The Jug in Germany
It all started out innocently enough. We ran a few photos on post-War PACAF P-51Ds a while back, then corrected one of the pieces because of a problem with a credit line, after which the dam broke, in a manner of speaking, and we started seeing all sorts of post-1945 P-51/F-51 photos. You'll be seeing some more of those soon enough, but this time around we'd like to do something a little bit out of the ordinary and show you some post-War P-47 Thunderbolts instead.
Most people think of the P-51D when they think of the occupation air forces in Germany following the end of the Second World War, but there was a strong P-47 presence there too. In this case those "Jugs" are all from the 86th FG during the late 1940s, and are courtesy of Dave Menard. Enjoy!
Kangaroo? What Kangaroo?
That's a viable question in South Texas, at least as far as military aircraft are concerned, because very few representatives of the RAAF ever get down this way anymore. It wasn't always so, however; 6 Sqdn RAAF deployed to Bergstrom AFB outside of Austin at least twice that we know of, in 1988 and 1990; both times the aircraft were participating in the RAM photo recon meets. Here's a shot or two from those bygone days (literally, because Bergstrom has long-since been closed and is now Austin's municipal airport) to remind us of What Was. The photos were taken on 19 August, 1990.
Very Nearly the Last of the "Deuce" (but not quite)
It's not like we're running out of F-102 photos, because we're a very long way from doing that. We are, however, ready to move on to a different airplane, so we're going to start winding down our coverage of the "Deuce", running just a few shots today and then another installment or two to finish our coverage up for a bit.
Before we get to those photos, though, we need to correct a significant mistake. Last issue, or maybe the one before, we (I) stated that the presence of an IR ball on the F-102 meant the airplane wearing it was Genie-capable. That was it mistake, and it was ours and ours alone. What could we have been thinking? Why did we do that? The short answer is something along the lines of "Schmit, we don't know---we just did it!) Many thanks to Dave Menard, Doug Barbier, and Marty Isham for setting us straight on that one, and apologies to our readers for leading them down The Primrose Path of Misinformation! We'll try not to do that anymore!
Now that we've got that off our chests, how about a few more F-102s?
firstname.lastname@example.org). Friddell Collection
In The Beginning There Was the Phantom
Way back there, before McDonnell designed and built the immortal F4H Phantom, they designed and built the not-quite-immortal-but-we-had-to-start-someplace FH-1 Phantom! The FH-1 was McDonnell's first attempt at a jet fighter and, although it suffered all the usual failings of American first-generation jet fighters, it was a beginning. The airplane was well-liked but was quickly overtaken, both in technology and performance, by the designs of other companies---it was very much a bridge aircraft between the piston-engined fighters of the mid-1940s and the jet fighters that came later. The Banshee, Demon, and Phantom II were yet to be designed and built when these photos were taken.
email@example.com . Oh, and that "AT" on the nose stands for Armament Test, in case you were wondering. Peter Bowers via Jim Sullivan Collection
Guess What Today Is?
Give up? That's probably a Good Idea, given how obtuse we sometimes get around here but, as a hint, we're not celebrating the 135th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn (even though today is The Day if you happen to be reading this on the 25th of June) for whatever that might be worth. Nope; today is our 104th issue, which takes us to a suggestion from reader and contributor Don Jay that we run some F-104 shots. It's been a busy week and we haven't had the time to break out the scanner and copy any of the Starfighter photos from our collection, so we're going to let Don do the honors for us!
On a Day in 1942
We rarely run photographs that have seen publication in other journals, much less books, but frequent contributor Jim Sullivan sent this one to us a while back and we just had to do it. Considering the month, it's a fitting thing to do...
There's a fair amount of what might be termed "Navy stuff" in this week's edition, so our Happy Snap entry for the day is another "Electric Jet" shot from Doug Barbier:
The Relief Tube
Here we are again, another week gone by and, inevitably, another batch of additions and corrections. And, unlike a lot of other folks, we actually encourage that sort of thing so if you've got something to say about anything we've run (or maybe would like to contribute something of your own!) feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org .
That said, let's get started by Righting a Wrong.
A long while back, and no; we're not going to go looking to find out just how long ago it was, we ran some of photos of a couple of really nifty T-33As, one of which was carrying kill markings, that had been photographed on the ramp somewhere in Alaska during the 1970s. Publication of those pictures coincided with a major glitch in our e-mail (user-induced, but let's not tell anybody about that!) that resulted in loss of the contributor's name. The mystery was solved last week when the photographer, Chris Williamson, sent the photos again along with an explanation. (Those photos are also up on HyperScale today for those of you who follow the modeling boards; that's in case you aren't a regular here and the pictures look familiar---they are!) Never ones to turn down a chance to Make Good, we're publishing those photos again, along with Chris' explanation and an apology to him for losing those captions in the first place! These images were all taken by Chris.
As to the natural metal T-33, the pilots who played the bad guys hated flying this aircraft because the sun would glint off the metal no matter how low/slow they went. I was told the crew chief of this bird wanted to bring back the look of the 1950s aircraft: natural metal. He got permission to do this and yes, he did polish the skin. This was the only T-33 like this while I was there. Chris
Many thanks for your perserverence with those photos, Chris!
We've been running quite a few images of post-War P-51s lately, and it was inevitable that we'd make a mistake or two along the way. Dave Menard has a comment about the identification of one of the units we depicted an issue or two ago, and offers this comment:
Phil, that WN on the sides of those Mustangs was for WASHINGTON NG, not Wisconsin! That one four ship image has their 116th FS Ace of Spades unit insignia showing. Cheers, Dave
While we're on the subject of P-51Ds, you might recall that we've discussed the fact that the post-War Mustangs often had their tailwheels locked down. Frequent contributor Doug Barbier has some thoughts on that: Phil, The Korean era seems to be where the original, retractable tail wheel became a fixed extension. Anyhow, that's what I use when trying to judge the date of a photo and it's pretty reliable. My guess is that all that mud really gummed up the mechanisms in Korea and they went to fixed tail wheels as a maintenance aid. Virtually all of the post-Korean Mustang photo's I've seen have that fixed tail wheel. That's my story and I"m sticking to it - at least until someone who can tell us what the "real story" was shows up. Doug Makes sense to me! Thanks, Doug.
Some of those F-102 shots we've been running of late have been a little tough to ID, and we've had to caption a few of them less unit identification. ADC authority Marty Isham comes to our rescue with information on one of them, and some thoughts on that "F-102D" shot we ran:
Hey Ole' Bud...FC-248 was one of the 317th's original allotment of 102s to AAC on Sep 24th,1957 from McChord.Went to Depot in Aug 58 for Iran and was reassigned I think to USAFE, then ANG 176th FIS, Wisc ANG, to PQM 751, dest at Holloman on 17 Mar 80. And an update before we got this one published---that's a First of sorts, and much appreciated! Phil, disregard previous info after iran/usafe. FC-249 went to ANG, 194th FIS, Cal ANG. to Sperry, PQM 102B, 811 on 17 Dec 80. I don't have dest date on 249. Sorry for the mixup on tail numbers! Marty
Concerning the F-102D designation...I was told by an AF retired LtCol working for Sperry that for a very short time it was a unofficial early Sperry designation. D for drone of course. To me an F-102D moniker was better than a QF/PQM one (the KISS principle). Cheers...Marty Thanks as always, Marty! Keep on keeping us honest!
We also ran a shot of a semi-Plain Jane "Deuce' with a bat's head emblem on the vertical stab, and Grant Matuoka offered this comment regarding it: Hi, Phil. The F-102A was with the 59th FIs out of Goose Bay, but the photo looks like it was taken somewhere in the Lower 48. Link to Bathead site with another photo of one of their planes with a better view of the tail badge: http://bathead.com/noseart1.html . Also in that site, the 44th F-47N is very rare. Keep up the good work. Best wishes, Grant
And finally, here's a really neat way to end the day. We receive quite a bit of photography from contributor Mark Nankivil (and are getting ready to run a bunch of it in the very near future, so be prepared!), but today's batch included something we consider to be Special. By way of explanation, this past week has been Marine Week in St Louis and, being a resident of that fine community, Mark was there, photographing a whole bunch of aircraft (and bagging a hop in an MV-22B Osprey for good measure!), and he took an assistant with him in the form of his son, Jack. Having done much the same thing ourselves (my very own daughter and son have both put in camera time on military ramps) we know just how cool that can be. Here then, for our parting shot of the day, is Jack Nankivil doing what the Nankivil Family does best!
That's about all for today, ya'll. Be good to your neighbor and we'll see you again soon!