 9th.  After comparing photos of Lt. Hannah from the referenced book with these seven men I also agree that the third man from the left is Lt. Hannah whose plane was indeed #82 which he crash landed - date unknown - but survived.
    One thing I notice; when one looks at Leverette or any of the others there seems nothing remarkable about them.  Their deeds in the Hell that circumstances put them all in isn't reveled in their faces.  Apparently ordinary men doing extraordinary things. 
     
    Paul
    post edited by Paul E. - 2014/01/01 22:08:19
    barneybolac
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2014/01/05 15:57:34 (permalink)
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    buckeyeuk
    This may be one of the P-38s painted in the short-lived NWAAF scheme for this type ( the others were A-20, P-40, B-17, B-24 and B-25). The patterns came from HQ NWAAF Engineer's Section on 10 March 1943 and were Army rather than AAF colours. Colours were Field Drab 303, Olive Drab 319, Earth Yellow 305, Earth Brown 302, Earth Red 312, Sand 306 , undersides Light Blue; P-38s were to use Field Drab over the existing Olive Drab 41 ( "General Scheme"). 303 was a darkish brown shade which would contrast well with faded OD41.
    The Spec. was Corps of Engineers T-1213 dated Dec. 15 1941, this order entitled " Instructions for aircraft camouflage NW African Theatre". The actual patterns could be amended if necessary. The aim was better concealment from the air following the German successes at Kasserine in Feb.
    The 37FS moved to Algeria from the US on 27 Feb. 1943 under NWAAF; the 14FG stood down from Jan.-May for re-equipping etc ( some planes went to the 82FG). It's possible some P-38s were re-painted towards the end of this period but photos are rare , the scheme could be mistaken for normal desert weathering which led to various patchy finishes.
    From May the group was bombing with 1,000 lbs.( Axis surrender in the area was 13 May).
    I posted some stuff on these schemes in another thread somewhere.
    Nick
     


    Found this chart showing the colours you listed.


     
    http://www.jpsmodell.de/dc/schemes/ace_spec31_43_e.htm
     
    Did they paint these 38's on the underside with the light blue?
    Or did they leave them neutral grey?
     
    Also do you have a source for the desert paint schemes of the 14Th's P-38's?
    post edited by barneybolac - 2014/01/06 02:00:37
    barneybolac
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2014/01/06 03:07:22 (permalink)
    buckeyeuk
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2014/01/07 05:20:34 (permalink)
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    Rod   there were 6 schemes advised, a "General" one ( Olive Drab--Field Drab) and 5 for areas with specific ground colour ie. red, yellow, green and 2 for "sand" terrain; all 6 were to have Light Blue undersides, a mix of white and blue, similar to the pre-war War Games Light Blue 27.
    Any of the 6 could be applied to ANY of the 6 aircraft types mentioned, at discretion of the Commanding Officers; but if the schemes were designed for concealment from the air why spend all that time and effort in re-painting the bottoms? You can bet your fanny that the original Neutral Gray was left where possible and the photos showing colours added to the uppers seem to show that---as on these 47BG A-20s with a patchy finish like the P-38 in the film. This is a local variation based on the geography of Tunisia where they were based at this time in 1943. Note the effectiveness.
    In the event there is a very small time scale as researcher Paul Lucas found that although the instructions for the schemes originated on March 10 1943 from HQ.NWAAF the auithorisation did not follow until May 8--and the Axis surrender in Tunisia was 13th. There would have been little time ( or enthusiasm) to carry out these orders and those colour schemes applied previously were at local unit level (like the 340BG painting OD patches over the original Sand finish on their B-25s--and retaining the NG below).
    I reckon the non-standard finishes on the P-38s (and these A-20s) were a quick response to the changing situation on the ground and possibility of attacks by the Luftwaffe on their airfields in the wake of the German retreat to the coast. With the end in Tunisia missions were now over Sicily and Pantellaria with a reduced risk to Allied bases so special schemes less necessary though certainly the 47BG still had 2-colour A-20s long afterwards.
    Nick
    (note on these A-20s, no yellow border to insignia and still carrying squadron badges).

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    barneybolac
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2014/01/08 07:25:15 (permalink)
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    Thank you Nick.
     
    Robert Richardson
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2014/02/26 12:19:55 (permalink)
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    Paul - you mention in your earlier post that a plane in question had  "number 77 on the tail boom, indicating that it was from the 37th FS".  Can you tell me how this numbering scheme worked?  Which numbers were assigned to the 37th?  Which to the 48th?  Which to the 49?   Many thanks,  Robert
    shooshoobaby
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    Re: 14th FG P-38 in curious desert camouflage. 2014/02/26 12:37:09 (permalink)
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    Robert ,
    48th FS 1-30
    49th FS 31 - 60
    37th FS 61 - 90
    Mike
     
     
     
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