coxadicted

A-6A VMA(AW)-224 1972 on Coral Sea

39 posts in this topic

Hi USN addicts,

 

I am looking for the BuNo (starting with 155… I guess) of the A-6A NL-507 of the VMA(AW)-224 on this picture of the AOA decal sheet 32-009:

 https://www.largescaleplanes.com/reviews/images/1688/1688-1.jpg

The BN seems to be Capt Louis Ferracane. this pic is from the 1972 on the Coral Sea.

I already asked AOA team but they don’t have more detail on this picture and no additional photo.

If you have also some details of the mission this aircraft was assigned to (with such amount of cluster bombs), it would be great.

Thanks for your support.

Best regards,

Manuel.

 

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Posted (edited)

Manuel, as we talked about a few months ago I'm 100% positive the BN name is "CAPT. LOU FERRACANE" and the BuNo is 1556xx. I'm not sure what the p/c or the pilot name is on the left side. All close-up photos I have (I think three?) of 507 are taken from the right side, those that show it in the distance the tail is hidden.

 

I suspect the BuNo is 155656 but can't confirm. That is the only BuNo I have from that period of 224 without a modex matched to it. That number also would fall along the system that would make sense sequentially considering their original BuNo/modex of their other aircraft for that cruise.

 

edit... I just looked again. The photos I have that do show the left side, show a pretty long pilot name with the smaller p/c name below it, similar format to that of 504 on the sheet. It's all just a blur though since it's from a lineup photo on the deck in the distance. As mentioned, tail is hidden. All photos I have of 507 appear to show no dark gull grey either ahead of the windscreen.

Edited by ziggyfoos

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Manuel it could be any type of mission as the Navy and Marines used Rockeyes often on various targets.  You may find some photos here:

 

http://www.usscoralsea.net/pics1970s1.php

 

although maybe not the particular a/c you have in mind, there are several pages of the early 70's.

 

Jari
 

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BN Ben Moody was with 224 on that cruise and said that they mostly carried Rockeyes since they had far greater destructive power than a Mk.82. They were limited in ordnance on the Coral Sea because of the weight limitations, which is why they'd only have 14 Rockeyes mounted as shown in that pic (4 on each outer MER, 3 on inner MER).

 

Here's a grainy cropped pic of left side of 507:

NL-507.jpg

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This particular squadron opened up Operation Pocket Money on 09May1972 with 3 aircraft laying 12 MK52 mines in Haiphong Harbor.

 

Cheers

Collin

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Posted (edited)

17 hours ago, ziggyfoos said:

Manuel, as we talked about a few months ago I'm 100% positive the BN name is "CAPT. LOU FERRACANE" and the BuNo is 1556xx. I'm not sure what the p/c or the pilot name is on the left side. All close-up photos I have (I think three?) of 507 are taken from the right side, those that show it in the distance the tail is hidden.

 

I suspect the BuNo is 155656 but can't confirm. That is the only BuNo I have from that period of 224 without a modex matched to it. That number also would fall along the system that would make sense sequentially considering their original BuNo/modex of their other aircraft for that cruise.

 

edit... I just looked again. The photos I have that do show the left side, show a pretty long pilot name with the smaller p/c name below it, similar format to that of 504 on the sheet. It's all just a blur though since it's from a lineup photo on the deck in the distance. As mentioned, tail is hidden. All photos I have of 507 appear to show no dark gull grey either ahead of the windscreen.

 

Hi Ziggyfoos,

thanks a lot for your inputs, I think I will take the no NL-504 of the decal sheet with the same config (14 Rockeyes) instead of the NL-507 as I miss too many details.

I build it for the French Cocardes magazine and it will be on a piece of Coral Sea deck (at 1/32).

I already published one article on my previous build (A-6E VMA(AW)-224 also but from 1974-76 and at 1/48 scale), you can find some pics here:

http://www.cocardes.com/2016/10/a-6e-intruder.html

 

476225P12309212.jpg
142136P1230756bis2.jpg

 

Edited by coxadicted

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17 hours ago, Finn said:

Manuel it could be any type of mission as the Navy and Marines used Rockeyes often on various targets.  You may find some photos here:

 

http://www.usscoralsea.net/pics1970s1.php

 

although maybe not the particular a/c you have in mind, there are several pages of the early 70's.

 

Jari
 

Hi Jari,

thanks for the link, I already use it for several months, it is my bible :-)

cu,

Manu.

 

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That looks great. Hope to see some pics of your current project, especially with your planned 1/32 CS deck.

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Manuel i found some further info, first some about the BN in the pic:

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/77495184616/permalink/10155377932684617/

 

perhaps the pilot in that case was his regular pilot?  For the BuNo you can search here and try and find it:

 

http://www.millionmonkeytheater.com/A-6.html

 

Also bomb loads varied depending on the mission, range to the target and if tankers were available. It is possible the A-6 in the photo had a total of 16 Rockeyes, 4 per MER, you can't see the upper rear one on the i/b MER. The Mk-20 weighed less than a Mk-82 but cost a whole lot more.

 

Jari
 

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6 minutes ago, Finn said:

For the BuNo you can search here and try and find it:

http://www.millionmonkeytheater.com/A-6.html

 

 It is possible the A-6 in the photo had a total of 16 Rockeyes, 4 per MER, you can't see the upper rear one on the i/b MER.

 

Unfortunately millionmonkey site doesn't have it. I've helped contribute info to that site and that is one that 507 is still missing.

 

507 in the pic does not have 16 Rockeyes. As I stated previously it is loaded with only 14. Other photos also show this.

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And direct quotes from BN explaining predominant use of Rockeyes and their number:

"Yes, we carried Mk 84s when we targeted bridges, laying them down the length of the bridge. Mostly we carried Rockeyes, and only 14, as we were weight limited, due to the Coral Sea’s catapult. It was an old ship."

"The max weight limited us to 14 Rockeyes or 14 Mk-82s. We could have carried more than 4 Mk-84s, but never did to my knowledge. Our target was always a bridge with a Mk-84, and 4 did the trick."

 

I have no reason not to believe him. I realize memory can fade, but everything I've seen from that cruise agrees with his statements about max of 14.

224a.jpg

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Thank you both for those very useful infos.

I confirm the maximum amount of bombs on the A-6 on coral Sea, and this is also explained on the AOA decal instructions.

The different loadouts are also listed for the VMA(AW)-224 with the location of the bombs under the wings. Very good job from, AOA.

Here is the NL-503 of Lou Ferracane BuNo 155650 :

http://www.usscoralsea.net/images/cva431972103DH.jpg

I could also choose this aircraft (instead of the NL-507 or NL-504), with 14 MK-20, as we have more details on her history till the 29th of May 1972:

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=158705

and here,  where it seems that the NL-503 dumped some cluster bombs on Uong Bi’s SAM and AAA sites while the A-6 was already dammaged :

https://books.google.fr/books?id=BxT6h8zo2X0C&pg=PA92&lpg=PA92&dq=Uong+Bi+railroad+facility&source=bl&ots=e-LilqDgTd&sig=QeUhYYEGBhcWnlnbQmlzfm_4-C4&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-5umfv6zUAhUKUlAKHR8AA5cQ6AEIMzAB#v=onepage&q=Uong%20Bi%20railroad%20facility&f=false

 

would you have some pics of this aircraft in 1972 ?

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Hard to tell but 503 might be in the background:

 

cva431972bob0799.jpg

 

Jari

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Out of curiosity what is your goal for selecting which scheme? Are you looking for one that was specifically associated with Ferracane? Or one that had documented history?

 

Wanted to point out just in case it may have seemed differently, but those loadouts provided in the instructions were the most common ones 224 used, I couldn't provide every configuration they had carried.

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Hi Ziggyfoos,

Originally I wanted to represent the picture of the AOA decal sheet, but as the NL-507 was not included in the decal sheet and its BuNo is not clear, I switched to the NL-504 with the same weapon load.

As, yesterday,  I found many details about the NL-503 (and not so much on NL-504) which has exactly the same decal scheme (except for the 503 + BuNo 155650 + the names of the pilot/BN), and knowing that it was carrying those MK-20 when it has been bombarded, it makes sense to switch now to this version. I need some materials for my article (that I found for the NL-503), indeed one part is dedicated to the brief history of the aircraft itself. I found the story described on the linked document very interesting.

Sorry if I am not clear enough, you know I am a French guy and my English is limited.

Thanks a lot for your help.

I am now starting the paint of the A-6 and will need to be fixed on its version.

I will post some pictures of the A-6 when it is finished but it will take some time....

I already started the two USN tow tractors I planned to put on the deck but did not started the deck itself. I already built one Nimitz diorama few years ago with one Prowler at 1/48 scale, it is visible here:

 https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=428609624198366&id=100011479955892&pnref=story

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=428623730863622&id=100011479955892&pnref=story

 

Cu,

Manu.

 

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A friend of mine on Facebook was on the Coral Sea during that cruise and took hundreds of photos during his tour. I'll go through his photo albums to see if he has any of 507.

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Posted (edited)

You're clear, understood. Was just wondering why you were looking for other options other than one of the five provided. I'm sure 504 (and the rest) would've had the same Rockeye load though at some point during the cruise. If you're still looking for 503 as alternate, here it is with the nose now camo-ed. I think this pic came from 224's Bruce Byrum. Can see the BN name (Capt Dave Williams) and "PC"(?) underneath.

95166249.jpg

Edited by ziggyfoos

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1 hour ago, ziggyfoos said:

You're clear, understood. Was just wondering why you were looking for other options other than one of the five provided. I'm sure 504 (and the rest) would've had the same Rockeye load though at some point during the cruise. If you're still looking for 503 as alternate, here it is with the nose now camo-ed. I think this pic came from 224's Bruce Byrum. Can see the BN name (Capt Dave Williams) and "PC"(?) underneath.

95166249.jpg

 

 

Hi Ziggyfoos,

thanks for the picture.

I think I have an issue here, I thought the nose was similar to the NL-504 (light tan). I don't like this camo-ed nose at all.

so 3 solutions now:

-I keep the NL-503 but with the old-style nose. the issue here is that it does not correspond to the nose of the bird in may 1972 when it has been damaged.

-I adopt the camo-ed nose (not my preferred solution).

-I switch to the NL-504, but I will need to find some details on its history.

I need more investigations...

by the way do you know if the NL-503/504 had already worn the Marines emblem on the fuselage like the NL-501?

cu,

Manu.

 

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1 hour ago, Dave Roof said:

A friend of mine on Facebook was on the Coral Sea during that cruise and took hundreds of photos during his tour. I'll go through his photo albums to see if he has any of 507.

 

Hi Dave,

many thanks for your help.

I am also looking for pictures of the 5/54 caliber MK16 gun present on the two sides (only two were still present at that time) if you have any. I found few ones on the net but maybe you have more detailed ones.

cu,

Manu.

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Posted (edited)

17 minutes ago, coxadicted said:

by the way do you know if the NL-503/504 had already worn the Marines emblem on the fuselage like the NL-501?

 

There's a photo of 503 in the cruise book showing it definitely did, but at the time of it's loss I'm not sure if was still present.

The stickers were applied early in the cruise, and since they were stickers they didn't last the whole cruise. Replacement aircraft (and the A-6Bs that arrived later in the cruise) most likely never received them.

504 had it too as it was an original aircraft on the cruise, but it lost it at some point - again how long it lasted I'm not sure. (I need to provide some updates regarding the captions I have in the instructions regarding that)

Edited by ziggyfoos

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Here's some pics from the cruise book.

 

503 with the off-white/tan nose like it had earlier, like it looked like in the pic Finn posted earlier on the deck (excuse the dog fur on the scan):

224-503a.jpg

 

Here it is showing the USMC emblem present:

224-503b.jpg

 

And here's one of 504. It looks to me like you can just barely make out that there is possibly what looks like a lower remnant of the emblem and a faint full circle leaving a dirty ghost image of where the sticker once was:

224-504.jpg

224-504a.jpg

 

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You could always go with the unique CAG vulture aircraft, Sheets/Carr did fly that specific aircraft and that team's exploits are respected and often mentioned (in that book you linked too as well) so there is lots of history with that aircraft and that specific crew.

 

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Great research here.

 

While everyone is drilling around for photos, if anyone has pics of VA-145/USS Ranger 16Nov1972-22June1973 WESTPAC cruise PM me. 

 

Seems there is no rhyme or reason why some aircraft have the full cream-yellow radome and some have the newer half camo radome.  Tail 502/505 in VA-145 (for this cruise) had the new scheme, 501/504/506 (others) had the older yellow-ish radome.

 

I'm planning on the HobbyBoss 1/48 kit VA-145/502 for now (found and screen captured the newer scheme on this aircraft during this WESTPAC cruise).  Loadout 4 x MK52 mines from their 17 December mining of Haiphong Harbor (the last Navy mining mission with -52's).

 

Cheers

Collin 

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