"Tony" of the 5th ERS
In the US Army draft the lowest physical rating was "4F". Anybody classed as 4F was unfit for service, so when the old "War Weary" P-47s began to gather at the northern end of the airfield at Boxted sporting the fusalage code "5F" much joking ensued amongst the 56th FG personel.
The aim of the 5th ERS was to carry out patrols over the North Sea and liase with the RAF Air Sea Rescue.
Due to the conversion to the P-51 by many 8th Air Force fighter groups around that time there was no problem in equipping the new unit with P-47's. After various trials a dinghy pack under each wing, a belly tank of either 108 or 150 gallons and a smoke marker unit mounted under the fusalage became the standard load. Armament was reduced first to six and later to four machine guns to save weight and extend mission duration.
The 5th ERS is credited with being the first Eighth Air Force unit to shoot down a V1 "Doodlebug", when Lt J Tucker encountered one while on patrol over the English Channel on June 30th 1944.
P-47D-15-RE 42-75855 came from the 63rd FS, 56th FG and had been the personal aircraft of Joseph Egan Jr, coded UN-E. Combat reports dated 21st and 22nd of February 1944 show that at least 2 Me 109's fell victim to its .50 cal machine guns. Shortly after starting his second tour Egan was killed on action on July 19th 1944. Its believed, although I havent yet found photographic evidence, that the name "Tony" was already on the aircraft when it was allocated to the "5Fers".
. The aircraft went through a few changes during its service with 5th ERS.
The P-47s are reported to have been oversprayed in RAF Dark Green and its possible that when this took place the name "Tony" was painted over. Photographs of the aircraft with full invasion stripes show that the 5th ERS artwork isnt present on the cowling.Even later photos (1945) show again no group insignia on the nose and by this time 5F-A had been fitted with a Malcolm Hood canopy.
The kit is the excellent Tamiya Razorback.Eduard seatbelts were used and fuse wire added for brake lines and ignition wiring. Decals came from Eagle Strike, however the squadron codes and national insignia were painting on using Mal Mayfields "Miracle Masks".