Phoenix Ph 64 Kormoran of the First Torpedo Squadron (1st Torpedo Schwadron) Imperial Austro Hungarian Naval Air Service Dalmatia 1944.
The Ph 64 was a naval derivative of the Ph 63 Rabe patrol bomber used by the Imperial Austro Hungarian A.F. With the success of the Rabe the Imperial Austro Hungarian Naval Air Service had asked Phoenix if it was possible to produce an attack variant suitable for that services needs in the Mediterranean.
The company had set to work immediately and in very short time had a prototype ready trials. The trials were mainly successful and after some changes to the design the aircraft was accepted into service as the Kormoran (Cormorant) in early 1944.
The aircraft could be used as either a dive bomber (albeit only in a shallow dive), level bomber and torpedo bomber as is seen here. In order to fulfil its new role Phoenix had uprated the engine, whence the three bladed propeller, removed the gondola in order to allow carriage of heavier weapons, fitted a tail wheel rather than tail skid, fitted wing guns and given the aircraft the naval radio and navigation fits.
Unlike its land based equivalent the far smaller Imperial Austro Hungarian Naval Air Service is not divided into national based squadrons therefore the white tail band this aircraft carries is not of any particular significance and indeed that and the bright blue tail is quite unusual for an IAH aircraft as the nationís services tend to apply the rules and regulations very strictly.
What we do know however is that this particular aircraft of the First Torpedo Squadron is flown by a young aristocrat from one of the oldest families in the land. So whilst it carries the markings T.F. for Torpedo Flug there is some debate as to whether the No 1 on the tail is indeed a No 1. Whilst indeed this particular aircraft is flown by the Flight commander and thus may well be marked up No 1 this particular reporter believes that this particular marking is in fact a heraldic bar. In looking at the familyís history it was revealed that in the 14th and 15th Centuries whilst at war the sons of the count would carry the family coat of arms upon which was superimposed a silver bar for the first son and two bars for the second etc. Thus in my opinion it is possible that this aircraft is flown by the oldest son of this distinguished family. I have been asked to keep his identity secret at this time given the situation in the Adriatic vis a vis the I.A.H. and Italian navies.
The model is the Heller Karas which is an enjoyable kit. Changes made were ; the removal of the gondola, adding a 3 bladed prop I think from a Spitfire, shortening the canopy (I think this makes her look slightly Japanese ?), adding an extended tail wheel from the spares box , wing guns from stretched sprue, whilst the torpedo and fittings came from a Revell Fw 190 F8. Paints used are Lifecolor and Vallejo in the main. Markings are from the spares box with the toned down national markings hand painted Ė the naval anchor coming from a sheet intended for modern Brazilian aircraft.
1) I apologise for any miss translations. I havenít done German since 3rd year and I know Austrian can be different.
2) The situation in the Adriatic will be explained in my third build in this series and it also enables me to skip any heavy research into Austro Hungarian Aristocratic families.