GROUP BUILDS > The Builds - WWII : 1/3/1939 to ????

Mongolian Spitfire


comrade harps:
Grumman P-50E Spitfire
Yellow 15, 3rd Fighter Escadrille, Mongolian People's Air Force
Zhangjiakou, China
September 1945

In early 1945, the Mongolian People's Air Force began a major re-equipment program. Included amongst the aircraft sourced from the Socialist Union (SU) were about 70 Grumman P-50E Spitfires (the American equivalent to Supermarine's Spitfire IX). These planes were U.S. Lead-Lease examples, built by Kaiser and, after the cessation of Lend-Lease in August 1944, replaced in SU service by indigenous fighters. About half the 70 supplied to Mongolia were refurbished in the SU prior to delivery (which included removing their outdated 0.30 inch machine guns and giving them a new camouflage scheme) while the remainder were unmodified airframes supplied as a source of spares.

Yellow 15 can be seen in several official photographs taken at Zhangjiakou in China, to where the 3rd Fighter Escadrille deployed in early September, 1945 as part of of the Great East Asian Liberation (GEAL) campaign against Japan.

During the GEAL offensive, the Mongolians operated two Spitfire squadrons. The 2nd Fighter Escadrille flew their P-50Es as fighter-bombers, using  20mm cannon, bombs and rockets to provide close air support and battlefield interdiction. They also deployed to Zhangjiakou alongside the 3rd, the latter using their Spitfires chiefly for air-to-air work, plus the occasional strafing of ground targets of opportunity and acting in the flak suppression role.

Although the pilots of the 2nd and 3rd escadrilles only claimed three Japanese air-to-air kills (two Ki-43 fighters and one K-51 reconnaissance plane) during the offensive, this is more a reflection on the paucity of aerial opposition than a comment of their skill and bravery. Between them, they lost no Spitfires to aerial combat and only four planes (with just one pilot killed) to flak and non-combat related losses.

Spitfires remained in Mongolian service until 1949, when they were replaced by La-9s.

The black and white "liberation stripes" were applied to all the aircraft involved in the GEAL campaign, partly as an ironic Red reference to D-Day and partly to avoid friendly fire in a theatre were both the Reds and their Japanese opponents used red markings.

Like the camo scheme in particular  :thumbsup:

comrade harps:

--- Quote ---Like the camo scheme in particular  Thumbs Up
--- End quote ---

The camo is inspired by the 3-tone Il-2 schemes.

The kit is the Airfix Spitfire IXc. Nice kit, but the cockpit is far too basic even for me. Needs a bit of filler around the wing roots, too. Other than that, really nice and trouble-free.

Captain Canada:

What a great little build ! Love the flowing lines of the camo...and your colour choices. Looks perfect on a Spit. Funny to not see any wing roundels ( or candleboxes  :thumbsup: ) just looks bare to me...not bad by any means, just bare....but that's also a good thing, as it shows off the smooth lines of the camo !

Great stuff for sure.

 :tornado: :cheers: :wub:

comrade harps:

--- Quote ---Funny to not see any wing roundels ( or candleboxes )
--- End quote ---

I know, it's weird not having any candles or red stars on the wing tops. At first glimpse, it does seem that something is missing, but there is a logic to the seeming madness.

If you look at original photos of WW2 Soviet planes, most didn't have red stars or any other markings on the wing tops, so I've just followed this fact, as per this quote from Basic Principles of Soviet VVS Camouflage and Markings

--- Quote ---[NB. a good guide here for skinners-- unless the photograph of your subject shows them clearly, do not apply any stars to the wing uppers]
--- End quote ---

Lots of relevant images here, too:

Of course, the "liberation stripes" interrupt the flowing lines, but were necessary to be consistant with the campaign, as already established with Dawn Fraser's Red Roo La-7 (where I did break with the no wingtop ID rule, but this is the plane of an unruly rebel, so individual touches are likely):

I keep a record of the paints that I use on each model and have used the colours and shades from the same palette for the Mongolian Yak-3 and Spitfire and Fraser's La-7.

Thanks for liking this one. It's pretty simple, but hopefully effective.


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