avatar_comrade harps

SAAF F4U-1A, Okinawa

Started by comrade harps, May 30, 2011, 06:17:33 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

comrade harps

During 1943, the South African government saw the need to pursue a policy of "war on all fronts". Although this excluded the Eastern Front, it did see the South African Air Force sent on a mission to participate in the war against Japan. While elements of the the South African Navy and Army fought in the China-India-Burma theatre, the SAAF was sent to the South West Pacific. From early 1944 to Japan's surrender in June, 1946, the SAAF operated a pair of F4U Corsair squadrons in the Pacific, supported by a servicing unit and a flight of C-47s.

For the Pacific theatre, the SAAF adopted a modified national marking, the blue, white and orange roundel being flanked by American style white bars. When the overall midnight blue finish was adopted in February, 1945, the white from the roundel was dropped and the blue assumed by the midnight blue. The fin flash was reduced to a single, orange vertical bar. The Fleet Air Arm were making similar stylistic concessions to the British roundel and fin flash for operations in the Pacific on midnight blue camouflaged Corsairs, Hellcats and Helldivers at around the same time.

The SAAF began combat operations with F4U-1As in the Pacific in February, 1944. Throughout the year, 36 and 37 Squadrons rotated through 3 month combat deployments. Serving alongside RNZAF and USMC Corsairs from bases in the Solomon Islands and Bougainville, the South Africans achieved a reputation for low attrition and high levels of bombing and strafing accuracy.

In April, 1945, 36 Squadron moved to Okinawa, where they fought in the air war against kamikazes and joined in providing close air support to US Marines and Army troops against the Japanese defenders.  They were relieved by 37 Squadron at the end of June as the ground war on Okinawa drew to a close.

Okinawa was the last campaign flown by the SAAF's F4U-1As. By then, the Corsair units of the USMC were flying either the F4U-1C or D models. Unlike these aircraft, the SAAF Corsairs were limited to bombs and guns. To make up for not having rockets or napalm, the South Africans often augmented their 1,000lb or 500lb centreline bombs with bundles of strap-on 20lb fragmentation bombs.

Napalm and rockets arrived with 37 Squadron in June, which also introduced the F4U-4 (at the same time that the USMC received F4U-4s on Okinawa). Both squadrons would go on to be based in southern Korea, 36 Squadron ending the war in June , 1946, at Oshima Island, Japan, supporting the Sagami Bay beachhead as the Allies fought their way across the Tokyo Plains.

With the end of the war, 37 Squadron was disbanded in July and 36 Squadron remained in Japan on occupation duties until November.  As the SAAF left Japan, the Lend-Lease Corsairs were handed back to the Americans.

This aircraft was the personal mount of Lt. Peter Van Rooyen, who had previously flown Beaufighters over the Mediterranean and Italy in 1943-44. He achieved 4 kills intercepting kamikaze attacks on Okinawa, but his log book reveals that most sorties were ground attack in nature. Almost half of these carried the 500lb/8 x 20lb bomb combination seen here.  He survived the Okinawa campaign, but was given a medical discharge soon after due to illness.


>the South Africans often augmented their 1,000lb or 500lb centreline bombs with bundles of strap-on 20lb fragmentation bombs.<

Aha! So it's a FEMALE aircraft using a "strap-on"?  :wacko:
My mind is like a compost heap: both "fertile" and "rotten"!


Decals my @r$e!


That is a really great idea for the bent wing bird  :thumbsup: Nice model!!  :wub:
"Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality." -Jules de Gaultier

"My model is right! It's the real world that's wrong!" -global warming scientist

An armor guy, who builds airplanes almost exclusively, that he converts to space fighters-- all while admiring ship models.

Army of One

I'm as impressed with the great backstory as I am with the awesome build.....really like it.... :thumbsup:



Quote from: NARSES2 on June 01, 2011, 02:42:03 AM
Like it  :thumbsup:

So do I.  This is an excellent example of how it SHOULD be done.  I wish I could finish my models so well.
"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you....."
It  means that you read  the instruction sheet


Going nowhere slowly


Original and different F4U .The yellow marks give it a interesting distinction.  :thumbsup: :cheers: :bow: :bow:

Brian da Basher

I really like those cool markings and that modified bomb is the cherry on top!
:bow: :bow:
Brian da Basher

comrade harps

Thanks for the kind words.

After doing the 1946 GB P-47D-41 with its striking multitude of colours, I went for an equally striking look but with a minimum of colours; contrast and space over sheer variety.

The bomb combo used the frags from Italeri's P-47N but in this case attached to a 500lb bomb. I chose the F4U-1A so that I could build just one combo and highlight it on the centreline.