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Old 09-21-2019, 03:30 PM
Don Boose's Avatar
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Cunliffe-Owen OA-1 (Burnelli UB-14)

I've been following Péricles' excellent build of Aaron Murphy's Brunelli UB-14 in its CBY-3 manifestation Burnelli UB-14 and CBY 3 - Murph's Models in 1/100

The speculations by Yukon John and Murph of alternative and what if schemes have been particularly interesting to me. What I would most like to see would be recolors by Pacific Wind or Rata of some of the liveries carried by the visually identical Cunliffe-Owen OA-1 that served with the Royal Australian Air Force, the Japanese Navy, and in civilian liveries in the Southwest Pacific.

Ten of these aircraft were ordered for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), but only one (c/n COA-10, RAAF Serial A18B-1) was delivered in 1941. In natural metal finish with black serials painted on the rear of the tail booms, it served with No. 24 Squadron RAAF and was captured intact at Vunakanau airfield, Rabaul, New Britain by Japanese forces on 25 January 1942.

After evaluation by the First Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal (Dai Ichi Kaigun Koku Gijutsu Koshō), it was assigned, along with three Mitsubishi G4M1-L transports, to the support element of the Tainan Naval Air group, which operated from Vunakanau, Lae, and Buna in the latter part of 1942, during which time the OA-1 was painted dark green with natural metal undersides, red Hinomaru Japanese national insignia in the usual six positions, “V-904” in white on the outer surfaces of the vertical stabilizers, and a white IFF combat stripe (senchi hyōshiki) encircling the rear of the tail booms. It is said that V-904 participated in the ill-fated airborne operation in which paratroopers of the First Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force attempted to reinforce Buna in December 1942.

V-904 (A18B-1) was recaptured at Lae in September 1943 by elements of the Australian 9th Division. Hastily repainted in dark green and light gray with white tail surfaces, A18B-1 operated in support of Australian forces in New Guinea until the end of the war.

After the war, now in overall natural metal finish and with the civil registration VH-CZK, the aircraft operated among the coffee plantations and mines of the Western Highlands of New Guinea. As far as I know, it is still flying with the Papua New Guinea registration P2-CZK. I once had a faded photograph of the aircraft that had been taken at Mount Hagen Airport some years ago, but I can’t find it just now. If anyone who has greater knowledge of this aircraft than I, please fill in the gaps in its history.

Needless to say, 冗談だよ.

Don

Sources:


“Cunliffe-Owen,” Aviation in Hampshire Since 1900, available at https://web.archive.org/web/20080119220334/http://daveg4otu.tripod.com/ah1900/prod1.html

Douglas Gillison, Australia in the War of 1939-1945, Series 3, Air: Royal Australian Air Force, 1939-1942, Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1962.

Geoff Goodall, Australian Aviation History, available at http://www.goodall.com.au/australian-aviation.htm

Kumalo Kerpi, Dispela balus bilong Papua Niugini, Port Moresby: University of Papua New Guinea Press, forthcoming 2020.

George Odgers, Australia in the War of 1939-1945, Series 3, Air: Air War Against Japan, 1943-1945, Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1957.

Philippe Ricco, Les Avions de Burnelli et Cunliffe-Owen, available at https://web.archive.org/web/20091110134355/http://www.avions.cocardes.org/articles.php?lng=fr&pg=124

Luca Ruffato and Michael J. Claringbould, Eagles of the Southern Sky: The Tainan Air Group in WWII, Voume One: New Guinea, Kent Town, Australia: Avinmore Books, 2012.

Jiro Takahashi, Taiheiyōsensō ni okeru nipponkaigun kōkū yusō-ki to butai (Japanese Naval Aviation Transport Aircraft and Units of the Pacific War), Tōkyō: Kōkū shuppan kaisha, 2018.

Lionel Wigmore, Australia in the War of 1939-1945, Series 1, Army: The Japanese Thrust, Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1957.

Last edited by Don Boose; 09-21-2019 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 09-21-2019, 03:53 PM
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Short film with very good shots of I'm guessing prototype of above mentioned aircraft.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=GdGQvyC3WEY
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Old 09-21-2019, 04:06 PM
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Thanks, Karol. Good video of the Cunliffe-Own OA-1.

I think the same Pathe Newsvideo is here: https://www.britishpathe.com/video/flying-wing-2

Don
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:57 PM
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Wikipedia says it didn't survive WWII:

"The company intended to produce the Burnelli UB-14 lifting fuselage under licence as the Cunliffe-Owen OA-Mk1. An example was assembled in 1939. The resulting plane was known as the Clyde Clipper but only one had been completed before the start of the war. The sole aircraft was pressed into service by the RAF and was eventually turned over to the Free French Air Force in Africa, where at one point it served as the personal transport of General Charles de Gaulle. Worn out by its wartime service, the Clyde Clipper reportedly met its end as the centrepiece of a V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) bonfire."
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Old 09-27-2019, 03:07 PM
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Well, there really was a Cunliffe-Owen OA-1; there really was a No. 24 Squadron RAAF at Rabaul in January 1942; there really was a First Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal that tested captured foreign aircraft and a support element of the Tainan Naval Air Group that operated transports; and the 9th Australian Division really did recapture Lae in September 1943. It's a little harder to document the rest of the "facts."

I have access to all of the sources except the Kumalo Kerpi and Jiro Takahashi books, which I can't seem to put my hands on just now.

As I said, 冗談だよ.

But wouldn't Charles de Gaulle's personal OA-1 make a neat model?

In any event, thanks for checking in and commenting Murph. I thought for a while that except for Karol's post, this had dropped down a well.

Don
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:28 PM
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I will say that I trust your references way more than I trust Wikipedia. That was just the only info I could find after a 30 minute internet search that mentioned it's fate.

I did also find a document of current New Guinea aircraft registrations, and P2-CZK was not on the list:
https://casapng.gov.pg/wp-content/up...e-Register.pdf
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Old 09-28-2019, 07:25 AM
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Yeah. I made sure of that when I selected it. I don't think you'll find VH-CZK, either.

I probably should have waited until April 1st to do that write up, but I was inspired by your Burnelli in D-Day markings.

Don
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Old 09-28-2019, 07:53 AM
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THe Cunliffe-Owen OA-1 looks like it has a different cockpit than the UB-14. Shouldn't be too hard to draw it up and do a few versions.
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:41 PM
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Models of undocumented CBY-3 activity

Along the same lines, undocumented RCAF and northern airways liveries applied prior to the CBY-3 finally retiring to the NEAM are forthcoming. Researching undocumented activity is so satisfying .


John
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:45 PM
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But John, my research IS documented, even if some of the documents exist only in the same world as the Australian-IJNAF-Niugini Airlines OA Mark I, i.e. my fevered imagination.

Looking forward to seeing those Canadian CBY-3 liveries!

Cheers,

Don
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