Air and Space Photos from Alternate Worlds.

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(From World War II 1946 Issue 12)

Nakajima trilogy Pt.1: Ki-27b Nate

Link: www.whatifmodellers.com/index.…

Nakajima Ki-27b Nate
Personal mount of Lt. Shūichi Gonda
2nd Chutai, 17th Sentai, Imperial Japanese Army Air Force
Melaka, Malaya
January, 1942

Despite being obsolete, poorly armed and somewhat slow, Nakajima's Ki-27 played a significant role in the Japanese offensives of late 1941 and early 1942.

The unusually large white ring around the fuselage Hinomaru was peculiar to the 17th Sentai during the Malayan campaign. The official explanation was that it was an experiment to test positive identification whilst flying against an enemy that also had national markings that featured a red dot at their centre. Unofficially, it was an acknowledgement that friendly fire (especially from anti-aircraft gunners) was a potential issue. Whatever the case, it was soon abandoned after the fall of Singapore.

This Ki-27b of the 9th Sentai was the personal mount of Lt. Shūichi Gonda, who scored 3 air-to-air kills during the Malayan campaign in this aircraft (the kills markings can be seen to the right of the Hinomaru in the port side). They were a Bristol Blenheim and a Handley-Page Hampden (both RAF) and a RAAF Brewster Buffalo. He went on to a total score of 15, the remainder of his kills being scored whilst flying the Ki-43 in Burma.

Before Japan's December, 1941 offensives, Nakajima's Ki-43 Oscar was rapidly replacing the Ki-27 in front line service. The Ki-43 was essentially a re-engined and updated Ki-27 powered by the liquid-cooled Ha-40, a Daimler Benz DB601 clone. The Ki-43-11 was powered by the Ha-140 (DB605 equivalent) and the Ki-43-111 used the Ha-240 (a licence-built DB603).

(And now for something different)
 
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I'm imagining a scenario where the Philippine Air Force has a more modernized fleet from the early 2000s instead of the OTL 2010s in which F/A-18 Hornets, Cobras, and Blackhawks flies the skies above the archipelago.
 
This is more based on the anti-racist protests around the world

Ol' Black and Blues' F-16C Spitfire

Grumman F-16C Spitfire
a/c 61, Ann “K”/Bonnie “B” II
619th Fighter Squadron
Personal mount of Capt. Charles Williams
Udon, Siam, April 1946

Following the August, 1944 Separate Peace/Great Betrayal that ended the war in Western Europe, the segregated 332nd Fighter Group, was disbanded in late September. The men and women of the Tuskegee Airmen were returned to the U.S. and consolidated in the 477th Composite Group (The Ol' Black and Blues), which included:

- the 616th Bomber Squadron (The Blue Bruisers) flying B-25Ds
- the 617th Liaison Squadron (The Black Eagles) with the Piper L-4 Cub and UC-61A Argus
- the 618th (The Black Panthers) and
- and 619th (The Alabama Blues) Fighter Squadrons flying Grumman P-50K Spitfires and the
- 619th Transport Squadron (The Flying Blues Train) with the Douglas C-47A Skytrains

Although USAAF brass wanted to either shut-down the 447th or keep them as a dead-end training unit, political pressure forced them to accept a combat role for the unit. In January, 1945, the Group was re-organised as the 4th Air commando Group, destined to serve in South-East Asia whilst the other 3 Air Commando Groups were moved forward to participate in the invasion of Japan.

Under the command of Colonel Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr, a decorated veteran of the Red Tails, the 4th Air Commando Group had to fight hard to achieve equality, recognition and equipment. In this context, the issuing of Grumman F-16B and C Spitfires to the Group was meant to be a slap in the face. Despite the type's excellent qualities, the American-built Spitfires had always been treated with suspicion within the USAAF and the 200 F-16B and C models were unwanted by the commanders tasked with invading Japan (the successful adopted of the Grumman F-16A Spitfire being little appreciated). The 50 F-16Bs were photo-reconnaissance/fighter-bomber versions of the P-50N (Grumman Spitfire F.36) and the 150 F-16Cs were similar, but featuring the contra-rotating propeller arrangement developed for the Kaiser FK-1 Rapier. After its taming the mechanical difficulty, the 4th Air Commando was the only unit to take the F-16C into action (the F-16Bs being used purely for training). The other squadrons were also gradually modernised before deploying to Asia, equipping with B-25H Mitchells, L-5E Sentinels, UC-64A Norsmen and C-47B Dakotas. However, unlike the other 3 Air Commando Groups, the flying units of the 4th were not given the Air Commando Squadron title.

All of the Group's flying squadrons used a combination of black and blue heraldry. The blue nose and black and blue-trimmed flying surfaces of the Alambama Blues' Spitfires was the reverse of the Black Panthers' livery. The Mitchells wore black and blue checker-board tail fins. The Skytrains had a four, alternating black and blue stripes around the fuselage. A blue stripe outlined with black adorned the tails of the Sintinels and Norsemans. All Group aircraft featured yellow wing bands as a reference to those worn by the Thunderbolts and Mustangs of the 332nd Fighter Group, but also a nod to SEAC's white ID stripes. Noting how no African-American aviators were part of the March, 1946, invasion of Honshu, the 618th added an orange fuselage band and the 618th a yellow fuselage band to their Spitfires, this being a reference to the yellow and orange invasion stripes associated with Operation Downfall.

The 4th Air Commando Group deployed to their first combat base at Udorn, Siam, in December, 1944. Deep behind Japanese lines, the 4th initially undertook photo-reconnaissance duties whilst their base's infrastructure and supplies where built-up (these are represented by the partially-painted yellow missions marks on the side of the aircraft portrayed). This was followed by a full combat campaign, attacking Japanese targets across Siam and French Indo-China (with missions here represented in red). In February, 1946, the 4th established a forward base at Ubon to be closer to the combat taking place in southern Vietnam and Cambodia, where Japanese and local nationalists were resisting Allied incursions (Ubon missions being noted as yellow mission marks).

The F-16C's powerful Packard V-2,240 Griffon engine, strong airframe stressed to American standards (as were all Grumman Spitfires after the P-50B), long-range (with upto 3 external fuel tanks) and combination of cameras, 20mm cannon, bombs, napalm and 5 inch rockets made it the master of its environment.

Following the Japanese surrender in May, 1946, the 4th Air Commando Group remained in Siam to support the process of Japanese disarmament and the re-establishment of French control. Disbanded in August, 1946, The Ol' Black And Blues was re-established in September as the 447th Composite Group at Freeman Field, Indiana.

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Duel Issue No.3
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World War II 1946 Issue No.10
 
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Luftwaffe 1946, Volume 2, Issue No.10

RCAF Dassault Chartreuse Reach Mirage IV F.6
Link: www.whatifmodellers.com/index.…

Dassault Chartreuse Reach Mirage IV F.6
a/c 919, 425 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, 31 March 1989
Last operational flight: Major Patrick “Buster” Leduc (pilot) and Captain Les "Buzz" Parsons (radar intercept officer)

After fleeing revolutionary France in 1950, Marcel Dassault reestablished his aircraft design and manufacturing company in Canada with the financial assistance of the Quebec government and private investors. These included Fairchild, who merged their poorly performing Canadian subsidiary, Fairchild Aircraft Ltd, with the new company to form Avions Dassault Fairchild. Although the American company maintained its interest, the Fairchild name was dropped in 1952 and Avions Marcel Dassault emerged, although it went on to trade as Dassault Canada and, from 1960, simply as Dassault. By then Noorduyn Aircraft Limited had been absorbed by Dassault and the assets of the Ottawa Car & Aircraft Corporation acquired in order for the company to hire experienced staff and industrial space.

Having evacuated most of his design team and their families, Dassault was able to quickly focus on building the Mystere series of fighter prototypes based on the blueprints they had rescued from Paris. Using a rapid iterative prototyping and testing paradigm, Dassault would go on to produce the Mystere IIC, Mystere IVC and Super Mystere II series of fighter bombers for Canada and export customers by the end of the decade.

The exiled German aviation engineer and designer Alexander Lippisch joined Dassault in 1953. Taken to America as part of Operation Paperclip, he worked with Convair from 1947 to 1951, then joined Fairchild in 1951 and moved to Dassault in 1952. Hired to work on high-speed tailless delta designs, Lippisch was instrumental in the design of Dassault’s next series of fighters: the Mirage. After the Mirage I technology demonstrator flew in 1954, the company worked on a series of design studies (including the unbuilt Mirage II) while submitting tailless delta designs to meet RCAF requirements. This resulted in orders for the lightweight (single-seat, single-engine) Mirage III and the heavyweight (two-seat, twin-engined) Mirage IV.

The Mirage IV was proposed to meet a variety of RCAF requirements from the outset. The basic airframe, engines and avionics were viewed as a “platform” from which a series of specialised versions could be built while retaining a high degree of commonality. This resulted in an aircraft that was used in strategic nuclear bomber, atomic-armed interceptor, conventional bomber and reconnaissance roles. Mirage IV versions, produced and proposed, include:

Canadian production versions:
Mirage IV Alabaster Gemini B.1: Original strategic nuclear bomber: Australia (24), Canada (68)
Mirage IV White Cyclosa F.2: Interceptor: Canada (66)
Mirage IV Amaranth Causeway BR.3: Conventional fighter-bomber, reconnaissance and maritime strike (anti-shipping): Canada (268)
Mirage IV Amber Posy R.4: Reconnaissance: Australia (16), Canada (28)
Mirage IV Lilac Dust E.5: Defence suppression for B.1 force, with Standard ARM and jammer pods, all ex-ES airframes: Canada (24)
Mirage IV Chartreuse Reach F.6: Upgraded F.2 with new avionics and weapons: Canada (38)
Mirage IV Cerise Seed B.7: Upgraded B.1 with new avionics and Indigo Vein ASMP nuclear missile: Canada (22)

Export-only production versions:
Mirage IV EA, EN and ES: Conventional bomber export versions of Mirage IV BR.3: EA Australia (36), EN Iran (24), ES Saudi Arabia (24, but cancelled before delivery*)

Prototypes and proposals include:
Mirage IV ASAT: Proposed lightened F.6 with anti-satellite missile
Mirage IV NG: Dassault prototype for “advanced ADV” with canards, wing leading-edge extensions and avionic upgrades: Canada (1)
Mirage IV Hudson/Mirage IV TF41: Proposed installation of Rolls Royce Canada Hudson turbofans or their American equivalent, the Allison TF41.
Mirage IV Iroquois: Proposed installation of Orenda Iroquois turbojet
Mirage IV J75: Proposed installation of Pratt & Whitney J75 turbojets
Mirage IV TF30/Mirage IV TF106: Proposed installation of Pratt & Whitney TF30 turbofan or its (proposed) Canadian licence-built equivalent, the Snecma TF106

Although envisaged to fulfil a variety of roles, the Mirage IV’s design was primarily dictated by its strategic nuclear bomber version, the Alabaster Gemini Mirage IV B.1. Designed to carry the jointly produced Australian-Canadian 60 kiloton Teal Harvest AN-11 atomic bomb, the Mirage IV B.1 was designed to match a mission profile that called for a high-speed, high-altitude penetration of Red airspace. Unusually, the B.1 did not have a nose-mounted radar but instead featured a downward-looking Philips Canada Umber Baloon DRRA.8A navigation and bombing radar installed amidships in the lower fuselage. This radar was retained for the BR.3 and R.4, but replaced by the air surveillance Viridian Board DRRA.8B in the F.2 and complimented in that version with the nose-mounted Hughes Vanilla Cowboy fire control radar. Although an American radar, and based on the Hughes MX-1179, the Vanilla Cowboy was a Canadian-specific export development and was designed specifically to fit the Mirage IV F.2 and work with Canadian R.530 missiles. Augmented by a suite of radios and datalinks (and a high altitude cruising flight profile), this combination of radars meant that the F.2 could be employed as an austere airborne early warning aircraft, able to look down and detect air traffic across a wide 360° swathe of airspace, alert ground defences and direct other interceptors into engagement positions.

The F.2 was armed with a mix of conventional and atomic weapons for its NORAD air defence role. Standard weapon loads were a mix of American-supplied Hughes AIM-2A Genie unguided air-to-air rockets (each with a 1.5 kt W25 nuclear warhead) and the conventionally armed Philips Canada Saffron Icarus R.530 guided missiles. Usually, both semi-active radar homing (SARH) and infrared homing (IR) versions of the R.530 were carried; numerous versions of the R.530 were used by the F.2, these variants improving motor reliability, range and engagement parameters and kill probability.

38 F.2 were upgraded to Chartreuse Reach F.6 standard between 1977 and 1980. The F.6 featured a host of new avionics, upgraded cockpits, a nose-mounted Hughes APG.63 radar (which was upgraded with a software-programmable signal processor (PSP) in 1979) plus a belly-mounted Phillips Canada Rose Dream Searchwater AEW HAST (High Altitude Surveillance Task) radar for the AEW role. The AIM-2A Genie was simultaneously upgraded to Block II standard with refurbished electronics and an extended range rocket motor. The F.6 entered service matched to the SARH-guided Phillips Canada Lavender Peacock Super 530.F, but with the introduction of the PSP APG.63s, this was replaced by the Violet Juice Super 530.D. Photographs of F.2s and F.6s armed with six AIM-2As are not representative of operational loadouts, these being trial loadouts that were widely distributed for propaganda purposes. Tests were also undertaken with a variety of 20mm and 30mm cannon pods, but these never reached frontline units. Mirage IV F.2s and F.6s were rarely flown without two underwing drop tanks, with another semi-recessed fuel tank permanently mounted towards the rear of the lower fuselage (this fitting into the recess of originally designed for the B.1’s AN-11 atomic bomb).

The Chartreuse Reach F.6 is often referred to as a “mid-life update program” but was actually a “late-life update program”. With the F.2’s avionics and missiles rapidly becoming obsolete, the F.6 program was launched to attain mandated standards required for continued NORAD certification by 1980. The American-built Hughes APG.63 radar was controversially selected over Canadian alternatives, none of which could match the required NORAD capabilities by 1980. The overlooked radars included the Phillips Canada Champaign Clarity Foxhunter, which was being designed for thw F.6’s designated replacement, the Panavia Tornado ADV (Air Defence Variant). Serious problems with the Foxhunter lead to the production of 18 Coral Later Tornado F.2s with nose-mounted ballast instead of radars and the first Foxhunter-equipped Carmine Window F.3 squadron finally reached initial operational capability in 1987. 425 squadron flew the RCAF’s last Mirage IV F.6 operational patrol of four jets on 31 March 1989, each armed with four AIM-2A Block II Genie and two Super 530 D missiles.

w*Saudi Arabia's order for 24 of the Mirage IV ES was already in production when the order was cancelled. The cancellation came about following a regrettable diplomatic faux pas by the Canadian Minister of Defence, Doug Muirhead. Attending an ‘Arabian Nights’ fancy dress party, Mr Muirhead was photographed in brown face and wearing an Arabian sheikh costume. This was just a few days after the Canadian and Saudi governments signed a deal for 100 Mirage IIIs and 24 Mirage IVs. A few months later the pictures were leaked to the Saudi embassy and Muirhead defended his costume choice as "celebrating the recent goodwill between the people of Canada and Saudi Arabia." After this, the contracts were cancelled and Saudi Arabia acquired F-4Cs, F-5A/Bs and A-5Ds instead.

OPS evolution: a Fishbed trilogy
Link: www.whatifmodellers.com/index.…

Left to right

Pt 1: Revolution Defence Cooperative OPS – PFA Fishbed E
The mount of Tunisia’s first female ace

Blue 17, 3rd Escadrille, Tunisian Peoples’ Defence Force
Gabes Air Base, Tunisian People’s Socialist Republic
19 August, 1965

The PFA model of the OPS was designed specifically for service in North Africa, modified from the basic OPS - PFI interceptor. The type’s most intensive period of combat action occurred as a result of the 1965 Arab War, when the UN intervened on the side of Jordan and invaded Egypt, forcing the Socialist Union (SU) to come to the defence of Egypt when its government was toppled by revolutionaries. Along the way, a leftist military coup in neutral Libya enabled the SU to use Libyan territory to bolster its position in Egypt. The UN’s response included a massive series of air strikes against targets across the length of North Africa. Throughout all this, the weak state of Palestine remained neutral and offered only token resistance to each of the sides driving across its territory.

On the 19 August 1965, Combat Pilot Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was at the controls was Blue 17 when it became entangled (along with the Blue 13) in a dogfight with a pair USAF F-109C Crusaders from the famed 8th TFW Wolf Pack. The Crusader pilots were conducting a fighter sweep ahead of an F-105 strike force when they were engaged by four Tunisian Fishbeds. Two of the Tunisian fighters soon broke off (Blue 7 and Blue 15), leaving Blue 13 and 17 to continue the battle. The dogfight lasted for around three minutes, until Combat Pilot Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Blue 17 gained the upper hand and hit the lead Crusader with an IR guided Atoll B missile. The American pilot, Maj. Gordon Ramsay, ejected and was taken prisoner; he was released in a 1983 prisoner exchange. The other Crusader broke off and returned to base.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali went on to become Tunisia’s first female fighter ace, claiming another 3 kills in OPS – PFA Blue 17 and 23 more in other airframes. She achieved the rank of Division Leader, but retired after receiving major injuries during a UN air raid in 1976, going on to become the Chair of the National Union of Tunisian Women.

Pt 1: Revolution Defence Cooperative/Mistral Aviation OPS – UGP Fishbed P
Limited edition African ace


White 22, Mistral International People’s University Expeditionary Escadrille
Wadi Halfi B, Sudan Liberated Zone
26 November 1980

In 1975, Syria severed its connections with the SU, in the process cancelling an order for 75 OPS – BIS Fishbed Ms. These aircraft were already in assembly and now without a customer. To the Mistral People’s University (MPU), this was an opportunity for its own aviation research and development programmes. Airframes and components were taken to MPU’s Mistral Aviation Institute (MAI), where 43 were built to a variety of configurations, including 45 as the combat ready – UGP model with new radar, glass cockpit and other improvements. Capable of using the IR and SARH Apex missile, the UPG was used by MPU’s own reservist fighter escadrilles. From 1978, 16 were deployed to Almaza in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula for frontline operations.

When the UN abandoned its African members to their own devices in mid-1980, they quickly succumbed to Red uprisings. As the UN’s position crumbled, the Red Army made its move across the natural defence barrier of the Sahara, capturing several sub-Saharan airbases as a prelude to a massive airlift. With this, the Mistral’s upgraded Fishbeds moved to the satellite airfield of Wadi Halfi B in Sudan, primarily to provide local air defence.
Before this deployment the aircraft received new colours, as various African revolutionary national markings replaced those of the Red International Escadrilles. White 22 wore the markings of revolutionary Djibouti. Most of the MPU’s personnel were from Africa.

The airlift into Sudan did not go without receiving attention, both the A and B airfields at Wadi Halfi coming under continual African UN air attacked for over two weeks. During this time, pilots flying White 22 engaged in several successful air combats. Combat Pilot Leader Tafese Tesfaye (from Ethiopia) shot down a Sudanese EMB.326K on 23rd November (with Aphid) and an Ethiopia Mirage F1.E on the 24th (with Apex). Combat Pilot Daoud Wais (from Djibouti) shot down two Sudanese A-4Ms on the 26th (both Aphid), an Ethiopian A-37C on the 28th (with Aphid) and a Kenyan F-4E on 5th September (with Apex) .On 3rd September Combat Pilot Leader Rebecca Lolosoli (from Kenya) bagged a Sudanese EMB.326K (with guns) and a Kenyan Jaguar SK on the 4th (with Aphid).

On the 14 January, 1981, six OPS-UGPs were handed over to the Revolutionary Defence Council of Djibouti, including White 22. In 1983, a further 8 followed with 6 more in 1985. The nine surviving –UPGs were retired from Djibouti service in 2003. Mistral Aviation went on to produce several more successful Fishbed upgrade programs through to the mid 1990s.

Pt 3: Revolution Defence Cooperative OPS – JMC Fishbed C
Solo display one day, fighter the next

1 Fighter Squadron, Royal Jordanian Air Force
King Abdullah Air Base, Jordan
5 August 1965

Neutral Jordan’s first purchase of an aircraft from the Socialist Union was twenty four OPS – JMC Fishbed Cs in 1962. Equipping two squadrons based at King Abdullah Air Base near Amman, they were primarily operated in the air defence role.

When the 1965 Arab War broke out, pitting Egypt and Syria against Jordan, the Jordanian Fishbed pilots fought briefly before evacuating nine surviving aircraft to Saudi Arabia. Once there, they were grounded and quickly acquired by the USA for evaluation before being put to use as aggressor trainers. When the war ended following the United Nations’ intervention, the Royal Jordanian Air Force was re-equipped with American and Canadian types, including F-5s and Mirages.

This aircraft is unusual in having its internal cannon removed and the muzzle faired over; leaving it only armed with IR guided Atoll A missiles. As flown by Colonel Abdul Ibrahim, it had been modified for use a solo display machine. When the war broke out, the Jordanian’s didn’t have time to add the cannon before it was urgently needed for combat duty. Nevertheless, Col. Ibrahim was able to shoot down a Syrian (Turkish built) Fluffy on the second day of the war (5 August) and the next day another pilot flying this aircraft, Lt. Tariq Omar, claimed an Egyptian (Socialist Union built) Fresco, although the latter kill has never been confirmed.

In 1984 the USA returned this aircraft to Jordan, where it was put on display at the Royal Jordanian Air Force Museum in its original colours (as seen here) from 1986.
 
I would like to hear more about this universe.
There's the link from the modeler: https://www.whatifmodellers.com/index.php?action=profile;u=286

But I can explain some timeline (an resume):
- An second Russian Civil War between Stalin and Trosky occured, where Trosky Socialist forces won, with Stalin been pushed to Traunscauscasia
- The Spanish Civil War is won by the Socialist forces, with the fascists forces been exiled to Italy (Ribentrop-Molotov treaty still made)
- WWII still occured OTL (with small changes, like extra latin american forces, and more foreign forces fighting in Socialist Union, and more Axis and pro-Axis members joining) until August of 1944, after the Valkyrie Coup, both Axis (now more democratic) and Western Allies cease-fire and abandoned the Socialist Union (know by them as The Great Betrayal - even some of the former western nations-in-exile forces joined the Axis) - The Axis still lost, in May of 1946
- OTL Pacific War until August of 1945, where in scare of the Socialist forces invading and occupying all Korea, the now UN launched Operation Titan, liberating the South part of Korea instead of launching Operation Olympic, and the Japanese arrested Hirohito and continued to fight until May of 1946.
- An WWIII at the same time as the Korean War, with the Socialist Union now invading the remaining Western European nations. With some combat between now three factions (United Nations/Comintern/Neutrals) from the 60's to the present.
 
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Thunder Box Oboe 7 Portuguese Mitchell GR.IVa

Link: www.whatifmodellers.com/index.…

North American Mitchell GR.IVa
a/c N, Squadrilia C, Forças Aéreas da Armada (Portuguese Navy Air Forces)
Batchelor, Northern territory, Australia
October, 1945

Despite the 1942 Japanese occupation of East Timor, Portugal officially remained neutral, in part to protect the continuing, but compromised, Portuguese civilian administration that officially collaborated with the occupation forces. However, this relationship was tense, especially as the Portuguese Governor was secretly aiding the Allies with the approval of Lisbon. With the death of the German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler in July, 1944, and the negotiations leading to the Separate Peace/Great Betrayal on the Western Front, the Japanese feared that the Portuguese would finally take a more openly hostile position to Japan's occupation of its Macau and East Timor colonies. This fear precipitated the Japanese to move against the Portuguese civil administration on 13 August, 1944. The Portuguese Governor was placed under house arrest and East Timor was placed under direct Japanese authority from Kupang in the occupied Dutch East Indies, thereby creating a unified Timor that eliminated the pre-war colonial borders. A similar move was undertaken in Macau on the same day.

The Portuguese response was a declaration of war against Japan, announced on 28 August, 1944. Joining the Allies, the Portuguese government set about establishing military forces in Australia to confront the Japanese occupation and lobbying for an Allied plan to liberate East Timor from the enemy. By mid-1945 Portuguese Army and Navy forces were active in Australia and making inroads against Japanese control over East Timor, with Operation Oboe 7 to occupy Dili and Kupang planned for 5 October, 1945.

Squadrilia C, Forças Aéreas da Armada, was established at East Sale, Victoria, Australia, on 2 November, 1944. Designated as a training unit, the personnel of Squadrilia C were mostly experienced Blenheim crews and were undergoing English language, technical, tactical and procedural training before moving to Bairnsdale where they flew RAAF Beauforts. In March, 1945, the unit moved to Pearce in Western Australia where they met their future combat mounts, 25 North American Mitchell IVs.

The Mitchell IV was a Lend-Lease version of the B-25J. Originally to be completed as PBJ-1J airframes for the USMC, 50 airframes were release for export when the US Navy brokered a deal to acquire Douglas A-26 Invaders for USMC use as the PBD-1 Invader. Not required by the USAF, the 50 airframes were given to Australia under Lend-Lease terms, who issued them to the RAAF's No. 18 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron and Portugal’s Squadrilia C (with the RAAF themselves taking on the PBD-1 via US Navy contracts[/url]).

Although nominally PBJ-1Js and painted in US Navy all-over Dark Sea Blue camouflage, the Mitchell IVs were delivered to the the RAAF as a “green” airframes without the PBJ-1J's radar and all had the greenhouse nose of the standard B-25J level bomber (but without the Norden bombsight, which had to be added in Australia). To produce the baseline operational Mitchell GR.IV, RAAF technicians adapted the planes to carry the British AI Mk X radar in a wing pod, removed the dorsal gun turret and replaced it with a rotatable astrodome featuring a flat window pane for navigational observations. The waist gun mounts were faired over and the side fuselage guns removed. These measured reflected the lack of enemy aerial opposition, but also the need to save weight and reduce drag for greater range and endurance. 325 US gallon fuel tanks were fitted to the bomb bays as standard, leaving the underwing racks to carry bombs, mines and rockets. Two variations of the Mitchell IV were also produced. The Mitchell PR.IV was modified for the photo-recce role with mission equipment similar to the F-10 version of the B-25 and the Mitchell GR.IVa (modelled here) was a strafer with 20mm Hispano cannon mounted in a modified greenhouse nose.

Squadrilia C began combat missions with a mix of GR.IV, PR.IV and GR.IVa Mitchells from Batchelor in November, 1944. Operating as part of the RAAF's North-Western Area Command (NWAC), the squadron flew a wide range of missions that were codenamed with NWAC's characteristic nomenclature based on Aussie cultural references, slang and ocker phrases. These included defensive shipping lane patrols (Top Paddock), convoy escorts (Deadset), photographic reconnaissance (Ginger Meggs), formation level bombing (Pub Brawl), single-plane night heckler attack (Meat Tray), offensive maritime reconnaissance patrols (Chook Raffle) and mine laying (Ugg Boot). Starting in August, 1945, and in preparation for Oboe 7, Squadrilia C began flying Woop Woop missions over Timor; these involved 2 planes (usually a GR.IV and a GR.IVa) performing visual reconnaissance over Timor while in contact with Allied naval vessels and Allied troops on the ground and making on-call attacks and coordinating actions with aerial, ground and naval assets. In October these were supplemented by similar nocturnal missions codenamed Thunder Box. The original caption for the photo of Mitchell GR.IVa coded N on which this model is based states that it was “ready for another night Thunder Box mission.” The underwing ordnance is six 5 inch rockets and two 65 US Gallon napalm tanks.
 
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