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Old 02-05-2019, 11:47 PM
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Rata Rata is online now
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This is really fascinating Don. I'm sure I speak for all the fans of your write ups in saying thanks for going the extra mile with this one.

BTW last count 246 downloads of our PBY my friend.
''Oh, stop whining! Can't you just print off another one?''- my wife ca 2018
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:29 PM
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Wyvern Wyvern is offline
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Originally Posted by Don Boose View Post
This post provides some additional information about the markings of Garry’s model of PBY-5, Bureau of Aeronautics Number (BuNo) 2291, and about the fate of the aircraft not included in my original write up (

In 1937, the Navy reorganized its aviation units, renumbered fleet squadrons, and revised the marking system for aircraft. On 1 July 1939, patrol aircraft were reorganized and patrol squadrons were renumbered so that within each patrol wing (PatWing), the first number of a squadron would reflect the wing number and the second number the patrol squadron (VP) within the wing. For example, the first squadron of PatWing One, was renumbered from VP-7 to VP-1; the second squadron became VP-12, and so on. VP-14 retained its number as the fourth squadron of PatWing One. The 1937 marking system was retained and applied as follows:

PatWing One aircraft were identified by a single vertical stripe on the rudder and a single span-wise stripe on the elevators; PatWing Two by double stripes; PatWing Three by a horizontal stripe on the rudder and a fore-and-aft stripe on each elevator; PatWing Four by double horizontal and fore-and-aft stripes; PatWing Five by solid colored rudder and elevators; PatWing Six by a checkered pattern on the rudder and elevators; and PatWing Seven by double vertical and span-wise stripes.

Individual squadrons within the patrol wings were identified by colors: first, Insignia Red; second, White; third, True Blue; fourth, Black; fifth, Willow Green; and sixth, Lemon Yellow.

Like fleet aviation units, pre-war patrol squadrons were organized into six three-plane sections that were identified within squadrons by colored engine cowls. The lead aircraft of each section (Aircraft 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16) had the entire cowl in the section color; the second aircraft (2, 5, 8, 11, 14, and 17) had the top half of the cowl painted in the section color; and the third aircraft (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18) had the bottom half of the cowl painted in the section color. The sequence of colors was the same as for the tail markings: first – Insignia Red; second – White; third – True Blue; fourth – Black; fifth – Willow Green; and sixth – Lemon Yellow.

With this in mind, we can identify Garry’s model by the markings: single vertical rudder stripe and single span-wise elevator stripes identify it as a PatWing One aircraft. That the stripes are black identifies it as an aircraft of VP-14 (fourth squadron of the wing). The number (11) and the black top halves of the engine cowls identify it as the second aircraft of the fourth section.

Some of these markings are visible in the color image from the VP-NAVY website, available at

All these markings disappeared when the aircraft were repainted in 1941, and the logical system of squadron assignments disappeared as units were moved around to various wings that same year (for example, BuNo 2291 changed from being 14-P-11 in VP-14 to 22-P-7 in VP-22.

I also have some additional information about the loss of BuNo 2291 at Ambon on 15 January 1942.

The pilot of the aircraft at the time it was shot up was Lieutenant Jack Donohu, USN. The Japanese attackers were the 1st Chūtai (nine-aircraft unit) of the 3rd Kōkūtai (Naval Air Group), which had redeployed from Davao on Mindanao in the Philippines to Manado on the north coast of Celebes (now Sulawesi) on 11 January 1942. The attacking squadron was commanded by Lieutenant T. Kurosawa, who in October 1943 took command of the newly established 381st Kōkūtai. His image, below, is from Hata and Izawa p. 184.

Markings Sources:

Thomas E. Doll, Berkley R. Jackson, and William A. Riley, Navy Air Colors: United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Camouflage and Markings, Vol. 1 1911-1945, Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal, 1983.

John M. Elliott, The Official Monogram US Navy & Marine Corps Aircraft Color Guide, Vol. 1, 1911-1939, Boylston, MA: Monogram Aviation Publications, 1987.

William T. Larkins, U.S. Navy Aircraft 1921-1941, Concord, CA: Aviation History Publications, 1961. Image of 1134 on page 280.

Fate of BuNo 2291 Sources:

Ikuhiko Hata and Yasuho Izawa, Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in World War II, translated by Don Cyril Gorham, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1989, pp. 124,182

Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Yasuho Izawa, Bloody Shambles, Volume One, The Drift to War to the Fall of Singapore, London: Grub Street, 1992, p. 218

Tom Womack, The Dutch Naval Air Force against Japan; The Defense of the Netherlands East Indies, 1941–1941, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2006, pp. 90-92.
Another excellent resource regarding the adventures and fates of the VP squadrons in the Phillipines during the dark days of the Pacific war is “In the HaNds of Fate” by Dwight Messemer, published by the Naval Institute press.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:56 PM
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Don Boose Don Boose is offline
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Thanks, Wyvern. Definitely looks worth reading. I have not read this book yet, but based on your recommendation, I have ordered it.

Patrol Wing Ten and its squadrons certainly lived through a lot during those months.

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Old 02-07-2019, 07:08 PM
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Wyvern Wyvern is offline
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They certainly did. Reading this book, along with “The Fleet the Gods Forgot”, is a real eye-opener into the first months of the war against Japan, and why the Doolittle Raid and Coral Sea were so necessary for American morale.

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Old 02-10-2019, 08:27 AM
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MichaelS MichaelS is offline
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Available here:
“I love it when a plane comes together.” - Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, A Team leader
Long Live 1/100!! ;
Live, Laff, Love...
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