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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2019, 16:24 
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Joined: 31 Mar 2019, 08:41
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Location: Minnesota, USA
Hi all,

Figured I should stop lurking and actually post something. I'm researching the first aerial reconnaissance missions that photographed Auschwitz. The first known mission was on 4 April 1944 and is credited to a 60 Squadron SAAF Mosquito, serial # LR 442, piloted by Lts Barry and McIntyre . The mission was intended to photograph a synthetic rubber plant near Auschwitz but because the record began recording image before and after they were over the actual target, Auschwitz was inadvertently photographed. Another mission was scheduled for 31 May 1944 (s/n LR 469 piloted by Capt. Larter and Lt. Stolk), a third mission on 26 June (s/n MM 369 piloted by Lts Vanston and Jefferys) and a fourth mission on 25 August 1944 (s/n MM366 piloted by Lts. Stevens and McKnight). I’ve attached the mission reports for these four missions as well as photos taken during the April and May missions. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe LR 442 and LR 469 were PR IX Mossies while MM 369 and MM 366 were PR XVI Mossies.

Where I'm striking out is coming up with photos of these four planes. Combat Colours #5 has a profile of LR 442 on pg 10 but I don't see a picture of the plane elsewhere in that book or any other book for that matter. Have any of you ever come photos of any of these four planes? Absent of any actual photos, I could probably make an educated guess about what they would look like based on other Mossies from the same time period. I’m a bit naïve when it comes to the changes in SAAF markings during 1944 so I hope you don’t mind me peppering you all with a bunch of questions.

The profile in the Combat Colours book shows LR 442 with the 32”, two-color blue/red roundel and the larger 24” square red/white/blue fin flash. I’m assuming this would have been correct for LR 442 and LR 469 in April and May. At what point did the SAAF start using orange instead of red on the fin flash and national roundel?

By the 26 June mission, I’m assuming MM 369 would have had full wing and fuselage “invasion stripe” markings on the wings and fuselage. What about the 25 August mission? By mid-July the topside invasion stripes were allowed to be removed and by mid-August, the stripes on the bottoms of the wings were allowed to be removed; retaining only the fuselage stripes. So full or partial invasion stripes on the fuselage for the 26 August mission?

Again, in the Comat Colours book, a different Mossie, MM 347, page 11 has no invasion stripes but has the red and white striped tail markings on the rudder but only a red and blue 24” fin flash. When did the SAAF start using these tail markings? MM 347 also has the individual letter code “N” on the fuselage. Did each plane have one of these letter codes or was this only some planes?

Is anyone else confused or it is only me?

Thanks for your patience and your help!
Cheers!
Chris

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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2019, 16:35 
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Joined: 12 Apr 2011, 20:49
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Location: Zwartkop
Flying Springbok can you perhaps help here?


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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2019, 17:53 
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Joined: 12 Apr 2011, 20:49
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Location: Zwartkop
Hamsterman I will try and help here with what I can find.

LR442 and LR469 were indeed DH Mosquito MKIX's.

MM366 and MM369 were DH Mosquito PR MkXVI's.

The SAAF also operated the PR.IX (eg. LR480) and PR.XVI (eg.NS644, NS738).Not to forget the DH Mosquito MkII variant (eg.DD743 and DD744 dd 26 January1943) and the MkVI (eg.HJ673).

Hamsterman wrote:
At what point did the SAAF start using orange instead of red on the fin flash and national roundel?


The SAAF painted the orange portion on the fin flash as well as the roundel asap after receiving the aircraft from RAF stock or from Lend-Lease stock! Here I will have to consult my notes but it is well before 1944!
Unfortunately I have been away for a few days (back for 2 days) and will be away again until next week when I can hopefully do some research for you.

Hamsterman wrote:
When did the SAAF start using these tail markings?


60 Squadron started adding the "Barber pole" (red and white diagonal stripes) to the Mosquito tails to assist with identification after several attacks by "friendly" fighters recorded by many SAAF units.

Hamsterman wrote:
So full or partial invasion stripes on the fuselage for the 26 August mission?


NS684 based at San Severo only had under fuselage invasion stripes and the "barber pole" stripes on the tail. The tail number (NS684) was painted above the invasion stripes which only went halfway up the fuselage.

Hamsterman wrote:
Did each plane have one of these letter codes or was this only some planes?

This I will try and confirm as I know that there were identification codes issued to the various aircraft,eg "F" for friendship was on a Mosquito, not sure of the tail number but will research it ( I knew the nav from this aircraft).

Maybe SAAF Colours can also help here with information?

Cheers

Geoff


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PostPosted: 21 May 2019, 23:31 
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Joined: 31 Mar 2019, 08:41
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Location: Minnesota, USA
AT6C wrote:
Hamsterman I will try and help here with what I can find.....
Cheers

Geoff


Thank you Geoff! I'm embarrassed at how long it has taken me to get back to this thread. I've come across a few other photos of early (ie April, May, June) 60 Sqn Mossies to give me a good feel for the way LR442 looked so I'll concentrate on that one. I've also read that the Mossies with invasion stripes came down from England after D-Day, hence, the inclusion of the invasion stripes on some but not all 60 Sqn planes. That would suggest that (off the top of my head) none of the four I listed (LR442, LR469, MM366 or MM369) had invasion stripes since I believe they were all with the squadron prior to June 1944.

Cheers!
Chris


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