Author Topic: P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches  (Read 394 times)

Offline b29r

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P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches
« on: July 17, 2019, 12:58:17 AM »
In an alternate timeline, the 422 Night Fighter Squadron was deployed to the PTO, as part of General George Kenney's Fifth Air Force.  Kenney requested the Black Widow after observing the success that Mitchells enjoyed in the theatre, particulary the 345th Bomb Group, known as the Air Apaches.  Major Paul Gunn, Engineering Officer, saw that the P-61's were stripped of their black paint and subjected to certain modifications:  The dorsal turret was deleted, the onboard radar removed, and two Browning .50's were added in their place.  Additional armor plate was installed where possible around crew areas, and bullet resistant glazing installed in a revised canopy configuration.

 The most obvious change was the inclusion of the Yehudi lighting system, which had been successfully trialed on PBY Cats and TBM Avengers.  The diffused lighting allowed the Widows to approach within two miles undetected visually, and it's high speed enabled it to close the target with relative impunity.  Skip bombing had already been perfected by the 345th, and the modified P-61's outperformed the venerable Mitchells by a large margin.

 The heavy forward firepower of the Widow wrought absolute havoc on the decks of the targeted vessel.  Many patrol craft and small coastal ships were thus destroyed by gunfire alone.  Targets for the Widows were identified by radar equipped PBY's and Privateers which combed Japanese sea lanes for convoy traffic.  The fighter capabilities of the P-61 proved highly useful in the event that convoy air cover was encountered.








The Airfix P-61 is a true veteran, and has been with us for many years.  As a product of it's time, it has held up pretty well, but thankfully there are newer offerings available.  Rivets were toned down on the model, but still are painfully visible.  I just happened to have some extra bombs from the Monogram Twin Mustang, which were a bit nicer than the kit ones.   ;)   EagleCal decals were used, and performed superbly.  Basic work here, mainly on trying to replicate the Yehudi system.

 Best regards,
 Kem

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2019, 02:25:40 AM »
Nice what-if and great back story! 
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2019, 06:24:35 AM »
Nice what-if and great back story!

Concur with my esteemed colleague. Quite a stunner!

Brian da Basher

Offline kerick

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Re: P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2019, 12:29:51 PM »
P-61s were put to work as day attack aircraft in Europe once the danger of German night attacks had fallen to nearly zero. Even as night fighters the top turret was frequently removed.
I have the old Monogram 1/48th P-61 in the stash. Your build is giving me ideas.....

Offline Frank3k

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Re: P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2019, 01:25:48 PM »
This is a beautiful and believable build. I love the P-61. What was the radar operator station in the rear used for in this version?

Offline buzzbomb

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Re: P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2019, 06:24:44 PM »
Very convincing

Offline b29r

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Re: P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2019, 09:40:37 PM »
This is a beautiful and believable build. I love the P-61. What was the radar operator station in the rear used for in this version?

The rear station was primarily for the radio operator and equipment.  During the attack run and exit, the radio operator was also responsible for observation of results of the attack, plus locating any potential threats.  For some missions, the former gunner behind the pilot was left home, but most of the time the gunner flew along, as an extra pair of eyes for the pilot.  This crewman also served as a rudimentary navigator, but the Widows followed lead navigators in the form of the Privateers and Harpoons that accompanied the missions.

HTH,
Kem

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2019, 01:40:07 AM »
 :smiley:
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Camthalion

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Re: P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2019, 06:46:27 AM »
very nice

Offline elmayerle

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Re: P-61B Black Widow 345th Bomb Group Air Apaches
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2019, 10:45:51 AM »
That's a beautiful build with a very plausible back story.  Bravo!!