Air and Space Photos from Alternate Worlds.


(Dirty) SAAF Corsair VIb​

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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 IndoChina​

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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.
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Luftwaffe 1946, Volume 2, Issue No.11
 
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Luftwaffe 1946, Volume 2, Issue No.10

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Luftwaffe 1946, Issue No.2, Volume 2

RNZAF Grumman Tigercat F.1​

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Grumman Tigercat F.1
a/c 60 “Syncopation”/ “Mad Mac”, No. 2 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF)
Cam Ranh, Annam, French Indochina, March 1946

The RNZAF became aware of the Grumman F7F Tigercat twin-engined fighter-bomber in early 1942. Suitably impressed, the New Zealanders expressed interest in acquiring the type and developed their own specifications for single- (Tigercat F.1) and two-seat (Tigercat F.2) export models. Although both versions were to be equipped with the APS-6 radar, the New Zealanders considered airborne radar to be a future standard for both day fighter and night fighter operations and refrained from designating these aircraft as night fighters.

The F.1 model was analogous to the F7F-3 and the F.2 the F7F-3N. Both versions were armed with four 20mm M3 cannons, the F.1 carrying an additional four .50 cal Browning machine guns. Unlike US Tigercats, the New Zealand versions were able to carry up to six 260lb bombs on racks located between the four underwing rocket stubs. The F.1s also carried additional internal fuel for long-range missions.

The Tigercat F.1 entered service first, No.2 Squadron relinquishing their PV-1 Ventura patrol bombers in April 1945 for the single seater. Originally slated to begin their next combat tour in the South-West Pacific theatre from September, in August they were retasked to join SEAC and moved north to the newly established RAF base at Cam Ranh. Arriving mid-September, the Tigercats ranged over Indochina and the South China Sea, conducting armed reconnaissance fighter-bomber sweeps, interdiction strike, close air support and convoy escort missions until the end of the war. They participated in the Allied seizure of Saigon, flew long-range shipping escort and airfield strike missions in support of the British assault on Hong Kong and were active in close air support during the Japanese offensive in Indochina following the March, 1946, Allied invasion of Honshu. No 2 Squadron and its Tigercat F.1s remained at Cam Ranh until the end of war. During these campaigns the Tigercats delivered US 260lb and 500lb bombs, US 65 gallon napalm tanks and 5 inch HVAR.

The unit moved to Iwakuni, Japan, for occupation duties in June 1946, and re-equipped with Tigercat F.2s in July, 1947. No 2 Squadron was relieved by the P-51Ds of No.14 Squadron in February 1948 and deployed home to Ohakea. In July 1950 the Tigercat F.2s of No 2 Squadron were again deployed to Southeast Asia for combat, joining the Commonwealth’s war against Maoist insurgents in Malaya and based at Alor Setar. No.2 Squadron replaced their Tigercats with GAF Canberra B.20s in 1955.

RNZAF Tigercats also saw action during the Oboe operations in the Dutch East Indies during 1945-46 with No. 7 and No. 8 squadrons, fling F.1 and F.2 versions, respectively. No. 8 Squadron took their Tigercat F.2s into combat over Korea between August 1950 and September 1952, mostly flying from Iwakuni in Japan on night interdiction missions.
 
Jane's All the Galaxy's Fighting Starships #11 (2429 edition)

Name: U.S.S. Glenn (NCC-1030)
Type: Science and Research Vessel
Class: Crossfield-class (1 of 2)
Nationality: United Federation of Planets
Service: Starfleet Service Date: 2255 - 2256
Armaments: 6x Type Dual-mode Phaser Banks, 2x Torpedo launchers
Speed: Warp 6 (cruise), Warp 7 (max. sustained), Warp 7.5 (at extreme risk)


First conceived as a co-operation between the Federation Science Council and Starfleet , the Crossfield is generally considered something of a failure in all respects. By the time off the Battle of the Binary Stars and the subsequent outbreak of the War of 2256, U.S.S. Glenn was in service, and U.S.S. Discovery was rushed to completion with slightly different technical specifications to speed up the process in wartime conditions. Three more ships were planned, but cancelled as with the apocalyptic losses Starfleet was suffering, dockyard space was needed elsewhere. Both ships spent their time patrolling secondary trade routes while conducting a number of high-priority science missions. Neither saw combat during that time, but late that year, U.S.S Glenn was lost when a malfunction of her main shield grid saw the crew killed by the exotic radiation from an uncharted metaphasic nebula, with the ship itself eventually destroyed by an asteroid collision. U.S.S. Discovery was lost shortly after the war when combating the effects of an extra-galactic rouge AI together with the Enterprise. In the aftermath of this, and with a large increase in production of more Constitution-class ships, the Crossfield-class was cancelled.





tbc

My take on what the official story might be.

Some assumptions about the Crossfields were made, as to my knowledge, we were never told what their tactical systems are even before Discovery gets her Future!refit. So I gave them what I considered appropriate and what fits what we saw on screen. Same with conventional warp speeds.
 
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A Hawker Tempest Mk. II Fighter/Fighter-Bomber in the service of the Circle Trigonist Forces during their invasion of the USA in the late 1940s.

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A FMA-Hughes H-38B-2 Hound-Dog of the Argentine Army Aviation based out of Buenos Aires, circa 1942. The B variations of the Hughes Hound-Dog would be equipped with a Bristol Pegasus engine and would feature in the wings two 13.1mm Ferguson Heavy Machine-Guns and two 7.7mm Tredegar Machine-Guns. A total of 73 airframes would be produced and used by the Confederate Air Force until it's replacement by the newer C models of the Hound Dogs by the autumn of 1939. These B models of the Hound Dogs alongside the earlier Kestrel Powered A models would be eventually be either sold to other countries or modified into two seat trainers as the so-called Sheepdog variants. The H-38B models would also be widely exported and used by other nations, among them was Colombia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Portugal, South Africa, and Argentina, which proved to the largest operator of the Hound-Dog outside of the CSA and Mexico. Argentina would first purchase 44 H-38B-2 variants from the Confederate in October of 1938 and in that same month, a deal would be struck between the Hughes Aircraft Company and the Fábrica Argentina de Aviones or FMA for the rights to license produce 210 airframes for the Argentine Air Force, in which the last of them would be completed by late 1942. The Hound Dog would serve the Argentine Air Force as a frontline fighter until 1946 when they were replaced by the Italian Fiat, Macchi, and Reggiane fighters.

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Top: An H-38C-6 Hound Dog of the 104th Fighter Squadron based in Ohio, circa Spring of 1942.
Bottom: An H-38E-6 Hound Dog of the 67th Fighter Squadron based in Arkansas, circa Summer of 1943. Note that this plane has been noticeably been modified as the fuselage has not been ribbed and two 13mm machine-guns being added into the nose.
 

Blue Gemini (unofficially referred to as “Big Blue Gemini”), the USAF’s primary crew vehicle from 1964 to 1991. Modestly expanded from the original Gemini, Blue Gemini could carry four humans to orbit and back, and was launched on the Titan-IV and later the Atlas V.

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An Agena-II man-tended orbital laboratory, from the viewport of a docking Blue Gemini capsule. The USAF made use of three Agena-IIs over a roughly 20-year period to test military space survival, observation, offensive and defensive technologies, while NASA made use of two Agena-IIs over the same period to prepare for the construction of a permanently-crewed space station. A third Agena-II would form one of the three initial modules of Space Station Philadelphia in 1992.
 

Aerofortress heavy bombers and Rapier II fighters of the 9th Composite Fighter-Bomber Squadron (1st Consolidated Bomber Group, Colonial Aero Corps) at Lawson Field in the Northern Boneyard. The aircraft of the 9th Squadron are being refueled and refitted in the Boneyard ahead of a redeployment of the entire squadron to staging fields in the White Sands Republic, a Djong-Kok client state of the Kommersant that sits astride the lucrative shipping routes of the Kunming Strait. In preparation for operational deployment in the colonial territories of the Northern Hemisphere, the traditional black-yellow-black combat flashes of the Colonial Aero Corps have been applied to all aircraft. Known by a variety of informal sobriquets ("Viermot" to the Fliegervolk, "Gunship" or "Heavy" to the Inglic-speaking Wingmen), the Aerofortress is the premier heavy hitter of the Kommersant's aerial arsenal and a frequent, if distant, sight in the colonial skies.
 

USS Kitkun Bay FM-3B, 1 March 1946​

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General Motors Eastern Division FM-3B Wildcat
a/c 410, Composite Squadron VC-4, U.S. Navy
USS Kitkun Bay, 1 March, 1946

The final 300 Wildcats built by General Motors were of the FM-3 model, custom-built specifically to support the Operation Coronet invasion of Honshu. This FM-3 featured the more powerful, 1,425hp (1,063 kW) Wright R-1820-74W engine and a height adjustable undercarriage (an innovation whereby the fuselage could be lowered for easier access to the engine; this was meant to improve time management and safety, but was usually ignored in service, though commonly seen in use by VC-4). 50 were of the FM-3B subtype, which was adapted for the airborne forward air controller role, with radio equipment designed to enable easier communication with all Allied assets on the ground, in the air and at sea.

US Navy Casablanca class escort carrier USS Kitkun Bay had seen considerable action prior Y-Day, notably as part of Taffy 3 during the Battle off Samar. For Y-Day, she carried Composite Squadron VC-4, equipped with 14 FM-3Bs and 12 TBM-3E, forming a day and night combination for artillery observation and the spotting of naval gunfire, forward air control and armed scouting missions. FM-3B 410 is seen here with a typical VC-4 target marking load as carried by both the FM-3B and TBM-3E, with external fuel tanks, 5 inch HVAR with white phosphorous warheads and M47A2 white phosphorous bombs. The M47A2s hung from stores pylons adapted from those carried underwing by the F4U-4 Corsair.

410 wears the a colour scheme common to VC-4's aircraft on Y-Day. This includes the U.S. Navy standard overall dark sea blue camouflage with orange and yellow Y-Day invasion stripes, which was applied to all single- and twin-engined Allied types for the invasion. The white painted engine cowling and white horizontal tail surfaces identified all Y-Day forward air control planes of the U.S. Navy. The letters NA identified the USS Kitkun Bay.

USS Kitkun Bay survived Y-Day and Operation Coronet without damage. Her gunners shot down 9 kamikazes and VC-4 aircrews claimed a further 5. After 4 weeks on the line she steamed to the rear for maintenance, replenishment and crew rest, sitting out April and resuming combat in mid May. She was part of the Allied flotilla at the formal surrender in Tokyo Bay on 29 May, 1946, and then took part in Operation Magic Carpet, returning Allied POWs and wounded troops to the United States for repatriation.

During their two combat tours between Y-Day and VJ-Day, VC-4's Avenger and Wildcat crews flew day and night throughout the Operation Coronet battlespace. In addition to directly supporting US Army and Marine Corps troops in contact with the enemy and leading interdiction operations against the enemy's rear, VC-4 also flew a few missions in support of the British Commonwealth landings at Wakasa Bay on the western coast of Honshu.


Tachikawa Ki-100 To-Go​

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Tachikawa Ki-100 To-Gō
Kiku Tokubetsu Kôgekitai (Chrysanthemum Special Attack Forces), Japanese Imperial Army Air Force
Annaka, Honshu, Japan
1 March, 1946

Tachikawa undertook licenced manufacture of Showa's Ki-61 from mid-1942, producing several versions on the Ha-40 powered aircraft. When Showa shifted production to the Ki-61-II, powered by the longer Ha-140, Tachikawa continued with its Ha-40 powered versions until the Ha-40 was withdrawn from production. With insufficient Ha-140s available to meet Tachikawa's demands, the firm adapted the Ki-61 to accept the Mitsubishi Kasei Ha-32 radial engine. This conversion was designated Ki-100 and proved reasonably successful, remaining in dispersed production until February 1946.

The To-Gō variant was a Special Attack (kamikaze) plane, produced from dispersed tunnel and outdoor sites from September, 1945. As the intended pilots were so poorly trained for their one-way mission that they had received no aerial gunnery instruction, the plane carried no gun or cannon armament, but could carry a bomb on the centreline and additional explosives in the rear fuselage. The bomb type seen here is an ANFO (fertilizer and diesel) type, identified by its yellow nose cap and light coloured body.

Like many Ki-100 To-Gō examples photographed, this aircraft was not numbered and wore a partially applied camouflage over its lacquer-protected metal finish. The canopy appeared to be damaged in the photo, probably from being exposed to the elements and to Allied bombing. However, it was clearly deemed to be sufficiently airworthy for its mission, as it is seen warming-up and taking-off with other Ki-100s for their one and only combat mission to engage the American invaders of Honshu. Some of the other Ki-100s also show signs of damage, corrosion and poor workmanship.

According to Japanese sources, the Ki-100s of Kiku Tokubetsu Kôgekitai were successful, with at least 6 of the unit's 47 Ki-100s that took-off on the morning of Y-Day finding targets. Two Ki-100s from Kiku Tokubetsu Kôgekita are believed to have struck the minesweeper USS Hopkins (DD-249), causing it to sink with the loss of 59 crew members dead. Just 2 minutes later, another Ki-100 hit the near-by destroyer USS Rowe (DD-564), resulting in 15 dead and many more casualties. Two LSTs, USS Middlesex County (LST-983) and USS Clarke County (LST-601) were struck next, resulting in a combined total of 115 dead: both ships were forced to withdraw from action for repairs. Another Ki-100 from the unit made a glancing blow on the light cruiser USS Vicksburg (CL-86), resulting in no significant casualties (other than the pilot).

Of the remainder of the Kiku Tokubetsu Kôgekitai's 47 Ki-100s flown on Y-Day, most were shot down by American fighters or anti-aircraft gunners. US Navy F4U-4 Corsair pilot, Ensign David Taylor, is credited with 3 Ki-100 kills on Y-Day, each of these likely to be from Kiku Tokubetsu Kôgekita. A few are also believed to have crashed due to pilot error or equipment malfunction.


1st American jet-to-jet killer​

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Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star
356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group
#655, personal mount of Captain Michael Bradley
Daegu, southern Korea
21 December, 1945

In December 1943, the 354th Fighter Group was the first to take the P-51B into combat and two years later, in October 1945, it was also the first to take the P-80A on a combat mission. After the Separate Peace/Great Betrayal of August 1944 which saw the end of fighting on the Western Front, the 354th remained at airfield A-31 in Gael, France, for two months before returning Stateside, where they were disbanded in December. In January, 1945, the 354th stood up again, initially with P-51Ds but then, as they became available from the production line, the new turbojet-powered Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star.

After extensive training, the three flying units of the 354th Fighter Group (the 353rd, 355th and 356th Fighter Squadrons) moved to the Philippines in October, 1945, and from there deployed to southern Korea via Okinawa in November. At the time, Allied ships and positions in and around southern Korea were subject to occasional tip-and-run attacks from Rikugun Ki-89 Itsumade-Kai Floyd jet bombers. Prepared for jet-to-jet combat, the pilots of the 354th were frustrated to discover over the coming weeks that the Japanese had ceased all offensive jet missions near the Korean Peninsula from the very day that the first Shooting Stars landed there. Assigned daylight top cover air defence duties, the jets pilots could only look on as Allied pilots in piston-engined fighters intercepted the occasional propeller-driven, low-altitude dawn and dusk raider. Fearing that their jet pilots were getting bored, Allied air commanders sent them on offensive missions over the Japanese Home Islands from mid-November, but the Japanese jets rarely appeared and only prop kills were made.

On 21 December, 1945, the Japanese jet pilots responded to a series of bomber strikes made across the Home Islands. However, it wasn't the bombers who were targeted by the jets, but the opposing jets of the 354th who were flying top cover for a a series of strikes against targets in central Honshu. From 10.45 hrs, elements of the 356th Fighter Squadron encountered Fuji Kaiken – Kai Terry jets from the Habu Sentai, a woman-only air defence unit; the 353rd and 355th also engaged with Terrys from other units. In the ensuing battles, the American pilots claimed 7 Terry kills, with 2 damaged and 3 probables, although the Japanese recorded 3 jet combat losses and 2 losses to other causes. The Japanese claimed 4 jet kills, 3 damaged and 5 probables, but American records confirm 2 Shooting Stars lost in air combat against Japanese jets that day.

Captain Michael Brady is credited with the first American jet-to-jet kill, piloting his P-80A #655 to a victory over a Terry at about 10.47. This kill matches Japanese accounts of a Terry piloted by Lt. Aya Miyama, shot down by a Shooting Star south of Mt Daisen. This was Brady's 6th kill in the war against Japan, having joined the 356th after two tours of duty in the Pacific war. The fact that pilot who was shot down was a woman remained a closely guarded secret (even from Brady) for several years after the war; only when Lt. Aya Miyama's story was told in a Japanese newspaper in 1961 did this fact become public knowledge. Brady would go on to score 9 more air-to-air kills, including 7 in two days during the invasion of Honshu in March, 1946.

His first 3 kills were two Betty bombers and a Zero fighter whilst flying P-39Ds in defence of Port Morseby. After a rest and some time spent as an instructor, he returned to the South West Pacific theatre, racking up another two kills (both Oscars) before returning to the States and joining the 354th in their conversion to the Shooting Star.

As depicted, P-80A #655 Zombie/The jinx has 6 kill markings, the model being based on photographs taken as the 6th kill marking was added. Brady can be seen being congratulated by pilots and ground crew as the fresh kill marking is applied.
 
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