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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…December 23rd

December 22, 2018 · in News · · 15 · 2.6K

No, this is not Louis Gardner’s Iron Works. Real F4U 1 Corsairs being made on the Vought Sikorsky production line on 23rd Dec 1942. Would love to see a colourised version of this.

Santa Claus exchanges his traditional civilian red hat for a soldier’s tin helmet. Regardless of Heinkels, Ju88’s, 109’s and the possibility of friendly fire, the big guy makes it through. Albeit two days ealy in London, December 23rd, 1940.

Curtiss Tomahawk, Egypt 23rd December 1941.

Curtiss P40 ‘Flying Tigers’ being guarded by a Chinese soldier today in 1943.

The next four photos are colourised and from various theatres in WWII at Christmas time.

This cover illustration has the caption, “Aerial lookout in an observatory car suspended from a Zeppelin airship”. December 23rd, 1916. I cannot for a single second imagine being the man in that machine.

The soldier in the centre of the picture was one of a group of ‘infiltrators’ executed after a military trial found them on violation of the Hague convention, article 23: “It’s especially forbidden to make improper use of a flag of truce, of the national flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy”.

Their mission was part of the ‘Operation Greif’ commanded by the infamous Waffen-SS commando Otto Skorzeny during the Battle of the Bulge. The operation was conceived by Adolf Hitler himself with the purpose of capturing one or more of the bridges over the Meuse river before they could be destroyed.

German soldiers, wearing captured British and US Army uniforms and using captured Allied vehicles, caused confusion in the rear of the Allied lines. A lack of resources and equipment limited the operation and it never achieved the aim of securing the Meuse bridges.

Reader reactions:
4  Awesome

15 responses

  1. That very first picture of the F4U assembly line got my attention fast ! Besides seeing a color picture of this scene, can you imagine how good it would look in a 1/48 scale diorama ?

    Something beyond my skill set ... You have been pushing my buttons with all of the Corsair photos over the last few days. 🙂

    A man can only take so much ! And then he will break down and just "have" to build up a few more...

    Thanks again buddy for the inspiration. It will happen soon.

    My favorite has to be the Christmas tree made from ordnance. They are all very good pictures though. Christmas time away from your family is never easy. Be it in peace time or in a combat zone. Those people suffered so much so that we could enjoy the freedoms that we unfortunately take for granted on occasion.

    Freedom is not free. Lest we forget.


  2. Thanks, Louis!

    The ordinance Christmas tree was taken in Iraq.

    Looking forward to seeing you crank up the Ironwerks.

  3. Great selection.

  4. Here’s one that didn’t make the cut from December 17th (1943)...

  5. Sorry to tease you like this Louis, but here’s another. Or two. This is of Corsairs flying ground support in Korea. Eagle-eyed viewers will note (Tom Cleaver will be here in a moment to verify or refute) these are WWII models (F4U-1d’s, three bladed props included). Also of interest is that they are without armament (used, or spent?) and there appears to be tape over the gunports (to prevent freezing?).

  6. ‘It’s the season for giving, so here’s a shot of ground crew attending to pilot Robert Marshall In his F4U-1A Corsair, Bougainville 19th Dec 1943.

  7. That first photo of the Corsairs... It looks as if the wings where obviously painted and the stars where added...but, the center section of the wing that housed the landing gear was still in primer. The fuselage was left in primer,while the canopy was painted. Then the tail was painted along with the rudder but, not the vertical stab. Keeping the assembly line moving must have been the priority and if things where left unpainted they'd get to it later.

    There have been several builds of individual aircraft on the assembly line showing up at the Nats.

    • The wings were built as sub assemblies by contractors and arrived at the Vought factory partially painted. I'm fairly certain the wings were made by a company called "Briggs".

      Other parts were also sub contracted out by Vought.

      This explains the various parts being painted on the assembly line... Good eye !

      • More Trivia...For years folks debated (only modeling geeks) would debate the use of Salmon colored primer used on Birdcaged Corsairs. With some retired employees (according to historians/modelers) swore that they left the factory with this color in the landing gear bay's. In the end a Corsair found and raised from the bottom of Lake Michigan proved that was not the case. Or it provided that one particular Corsair had off white wheel wells. A lot of models where painted with salmon colored paint. I am putting out my 2 cents for my daily trivia ration.

  8. Un árbol de navidad explosivo. Muy bonitos los Corsarios!

  9. Ahhh this is my favorite plane David... These F4U's have the gun ports taped over to prevent the barrels from getting dirty due to debris being blown into the barrels by the prop wash. These planes operated from air strips that were often made from crushed coral.

    The tape also helped to improve the performance a little... Marston matts and F4U's... it doesn't get much better than that !

    As far as the Corsairs flying ground support in the picture you posted: I think the original caption stated it was taken over Okinawa and not Korea. By the Korean War they were using the later Dash 4, Dash 5 and AU-1 versions for ground support. They were easily identified since they had an entirely different cowling and a 4 blade propeller.

    As far as the under wing rocket stubs go: They were originally introduced on the -1D variant. On occasion they were retro fitted to earlier airframes too. I have a picture showing an early bird cage Corsair that clearly shows rocket stubs under the wings.

    As always this is an excellent series of pictures !

    Thanks for posting...

  10. Great photos. Again. David. Thanks!

  11. Hello David,
    Thanks for your very interesting contributions to this excellent website.
    I'm glued to your pics. Regards, Dirk

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