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  • $30.00
  • $27.00
Book Type: S,O,

by Adam Jarski,

AJ PRESS FIGHTING UNITS IN COLOR SERIES #3, 48 pages + cover, 122 b&w photos, 29 color photos, 19 color prifiles, 1 sheet of decals in 1/32, 1/48 and 1/72 scale

This book was published as part of the ‘war’ against what is probably the most permanent myth of the US Navy aviation: the myth of red outlines on US national markings of VF-17 aircraft during the first (October-November 1943) and second (January-February 1944) tours of operations. The problem is that not a single color photo of the unit’s aircraft from the period has surfaced so far, although it seems that the US Navy propaganda unit, which had color film, has visited it at least twice. But it is possible to dispel it just by analyzing black and white photos of the unit’s Corsairs, especially at the time of Panama Canal passage, when many photographs were taken of VF-17 machines carried as ‘deck cargo’. With broad comparative material in form of original color photos of aircraft from the same period, where the outline is blue, clearly paler than the star disc (!) one comes to the conclusion that previous interpreters of black and white photos of VF-17 aircraft, wherever the outline was paler than the star disc, have always assumed it was red. It is not clear what was the basis for that, although I myself tended to believe that, too. Having analyzed the available photographic material and documents from that period I now consider this out of question for aircraft in South Pacific front line area already as early as August 1943. The introduction of read outline by Army-Navy Specification AN–I–9 (later called the Army-Navy Specification AN–I–9a) has caused a veritable storm, which was started by the area supreme commander, Admiral William ‘Bull’ by his directive 300224 of 31 July 1943. Removing any trace of red from US Navy aircraft following the Battle of the Coral Sea, with prominent support of this admiral, was not done to bring the color back a few months later! The red areas, in form of red discs inside the white start and of red stripes on the rudder, strongly confused AA gunners who fired at anything that showed a trace of red. That was why Adm. Halsey issued his famous orders to remove the red outlines. That was where a series of misunderstandings and confusion commenced. The matter is discussed broadly in this book, which includes a lot of evidence against existence of any such red outlines on VF-17 machines during combat operations.

The matter is further confused by ‘researchers’ of the subject, who have dealt with the subject of color used in camouflage and markings. For them only one specification exists: the Army-Navy Specification AN–I–9b which defines the outline color as Insignia Blue. If that was so, why did the outline continue to be paler for another few months after the document was issued? And not just in units, but also in aircraft factories? It seems that a lot of light would have been shed on the matter if the original form of the document was found, from the day it was first issued. Existing publications fail to quote the date of issue of the document they used. And yet, the specification was reissued many times, with amendments and clarifications. I hop that this book will serve as a catalyst to start proper research of the subject.


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