Spitfire Mk.Vb Trop, ER200 (probably), Lt. Col. Fred M. Dean, CO of 31st FG, Korba, Tunisia, May 1943
The personal aircraft of Col. Fred Dean is the good sample of the camouflage and markings of the American Spitfires in North
Africa. The camouflage consists of the patterns of Dark Earth and Middle Stone on the upper surfaces and Azure Blue on the
lower surfaces. The propeller spinner was white. The national insignia featured yellow outlines and code letters were white. The
aircraft depicts the aircraft as it appeared in May 1943, just after the fighting in Tunisia ceased. Shortly afterwards, on June 28,
the change of insignia took place as white rectangles on the sides and red outlines were added. Fred Dean commanded 31st FG
for eight months since December 5, 1942. In July 1943 he handed over the leadership to Lt. Col. Frank Hill, who up until then was
commanding 309th FS as a Major. Frank Hill was one of 31st FS aces, credited with 6.5 individual kills, 3 shared and 4 probables.
After he handed over the command Fred Dean returned to the United States and joined General Arnold’s staff. On May 31, 1943,
he was decorated with Silver Star.
Spitfire Mk.Vc Trop, ES353, Capt. Jerome S. McCabe, 5th FS, 52nd FG, Mediterranean Allied Coastal
Air Force (MACAF), La Sebala, Tunisia, June 1943
Same as the majority of 5th FS Spitfires, this Mk.Vc ES353 sported the RAF tail cockade on its vertical tail surfaces. Worth of notice is the unusual combination of dark, apparently red propeller spinner and yellow outlined national insignia. The red spinners
were introduced in the Mediterranean only in the end of 1943 while yellow outlined national insignia were replaced by red oulined
ones with side rectangles as early as June 28, 1943. Capt. McCabe’s personal insignia was painted under the canopy in the form
of Christ’s cross with motto in Latin: IN HOC SIGNO VINCES (In this sign thou shalt conquer). This symbolism reminds us of the
Battle of Milvian bridge between emperors Constatin I and Maxentius in 312. By the way, this motto is part of the city of Pilsen
coat of arms.
Spitfire Mk.Vb Trop, ER570, Maj. Robert Levine, 4th FS, 52nd FG, Mediterranean Allied Coastal Air
Force (MACAF), La Sers, Tunisia, August 1943
Spitfire Mk.Vb ER570 flown by 4th FS commander Maj. Robert Levine sported the hand-painted American flag on both sides
of the fuselage. This was to ensure that local population can better recognize it belonged to the American air force. Unlike the
French, the local population was friendly towards the Americans. These markings were carried until August 1943 when 52nd FG
was already part of MACAF. The overpainted British tail cockade is clearly visible on the vertical tail surfaces. Levine was credited with three victories, all achieved on Spitfires. Among those was a Fw 190 shot down on January 8, 1943. On December 28,
1943, Levine led the first 52nd FG dive bombing mission. In February 1944, already a Colonel, he became the commander of the
whole 52nd FG replacing Lt. Col. McNickle. In April 1944, the 52nd FG under his command was re-equipped with P-51B and was
integrated into the 15th AF USAAF.
INFO Eduard - August 2021