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"What color P-47s for ground attack?" Topic

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2,307 hits since 28 Apr 2012
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Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2012 7:00 a.m. PST

When 21st Century of blessed memory was saturating Toys R Us and Wal-Mart with 1/144 aeroplanes, I picked up a bunch of P-47s for Check your 6 games, and Yank air support in Flames of War.

I assumed that the green OD with the D-Day stripes should be the ones to use for FoW in ground support. However, in the Battlefront supplements, they show the silvery bare metal ones with the sexy nose art as the ground support.

Which color schemes should I be using, and tangentially, bubble-top or razorback?

Personal logo svsavory Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2012 7:33 a.m. PST

I think all of the above could legitimately be used. The USAAF officially adopted natural metal finish (NMF) in November 1943, but various camo paints continued to be used, especially on aircraft that were based on the continent after the breakout from Normandy.

Invasion stripes were applied immediately prior to D-Day. By mid-July 44, the invasion stripes started being removed from the upper wing and upper fuselage surfaces. In mid-August 44, SHAEF ordered the stripes removed from the under-wing surfaces, leaving only the stripes on the lower fuselage. Compliance with this order was not universal, at least not right away.

Both the razorback and bubble-top models were in use during the liberation of France.

hurrahbro28 Apr 2012 8:40 a.m. PST

while Wing Pallette is worth bookmarking

However it won't give you the type of information that svsavory has just shared

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2012 8:58 a.m. PST

Do you have a preferred time frame to game?

I mostly set scenarios in the Normandy breakout, So Mustangs and P-47's in camo and stripes for me.

But I don't play FOW, so I don't know if that would be legal ~.^

Personal logo svsavory Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2012 10:28 a.m. PST

As an aside, I have a 21st Century P-47 in OD with invasion stripes. It has red, white & blue bands on the cowling and yellow Rescue Designator Stripes on the tail and wings. These were "war weary" P-47s used to search for aircrew who went down in the English Channel. The small "WW" under the tail number indicates "war weary" status; these aircraft were no longer considered suitable for combat operations.

Even so, I don't let these markings stop me from using it in combat!

EDIT: Interestingly, the model carries a bomb load, which is likely an error.

BlackSmoke Inactive Member28 Apr 2012 10:57 a.m. PST

I use the prepainted Airfix Minikits of the Thunderbolt. They're all silver. I don't really care if that is technically correct or not. It's a Thunderbolt! The nice thing about the minikits is that they're actually 1:100, although they are designed to sit on a base so you need to do a little conversion with the undercarriage.

Lion in the Stars28 Apr 2012 1:45 p.m. PST

It was my understanding that the first USAAF aircraft that went bare-metal were the high-altitude planes. Hey, it saved 100 lbs or more on a fighter, which was really useful for the long escort missions.

The planes used for Close Air Support were among the last to change over to bare-metal.

RobH Inactive Member28 Apr 2012 5:32 p.m. PST

When I asked a similar question a little while back for my 1/300th models TMP'r vonMallard pointed me to this site:

Fantastic resource of colour schemes and codes. It goes into detail aboput which bases they flew from and the types of missions undertaken.

Thanks again vM!

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2012 8:56 p.m. PST

I was asuming that different squadrons were trained and assigned to different tasks, and that they were painted accordingly.
Were close air support cross trained for ground assault, and vice versa?

Rubber Suit Theatre Inactive Member28 Apr 2012 10:15 p.m. PST

svsavory – those external stores may not be bombs. Since they can't pick up the guys they're looking for, search planes would at the very least want some kind of droppable marker (smoke or dye), and some sort of capsule to drop survival gear. Containers for same would be more or less bomb shaped for the same reason the bombs are.

Personal logo Dances with Clydesdales Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2012 11:51 p.m. PST

According to "The 9th Air Force in WWII" by Kenn C. Rust, Olive Drab 41 w/ Neutral Gray 43 under surfaces were used until March 1944 when bare metal aircraft began to appear. So both would be acceptable from D-Day on. The 9th provided most of the US tactical ground support in France, while the 8th AF did the long range escorts to Germany.

In fact there are several photos in this book that show mixed units of green/gray and bare metal aircraft(fighters, bombers and transports) in the same squadrons. P-47s most notably.

Martin Rapier29 Apr 2012 1:57 a.m. PST

In at least one account of the Siege of Brest the P47s conducting ground attack missions were described as being 'silver', so I really wouldn't worry about it.

zippyfusenet Inactive Member29 Apr 2012 7:59 a.m. PST

"I was asuming that different squadrons were trained and assigned to different tasks, and that they were painted accordingly."

To some degree that's true. But it's also true that commanders tried to make the most productive use of their assets, to win the war fastest if not to further their own careers. When the Luftwaffe in France more-or-less disappeared after D-Day, many fighter squadrons were shifted from air superiority missions to ground attack. Not necessarily close support of ground forces, but "Go shoot up some trains. Go strafe an airfield." The pilots hated it, ground attack was more dangerous than dogfighting.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP29 Apr 2012 8:13 a.m. PST

Well, it seems that the Hive has gven me permission to use all of my pretty P-47s! Good-o!

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member29 Apr 2012 4:44 p.m. PST

I have seen some photos of mixed flying in formation from the same unit. Robert






Personal logo J Womack 94 Supporting Member of TMP29 Apr 2012 9:37 p.m. PST

I think you could paint them day-glo orange. not like the Luftwaffe was doing anything about them, and shooting at one from the ground was an exercise in futility unless you got lucky with an 88.

Tough birds.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member02 May 2012 1:55 p.m. PST

And another one,




11th ACR02 May 2012 11:25 p.m. PST

From what I remember reading years ago was one of the main reasons for not painting U.S. aircraft during the later part of the war was:

That the pains would way a lot less without a paint job.
They were able to increase range and speed with just the basic metal, and a nice coat of wax.
An example is that a B-17 or B-24 weighed a few hundred pounds more if they were panted.


firstvarty197904 May 2012 8:20 a.m. PST

If you want to have multiple P-47s in various paint schemes, you could pick up this set of 12 in 1/100 scale:


$45 USD for all of them is pretty nice for pre-paints, though I think you get 2 of each design, and that's a lot of P-47s!.

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