Looking for some help with RAAF markings

Started by upnorth, June 14, 2009, 10:07:08 AM

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Hello all:

I just got the idea to expand on my Bucharest Alliance theme which I based my bubble top Hurricane build on. I'd like to put my newly purchased Supermarine Spiteful into the expansion and I'm thinking of doing it via the immediate post war RAAF.

I have on hand a Red Roo decal sheet for RAAF P-39s and was thinking they might work for the project.

What I need to know is approximately how long past the end of WWII was it possible to find the blue and white roundels and tail flashes on RAAF aircraft? I've seen a couple of photos of RAAF Mustangs in the post war period that still had the roundels without red centres but I wasn't able to pin down the dates of the pictures.

The premise I'm working with (refering you to the end of my bubbletop Hurricane's backstory on the front page of this site) is to follow former Polish air force Hurricane pilot, Martin Gorny, to Australia where he becomes a major influence to the development of the post war RAAF. So, I'm looking at the quite narrow timeframe of 1945 to 1950 or so for the story to happen.

So here's the story so far
After escaping to Britain, along with Czech pilot Ladislav Holy, Gorny was assigned to a RAF Hurricane unit and quickly garnered the respect of his squadron mates with his knowledge and experience with the Hurricane in combat. Eventually, he was moved on to Spitfire units and spent a brief period of time in Mustangs. Along the way, he was given the opportunity to fly the Supermarine Spiteful prototypes in early 1943 and quite liked the aircraft and championed it's further development despite the rather cold reception the aircraft was receiving from the "powers that be".

After flying the type, Gorny made several recommendations for alterations to the Spiteful design to optimise it's performance. As Gorny had been one of the first Polish Hurricane pilots and had also been instrumental in recommending the various modifications to the Bucharest Alliance built variants that were superior all around to the RAF Hurricanes, his recommendations for the Spiteful were taken quite seriously. The aircraft resulting from Gorny's advice was a stelar performer in all aspects and ordered into limited production. Though he did manage to get the RAF brass to warm up to the Spiteful, they still placed priority on Spitfire development. A handful of Spiteful units were established in early 1944.

Gorny's last assignment during WWII found him in the officer ranks of RAAF squadron 453 flying Spitefuls over the beaches on D-Day. At the time of 453's disbandment in 1946, Gorny was offered a command position in the post war RAAF. With no way to return to his native Poland and little to keep him in Britain, Gorny accepted the offer with little hesitation. He travelled to Australia with the rest of 453 Squadron's personnel.

Life in the immediate post war RAAF was not easy, ranks were dwindling, equipment languishing and growing obsolete. The RAAF had on hand the remaining Mustangs and Spitefuls as it's fighter component and both were war weary and in need of replacement. With Australia being the major power in the South Pacific and much of south east Asia left unstable in the wake of the war, the defence of Australia was of no small concern.

While others in the RAAF halls of power entertained taking on Hawker Tempests as an interim replacement to the Spitefuls and Mustangs, Gorny was against the Hawker design on two fronts:
First; he knew jets weren't far off and that, if he had his way, the RAAF would have their first jets around the turn of the decade. Taking on a completely new piston fighter was not good policy when the two types on hand could conceivably hold the line until jets came in.
Second; despite his association with the Hurricane, he developed a rather chilly relationship with Hawker over ideas that he had for bringing the RAF Hurricanes closer in performance to the Bucharest Alliance ones. Hawker did not care to disrupt the flow of Hurricanes by diverting time and resources to new jigs and tooling despite Gorny's urgings. There would be no Hawker products in RAAF inventory as long as Gorny had a say in the matter.

To extend the lives of both the Mustangs and the Spitefuls, the fighter duties were given exclusively to the Mustang while the Spiteful fleet, which was smaller, was tasked with tactical photo reccon.

The Spiteful had speed and ceiling advantages over the Mustang which made it preferable for reccon work and with the guns and ammunition gear removed and replaced with extra fuel, the Spiteful gained some much needed range.

In the twighlight of their RAAF service, the photo reccon Spitefuls proved invaluable in the early days of Operation Firedog in 1948/49. By the time the Korean War broke out in 1950 the RAAF Spiteful fleet had been withdrawn from service.

Any and all comments on the above story and premise are most welcomed.

I am aware that the Spiteful prototype did not actually fly until 1944, but to be in line with my Bucharest Alliance backstory where everything happened just a touch earlier than the real timeline and to make it more likely that the Spiteful would have seen more success as a design; I figured I'd give the Spiteful and earlier start.

Also any advice on where I can go on the net to find photos of RAAF fighter types in the 1946-1950 timeframe would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

My Blogs:

Pickled Wings: http://pickledwings.com/

Beyond Prague: http://beyondprague.net/


They were still using the red, white, blue roundal during the Korean War on their Mustangs (maybe the pics you saw) in '50-51.
Phil Peterson

Vote for the Whiffies


Thanks Phil.

I know the blue/white/red roundel was in use by the Korean War, but what I'm really looking for is how long the wartime blue/white roundel without red centres stuck around on RAAF aircraft after WWII. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that.
My Blogs:

Pickled Wings: http://pickledwings.com/

Beyond Prague: http://beyondprague.net/


The blue-white roundel was replaced by the tricolour roundel after VJ day and naturally some aircraft would have sported it until a repaint.  There's some art of an Aussie Mustang as part of the Occupation Forces of Japan on Wings Palette http://wp.scn.ru/ww2/f/81 still wearing the Pacific theatre roundels.  I haven't got an exact date, but I'd wager that it was authorised for change fairly quickly.




I note in your backstory that 453's disbandment is 1946. Well it all depends where they were. If European based then they would have had RAF style red/white/blue roundels, if SEAC based then blue/India blue roundels if SWP based then RAAF blue/white ones.

I've noticed with RAF aircraft based in the Far East after WWII that those that had seen service in the SEAC scheme retained the blue/India blue roundel for up to a year or so afterwards. Particularly if they were types due to go out of service (Thunderbolts etc). Any new types, eg Tempest II's, were issued in standard European theatre WWII markings. The oddity was the RAF occupation forces in Japan who had a roundel similar to the pre-war type.

So I think the question you need to answer is "had the aircraft I'm modelling seen service in the SWP area of operations during WWII ?" If yes then the blue/white roundel is probably ok up to late 1946, if not then it's probably the red/white/blue roundel.

Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.


Thanks all:

I'm working with the idea that the RAAF's post war Spitefuls were license built machines by Commonwealth for SWP and SEAC and that 453's Spitefuls were left behind in Europe when the unit disbanded.

So I think perhaps I could get away with the SWP doundels and build my Spiteful as and early reccon version, perhaps war era modified, with visible cannon stubs rather than new built wings...
My Blogs:

Pickled Wings: http://pickledwings.com/

Beyond Prague: http://beyondprague.net/


If you want unarmed recce Spitefuls then just file the cannon stubs off. I've lots of pics of Spitfires and Seafires where the unused cannon stub was removed and a simple round blanking plate riveted over the hole.

And yes given your scenario you could get away with SWP roundels

Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.