(Dirty) SAAF Corsair VIbLink: www.whatifmodellers.com/index.…
Vought Corsair VIb
X/Elaine II, 5 Squadron, South African Air Force
Obama, Japan, 2 May, 1946
On 15 December, 1945, the Commonwealth Corsair Strike Wing stood up at Pusan. Equipped with the Vought Corsair VIb, the Wing was composed of 2 New Zealand squadrons (14 and 15 RNZAF), one Canadian squadron (401 RCAF) and one South African squadron (5 SAAF). Primarily assigned to surface attack missions, they conducted strikes against both land and maritime targets and moved to Tsushima Island (mid-way between Korea and Kyushu) in early April, 1946, from where they concentrated on attacks against Kyushu and Honshu. Following the X-Day invasion of Honshu, the Wing moved to Obama, on Honshu, in mid-March from where they focused on providing close air support and battlefield area interdiction.
The Corsair VI was a version of the F4U-4B customised for the Fleet Air Arm, with clipped wings and British-made 20mm Hispano cannons. Built as a variation of the Lend-Lease contracts that covered the Corsair VI, the VIb model reverted to full-span wings and had the tail hook omitted as it was a land-based version.
Elaine II was the personal mount of Lt. Gert Kruger. It is seen here close to the end of the war and displaying 60 mission marks. It is equipped with an external fuel tank (apparently from US stocks, as it is painted in Dark Sea Blue), a US 500lb general purpose bomb with fuse extender and wire (for anti-personnel effect), two US 160 lib general purpose bombs and four M47 napalm bombs. At the time the Wing was busy supporting British Commonwealth forces during the Battle of Kyoto.
Royal Canadian Navy Corsair V in IndoChinaLink: www.whatifmodellers.com/index.…
Vought F4U-4C Corsair V
870 Fighter Squadron
HMCS Magnificent, late January 1946
Before participating in combat operations directly against the Japanese home islands, Canada's first naval aviation campaign was in support of the British-lead campaign to occupy IndoChina below the 16th parallel. Missions were flown over Annan, Cochinchina, Cambodia and Laos, the cannon-armed Corsair V providing battlefield air interdiction and close air support.
French observers noted that British Army commanders were reluctant to incur casualties; despite using motorised infantry, they advanced cautiously only after the extensive application of air power against points of resistance. This came not only from defending Japanese troops, but also the nationalist Vietminh (plus the Pathet Lao in southern Laos).
The Canadian naval Corsairs were frequently seen with mixed loads of HVARs, napalm and 260lb or 500lb bombs in order to provide an immediate and appropriate response to enemy positions. In late January, these loads were used with accurate and devastating effect during the battle for Saigon. Many French observers who witnessed the battle questioned the heavy application of ordnance used on the city, describing it in terms of overkill.
Canadian histories of the IndoChina campaign note the the RCN aircraft carriers tested and proved many tactics, weapons and procedures over IndoChina that would be used with overwhelming effect during the invasion of Honshu in March, 1946.