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 Hobby Master - HA7004 Brewster B339C, Netherlands East Indies Air Corp , LT Deibel

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Kyushu J7W


Posts : 192
Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : East Coast USA

PostSubject: Hobby Master - HA7004 Brewster B339C, Netherlands East Indies Air Corp , LT Deibel    Wed Mar 01 2017, 19:51

Producer - Hobby Master
Model 7004
Scale 1/48
Brewster Buffalo Export model B339C
2-VLG-V Netherlands East Indies Army Air Corps (ML-KNIL) Batavia, Java Island, 1942, Lt. Deibel

The Dutch B339C and D were basically a version of the US Navy F2A-2 without the arrestor hook, life raft and a few other naval add ons. This version also came equipped with a large fixed tail wheel a 10-foot 3-inch uncuffed Curtiss Electric propeller. The armament was a bit different from the B and E versions having only 2 x .303 inch  guns along with 2 x .50 inch guns instead of 4 x .50 inch guns. Although ordered with armored glass wind-screens, reflector gun sights, self-sealing fuel tanks and gun heaters most planes arrived from the Brewester factory with out any of these items installed. These items were later scavenged from wrecked or otherwise idled British machines in Singapore.  After the first few engagements with the Japanese, the Dutch halved the fuel and ammunition load in the wing, which reportedly allowed their Buffalos to stay with the Oscars in turns.  


Power plant:One Wright R-1820-G105A Cyclone nine-cylinder, single-row air-cooled radial, rated at
1100 hp for takeoff.  A shortage of Wright Cyclone engines forced the Dutch to supply Brewster with 24 used engines to go with the forty-eight new engines Brewster had. The planes produced with used 1100 hp engines were designated “C” and the new 1200 hp engine models were “D”.

Maximum speed - 324 mph at 21,000 ft, 313 mph at 13,000 ft.
Cruising speed - 256 mph.
Initial climb rate - 2600 ft/min. An altitude of 15,000 ft could be reached in 6.3 minutes.
Service ceiling:30,675 ft.

4479 lbs empty,
6500 lbs gross,
6840 lbs maximum takeoff.

Wingspan 35 ft,
Length 26 ft,
Height 12 ft 1 in.,
Wing area 209 sq. ft.

Two 0.50 in. machine-guns in the wings, two 0.30-in. machine-guns in the upper fuselage.
2 bombs.

The Brewster F2A Buffalo was the first US Navy monoplane fighter and one of the first of the modern fighters available when the United States entered the war, with production beginning in 1938. In a competition to replace the F3F, the Buffalo went up against the Grumman submission of the XF4F-1  a double-row radial engine "classic" biplane.  The F2A Buffalo won but the XF4F went on to be redesigned and emerged as the monoplane F4F Wildcat. The new Brewster fighter had a modern look with a stubby fuselage, mid-set monoplane wings and a host of advanced features. It was all-metal, with flush-riveted, stressed aluminum construction, although control surfaces were still fabric-covered. The XF2A-1 also featured split flaps, a hydraulically operated retractable main undercarriage (and partially retractable tailwheel), and a streamlined framed canopy. However (as was still common at this time), the aircraft lacked self-sealing fuel tanks and pilot armor.  It was the smallest Navy fighter, single seat, set up to be carrier or land-based.  The early under armored & gunned versions were light and surprisingly nimble. These were the versions exported to the Finns.

Both the F2A-1 and the early F2A-2 variants of the Brewster were liked by pre war Navy and Marine pilots, including Pappy Boyington, who praised the good turning and maneuvering abilities of the aircraft. Boyington is alleged to have opined "...the early models, before they weighed it all down with armor plate, radios, and other [equipment], they were pretty sweet little ships. Not real fast, but the little [aircraft] could turn and roll in a phone booth.

Although superior to the Grumman F3F biplane it replaced and the very early F4F monoplanes, the Buffalo was largely obsolete when the United States entered the war.  However that did not stop orders from Britain, the Netherlands and Finland before WWII in Europe actually broke out.   Britain soon realized the Buffalo could not survive in Western Europe so with the fall of Belgium they took over those orders and sent all these aircraft to South East Asia, believing as most western powers did these aircraft were more than a match for the Japanese.   Finland did not get their F2A's in time to fight the first war with the USSR, but when Germany invaded in 1941 they joined in what they called the "Continuation War",  using the F2A to great effect against the VVS units.  

While the Buffalo and Brewster have been much maligned the development paid off in other ways. This was a time of rapid aeronautical advancement. The aircraft was tested in 1938 in the Langley Research Center full-scale wind tunnel, where it was determined that certain factors were contributing to parasitic drag. Based on the tests, improvements were made to the cowling streamlining and carburetor/oil cooler intakes, and the Buffalo's speed rose to 304 mph from 277 mph with no increase in engine power.  Other manufacturers took notice of this 10% increase in speed and efficiency, and wind tunnel tests grew to be standard procedure in the US.  Every other fighter produced by the US benefited from this initial research.

An increase in armament on later models caused a corresponding increase in weight in which deteriorated severely performance and flying qualities. Existing engine technology and the limitations of the airframe did not allow the needed improvements to make it a viable fighting machine for the war in western Europe or south east Asia.  Lacking self-sealing tanks, additional problems were weakness in the landing gear and insufficient armor-plating which were never resolved before production was terminated in 1943.  After only a few months of active duty in Allied service, the F2A Brewster Buffalo was replaced by the F4F Wildcat and the remaining planes were put to use as advanced trainers.

IN DUTCH SERVICE The Netherlands East Indies.

Captain Piet Tideman, commander of 3-Vl.G.V, gave in “Buffaloes over Singapore” the following analysis of the Brewster fighter:
…generally it is said that that it was far inferior to the Zero. On the contrary, the Brewster was a good, sturdy, fast fighter with two half-inch armour-plates behind the seat. She would take a hell of a beating. My view is that our drawback during the fighter actions was not an inferior aeroplane, but that we had too few of them and also our armament was too little and too light. Another thing we have to bear in mind is that we were up against the crème de la crème of Japanese fighter pilots

In the 1930s, the NEI was "one of the richest colonies in the world" because of oil reserves. By then, Japan, fighting wars in Manchuria and China, saw the U.S. reneging on its role as a reliable provider of oil because of its opposition to Japanese expansion. Capturing the NEI was an alternative to depending on the United States for oil.   In 1940, the NEI population was composed of 70,000,000 indigenous people, about 3,000,000 non-indigenous, non-Dutch people (mostly Chinese), and 300,000 Dutch. The name of the best known of the islands, Java, was sometimes applied to the whole island chain, and the capital, on the island of Java, was Batavia (now Jakarta). The bulk of the NEI Army, totaling 40,000 Dutch troops and 100,000 native troops (or "levies," in some commentaries) was located on Java.

The Dutch Air Forces were one of the minor players on the Allied side in the Pacific War. Their involvement came from the current country of Indonesia, which at the time of World War II, was administered by the Netherlands, and known as the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). The administration of N.E.I had two colonial air forces, the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service (MLD) or more often the RNN; and the air service of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (The MLKNIL). The Royal Netherlands Indies Airline (KNILM) had a Fleet of transports as well.

Dutch Air Force. On November 30, 1941, the Dutch Air Force (DAF) in the NEI had 120 fighters.
72 Brewster B-339s (essentially export versions of Brewster "Buffalos"),
24 Curtiss Hawk 75As (export versions of the USAAF P-36),
24 Curtiss-Wright CW-21B ("Demons," single seat, single-engine, low-wing monoplanes with no armor, little armament and very fast climb
116 bombers were export versions of Martin B-9s[29] (called "Glenn Martins").
20 Consolidated PBYs, "Catalinas" of the Dutch, RAF, and USN were in Java. They and a miscellany of European flying boats were under DAF command.
The Dutch had A-20's also known as Douglas DB-7's but none got into the air.  Several were captured by the Japanese still in their shipping  crates and taken to Japan!  

The NEI Air Force had more fighters (120 compared to 97) and more bombers (116 compared to 50) than the United States Far East Air Force (FEAF) in the Philippines in December 1941, but its equipment was more obsolete. The USAF history summed it up, "In January 1942 its [the Dutch Air Force's] approximately 150 planes were all of ancient make."

A squadron of NEI-based Buffalos was sent to aid the British in Malaya on January 12, 1942, and five survived to be evacuated to Sumatra, where they joined 20 other Buffalos. Four of these fighters survived the ensuing battles with the Japanese in Sumatra and Java. Of the 17 Curtiss Wright CW-21s that were operational when Japan opened attacks on their bases on February 3, 1942, five remained two days later. Whatever the exact numbers and the bravery of their pilots, the Dutch Air Force fighters and bombers were no match for the Japanese.

Apart from their role as fighters, the Brewster fighters were also used as dive bombers against Japanese troopships. Although reinforced by a few British Commonwealth Brewster Mk I (B-339E) aircraft and an American P-40 unit, the Dutch squadrons faced superior numbers in the air, usually odds of one against two or three. Timely early warning from British radar would have countered this deficit, especially in avoiding unnecessary losses from raids on airfields, but the first British radar stations only became operational only towards the end of February. Had they been ready two weeks earlier the Japanese might have found the invasion more costly and at least temporarily delayed.

Very few of these aircraft and none of the fighters escaped to Australia when the NEI surrendered. 31 Bostons and 17 Buffalos, all of which had been ordered by the Dutch government for the defense of NEI,   were diverted to Australia on the fall of the N.E.I.  One transport turning back escaping the Japanese at the last minute.  There were aircraft captured in their crates on docks and taken to Japan for evaluation.

1st Lieutenant August Gerard Deibel (11 September 1915 – 12 June 1951) was a Dutch pilot of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force. He was part of 2-VLG-V.  Deibel arrived in Singapore with his Buffalo squadron on 9 December 1941 and was stationed at Kallang Airfield.

He first saw action on 12 January 1942 during a Japanese air raid over Singapore. A formation of Japanese bombers escorted by five Ki-27 Nates were sighted at 1000 hours. They were intercepted by three Dutch Buffaloes, who succeeded in chasing them away, damaging one of the bombers. When they returned in the afternoon, Deibel and two other pilots were scrambled to intercept them, encountering nine Ki-27s. Deibel claimed two of them before being shot down himself. He was hospitalised for four days after suffering a wounded head.

His squadron returned to Java on 18 January, missing out on the final Battles of Singapore. Deibel followed eight Buffaloes to Semplak, while 23 others flew to Andir and Tjilitian. In February 1942 they received new model gunsights and lightened their Buffaloes fuel and ammo loads to improve performance. Around the same time started to use tracer ammunition. These two items improved their hit ratio.

When a formation of 35 Japanese aircraft attacked Semplak on 19 February, eight Buffaloes (including Deibel) engaged them. Deibel managed to fire twice at an A6M Zero, but was wounded by a 20 mm shell ten minutes later, forcing him to land. 11 Japanese planes were claimed shot down, with the Dutch losing four Buffaloes and two pilots. The raid destroyed three RAF Lockheed Hudsons and two KNILM Sikorskys.

On 7 March, Japanese troops had reached the plateau of Lembang. Deibel, along with Lieutenant Gerard Bruggink and Officer Cadet Jan Scheffer, volunteered to join Captain Jacob van Helsdingen on his mission using the last three working Buffalo aircraft. The four pilots took off from Andir airfield and proceeded to Lembang to provide air support for ground troops fighting in the city.

Helsdingen's squadron travelled 200 metres when they encountered a Japanese aircraft, which Deibel attacked before it escaped. Some time later, three Japanese A6M Zeros appeared. Deibel fired at two of them which turned away, but was hit in the oil tank by the third Zero and had to break off from combat. His wingman, Scheffer, escorted him back to Andir airfield under a tropical rainstorm, shooting down a Nakajima Ki-43 fighter. One of Deibel's landing gears, damaged during the fight, broke off from his aircraft, causing it to crash in a ground loop. He survived without sustaining any injuries. Helsdingen and Bruggink remained above Lembang, but were now dogfighting six Zeroes. Helsdingen shot down 1 zero but was then shot down and killed, his body was never recovered.  

Bruggink managed to escape into the clouds before returning to Andir airfield. Dutch forces in Lembang surrendered the next day. All four Dutch pilots were awarded the Military William Order after the war when the story was reported.  Lieutenant Gerard Bruggink and Officer Cadet Jan Scheffer became POW's forced to work on the Burma railway.  Brugginks wife was held as a POW in Java. Cadet Scheffer died in captivity from over work as  slave labor.

 Deibel is credited with three kills, two of which were Ki-27 Nates on 12 January, during a Japanese air raid over Singapore, and was twice wounded in action on 12 January and 19 February 1942. Shot down twice and wounded twice he received the Militaire Willemsorde (highest Dutch decoration, only given for extreme high bravery during wartime).  

His unit emblem was a rhinoceros head painted on both sides of the front fuselage on his Brewster Buffalo aircraft. His rank and surname, 'Lt Deibel' was printed beside the nose art Deibel was killed on 12 June 1951, piloting a Gloster Meteor aircraft when it crashed near Uithuizen in the Netherlands.

Every time I look at this photo I get the feeling I'm on the island of misfit toys
.  If you think about it, they all did disappear. One has been found at the bottom of a lake in frozen Finland.  Coincidence?  He has the lines of a Buffalo, the undercarriage and his line was An airplane that can't fly.[/url]

The cockpit is surprisingly detailed.   The glass in the floor to me would have been a bit more frightening as a weak spot vs being of any real value with all those panes and blocked views.  

Some excellent books on the subject .  Shores, Cull and Izawa are the source for detailed information on this period of time .  The books found on line can be pricey.   Good Xmass gift suggestions though Smile  

If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.

Last edited by Kyushu J7W on Thu Mar 02 2017, 20:06; edited 10 times in total
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Join date : 2017-02-20
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Location : Yucaipa, CA

PostSubject: Re: Hobby Master - HA7004 Brewster B339C, Netherlands East Indies Air Corp , LT Deibel    Wed Mar 01 2017, 20:27

The Buffalo always looks like a "glumpy" little airplane. Looks good in camo though. I'm holding out for a Midway one. I can't imagine going up against a Zero in one.

Those who don't learn about the past are doomed to repeat it
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