Sometime back we began what shall be a recurring theme here on 'TWW'... aircraft which are less than aesthetically-pleasing.
Now, your blogmeister understands that such things can be highly subjective. Nevertheless, today we bring you what he thinks most folks would agree is one such less-than-lovely bird, the Westland Wyvern...
This-here cyber-rag has absolutely nuthin' to do with big ugly machete-wielding old-school hockey goalies who come up with increasingly innovative and interesting ways to slay hapless teenagers at the local haunted lake. So if you're hoping to see anything like that, we're afraid you'll be somewhat disappointed.
However, if you wanna see a Beechcraft D17W Staggerwing with the number 13 on its side which was used by aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran to set an altitude record of 30,052 feet on March 24th, 1939, you came to the right place!
Project 914 Archives
And here's a look at the gal herself, with the ship in question, which was one of two D17Ws to be built and just one of several aircraft that Cochran flew which were adorned with her lucky number 13. This Staggerwing later served with the USAAF under the designation UC-43K and was assigned the U.S. Army serial number 42-107277. At the moment, we haven't a clue as to what happened to this little ship after her time in service with Uncle Sam came to an end.
Today on 'TWW' we've got an obscure one for ya'll... 'tis a Dewoitine D.33, a bird about which your blogmeister knows squat. So we'll simply let the story be told by the news tag from the reverse of the photo, which is dated September 11th, 1931:
French Fliers Off In Race For New Endurance Mark
Paris.... Here is the French plane 'Hyphen-2D' which left Le Bourget Airport with a crew of three on an attempt to establish a new mark for distance. The plane carried as crew, Marcel Doret, Joseph Lebrix, and Rene Mesmin, who hope to reach Tokio without a stop and thus better the nonstop flight record set by Russell Boardman and John Polando, who flew from New York to Turkey. A second team of fliers left at the same time from Le Bourget in a race to achieve the new honor.
Today we present a rather atmospheric photo showing a Mirage 5BA of the Belgian Air Force, circa 1972. This was one of sixty-three of the type to be built for the BAF, sixty-two of which were constructed in Belgium, under license, by SABCA (Sociétés Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques).
February 26th, 1991... flying from the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, an A-7E of VA-72 'Blue Hawks', toting eight Mark 82 Snakeyes, heads for a target in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.
Photo by: Commander John 'Lites' Leenhouts (Source)
Two days after this photo was taken the fighting stopped, effectively ending the SLUF's final curtain call in service with the U.S. military. Upon arrival back home a few months later, the last of the U.S. Navy's SLUFs were retired from front-line service. Specialized variants of the A-7 continued to serve a while longer in training and support roles, but her combat days with the Navy were over.
Мы предупреждаливас в прошлом, что вы хотелибы видеть... oops...
We warned you in the past that you would be seeing the Grumman F-14 here fairly frequently.
Here's a pair of Bedevilers F-14Bs photographed at NAS Oceana in December of 1993 by Photographer's Mate Second Class Bruce Trombecky. The VF-74 CAG and Skipper's jets were decked out in super-groovy Russian-style camo schemes, applied for their participation in Red Flag. Of note, and perhaps a worthy challenge for some of you diorama-building modeler types out there, is the ice buildup on each jet...
On Sunday August 1st, 1943, 177 B-24 Liberators from five bombardment groups of the USAAF (44th, 93rd, 98th, 376th, and 389th) departed their bases near Benghazi, Libya and headed out over the Mediterranean Sea for an operation named 'Tidal Wave'. Their target: the oil refineries of Ploesti, Brazi, and Câmpina in Romania.
Intended to put a significant dent in the enemy's oil and fuel production, and flown at very low-level, which was highly unusual for heavy bombers, 'Tidal Wave' was one of the most audacious operations to be planned and executed by the USAAF
during WWII. And it was their most costly single mission up to that date. Bad luck, weather, navigational errors, botched coordination, and effective enemy defenses led to the loss of more than 50 aircraft to enemy action, and more than 530 aircrew killed, wounded, taken prisoner, interned, or missing.
Many of the aircraft that made it out of the target area were so badly damaged that they had to divert to alternate airfields, or wound up ditching in the sea. Some came down in neutral Turkey, where the aircraft were impounded and their crews interned. Of the 88 aircraft to return 'safely' to their home bases, only 33 were not damaged to any significant degree. Some of the other 55 were so badly damaged that they were considered beyond economical repair and would never fly again.
Among the many decorations for bravery and valor awarded as result of this mission were five Medals of Honor... three of which were posthumous.
There could easily have been many more.
Though it led to a more concerted effort to deny the enemy its oil and fuel reserves, this mission, while causing a good bit of damage, was described in a subsequent appraisal of its effectiveness as having caused "no curtailment of overall product output". The Romanian oil refineries had previously been operating below their maximum output potential, but were able to increase their output after repairs were effected... repairs that went quickly and without interruption, because the losses incurred by the attacking force of B-24s were so great that any sort of immediate follow up attacks were out of the question. So, in the end, 'Tidal Wave' was considered to be a failure.
There is much more to this story but, although your blogmeister likes to tap the keyboard quite a bit, it would take considerable time and effort to produce any more than the bare bones general outline presented above. And besides, that's what books and full-blown websites are for... and there have been a good number of those written and created on this subject already.
So, until your blogmeister decides to write a book or build a website about 'Tidal Wave', we shall let the following images do most of the rest of the talking for this installment of 'TWW'...
A closer look at the ship nearest the camera... B-24D 42-63758, named 'Lil Jughaid', flown by Robert G. Nicholsen. This ship returned safely to Benghazi.
FSA/OWI collection - Library of Congress
Here's a painting by Roy Grinnell titled, 'Remember... Returning is Secondary'. It depicts 'Hell's Wench', a B-24D, serial 42-40994, of the 328th Bombardment Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group shortly before her demise. Lt. Colonel Addison Baker, C.O. of the 93rd BG, and Major John 'Jack' Jerstad were at the controls... both were awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. Go HERE to read more...
Today on 'TWW' we bring you a plug for a couple'a your blogmeister's other cyber-rags...
'BuffaloWingz' is all about things with wings in Buffalo and the Western New York area. If you don't believe me, just take a looksee fer'yerself. Here's one example of some of the kind of stuff you can expect to find there, 'tis a Bell P-39F Airacobra.
Project 914 Archives
The other cyber-rag to which we'd like to draw your attention is 'Stringbags', which takes you back to the second decade of the 20th century... to the time of the 'Great War'. If wood and cloth is your thing, take a gander. Here's a peek at what you can find there...
San Diego Air & Space Museum
Your blogmeister also has another cyber-rag that he tinkers with now and again. Like this-here-blog-yer-readin-now, there's not much to see there... yet. But slowly it shall expand. Unlike 'TWW' and the two other blogs we've plugged here today, this blog is not primarily aviation oriented. It's just a collection of some of your blogmeister's other favorite things, as well as stuff that's simply caught his eye. Oh, and if you're one of those stick-stuck-you-know-where types, and can't stand to see pikshurs of scantily-clad (or non-clad) gals, don't look, as there is some of that to be seen with more on the way. Enter the world of 'Mass Confusion'...
Every now and again your blogmeister is a lazy SOB. Okay, so it's a bit more often than every now and again... oh, hoodaheck are we trying to kid? It's pretty much every day. Point is, sometimes he draws a total blank as to what should be included in this-here cyber-rag, as well as the others he puts together, and simply goes-a-wandering-aimlessy through the archives, eyes half-closed, randomly clicking his mouse, or flipping pages, and picks the first thing that comes along. After discarding the first half-dozen or so things that come along, he usually ends up with something that's somewhat satisfactory and posts it without any further fanfare.
So here's today's bit of somewhat satisfactory fanfareless randomosity...
Your blogmeister has a thing for the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. It's one of his favorite things with wings... second only to a certain Curtiss product from the late 1930s and 1940s, as a matter of fact. And while he has plenty of other outlets to express his interest in the latter, he has rarely expressed his affinity for the former in recent years... so ya'll should expect to see alotta Toms here on this cyber-rag.
Anyhoo, this super-groovy shot of an F-14A+ from VF-103 'Sluggers', waiting its turn to refuel from a USAF KC-135, was taken on February 4th, 1991 during Operation Desert Storm. 'Clubleaf 210' is armed with two AIM-9 Sidewinders and at least two AIM-7 Sparrows.
A mere couple'a years after this particular show, the great purge was
initiated, and F-14 outfits began to disappear from the fleet. Among
them the legendary VF-84 'Jolly Rogers', which was disestablished in
1995. The 'Sluggers' became victims of the purge as well, though in a
different way... VF-103 sacrificed its own heritage to pick up the
iconic black flag adorned with skull and crossbones, and thus became
VF-103 'Jolly Rogers'.
The 'Jolly Rogers' persist to this day, albeit re-designated as VFA-103 and equipped with the 'Super Bug'. The true U.S. Navy Fighter Squadron is a thing of the past, along with its final color-bearer. And your blogmeister's grasp of things logical ensures his understanding of why this came to be... but his stronger sentimentality prompts him to give less than a rat's posterior...
He'd rather see Tomcats flying from the U.S. Navy's flattops.
Big Ugly Fat F.... uhhhh... Fella... yeah, that's it.
This is a rather serene view of a 23rd Bombardment Squadron B-52 leaving contrails in a cloudy sky.
USAF photo by S/Sgt Andy M. Kin
We can hear the chem-trail crowd now, "Oh noes! There droppin' chemz and were all effected!!" Personally, your blogmeister thinks that someone's been dropping chemz in their coffee, but they have a right to spout off and demonstrate their moronosity.
Your webmaster thinks he's just come up with the first recurring theme for this-here cyber-rag. There's been alotta different types of things with wings to take flight over the past one-hundred-plus years, and not all of them have been 'purty.
The Hawker-Siddeley Buccaneer must surely rank up there among the least attractive of the ugly ducklings. Yet, as with many aesthetically-deficient types, it does possess its own strange beauty...
This F-111A, serial number 63-9767, was apparently used as an engine/intake testbed during development of the type. She survives today as part of the NMUSAF collection, but is currently on loan to the Chanute Air Museum.
The Avia B-534 was among the last of the biplane fighters, and was apparently the last of its breed to down an enemy aircraft in aerial combat, albeit in late 1944! More on that is planned for a future installment of this cyber-rag... but, for now, enjoy this shot of a few B-534s being constructed in the Avia factory, circa 1938, possibly not too long before the 'partition' of Czechoslovakia...
Your blogmeister digs black airplanes... and he also has a thing for nocturnal aerial activities... so you'll probably be seeing a good number of photos showing black-painted birds and/or nightfighters here in the future...
IWM caption for this photo:
"Hawker Hurricane Mark Is (Z4204 H nearest) of 'B' Flight, No. 30 Squadron RAF, lined up at Idku, Egypt, while operating in the night fighter role for the air defence of Alexandria."
Today we bring you a groovy shot of your blogmeister's most-favorite-est Korean War-era jet...
This here is a Grumman F9F-2 Panther named 'Papasan', the skipper's jet from VF-71, flying past Task Force 77 on August 1st, 1952 during operations against North Korean targets. On this cruise, which began in May of 1952 and ended in January of 1953, VF-71 flew from the USS Bon Homme Richard as part of Carrier Air Group Seven.
The carriers seen in the photo are USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), USS Essex (CV-9), and USS Princeton (CV-37).
Tonight's post is a good example of why your blogmeister created this-here less-than-specific aviation cyber-rag. For the last more than a little while he has been focused primarily on the birds of the Second World War and, to a lesser extent, those of the 'Great War' of some twenty years earlier... as well as many from in between those two conflicts. And all of his web-projects have reflected this focus, leaving little room to express a healthy interest in military aircraft of other eras. Matter of fact, one might think that all your blogmeister cares about is old props...
Not true... he digs old jets too!
Even if he doesn't know a helluvalot about them... and all he knows about the jet in this photo below is that it's a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23MLD 'Flogger-K'.
To your blogmeister, this particular type, more than any other, embodies the Russkie side of the Cold War. While growing up, he would often daydream of dogfights between US and Soviet fighters, and more often than not, a MiG-23 was the bad guy. And it usually looked something like this...
During the Second World War, the U.S.A. supplied its allies with war materiel through a program called Lend-Lease. The idea was to give our friends the weapons to wage war against the bad guys, and then, once the baddies were vanquished, our friends would return our toys to us. In actuality, relatively little was given back.
Today we bring you a photo which shows two types of aircraft supplied to China... in the foreground is a Republic P-43 Lancer, with a few Vultee P-66 Vanguards in the background. Both types were quite obsolete and rejected for front-line use by the USAAF and RAF. But the U.S.A. was more than happy to unload its rejects onto the Chinese, who were more than glad to get their hands on whatever was available.
This is a test post. Had this been an actual post, it probably wouldn't have been any more interesting. But this is a new blog and most likely won't take off anyway, so it doesn't really matter what the hell we put here, now, does it?