Author Topic: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow  (Read 638 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline comrade harps

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 1596
  • lactose intolerant teetotal vegan gemini
    • The art of comrade harps on Flickr
Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« on: July 17, 2021, 06:10:28 pm »


Northrop  P-61C-25NO Black Widow
a/c #38353, GQ-B,  2 Big and 2 Heavy/Little Annie
134 Squadron, 153 Wing, Tiger Force, Royal Air Force
Kangnung, UN-occupied southern Korea, 28 February 1946



By late 1944 it was apparent that the original concept of the RAF's Tiger Force deployment to the Far East needed to be changed. Gone was the strategic focus on a large number of Lancaster squadrons supported by escort fighters, replaced by a balanced tactical force concept to support a possible invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. This latter vision of Tiger Force required heavy and medium bombers, fighters-bombers, transports, gliders, liaison and observation aircraft and night fighters. Concerned about employing wooden de Havilland Mosquito night fighters to the Far East, the RAF organised for the delivery of the Northrop P-61 Black Widow through Lend-Lease.




After training in the US, the P-61C equipped 153 Wing deployed to Okinawa, arriving in September 1945. After conducting a series of Potato defensive patrols, during October they moved to Kangnung in UN-occupied southern Korea. Here they encountered the occasional Japanese night intruder, shooting down 3 of these before the invasion of Honshu.




With aerial targets few and far between, Tiger Force commanders sensed a growing restlessness amongst their Black Widow crews. Boredom and complacency had set in, which, coupled with deteriorating weather, contributed to several preventable flying incidents in late December, forcing a temporary grounding. When flying resumed, the Wing began training for offensive operations. Fortunately, their unique P-61C-25NO Black Widows had been built to RAF specifications that included a robust, long-range offensive capability. In addition to the 310 US gallon drop tanks routinely carried, the external load could include bombs or napalm and 8 5 inch HVAR rockets. The type lacked the P-61's top gun turret, allowing the fuselage nacelle to be slimmer, which reduced drag and enabled the installation of a fuel tank in place of the turret mechanism. The deletion of the turret also meant that its complicated sighting and control gear was omitted, along with the need for a third crewman, the gunner. A modified gunner's position was retained, though, and would sometimes be used for a navigator during long-range missions or an observer on sorties requiring an airborne spotter or forward air controller.




On the night of 3 February 1946, the crews of 153 Wing launched their offensive campaign against Japan, mounting Cucumber armed night reconnaissance patrols to interdict enemy supply routes. These intruder operations were mostly over and around Kyushu, Shikoku and southern Honshu. Following the invasion of Honshu, they engaged in a range of new nocturnal activities, including Celery close air support missions, Fennel spotting sorties for naval gunfire and Tomato airborne forward air control operations. Air-to-air activity included Potato air defence and Turnip escort and sweep operations, protecting the 24-hour airlift corridors established between Honshu and southern Korea. By VJ Day, RAF Black Widow crews had been credited with shooting down 11 Japanese aircraft.



On 27 February 1946, the crew of 2 Big and Two Heavy were pilot Flight Lieutenant Harry Kane, radar operator Flight Lieutenant Jordan Pickford and navigator Flying Officer Ben White mounting their third Cabbage mission. Cabbages were conducted in concert with the RAAF Douglas PDB-1 lnvaders of 453 Squadron, pairing a Black Widow with a single Invader and both using standard Invader call signs. This combination was prompted by an uptick in Japanese night fighter activity that saw Invaders performing Pomegranate patrol and heckler missions repeatedly approached by interceptors. No engagements had been recorded, but the enemy's intent was clear, the Australians avoiding contact through evasion after warnings from radar controllers.



The reasoning behind the Cabbage mission was rewarded just after 2AM on February 28. After a fruitless patrol over northern Kyushu dogged by low cloud, the Black Widow crew and their 453 Squadron partners worked over their diversionary target, a rail marshalling yard in Fukuoka. The crews of both aircraft made several passes: both fired rockets, the Invader also dropping 500 lb bombs while the Black Widow dropped its two M29 cluster bombs. A radio alert from a Royal Navy radar picket ship off the coast came as they were climbing away from the target. A lone Japanese plane had taken off from the nearby Mushiroda Airfield and was pursuing the UN airmen. The Japanese pilot was Captain Maya Yoshida of the 56th Hiko Sentai, flying a Nakajima Ki-43 III Hayabusa. Although operated by a dedicated night fighter unit, the Hayabusa was a standard day fighter model that had been slightly modified for nocturnal missions after delivery. The Black Widow crew turned to meet their prey, achieved a radar return from the fighter and maneuvered into a firing position. From the moment they were warned to the time the Japanese fighter disintegrated under the withering fire of their 4 20mm cannon was less than 5 minutes. Captain Yoshida was killed in the incident and the 56th Hiko Sentai would refrain from making further intercept attempts of the RAAF Invaders until the night of the UN's invasion of Honshu.

[/url]
[/url]

The aircraft and its crew were photographed during the afternoon of February 28, their Black Widow marked with a Japanese flag to symbolise the kill. Under the flag were 10 yellow bomb symbols, one for each of the plane’s current total of Cabbage and Cucumber interdiction missions. The portside nose art 2 Big and Two Heavy quotes a comment made by Flt. Lt. Kane during his first Black Widow walkaround during training in the US. The Little Annie starboard nose art is a reference to Flt. Lt. Pickford’s girlfriend. Both men survived the war, but F/O White was killed when, on a Cucumber mission in another Black Widow, his plane was shot down by flak near Kaminaka whilst interdicting rail traffic on the Obama Line 2 nights before the Y-Day invasion. 2 Big and Two Heavy/Little Annie was written-off after a landing accident at Kangnung on 2 May, 1946.
Whatever.

Offline rickshaw

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 11371
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2021, 08:25:04 pm »
Interesting.   :thumbsup:
How to reduce carbon emissions - Tip #1 - Walk to the Bar for drinks.

Offline Tophe

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 19636
    • my what-if models
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2021, 08:26:23 pm »
Twin-boom models are nice models <_<
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]

Offline comrade harps

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 1596
  • lactose intolerant teetotal vegan gemini
    • The art of comrade harps on Flickr
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2021, 09:02:04 pm »
Twin-boom models are nice models <_<

I apologise for it being symmetrical  ;)
Whatever.

Offline Tophe

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 19636
    • my what-if models
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2021, 09:30:49 pm »
I apologise for it being symmetrical  ;)
You are forgiven! Painting in unusual markings is already what-if, inventive, good! :thumbsup:
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]

Offline kitbasher

  • What-IF SIG
  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 5350
  • bashes kits
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2021, 12:23:12 am »
Nice  :thumbsup:

Odd you don’t mention the squadron boss, Sqn Ldr Rashford, nor OC the Wing, Wg Cdr Southgate.

I get the occasional urge to slap together a P-61 in RAF colours.  It’s always in a Mosquito-style intruder scheme, not overall black, but then the urge passes.  Not having one in the stash doesn’t help - I did some years ago have a very old boxing of the FROG P-61 but that’s long sold off.
What If? & Secret Project SIG member.
On the go: Arrow/Beaumaris/Battle/Bronco GA.1/Barracuda/Corsair GR1/EE P12/Hellcat IV/Hunter PR.11/Ice Cream Tank/JP T4/Jumo MiG-15/Lightning PR8/P1154-ish/Phantom FG1/Sea Hawk T7/Spitfire XII/Twin Otter/Val/FrankenCOIN/Frankenfighter

Offline 63cpe

  • Full scale Arrow in basement
  • *****
  • Posts: 974
  • Humpty Dumpty was pushed!
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2021, 12:36:05 am »
Quote
Interesting.   :thumbsup:

Indeed very interesting.

Quote
I get the occasional urge to slap together a P-61 in RAF colours.  It’s always in a Mosquito-style intruder scheme, not overall black, but then the urge passes.

Oh yes, I understand what you mean...Now I got the same urge too  :unsure:

David aka 63cpe

Offline comrade harps

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 1596
  • lactose intolerant teetotal vegan gemini
    • The art of comrade harps on Flickr
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2021, 03:59:13 am »

Quote
I get the occasional urge to slap together a P-61 in RAF colours.  It’s always in a Mosquito-style intruder scheme, not overall black, but then the urge passes.

Oh yes, I understand what you mean...Now I got the same urge too  :unsure:

David aka 63cpe

I did toy with using a Mosquito NF scheme (although, early ones were all-black) and also an Operation Firedog Beaufighter/Brigrand grey over black, but I went with an overall Humbrol M32 instead. Just looks meaner, I think. That, or I'm lazy.
Whatever.

Offline NARSES2

  • Nick was always on his mind - just ask the Pet Shop Boys
  • Global Moderator
  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 46294
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2021, 05:29:34 am »

 and also an Operation Firedog Beaufighter/Brigrand grey over black,

That would look good, I think. Never built a P-61, had the Airfix kit a long time ago, but it got shifted on at some stage.
Decals my @r$e!

Offline TallEng

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 1235
  • Often found barking up the wrong tree
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2021, 02:01:31 pm »
Nice  :thumbsup:

Odd you don't mention the squadron boss, Sqn Ldr Rashford, nor OC the Wing, Wg Cdr Southgate.

I get the occasional urge to slap together a P-61 in RAF colours.  It’s always in a Mosquito-style intruder scheme, not overall black, but then the urge passes.  Not having one in the stash doesn’t help - I did some years ago have a very old boxing of the FROG P-61 but that’s long sold off.

Ooh! There's mileage in following those names and there predecessors
Sqn. Ldr. “Bobby More”  etc etc…

Regards
Keith
The British have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved". Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross". Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies ran out for three weeks

Offline comrade harps

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 1596
  • lactose intolerant teetotal vegan gemini
    • The art of comrade harps on Flickr
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2021, 02:56:49 am »
Nice  :thumbsup:

Odd you don't mention the squadron boss, Sqn Ldr Rashford, nor OC the Wing, Wg Cdr Southgate.

I get the occasional urge to slap together a P-61 in RAF colours.  It’s always in a Mosquito-style intruder scheme, not overall black, but then the urge passes.  Not having one in the stash doesn’t help - I did some years ago have a very old boxing of the FROG P-61 but that’s long sold off.

Ooh! There's mileage in following those names and there predecessors
Sqn. Ldr. “Bobby More”  etc etc…

Regards
Keith

The funny thing is that l don't follow soccer at all, so l'm missing the nuance of this discussion.
Whatever.

Offline NARSES2

  • Nick was always on his mind - just ask the Pet Shop Boys
  • Global Moderator
  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 46294
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2021, 05:52:45 am »
Nice  :thumbsup:

Odd you don't mention the squadron boss, Sqn Ldr Rashford, nor OC the Wing, Wg Cdr Southgate.

I get the occasional urge to slap together a P-61 in RAF colours.  It’s always in a Mosquito-style intruder scheme, not overall black, but then the urge passes.  Not having one in the stash doesn’t help - I did some years ago have a very old boxing of the FROG P-61 but that’s long sold off.

Ooh! There's mileage in following those names and there predecessors
Sqn. Ldr. “Bobby More”  etc etc…

Regards
Keith

I've now got visions of Flt Sgt Nobby Stiles in the rear turret of a Lancaster  :angel:
Decals my @r$e!

Offline comrade harps

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 1596
  • lactose intolerant teetotal vegan gemini
    • The art of comrade harps on Flickr
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2021, 06:10:52 am »
Nice  :thumbsup:

Odd you don't mention the squadron boss, Sqn Ldr Rashford, nor OC the Wing, Wg Cdr Southgate.

I get the occasional urge to slap together a P-61 in RAF colours.  It’s always in a Mosquito-style intruder scheme, not overall black, but then the urge passes.  Not having one in the stash doesn’t help - I did some years ago have a very old boxing of the FROG P-61 but that’s long sold off.

Ooh! There's mileage in following those names and there predecessors
Sqn. Ldr. “Bobby More”  etc etc…

Regards
Keith

I've now got visions of Flt Sgt Nobby Stiles in the rear turret of a Lancaster  :angel:

Looks like l will have to do some research! l do have a Lancaster in the stash...
Whatever.

Offline NARSES2

  • Nick was always on his mind - just ask the Pet Shop Boys
  • Global Moderator
  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 46294
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2021, 06:12:50 am »
 :thumbsup:

Maybe a Tiger Force one ?
Decals my @r$e!

Offline comrade harps

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 1596
  • lactose intolerant teetotal vegan gemini
    • The art of comrade harps on Flickr
Re: Tiger Force: Northrop P-61C-25NO Black Widow
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2021, 02:32:08 pm »
Whatever.