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3 Sqn RAAF Mustang Mk.IVa (Page 6)
- The 'Loop' Scheme

There is one other scheme that I have located on photos of P-51Ks in the Med.  It is used on only a small number of airframes in this area but can be seen in a few photos.  Steve Brooking advised that the 249 Sqn aircraft that is illustrated below was one of a number of airframes transferred from U.K. stocks in Mar 1945 to make up a shortfall in Mustang numbers in Italy and that the scheme is one applied to some airframes in the U.K.

With that in mind, a look through photos turned up a fairly large number of aircraft carrying this scheme, including details of both sides plus the upper wing pattern. A list of examples is attached here.  Airframes in this pattern show colours where the Grey is much lighter than ANA 603, thus supporting the theory that these machines were repainted in the U.K. in RAF Dark Green/ Ocean Grey/ Med Sea Grey.   Steve Brooking also supplied a list of the transferred airframes which served with 3 Sqn RAAF attached here.   The only one which appears to have been in the 'Loop' scheme is FB128, a Mustang III.

Reference for this scheme is a photo between Pages 180/181 of the Sqn History '249 at War' by Brian Cull (Grub Street Publishers). The insignia under the cockpit was later adapted as the unit badge (but in the colours of Black on a Red circle).

Mustang Mk.IVa, 249 Sqn RAF, GN-B, KH682, Pilot: F/Lt Tom Ashworth, Mar/Apr 1945.
RAF Dark Green/ Ocean Grey/ Med Sea Grey scheme.  White codes, Red Spinner & Black serials.  RAF Sky fuselage band.
Black/White insignia below the cockpit as per detail drawing.  The upper wing roundels are of the 40" 'C' type.
Exhaust shrouds are fitted to this airframe.

I have also drawn both sides of another example GL-N from 5 Sqn SAAF in order to illustrate the pattern (BTW I am calling this the 'Loop' pattern due to the peculiar loop of Grey on the port Rudder/Fin).  Reference for this scheme is a photo in Pt.4 of the privately-published SAAF Colours & Markings series by Bill Marshall, Stefan Bouwer etc.

Mustang Mk.IVa, 5 Sqn SAAF, GL-N, serial unk, Pilot: unk, Italy, circa May 1945.
RAF Dark Green/ Ocean Grey/ Med Sea Grey scheme. White codes, Red Spinner & Black serials. RAF Sky fuselage band
has been painted out.  Black/White insignia below the cockpit as per detail drawing. 40" 'C' type upper wing roundels.
Roundels and fin flash have the Orange centres often associated with SAAF airframes.


Drawing of the upper view of the 'Loop' scheme. Once again we have a style which is very non typical for RAF camouflage.
The diagonally flowing lines on the starboard wing are very non standard.


Gratefully acknowledged for their assistance are Dick Hourigan for photos and the Steve Brooking / John Melson team for helping to analyse the available information.  Hopefully their extensive research into RAF Mustangs will be available in print.  In addition I would like to thank, as always, the following WWII vets who have allowed use of their photographic material: Ken 'Peewee' Richards, Reg 'Slim' Moore and Lew Ranger.

- Steve Mackenzie

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