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56th FG Zemkes Wolfpack
The Outstanding P-47 Fighter Group Of WW2.
Researching "Hairless Joe"
lampie
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Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 10:31 AM UTC
One of the most well known and popular P-47's amongst modellers is the D-25 # 42-26641, which is better known as "Hairless Joe".
Coded LM-S it was the personal P-47 of David Schilling from July 1944 up until his last documented combat mission on Jan 5th 1945.
Schilling flew what is reputed to be the first P-47M delivered to the 56th after that date but didnt fly it in combat before leaving the 56th at the end of that month.
So, with such a well known Thunderbolt you would think that only a small amount of research would be needed to enable the modeller to produce an accurate replica.
However, like many of the Aces aircraft, controversy and debate surrounds Hairless Joe.
What colours were used is the usual debate on aircraft carrying this type of paint scheme but with Hairless Joe there are many small,( and not so small) changes and variations which go to make up a fabulous history for the 6 months that Schilling flew it.
The idea behind this thread is to discuss Dave Schillings "Hairless Joe" and see if between us we can come up with a "Timeline" for the various guises.
One thing is certain, there were two major variations on the paint scheme. These are easily identified by the camo scheme on the tail fin, which is a much simpler scheme on the later version. The demarcation lines on the lower cowling are different on this version also.
I'll start this off with a few photos of "Hairless Joe"

The man himself waits to start his takeoff run at Boxted. This is the "early" paint scheme.

The "later" scheme. Note the tail fin camo scheme compared to the first photo.

There are many small points we'll encounter along the way.
* The removal of invasion stripes *
* Underside,,nmf?,,light grey?,,a mixture of both? Gear doors unpainted?*
* The possiblity of carrying lower wing invasion stripes on one wing only after its crash landing on Sept 17th 1944 and subsequent(?) wing change.
I have a photo of this crashlanding but I want to see what the debate produces before I post it*
* Rocket tubes, carried until when?*
*Colour of the wheel covers *
* Change of the pilot/ground crew info panel *

I hope everyone wil enjoy this thread. Feel free to join in the discussion and add any photos of Hairless Joe that you may have.
Nige
warlock0322
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Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 09:25 PM UTC
Wow Nige great subject.

Reminds me of the games in the magazines. How many differences can you find between the pictures.

Two things that stick out to me and one could just be the lighting is:

Not only is the camo scheme different, but looks to be 2 totally different colors as well
1st pic is the green/gray scheme and the second a green/green scheme. Now I now paint fades in the harness of time and battle but I never saw a gray color fade to a green shade.

Second is the underside of the plane. I see in the second picture that there is what appears to be a demarcation line just under the exhaust by the cowling. Natural metal? I cannot tell at this point. but what I do see is that the gear doors are awfully shiny to be a painted gray door.
So could it have had a gray underbelly with Natural metal gear doors?

The wheel covers as you mentioned are a different color, but also look to me like they are a totally different type of cover as well.

Notice in the 1st pic that he has the smooth cover that I am used to seeing. In the second pic not only does it look red, but the cover appears to have a more pronounced rim around the edge of it? Was there a different type of cover used late in the war?

Very intriguing indeed and you are right it does bear more in depth research.

Google here I come!!!!!!!!

Paul


lampie
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Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 10:40 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Two things that stick out to me and one could just be the lighting is:

Not only is the camo scheme different, but looks to be 2 totally different colors as well
1st pic is the green/gray scheme and the second a green/green scheme. Now I know paint fades in the harness of time and battle but I never saw a gray color fade to a green shade.

Second is the underside of the plane. I see in the second picture that there is what appears to be a demarcation line just under the exhaust by the cowling. Natural metal? I cannot tell at this point. but what I do see is that the gear doors are awfully shiny to be a painted gray door.
So could it have had a gray underbelly with Natural metal gear doors?

The wheel covers as you mentioned are a different color, but also look to me like they are a totally different type of cover as well.




Hi Paul.
Regarding the colours, yes its the lighting/ photo exposure thats making the colours seem so different.
Its pretty certain that its RAF Dark Green and Ocean Grey on the top sides. A lighter grey on the undersides.
Well spotted on the gear doors. It certainly appears that the gear door were left in a NMF. We'll also see in later photos that it seems that the lower wing invasion stripes didnt spread to the gear doors, but are present on the wing in that area.
Regarding the wheel covers. On the second photo the actual cover has been painted red, but the rim of the wheel has been left unpainted/grey. Gives a nice effect dont you think?

Hairless Joe would have been delivered in the standard NMF with an olive drab antiglare panel and black bands on the tail/ horizontal stabilisers.
Schilling returned from his leave in early July 1944, ( no doubt extremely annoyed to have missed the D-Day landings! ) and laid claim to 42-26641.
The paint scheme wold have been applied around that time. Undersurface invasion stripes only.
Heres the first "curve ball" into the pot.
Looking through some colour film of the 56th, theres a short 9 second segment, taken at Boxted of one particular P-47 taxying along the perimeter track. Coded LM-S, but devoid of noseart!
The paint scheme, although not the best focus in footage, looks like its Shillings P-47. ( the thin green line over the star and bar on the fuslalage and the grey area forward of that. more grey than green on the tail fin. Those areas especially).



Im checking all the other "LM-S" coded aircraft listed on "Little Friends" and its looking increasingly certain that the P-47 in the footage is Schillings P-47 before the artwork was added to the cowling.This would date the image as early July 1944, just after Schilling returned from his leave.
Assuming it turns out to be "Hairless Joe" its another photo to confirm that the gear covers were left unpainted.

Lots more photos to come.

Nige
PaddyBarratt
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 06:38 AM UTC
The aircraft seems to sit a lot lower at the back in the 1st picture ... i realise its carrying a drop tank but i am surprised it has that much effect on the tail wheel height .....just my 10p's worth :-)
lampie
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 11:27 AM UTC
Lets look for a moment into when and why "Hairless Joe" was repainted.
The most likely time would be after Schillings crash landing at Boxted on 17th September 1944.

This is one of only two photos I have which I can put a positive date to.Note the flak damage in the "S"

Theres a school of thought regarding the possiblity that Hairless Joe carried invasion stripes on the underside of one ( the starboard) wing only.This is commonly atributed to the port wing being changed after the crash landing pictured above.
His wingman on that mission ( Mike Jackson) reported damage to the *port* wing/undercarriage and wheel.
" A streamer of fire some thirty feet long coming from his left wing" Jackson also stated that after Schilling lowered his landing gear the fire went out and that Schillings tyre had burned off.
In the photo theres no sign of smoke or fire damage around the port wheel and tyre. Either the damage is inside the wheel well or on the other wing. The tyre doesnt seem to have "burned off"
What is clear from the photo though, is that there are no invasion stripes on the underside of the port wing. So that goes against the theory that the port wing having no invasion stripes was a result of the wing being changed after the crash landing.

It looks as though the invasion stripes on both wings had been removed prior to Sept 17th 1944. Thats what I'm erring towards at the moment but who knows, maybe a photo of Hairless Joe with only one wing "striped" will turn up.
The restored P-47 in Hairless Joe markings has stripes on the staboard wing only. ( Photos of this aircraft dont count as evidence )

Nige
PaddyBarratt
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 07:58 PM UTC
Looks like a broader prop on this picture.
lampie
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 10:15 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Looks like a broader prop on this picture.



Both before and after the crash landing props are the Hamilton Type.
The only difference between the two props is the area where the blades attach.
On the "early" Hairless Joe its a dark colour. The replacement prop is a lighter colour in that area.

Nige
:-H
warlock0322
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Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 01:51 AM UTC
Nige another thing I notice about the photo is the inner white band on the National insignia on the wing is missing. The outter one is there. Plus the skin at the base of the stut where it meets the wing looks blistered or irregular. Lighting? Exposure? or Heat blistering?

Aside from the obvious fire extinguisher sitting there in the picture. If the story of the fire is correct. Granted the tire was not burned off but would the heart from so called fire burn the paint off to a point of looking like the invasion stripes were just burned off before he could get the gear down?

If the fire was in the wheel well/portside wing as stated the the flames may have scorched the stripes off.

Just a guess

Paul
lampie
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Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 03:11 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Nige another thing I notice about the photo is the inner white band on the National insignia on the wing is missing. The outter one is there. Plus the skin at the base of the stut where it meets the wing looks blistered or irregular. Lighting? Exposure? or Heat blistering?
Paul



Hi Paul.
Its there, but the wing pylon ( which was removable) is blocking the inner part of the national insignia.
The irregular appearance at the top of the strut, (highlighted on the photo) is the base of that pylon.


The apparent complete lack of smoke/ fire damage on the gear doors is making me think that here wasnt a fire in the port wheel well.
Just my personal take on this particular days history of Hairless Joe and Dave Schilling.

While Hairless Joe was in for repairs after this landing, Schilling scored 3 victories on the 21st Sept while flying Lucian Dades LM-P 42-26417. These were his last confirmed kills before his "5 in a day" on 23rd December while flying Hairless Joe.

Nige
:-H
warlock0322
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Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 03:37 AM UTC
Hey Nige:

Just a stab in the dark and I am almost ashamed to suggest it.

Could Mr Schillings wingman got the wrong wing? Instead of being the *Port* wing being damage it was actually the Starbord wing?

I know how silly it may sound but I thought I'd just throw that one out there.

Paul
PaddyBarratt
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Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 05:06 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Looks like a broader prop on this picture.



Both before and after the crash landing props are the Hamilton Type.
The only difference between the two props is the area where the blades attach.
On the "early" Hairless Joe its a dark colour. The replacement prop is a lighter colour in that area.

Nige
:-H



I was no good at spot the ball either :-)
lampie
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Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 12:42 AM UTC
Lets divide this into two distinct parts.
"Early" ( pre repainted tail fin/cowling) and "late", and try to put together a 360 degree walkround of Hairless Joe.
Those starboard side photos are rare indeed. Maybe we can find some?

Heres as close as I can get at the moment to a full 360 of "Early" Hairless Joe.




A starboard rear view would complete the set. Especially one showing the tail fin and fusalage side area.

Some points to note in these photos.
* invasion stripes on lower wings, starboard at least*,,( its that wing again! )
*rocket tubes fitted on some photos* ( I have a photo dated 31st August 1944 which is the latest date I can identify rocket tubes being fitted.( they were not present on 17th Sept photos)
* silver/nmf undercarriage struts*
* The starboard front view seems to confirm that the underside was a lighter grey to the top grey*
* looking at the rear view, the camouflage line appears to flow smoothly over the flaps, which leads me to believe that the area exposed when the flaps were lowered would be nmf*

Food for thought.

Paul, its possible that Jackson could have been misquoted or mistaken.
Anythings possible.
The wing replacement side of this story is one of the most interesting parts.
Im thinking that if a wing was replaced and repainted that the chances of the camo pattern matching the earlier one would be pretty remote, and Ive been looking at photos which show the wing leading edge of both aircraft and think I've found a couple that show a marked difference.

Paddy, I was rubbish at "spot the ball" as well ,,showing your age there mate

Nige
warlock0322
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Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 01:26 AM UTC
Nige:

Don't know if this will help with the timeline or not with the photos given.

The first 2 look like the center tank was the pressed paper tanks and in the 3rd it was the aluminum/ metal ones.

Didn't the pressed paper tanks come out before the metal ones? If so did they still use the paper ones after the bigger ones came out or did they use them interchangably depending on the mission requirements? ( Which wouldn't help with the timeline what so ever).

Also judging by the 3rd pic that tank looks like it was painted the same gray as the camo scheme. Just comparing the shade of the tank verses the NMF shade of the strut.

Paul
lampie
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Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 01:54 AM UTC
Hi Paul.
The 150 gal drop tanks in the photos were all metal ones
The "Mighty Eighth War Manual" lists the only pressed paper tanks as being the early "bathtub" tanks, and some of the 108 gal tanks.
The 108 gal tanks were also manufactured in steel, Grey painted ones were steel, and the pressed paper tanks were silver.
So unfortunately the drop tanks dont help with the timeline I'm afraid.

Freemans "Mighty Eighth War Manual" is a fabulous piece of reference work and I highly recommend it.

Nige
lampie
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Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 09:32 AM UTC
Heres what I've found which maybe supports the wing change questions.
Looking at the leading edge of port wing, on the first photo the grey/green demarcation lines are quite clear.This is "early" Hairless Joe.


The later Hairless Joe from almost the same angle.


While the inner side of the leading edge isnt as clear in the second photo, the area above the wing pylon looks to be lighter (grey) in the second photo.

Seems to be evidence of a repaint on the upper wing surfaces at least.

Anybody got a top wing view of the later Hairless Joe?

Nige
warlock0322
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Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 09:51 AM UTC
the wing doesn't look like the only thing that is different. Notice the camo pattern on the cowling by the exhaust pipe.

Look like a different shade of colors and they just painted around the nose art.

Although it is a brighter picture. It looks like there is no demarcation lines in the camo between the cowling and the cockpit.

Would they have done that to blend the pattern if it was different if the wing was replaced on that side?

Dang i wish i could do arrows

Paul
lampie
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Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 10:02 AM UTC
Hi Paul.
The cowling area ( port side at least) was repainted following the crash landing on Sept 17th.
The different patterned cowling and the simpler tail fin pattern are the two easiest ways to tell the early and late versions apart.
On most photos the grey.green pattern on the left front of early Hairless Joe isnt very clear.
This black and white photo is the best one I have to hand which shows that area to advantage.


I wish I could arrows in different colours

Nige
lampie
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Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 10:30 AM UTC
In all the times I've looked at this photo over the years Ive never noticed this on the underside of the elevator.


Some further information which could help with the timeline.
In Roger Freemans "The Mighty Eighth" 1970,he records the Eighths first use of the rocket tubes on August 17th in a raid against the Braine-Le-Compte by the 56th FG "A" group led by Dave Schilling.
David Maclarens book on the 56th confirms this date, as does the "56th Fighter Group In WW2" 1948 book.

This gives us 17th and 31st August as dates where Hairless Joe was definately fitted with rocket tubes. Photos of the group commanders meeting on 31st August show the tubes fitted to Hairless Joe. The 56th didnt fly ops on the 30th and 31st August so its probable that Hairless Joe carried rocket tubes for at least the second part of August.
Nige
rdriscoll
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009 - 08:36 AM UTC
Here are a few more:




-Rex
PaddyBarratt
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009 - 08:52 AM UTC
At first glance you would think that the tail plane stripe is a P-47, ID stripe but looking at other pics i would say its too near the tip...
lampie
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009 - 10:16 AM UTC
Hi Paddy.
Its an interesting one that black stripe on the elevator.
Maybe even a replacement from another aircraft?,, I doubt we'll ever know for sure on that.

Hi Rex, havent seen you around for a while, hope alls well.
Great photos, thanks for posting.
I have the first photo but the other two are new ones on me.
The Mustangs in the background are 339th FG, the one nearest to Schillings aircraft being 505th FS.
At first I thought they were taken at a meeting of Group Commanders, but with BOTH the Mustangs being 339th FG it may well have been taken at Fowlmere.
Its "late" Hairless Joe.
The Mustang nearest to Schillings aircraft is listed as being lost in combat on 6th Feb 1945, which unfortunately doesnt help us with the timeline.

Another subtle difference between the two versions of camo is the "S" on the port fusalage.
Before it recieved flak damage on the 17th Sept the "S" was the stencil type, after the hole had been repaired it was repainted in the same style as the other letters on that side.

Still on the lookout for starboard side photos.

Nige
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009 - 10:34 AM UTC
Here is a closeup of the nose. Observations:
1. White stenciling on prop. Added later? The direction is also different (perpendicular to the blade as opposed in line with the blade).
2. Gray intake below the engine. I have seen many modelers paint in Zinc ChromateInterior Green. I also saw the same color in the color film footage of P-47 D-25s in Italy.
3. Outer wing and pylon look like they are unpainted. I am not sure about the inner wing.



-Rex
rdriscoll
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009 - 10:50 AM UTC
Question:
What color is used for the famous red noses of the 56th? US Insignia Red or RAF Red?
I read somewhere that the RAF stock of red was normally used. It looks like Insignia Red to me.

-Rex
lampie
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009 - 11:13 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Here is a closeup of the nose. Observations:
1. White stenciling on prop. Added later? The direction is also different (perpendicular to the blade as opposed in line with the blade).
2. Gray intake below the engine. I have seen many modelers paint in Zinc ChromateInterior Green. I also saw the same color in the color film footage of P-47 D-25s in Italy.
3. Outer wing and pylon look like they are unpainted. I am not sure about the inner wing.



-Rex




Hi Rex.
Assuming that the photo IS Hairless Joe, and theres no reason to doubt its identity, the dark hub of the Hamilton prop identifies it as the "early" Hairless Joe.
The orientation of the white stencils matches this photo I believe.

The air intake is grey in the aircraft in the photo, but this wasnt the case in all P-47s.
You can see from the cover of Zemkes Wolfpack by Roger Freeman that in some cases its painted red as well, so check your references for individual aircraft.


As for the particular red used for the cowlings, I dont know.
Just guessing here but, the first red cowlings appeared on 56th FG P-47's in Feb 1944. All the groups aircraft cowlings were painted over one night, and it would be natural to use paint that was being held in stock at Halesworth. This may well have been the same red paint that was used to paint the borders around the early "star and bar" insignia.
If thats the case, then this fragment of a P-47C which crashed near where I live and was originally based with the 56th at Halesworth, could well have traces of the same red paint used for the cowlings.( at least on the first 61st FS planes to recieve red cowlings)

Certainly looks brighter than the RAF red to my eyes.

Nige
lampie
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Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 10:35 AM UTC
Look carefully at the serial number on "early" Hairless Joe.

Notice the style of the number "2".
According to Norman Ottaways research in "The Mighty Eighth Warpaint And Heraldry" this style font was applied on batches D20-D-30-RE.
Hairless Joe, being a D-25-RE falls into this area.
Now look at the serial number style on "later" Hairless Joe"

The serial number has been repainted using the earlier style stencils( factory applied to all RA and RE models pre D-20. Must have been what the guys at Boxted had on hand when it was repaired and repainted post Sept 17th.

Just another subtle little difference between the two paint schemes.

Brain hurts,,must lie down.