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3 Sqn RAAF Mustang Mk.IVa (Page 4)
- The 'Firewall' Scheme


This photo shows Lew Ranger's CV*W KH755 'Anita', at Cervia in Apr 1945. 
Further info has now come to light re the camouflage scheme that the machine is painted in. 
Note how (in typical P-51 fashion) the undercarriage doors are starting to bleed down.  [Photo Lew Ranger, shown standing at right]

The T.O. scheme, which is illustrated on P.3 of this article, is the official pattern in the P-51D erection manual, and nominates how these P-51D/K airframes were to be painted (in theory).  Although it is common on the P-51B/Cs used by 3 Sqn, it is very rare on the P-51Ks (only being seen on a few early airframes).

The most common scheme seen, by far, on the P-51Ks in photos is another pattern (once again painted in the ANA colours) which is significantly different in layout, particularly on the nose and tail and the wings, which are completely different.  I have reconstructed the pattern (the 'Firewall' pattern) from photos - only the outer portion of each wing outboard of the roundels being a guesstimate, as none of the photos show those areas clearly.  Another couple of important differences are: the lack of a fuselage band; and the serial being carried forward of and level with the tailplanes in 6" high letters.  It now appears that this pattern may actually have been factory-applied.

Steve Brooking advised - We think that this scheme is a significant variation/simplification of the factory scheme, which was introduced at some time during the P-51C/Mustang III production at Dallas.  We think that the front edge of the OD/DG below the cockpit on both sides follows removable panel lines that mark the line of the firewall in front of the cockpit.  The line of this paint is in fact geometrically straight (see GA*S) following the panel line (although it is possible that partial re-painting on some a/c may have put on a bit of a curve to soften the line).  The Melson-Brooking view is that when these a/c were painted at the factory, for some reason the production process/sequence had changed and the main airframe/fuselage was painted with a disruptive pattern before the engine panels were fitted and the engine panels were all painted ANA Sea Gray elsewhere before they were brought to the production/assembly line.  From Figure 22 in the SAAF book, you will see that the OD/Sea Gray patterns on the horiz stab have been switched around from the TO scheme.  On the port side the OD is switched from the outside of the horiz. stab to the inside - i.e. linking up with the segment of OD/DG across the fin and rudder.  Similarly your scan of CV*Z and your drawing shows that on the stbd. side the OD/DG has switched from the inside to the outside of the horiz stab.

A photo which Steve Brooking supplied a copy of (which cannot be reproduced here for copyright reasons) showed the rear end more clearly. The 'W' is a distinctive shape and a crocodile marking [*see below] is carried above the fin flash.


Mustang Mk.IVa, 3 Sqn RAAF, CV-W, KH755, 'Anita', Pilot: Lew Ranger, Cervia, Apr 1945.
'Firewall' pattern using the ANA colours of 613 Olive Drab & 603 Sea Grey upper surfaces with 602 Light Grey lower surfaces. White codes, Red Spinner &
Black serials.  Medium Blue rudder with White Southern Cross.  Name 'ANITA' carried in Yellow lettering.  The upper wing roundels are of the 40" 'C' type.


These four photos are all from Lew Ranger. 
On the last photo, the dark area above the engine cowling is just shadow from the propeller blade and not an area of Dark Green (ANA 613) paint.
This last photo also shows best the demarcation between the ANA 613 and 603 running along the firewall joint. 

This airframe has always had historians and illustrators stumped. It is serial KH794 (received on 8 Mar 45) not KH791 as asserted elsewhere, and the nature of the photos (being either very dark or very light) has led to other attempts to illustrate the camouflage pattern to be in error.

The demarcation which can just be seen on the starboard wing root in the first photo is typical of the 'firewall' pattern.  John Melson has examined this photo closely, and after extreme manipulation of the colour values etc. has confirmed that it carries this pattern.  The drawing below incorporates this research.


Photos RAAF Official & Ken Richards


Mustang Mk.IVa, 3 Sqn RAAF, CV-G, KH794, Pilot: unk, Cervia, Apr/May 1945.
'Firewall' pattern using the ANA colours of 613 Olive Drab & 603 Sea Grey upper surfaces with 602 Light Grey lower surfaces. White codes,
Red Spinner & Black serials. Medium Blue rudder with White Southern Cross. The upper wing roundels are of the 40" 'C' type.

Note on this print supplied by Dick, how the colour demarcation runs straight forward near the wing root (a distinctive and unusual feature of this scheme).  Originally I missed the 'crocodile' insignia above the fin flash [*see below] and thought the Spinner would be Red, which it looks from this angle.

The colours look like RAF Dark Green and Ocean Grey, but are probably in reality highly faded versions of ANA 613/603 on the upper surfaces.  Note how the 'No Step' stencil on the flap is painted over the camo. colours, which should indicate that the airframe is in the same colours that it was painted at the factory.


Photo via D. Hourigan


Mustang Mk.IVa, 3 Sqn RAAF, CV-A, KH670, Pilot: F/Lt A. "Dusty" Lane, Cervia, Apr 1945.
'Firewall' pattern either using faded ANA colours of 613 Olive Drab & 603 Sea Grey upper surfaces with 602 Light Grey lower surfaces or RAF Dark Green/ Ocean Grey/ Med Sea Grey.  White codes & Black serials.  The Spinner is ANA 610 Sky Blue (ex factory).  Medium Blue rudder with White Southern Cross.  The upper wing roundels are of the 40" 'C' type.


These five photos were all sent to me by Dick Hourigan.  The 1st side view photo shows that the Spinner is surprisingly painted in ANA 610 Sky Blue. 

The 2nd shows the 'crocodile' insignia on the port fin of airframes in this scheme.  It is not unique to 3 Sqn, also appearing on 5 SAAF Sqn aircraft.  [*NB. These crocodile 'zaps' are now thought to have been applied by a South African Maintenance Unit at Brindisi, who did some painting on the Mustangs as they were delivered through the supply chain to the Desert Air Force.]

3rd photo - note Sky Blue Spinner and White intake lip which looks like it may be a replacement part. 

4th photo - head on view, note how the colour demarcation comes straight forward on either wing root.

On the last photo, the louvres over the intake grills can be seen.

This photo was important in enabling me to establish the layout of the 'Firewall' pattern on the starboard side.  The colour boundary running straight forward near the wing root can be seen again as on the photos of CV*A KH676.  The colours here are once again much lighter-looking than the standard ANA colours, either indicating extreme weathering or repainting in RAF Dark Green/ Ocean Grey etc.  Appears to have louvres over the intake grills.


Photo via D.Hourigan


Mustang Mk.IVa, 3 Sqn RAAF, CV-Z, KH760, Pilot: unk, Cervia, Apr 1945+.
'Firewall' pattern either using faded ANA colours of 613 Olive Drab & 603 Sea Grey upper surfaces with 602 Light Grey lower surfaces
or RAF Dark Green/ Ocean Grey/ Med Sea Grey.  White codes, Red Spinner & Black serials.  Medium Blue rudder with White Southern Cross.
 

Just to prove that this pattern was used by aircraft belonging to other units in the Med., here is a classic example of the scheme on a 112 Sqn aircraft.  The colours here are the standard ANA colours, note how the nose demarcation follows the line of the firewall exactly.  Appears to have louvres over the intake grills.


Photo RAF Official


Mustang Mk.IVa, 112 Sqn RAF, GA-S, KH774, Italy, 1945.
'Firewall' pattern using the ANA colours of 613 Olive Drab & 603 Sea Grey upper surfaces with 602 Light Grey lower surfaces. 
ANA 610 Sky Blue codes and Spinner with Black serials.  Sharkmouth of Red/Black with White teeth (not forgetting the 'eye'
forward of the exhausts).  The upper wing roundels are of the 40" 'C' type.


Drawing to show the upper view of the 'Firewall' pattern.  This drawing shown in the faded colours applicable to CV*A and CV*Z, shows how the pattern comes straight forward on either wing root and the entire nose forward of the firewall painted in one colour (ANA 603 Sea Grey).  Also unusual for a pattern used on RAF machines, the wings appear to have a very simple pattern with the colours angled outward as drawn.  All available photos showing the wings are consistent with what is drawn here.

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