Author Topic: Vought V-187 Viking - Victory at Sea - Midway Is East  (Read 12704 times)

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Offline Logan Hartke

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Vought V-187 Viking - Victory at Sea - Midway Is East
« on: September 20, 2013, 07:51:36 pm »
I spent so much time on the V-507, I decided to take a break from it and work on something completely different.  So, to change things up a bit I did a profile of a Vought modification of a European design with an unconventional wing, tailored to meet US Navy requirements as an alternative to a truly classic Navy aircraft.  Oh, wait.

Well, it felt different to me at the time.  So, without further ado...



Ordered by the ML-KNIL for the Dutch East Indies, the V-187-N3 was similar in confiuration to the Norwegian V-187-N2 pattern aircraft.  Not many aircraft were delivered before the Dutch East Indies fell to the Japanese, so they had little impact on the campaign, a number of the aircraft being captured by the Japanese when they took the islands.  This particular aircraft was tested by the Tachikawa Army Aerotechnical Research Institute.

Cheers,

Logan
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 10:04:47 pm by Logan Hartke »

Offline NARSES2

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - Captured IJAAF ex-Dutch
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2013, 02:45:23 am »
That is nice sir  :thumbsup:
Decals my @r$e!

Offline Captain Canada

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - Captured IJAAF ex-Dutch
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 09:42:06 pm »
Awesome ! That is a nice looking aeroplane !

 :wub: :cheers:
CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - Captured IJAAF ex-Dutch
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2013, 10:30:48 pm »
Thanks, guys!  I should have another coming in the next couple of days.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - IJAAF, USAAF, and more!
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2013, 04:06:32 pm »
Anybody ready for another?  Quite a long backstory here.  I've pieced it together from a variety of sources and modified it to suit the profile, but 95% of it is true.



This A-19B Viking was one of a batch originally ordered by the Navy but transferred to the USAAF and given the serial 41-15819. It was then assigned to Project "X" on January 2, 1942, disassembled on January 8, 1942, and transported with the Pensacola Convoy to Brisbane. It was reassembled and assigned to the 3rd Bombardment Group, 8th Bombardment Squadron. On 10 March, the 3rd Bombardment Group moved from its temporary camp in the Ascot Park racetrack outside Brisbane to Charters Towers on the north coast of Australia. On 31 March, the air echelon flew to Port Moresby and the 8th was again at war.

While operating from 7-Mile Drome at Port Moresby, the aircraft was primarily flown by Captain Virgil Schwab. Capt. Schwab had the ground crew paint “Schwab’s Wagon” on the side of the aircraft in big bubble letters, but the soldier that painted the marking on the aircraft misspelled Schwab’s name, leaving out the “c”. Schwab took it with humor, however, and decided to leave “Shwab’s Wagon” as it was.

On the 29th of July, intelligence reports revealed that an enemy convoy of eight ships was 50 miles north of Buna. Major Rogers was eager to contest their right to be there, therefore a flight of eight A-19s took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby, but one A-19 aborted the mission. It was not unusual. The few American aircraft still flying in the Southwest Pacific were all showing the strain of relentless days of combat against an overwhelming and well-supplied enemy air force. Battle-damage alone made it all too common for any flight to be quickly pared down, more as a result of equipment failure than as a result of enemy combat. The remaining seven were escorted by 35th FG, 41st FS P-39s flying top cover, and 8th FG, 80th FS flying close escort. They were led by Maj. Rogers and consisted of Capt. Schwab, Lts. Casella, Hill, Wilkins, Dean and Parker and their respective gunners. The formation proceeded on its objective to bomb the Japanese transports 20 miles north of Gona, 1 1/4 miles from shore. The A-19s dive-bombed in two waves.

The convoy was being protected by A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kokutai which attacked the A-19s as they started their dives. Although the fighter escort did not come down with the dive bombers, Maj. Rogers felt it his duty to attack, even in the face of many Zeros. Diving at near water-level into the enemy guns, Maj. Rogers felt his own airplane begin to shudder when his gunner, Sergeant Robert Nichols, opened up with the 30-caliber machine guns from his position behind the pilot. The two dozen Japanese Zeros of the Tainan Kokutai tore through the 8th Squadron formation like sharks in a frenzy, chewing the old A-19s into shreds. In a flash of fire Maj. Rogers' lead dive bomber rolled over and plunged into the sea. He and Sgt. Nichols were the first casualties in what would become the darkest day in 8th Squadron history.

Heedless of the fusillade reaching out for them from the enemy ships below, or the Zeros that swarmed in to devour them from above, the six surviving pilots pushed the attack. On Maj. Rogers wing, Lt. Wilkins' A-19 dove on a 6000-ton vessel and scored a direct hit with one 500-pound bomb, destroying the first element of the advancing armada. The American pilot, his bomb rack now empty, turned towards shore in a running battle for the clouds and safety. Capt. Virgil Schwab in "Shwab's Wagon" dove on another vessel and felt his dive-bomber coming apart as, no longer capable of flight, it careened into the sea to forever claim his body and that of Sgt. Philip Childs, his gunner. Two more A-19s erupted and Lts. Robert Cassels and Claude Dean went down along with their gunners, Sgts. Loree LeBoeuf and Alan LaRocque.

In mere seconds Lt. John Hill had witnessed more than half of the flight going down in flames. Then his own Viking shook beneath a hail of incoming enemy fire. Ignoring the danger Hill dove on an enemy ship. Machine gun bullets from the ships below and angry Zeros above tore through metal and flesh, and behind him he heard a cry of pain from his own gunner, Ralph Sam. The young sergeant slumped to the floor of his battle station, his right hand and arm nearly severed. Sgt. Sam's blood splattered the fuselage as Lt. Hill released his bombs and then climbed quickly to clear the enemy mast and turn towards the distant coast of New Guinea. In the A-19 behind Lt. Hill, Lt. Joseph Parker released his bomb while Sgt. Franklyn Hoppe fought furiously for survival as his pilot finished the mission and likewise turned to race for home. The pilots of the second wave had damaged a destroyer and several freighters. The Kotoku Maru was hit once at the No. 5 hatch, forcing its troops to unload and leave its cargo undelivered. The Japanese ships all return to Lae. Seasoned Japanese pilots in nimble Zeros flashed by, machine guns lancing the withdrawing three A-19s as they fought to avenge the damaged and destroyed ships of the convoy.

Behind Lt. Hill, Sgt. Sam found the strength to pull himself back up to his gun. His story is one of unparalleled heroism. After his right hand had been hit and disabled, he kept firing until he exhausted the ammunition of his .30 cal gun. The race, and the running battle, continued for miles. Even when the 30-caliber gun behind Lt. Hill fell silent, all its ammunition expended, the Japanese pilots kept coming. His mortally wounded but determined gunner refused to give up, pulling his .45 pistol with his left hand and standing at his station to empty it at the enemy fighters.

The pilot of the Viking that had destroyed the first ship while flying wing for Capt. Rogers raced for a rain cloud. His bullet-riddled A-19 fought for air to climb inland and over the Owen Stanley Range. His young enlisted gunner fought furiously, desperate to defend his own aircraft while simultaneously hoping against hope that the other two surviving A-19s would reach that same small screen of safety. The mist at the outer edges of the cloud began to fog his vision, but not before he saw Lt. Parker and his gunner going down in flames while another bevy of enemy fighters converged on Lt. Hill and his now-silent gunner. Lt. Hill, pursued by Zeros, landed his riddled plane at Milne Bay with his seriously wounded gunner, Sgt. Sam. Sgt. Sam died a few days later from his wounds. And then the looming rain cloud masked all signs of battle, leaving only one Viking to continue its desperate struggle to remain airborne long enough to get home.

Of the seven aircraft that had crossed the Owen Stanley range less than an hour earlier on a mission to turn back the enemy convoy, only one badly-damaged Viking returned to Port Moresby. When at last it landed there was no celebration. Of fourteen men who began that fateful mission, Lt. Wilkins and his gunner Sgt. Al Clark were the only ones who made base safely. Lts. Parker and Dean and their gunners were picked up by an Aussie patrol, but later all were captured by the Japanese. In the fierce engagement, the planes of Major Rogers, Captain Schwab and Lieutenants Cassels, Dan and Parker had all been shot down.

The 29th of July was the first of three tragic points on the Eighth's proud story. This ended the first era of the 8th's part of World War II. In Major "Buck" Rogers, the Squadron lost an intrepid flyer and beloved leader; in Captain Schwab, the finest example of an army officer, and in the other pilots and gunners, a noble fighting team. The shock was terrific but the remainder of the Squadron sought to forget, after the A-19s had been declared unfit for use, by training hard at Charter Towers in their new A-20s.



Thanks to Talos for providing the excellent "Shwab's Wagon" marking seen here on the side of the plane!  He did a great job with it!

Cheers,

Logan

Offline Captain Canada

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - IJAAF, USAAF, and more!
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2013, 04:35:14 pm »
Great profile, sad story ! Nice work tho Logan !

 :cheers:
CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?

Offline NARSES2

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - IJAAF, USAAF, and more!
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2013, 07:37:00 am »
Magnificent  :bow:
Decals my @r$e!

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - IJAAF, USAAF, and more!
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2013, 08:16:11 am »
Thanks, Captain Canada and NARSES!  Other than the part about the markings, it's almost entirely true, just substitute A-24 Dauntless for A-19 Viking.  It really is a sad story, but the story of the A-24 Banshee in the USAAF was not a happy one, though not due to aircrew that flew them, but more to the tactics surrounding their use.  You can read more at the sites below where I adapted the stories:

Wings of Valor II - Raymond Wilkins
8th Attack Squadron Association -- WWII
Pacific Wrecks - A-24 Dive Bomber Serial Number 41-15819

By the way, a note on the profile, "Shwab's Wagon" is a relatively well-known A-24 Banshee scheme for Capt. Virgil A. Schwab with a good deal of detail, almost all of which is likely wrong.  First of all, it's depicted as olive drab over gray, the standard USAAF scheme at that time.  Veterans recall the underside of the A-24s as having been a pale blue, not the gray that would be expected.  Also, in a fantastic Kagero profile in this book, you can see the white and red US Navy tail stripes showing through the olive drab.  This doesn't make much sense, however, since the aircraft history seems to indicate 41-15819 came from the factory and wasn't a transfer.  Maybe it was transferred and repainted on the production line?  If that was the case, though, why was it repainted light blue on the underside (a non-standard color) and why would the tail stripes show through (factory paint quality was better than that, usually)?  Finally, and most damning of all, is the "Shwab's Wagon" marking itself.  It misspelled Capt. Schwab's name, has no known photographic or written evidence for its existence, and veterans from the unit don't remember ever seeing Schwab's plane painted that way despite having known him well.



Franklin Mint Armour Collection B11B935 - Douglas SBD Dauntless Diecast Model, "Schwab's Wagon", Virgil Schwab: The Flying Mule
The Franklin Mint A-24 Mystery | ArmyAirForces

I do, however, know of a very recent example where groundcrew that should've known better misspelled a pilot's rather famous last name on some customized artwork for his aircraft, so I thought I'd take this profile and work that into the story.  After all, it could certainly have happened.  So, I weaved the fact and fiction surrounding the aircraft and the unit into a coherent story and profile that's a mix of the attractive scheme that's so well-known and what's remembered by the veterans.  Needless to say, I spent many hours researching the aircraft, pilot, and engagement.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline NARSES2

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - IJAAF, USAAF, and more!
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2013, 07:43:25 am »
  Needless to say, I spent many hours researching the aircraft, pilot, and engagement.

Cheers,

Logan

And sometimes that can be the best bit of the hobby
Decals my @r$e!

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - IJAAF, USAAF, and more!
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2013, 09:53:38 pm »
Lauhof, the time has finally arrived. The Battle of Midway has begun!



When Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7th, 1941, the US was ill-prepared for war.  Many American combat aircraft through the Pacific were still in bare metal.  Japanese ace Saburō Sakai recorded that in the first strike against Clark Field the Tainan Zeros could see the reflection of the sun from the bare metal B-17s from many miles out. There were still aircraft passing through Hawaii after the attack in bare metal and the Hawaiian Air Depot was instructed to paint them. New paint specifications and colors were in short supply and so they referred (loosely) to some experimental pre-war test specs and used whatever colors were available. As a result, a number of the aircraft that came out of the Hawaiian Air Depot sported colorful, non-standard paint schemes.

One such unit to pass through Hawaii was the 22nd Bombardment Group equipped largely with B-26 Marauders.  It did, however, retain one squadron of A-19 Vikings in the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron.  When the 22nd transferred to Australia, it left the 18th at Midway, primarily to practice the art of dropping torpedoes along with the 69th BS (Bombardment Squadron) from the 38th BG, also equipped with the A-19 Viking.  When the Japanese carrier force was spotted a PBY Catalina at 0530 on 4th June, 1941, the Vikings of the 18th RS and 69th BS were among the first bombers to strike from Midway, taking off at 0600, some armed with a 500 lb bomb each, the rest carrying torpedoes.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - IJAAF, USAAF, and more!
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2013, 08:41:42 pm »
So, anyone remember when I made that torpedo for the Viking four years ago?  Yeah, didn't think so.  Anyway, it finally found its way onto a profile!  Yeah, I know, my pace is pretty slow, but all told I've done about 200 profiles now, so slowly but surely...



While a number of the USAAF Vikings from conducted a low angle bombing attack on the Japanese carriers, four came in at wave top level armed with torpedoes. While the Viking was originally modified to carry a torpedo for the Marine-Luchtvaartdienst of the Dutch East Indies, it would not see combat in this role until the June 4th, 1942 during the Battle of Midway. It was not an auspicious start.

The A6M Zeros protecting the carriers attacked the Vikings without mercy. None of the USAAF Vikings scored any hits on the Japanese carriers during the Battle of Midway, and most were lost in the attempt. One A-19, after being seriously damaged by anti-aircraft fire, veered into a steep dive straight toward the Akagi. Making no attempt to pull out of its run, the aircraft narrowly missed crashing directly into the carrier's bridge, which could have potentially killed Nagumo and his command staff. This experience may well have contributed to Nagumo's determination to launch another attack on Midway, in direct violation of Yamamoto's order to keep the reserve strike force armed for anti-ship operations.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - IJAAF, USAAF, and more!
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2013, 04:42:39 pm »
The story behind this profile is straightforward.  It needs no elaboration on my part.



The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

CAPTAIN RICHARD E. FLEMING
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

Quote
    For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty as Flight Officer, Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron TWO FORTY-ONE during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of Midway on June 4 and 5, 1942. When his squadron Commander was shot down during the initial attack upon an enemy aircraft carrier, Captain Fleming led the remainder of the division with such fearless determination that he dived his own plane to the perilously low altitude of four hundred feet before releasing his bomb. Although his craft was riddled by 179 hits in the blistering hail of fire that burst upon him from Japanese fighter guns and antiaircraft batteries, he pulled out with only two minor wounds inflicted upon himself. On the night of June 4, when the Squadron Commander lost his way and became separated from the others, Captain Fleming brought his own plane in for a safe landing at its base despite hazardous weather conditions and total darkness. The following day, after less than four hours' sleep, he led the second division of his squadron in a coordinated glide-bombing and dive- bombing assault upon a Japanese battleship. Undeterred by a fateful approach glide, during which his ship was struck and set afire, he grimly pressed home his attack to an altitude of five hundred feet, released his bomb to score a near-miss on the stern of his target, then crashed to the sea in flames. His dauntless perseverance and unyielding devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - Victory at Sea - Midway Is East
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2013, 10:07:50 pm »
As per usual with the Vikings, note that this is reduced to 33%.  Click on the profile to see it on Photobucket where you can click again and see it at 100%.  I've also submitted this to the Clear Your Workbench GB on another forum.



Finally, we're getting around to the USN Vikings at the Battle of Midway.  The first profile depicts an aircraft from the only dive-bomber squadron from the Yorktown or Enterprise to not participate in the sinking of any of the four Japanese carriers.  Not only this, but it was the only true Yorktown squadron on board the ship in what would be its most famous (and final) battle.  This was "Scouting" Five (V"S"-5).  Why the quotation marks?  Well, that wasn't even the squadron's actual designation.

To explain all this, we need to look at the squadrons that were typically found on US fleet carriers at the start of WWII.  You would have one squadron of fighters, two squadrons of dive bombers, and one squadron of torpedo bombers--four squadrons in total.  These squadrons all shared the same number, and this number corresponded to the carrier's hull number.  So, for instance, the USS Enterprise (CV-5) had four squadrons: Fighting Six (VF-6), Scouting Six (VS-6), Bombing Six (VB-6), and Torpedo Six (VT-6).  So, what's so unusual?  The Yorktown had VF-5, VS-5, VB-5, and VT-5, right?  Well, yes...and no.  At the Battle of Coral Sea, it had all four of these squadrons and they did very well, but the Yorktown was damaged in the battle and its squadrons likewise suffered serious losses.  As a result, when it returned to Pearl for repairs after the Battle of Coral Sea, only VB-5 remained on the carrier.  Well, now it was missing three squadrons.  Where was the US Navy going to find three trained, fully equipped carrier squadrons just lying around with nothing to do?  Well, right there at Pearl.



Sorry, more explanation is needed here.  When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th, 1941, the United States had seven carriers: USS Lexington, Saratoga, Ranger, Yorktown, Enterprise, Wasp, and Hornet (CV-2 through -8, respectively).  Of these, the Ranger and the Wasp would spend the first few months of the war in the Atlantic and the newly commissioned Hornet was still training up and getting ready for the Doolittle Raid in April.  Its air group would see its first major action at Midway (and an inauspicious start it would be!).  That just left the Lexington, Saratoga, Yorktown, and Enterprise.  Well, as we well know, the Lexington and Yorktown would participate in the world's first major carrier vs. carrier action at Coral Sea where the Lexington was lost.  The Enterprise was raiding Japanese outposts throughout the Pacific and also escorted the Hornet during the Doolittle Raid.  Well, what about the Saratoga?  Unfortunately, the Saratoga was a bit of an unlucky ship.  Every time she got ready to take the battle to the Japanese, she would get torpedoed by a Japanese submarine (or otherwise damaged) and have to return to the US for repairs.  As a result, she didn't participate in many of the major US carrier battles of the early war.  Having been torpedoed by the I-6 on 11 January, 1942, she limped back to Pearl where she unloaded VF-3, VB-3, and VT-3.  She retained VS-3 as protection for the voyage back to the West Coast.  So, from January to May, these squadrons sat at Pearl waiting for something to do.  That "something" pulled into port on 27 May, 1942, when the Yorktown sailed into Pearl for repairs.



When the Yorktown set sail from Pearl on 30 May, she did so with VF-3, VB-3, and VT-3 from the Saratoga plus VB-5 from the Yorktown.  So, where did "VS-5" come from?  Well, as mentioned earlier US carriers were only used to have one squadron of each type on board a carrier at that point in the war--Fighting, Scouting, Bombing, and Torpedo.  To avoid confusion from having two "Bombing" squadrons, Yorktown's own VB-5 was temporarily redesignated "VS-5", or "Scouting Five".  Since the Scouting and Bombing squadrons used the same aircraft, had the same basic training, and could be used almost interchangeably as the situation required, a redesignation was all that was needed.



So, why didn't "Scouting" Five not participate in the attacks on the four Japanese carriers that so defined the Battle of Midway?  Fletcher decided to hold them in reserve during the strikes, much to the consternation of the aircrew of "Scouting" Five.  A number of VS-5's aircraft were lost when Yorktown was hit and sunk, but a number of them made it to the Enterprise to carry on the fight, along with aircraft from Yorktown's other squadrons (those "borrowed" from Saratoga).  In fact, due to fuel shortage, a number of aircraft from Hornet also landed on the Enterprise on the night of 5 June.  As a result, the Enterprise had a truly composite air wing on the morning of 6 June with aircraft from the Saratoga (CV-3), Yorktown (CV-5), Enterprise (CV-6), and Hornet (CV-8).  When the Japanese light cruisers Mikuma and Mogami were attacked on 6 June, "Scouting" Five finally got their chance to exact revenge for the loss of Yorktown, sinking Mikuma and heavily damaging Mogami.



All of Yorktown's squadrons would participate in the Battle of Midway and their combat actions along with the sinking of the Yorktown would account for the loss of many aircraft and aircrew, including those of the Saratoga squadrons.  The tragic irony in all of this, however, was that the recently repaired Saratoga would pull into Pearl Harbor on 6 June, 1942, only to find that only a week earlier its squadrons had left on the Yorktown for Midway and the Saratoga had arrived only days too late to participate in what was certainly one of the most important carrier battles in naval history.

Victory at Sea - Midway Is East

Cheers,

Logan
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 06:11:09 am by Logan Hartke »

Offline PR19_Kit

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - Victory at Sea - Midway Is East
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2013, 12:41:00 am »
Sorry, more explanation is needed here.  When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th, 1941, the United States had seven carriers: USS Lexington, Saratoga, Ranger, Yorktown, Enterprise, Wasp, and Hornet (CV-1 through -5, respectively). 

Errrrm, OK, but were the Wasp and Hornet CV-6 and 7 too?

And it rather opens the possibility of a 'USS Bee' CV-8, at some stage in the proceedings, doesn't it?  ;D
Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)

Regards
Kit

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Vought V-187 Viking - Victory at Sea - Midway Is East
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2013, 06:11:40 am »
Errrrm, OK, but were the Wasp and Hornet CV-6 and 7 too?

Fixed!  That should have been "CV-2 through -8".  I wrote that too late at night.  If that's my worst typo, I'll take it!

Cheers,

Logan