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TBF Avenger squadron identification

Started by babaou , Apr 19 2012 01:32 PM

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#1 babaou

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:32 PM

Hi everybody,
Does anybody have an idea of the aircraft carrier this Avenger was attached to ?
According to the "G" symbols, it should be the USS Saratoga, but these symbols were applied from January 1945 until August 1945, and there were many other different identifications symbols before January 1945.
For example : the planes attached to the USS Hornet were identified in 1945 by a 4 square checker on the tail and on the wing tip, but in 1944 they were identified by a white circle painted only on the tail. This Avenger doesn't have any ID symbol on the wing tip. Its 3 color painting scheme makes me think this photo was taken in 1944.
Thanks for your help
Cheers
Greg

Attached Images

  • Avenger.jpg

Edited by babaou, 19 April 2012 - 01:40 PM.


#2 Johnny Signor

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 08:22 AM

That is the CV-3 USS Saratoga's tail code, I saw a short color film clip on the net that shows a TBM landing and it has the same marking and a number under it, it also did "NOT" have the wing tip marking , so I would assume they had a short lived time of not carrying the wing tip device and only the tail one.
It may have been VT-12 , one article I read mentioned VT-12 being on the Sara ...........................

#3 Adam Lewis

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 10:35 PM

Hi Greg,
I have photographic evidence that the three color paint scheme can sometimes be found on TBMs in mid-1945. My guess is that replacement planes were put into service from supply bases in the Pacific as needed. They may have been painted in 1944 (when rolled out of the factory) but not put into fleet service until mid '45. Thus you may see carrier markings not authorized until June 45 on tri-color TBMs.

Adam

#4 Jeffro

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:20 AM

Hi everybody,
Does anybody have an idea of the aircraft carrier this Avenger was attached to ?
According to the "G" symbols, it should be the USS Saratoga, but these symbols were applied from January 1945 until August 1945, and there were many other different identifications symbols before January 1945.
For example : the planes attached to the USS Hornet were identified in 1945 by a 4 square checker on the tail and on the wing tip, but in 1944 they were identified by a white circle painted only on the tail. This Avenger doesn't have any ID symbol on the wing tip. Its 3 color painting scheme makes me think this photo was taken in 1944.
Thanks for your help
Cheers
Greg

The markings on the tail are for VC85 aboard the USS Lunga Point CVE94 in early 1945. Jeffro

#5 Adam Lewis

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:15 PM

The markings on the tail are for VC85 aboard the USS Lunga Point CVE94 in early 1945. Jeffro


Jeffro,
I found the same markings in my book on air unit markings of the escort carriers (James Dresser) that support your comment that it's VC85, USS Lunga Point, CVE-94. Good call.
Adam

#6 babaou

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:25 AM

Hello Adam,
Thanks for your identification of the USS Lunga Point. Here are two photos from the Lunga Point Cruise Book showing the ID markings on the planes.

For sure the composite group VC-85 was based on this escort carrier, but there was another one : the VC-98 which boarded this carrier on 23 May 1945 and saw combat action in Okinawa.
I have a photo lot showing the Avenger in flight shown above, but several other photos showing the TBM crews. Some of the men have their name stenciled on their life jacket and here is what I discovered.

First there is a name stenciled on the fuselage of the TBM shown above, just near the cockpit which is showing ENS BLACKMAN. See the photo detail.

See also the photo showing Blackman's crew. I have two other photos from the same group with two stenciled life vests showing the name "L L ZEIGLER" and "KEY". See Zigler's crew (apparently there is a typo in his name on his life vest or in the roster)

In the VC-98 roster dated 1 August 1945, I found these 3 pilots :
F. E. BLACKMAN Lt(jg).
J. KEY Lt(jg).
L. L. ZIEGLER Ens.
See the copies from the VC-98 Unit History

In my honest opinion, I think this TBM was attached to the VC-98 aboard the USS Lunga Point and that this photo was taken in the first days of combat as there are some rockets under its wings.
Greg

Attached Images

  • VC-98 USS Lunga Point-1.jpg
  • VC-98 USS Lunga Point-2.jpg
  • Avenger n91 -Blackman.jpg

Edited by babaou, 28 January 2013 - 12:42 AM.


#7 babaou

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:27 AM

Here is the photo showing Blackman's crew

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  • VC-98 Blackman-25.jpg


#8 babaou

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:32 AM

Here are the VC-98 roster pages showing the name of the pilots : Blackman, Key and Zeigler.

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  • VC-98 Page 16.jpg


#9 babaou

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:33 AM

-

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  • VC-98 Page 17.jpg


#10 babaou

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:36 AM

Here is the excerpt from the USS Lunga Point Cruise Book about the VC-98

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  • Page 217.jpg

Edited by babaou, 28 January 2013 - 12:42 AM.


#11 babaou

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:36 AM

And the excerpt from the VC-98 Unit History

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  • Page 10.jpg


#12 babaou

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:39 AM

And one last photo showing L L ZEIGLER's crew
Thanks again for your help
Greg

Attached Images

  • VC-98 Blackman-4 - copie.jpg

Edited by babaou, 28 January 2013 - 12:43 AM.


#13 Jeffro

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:37 AM

Nice work Greg. I guess James Dresser gets a fail on this one. Another "expert" author that doesn't do his homework. Jeffro

#14 Jeffro

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:43 AM

Nice work Greg. I guess James Dresser gets a fail on this one. Another "expert" author that doesn't do his homework. Jeffro

Maybe that was too harsh. I'm sure Dresser did the best he could do though, given the limited resources he had at the time. His book was written pre Internet, so sometimes I forget what life on the backroads of the information highway was like. Jeffro

#15 Johnny Signor

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:05 PM

VC-85 emblem was a cartoon dog like in old west hat six guns chaps sitting on an aerial torpedo with face in nose area, he's firing six guns w/puffs of smoke , round sky/cloud background, he had a rope coiled on saddle and a rifle tucked behind it .

VC-98 emblem was a spread of playing cards with a monster like hand coming outward from the "Jack" on round background , cards are from left to right ,ace/spades,ace/clubs,8/spades,8/clubs,Jack/spades

Johnny

#16 Adam Lewis

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:55 PM

Maybe that was too harsh. I'm sure Dresser did the best he could do though, given the limited resources he had at the time. His book was written pre Internet, so sometimes I forget what life on the backroads of the information highway was like. Jeffro


Jeffro,
There is nothing wrong with Dresser's research. He describes the tail emblem seen in post 1 as "late markings VC-85". You said "The markings on the tail are for VC85 aboard the USS Lunga Point CVE94 in early 1945" (post 4). I was just confirming that's consistent with Dresser's book (Escort Carriers and Their Markings during W.W. II in the Pacific) . The 3 color paint scheme and tunnel gun in post 1 are also consistent with your 'early 1945' ID.

Greg,
Your follow-up research, which shows 'Blackman' on the sill and roster list for VC-98 are convincing to me that the plane in post 1 is from VC-98. However in Jun 1945 CVE markings were prescribed by a general order. These are shown in Maj. Elliott's books, Vol 2, p120/121. The marking in Photo 1 does not appear in his book.
So what you have appears is a photo from VC-98 during the brief period between May 23 and the first repaint after June 2. The marking in photo 1 must have been assigned to the carrier, not the squadrons.
There is a series of photos in the National Archive in College Park, MD for carriers, by name. If you want to pursue further the photo trail you could hire a researcher to scan the Lunga Point for you. Each photo should be dated. I think this would take only 2 - 4 hours.

Cheers!
Adam


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