KITS 08/2021

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