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Thread: Pre-war numbering system for US Navy aircraft

  1. #1

    Default Pre-war numbering system for US Navy aircraft

    I'm hoping some of the scholars on here can help me. I'm trying to figure out the numbering system used for carrier-based naval aircraft in the period immediately prior to WWII.

    On this first photo of a Devastator, I know its assigned to the Enterprise because of the blue tail. The number on the fuselage is 6-T-5. Does this indicate CV6 (1st digit), Torpedo squadron (2nd digit) aircraft #5? or, to put it another way, aircraft #5 of Torpedo 6?
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    On this photo of a Vindicator, white tail indicates Saratoga CV3. The number on the fuselage is 3-B-1. Does this mean aircraft #1 of Bombing 3?
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    Finally, an F2F, numbered 3-F-1. Would this be aircraft #1 of Fighting 3?
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    Is my reasoning correct here, or am I missing something? Any wisdom would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Here's a bit from a google search:
    On the side of each aircraft was number-letter-number code which indicated the squadron, type of squadron, and assignment in that squadron, respectively. For example, 4-F-1 was the squadron commanders aircraft for Fighting Four (VF-4). A 6-S-4 would indicate the second section leader for Scouting Six (VS-6).
    Aircraft belonging to the squadron commander or section leaders (aircraft 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16) had a colored fuselage band. The number-letter-number identifier would be centered on that color stripe.
    https://www.cybermodeler.com/color/usn_preww2.shtml

    Karl
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jager View Post
    Here's a bit from a google search:

    https://www.cybermodeler.com/color/usn_preww2.shtml

    Karl
    All the searching I did and never came up with an explanation as simple as this one. Thank you.



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