Fred's Foto Files Page
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below are the Fred's Foto Files articles by Fred Franceschi that have been
published in the ASM Newsletter.
These are listed month-by-month, with the most current at the top of the page. Articles covering visits to museums and
displays will also be included on the Field Trips webpage. Pictures are posted from left-to-right to go with the article wording.
** Please contact Fred Franceschi for permission to publish, digitally or in print, any of his pictures, at: firstname.lastname@example.org **
Dec 2014 ASM Newsletter
These photos were taken at Edwards Air Force Base (or is it
Here is a picture of a US Army C-7 Caribou utility transport, built by de Havilland Aircraft. The C-7 was later heavily used in
Below, a Cessna T-37 "Tweet" Trainer. Cessna also made an A-37 attack version of the plane, but I don't see any underwing attachment points for ordinance in the photos.
[Extremely Trivial ASM Newsletter Editors Note: I flew the Tweet for four years
and never saw one with that long red and white boom attached to the left wingtip
of this one. However, in the late 1950s, Cessna developed the B-model of the
T-37 to replace the existing T-37A in USAF service at the time. The small
strakes on either side of the nose and the configuration of the empennage mark
this as a T-37B, likely the plane used for testing this model. All remaining
T-37As were upgraded to T-37B status from this time, so A-models are rare; I'm
told one is on display at the
A Convair F-102 "Delta Dagger," the underperforming predecessor to the Dart. I
Below: Convair F-106 "Delta Dart" Fighter - Notice the "area rule" shape to the
center fuselage, visible above the "
Jun 2014 ASM Newsletter
These are photos that I took at museums in Germany in about 2005. I visited several museums. One was the Auto and Technik Museum in Sinsheim. Another was the Museumbuch Speyer. I purchased books at both museums, but since I don't read German, I'm not able to do much more t han look at the pictures in them.
I also visited a military museum, maybe at Mainz-Kastel. The military museum is really interesting because its purpose is to have historical references for the people who design new uniforms and equipment. They had German, Russian, American and British uniforms and equipment, as well as armored vehicles from a variety of countries.
The first photos are of a Russian T-34. It's indoors and appears to be in good condition, so the photo may have been taken at the German Army Museum. The next two photos are of an M7B2 Priest. The B2 version can be identified by the high "pulpit." It was probably at Speyer. The next four are of M3 Scout Cars. One is painted in olive drab, and the other is probably painted "rust." A real weathering job. The last picture is a 3/4-ton Command Car, the replacement for the earlier 1/2-ton truck. It is lower, whic enabled more of them to be packed in Liberty and Victory ships. Being lower also meant it was less likely to roll over so it was a bit safer. Both the 1/2-ton and 3/4-ton vehicles were made by Dodge.
My visits to the museums were really interesting and I'd like to return and see
them again some day.
Feb 2014 ASM Newsletter
This is a continuation of the photos in the December
2013 Newsletter, showing Planes of Fame aircraft at the
An F4F or FM2 Wildcat.
The P-40's shown in the earlier newsletter. Some of the photos show the restored aircraft, some of the shots show the plane unrestored. But as I said last time, I can see a few different details, so I'm not sure if this is the same plane. I do notice that the colors of the unrestored plane in these shots look "better" than the ones in the December newsletter.
What's that, a Sopwith Camel in American "Hat in
Ring" markings? That's a B-25 photo chase plane in the background.
Remember, this is in
I was going to say that's a PT-17, but I don't see a windshield for the pilot in
I was going to say that's a PT-17, but I don't see a windshield for the pilot in front.
Dec 2013 ASM Newsletter
Well, this looks like a conglomeration of photos from
This is me as a much younger person, many lifetimes ago, in the F9F cockpit.
F4U Corsair with a semi-World War II paint scheme, but showing the post-war star with the red bar. Museums may not have the correct markings on their airplanes. Always check your references.
This F4U shows the same #29 as the one in the above photo, but a different
number of "kills" to the other one. I don't remember if these are photos of two
different aircraft, or the same plane at different times.
An SB2C Helldiver, pre-restoration. Somewhere I have more photos of it. These planes were so ugly that they were "cool." An F4F or FM-2 Wildcat.
A B-24 fuselage, waiting to be restored. Wasnt the
Lady Be Good the airplane that
crashed in the
Two pictures of an unrestored P-40 Warhawk. The bottom image may be the same airplane at a later date, but I can see some differences in the areas around the engine exhausts, so I'm not sure.
A P-51D, restored. It looks like the invasion stripes were hand painted on the fuselage, which I understand is a lot more realistic than the nice, clean stripe decals we apply on our D-Day models.
Here is an SBD Dauntless. I remember that in those
days, some SBDs were used to smuggle lobsters into the
A Wingless late-model P-38 Lightning. The wings are probably sitting inside a hanger being rebuilt.
Which brings up another thought: When you digitize your film photos or slides, set up a directory in your PC that references the envelope you took the shots out of, with the date and location.
May 2013 ASM Newsletter
This is a "bad" month for the Foto File. Somewhere in my house is a scrapbook that has photos which would be perfect for the April (Fool's) issue of our newsletter. And to make matters even worse, FineScale Modeler wrote an article that goes with my photos. But, alas, the scrapbook is not locatable.
Maybe I will find it by next April.
So I digitized some slides that I took in 1978. That's 35 years ago, for those
of you who might care. I took the pictures at a military vehicle museum in
As I look at the photos, I wonder how many of the vehicles survived the 35-year span since I took them. In one photo I see several Amtracks, and I sure hope they weren't disposed of as scrap metal.
Included are several photos of a small tank in German markings. But I see that it has rubber tracks. Okay, guys, what is it?
And there are some photos of an LCVP from the USS Mathews, KA-96. This LCVP may have been on the ship when she served in the Pacific during the World War II years. The boat was probably filling with rainwater and rotting out at the time I took the photo.
And there’s a scout car. On the side is "W??ANNAHILL & SONS WRECKING." It was converted into a utility truck. And what the heck is that thing hanging on the front bumper? The military hobby guys get vehicles in this condition and rebuild them back to their original condition. Real Man's kitbashing and scratchbuilding.
The M7 Priest has always been a favorite of mine. So I took several pictures of it.
There's also an M4 Sherman. It looks like the paint on the turret doesn’t match the paint on the front. And I see metal tracks. Was a later turret put on an earlier hull ??
And there's the WC-54 Ambulance, a staple of the military. This one was taken on the cold drizzly day, and the kid shivering next to the ambulance is my son Steve, 35 years ago.
There are several morals to these photos. Something commonplace now may be very rare in 35 or 45 or 55 years. If you like it, get your camera out and use it now. Maybe in 30 or 40 years you will be doing your own Foto File.
Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: May 2013
March 2013 ASM Newsletter
About seven and nine years ago I took several vacations to
The museum in Dresden is a military museum run by the German army logistics center. It has a military function in that things such as uniforms, weapons, etc., are grouped so that engineers and equipment designers can study the past to help design the future. What a concept. And everything was well laid out and presented.
The word "Panzer" translates to "Armored Fighting Vehicle," so the sign showing PANZER T 34 makes sense. I think that was at the Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim.
This is a switching locomotive at Frankfurt. I saw it while I was on the way to the Sinsheim museum. It looked "cute and colorful," so I took a couple of snapshots. What the heck.
Is that a Marder? Probably at Sinsheim.
I think this was also at the Sinsheim museum.
This was probably taken at the Army museum at Dresden. An M5 light tank.
Another Marder at the Dresden museum
Is that a Panzer III? Dresden museum again.
Above: A row of armored vehicles; just look at all those gun barrels. At Dresden.
Next group: Photos of an armored car at the Dresden museum.
Is that a C-119? Probably at Sinsheim. As I look at the photo, it appears that they removed some of the blades on the right engine's propeller to fit the airplane against the wall.
I sometimes take photos of radial engines, so I can figure out how to paint them.
Four shots of a Hind D. This was after West Germany and East Germany unified, so Soviet equipment that was formerly used by East Germany was now available to the reunified Germany.
An F-104 in German markings.
Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: March 2013
February 2013 ASM Newsletter
Flight in an SNJ
In 1979 (I think), I happened to be walking around at one of the smaller
airports in the southern
Anyway, somehow I was able to get a ride in an SNJ. For the uneducated masses,
that's a Navy T-6. I was in the back seat, under strict orders not to touch
anything. And I didn't. We took off and flew west over the
For those of you who are current or ex Army, Navy or Air Force flight crew, this would be a non-event. But for me, whose experience was in antiaircraft, tanks, and later a rear echelon guy, this was really exciting.
The two aircraft took off in loose formation heading east, then turned and flew over the ocean (I figured this out by assuming that the sun was shining on the South side of the planes). When we were over the ocean the planes separated a bit, and I remember that my pilot did a couple of loops. It was fun and, since there was positive gravity, my stomach remained intact.
It was a really neat experience, and I'm very glad that the pilot gave me this "ride."
January 2013 ASM Newsletter
Ever since I was a kid, I've thought that landing craft were among the most
interesting boats ever made. They are so ugly that they have a beauty of their
own, and they were instrumental in the success of the American invasions during
the Second World War in the Pacific,
The Marines went to Andrew Higgins and his boat works in
In 1958, when I lived in
The first of the American ramped landing craft was the Landing Craft Personnel Ramp, or LCPR. The ramp was, as near as I could calculate, 3 1/2 feet wide. Higgins designed and made this boat "under protest," as he believed the ramp was too narrow to be practical. But the preceding landing craft was the Landing Craft Personnel, Large LCP(L), which had no ramp at all. You exited that boat by jumping over the side.
The LCP(L) and LCP(R) were followed later by the Landing Craft Vehicle, Personnel, LCVP, which all of us think of as "the landing craft." This is the one in the D-Day photos.
Interestingly, all of these 36-foot landing craft were called Higgins Boats, although other boat yards also manufactured them. Depending on the skills of these other boat yards, the sterns of some were rounded, like the one in the LCPR photo, others were angled, like the LCVP, or just plain flat backed.
So much for history, now the photos.
Here are photos of an LCP(R). You can see how narrow the exit ramp is. One person at a time, you jumped out in front of the boat hoping a wave didn't push the boat forward on top of you. And you couldn't see what happened to the person in front of you, a situation that had tragic consequences (read the book).
Next are photos of an LCVP, boat 3 of LSD 17, the USS Catamount. A Dock Landing Ship, named in honor of the Catamount Tavern in Old Bennington. No, I'm not making this up. I'll let Harry Davidson explain why a Navy ship was named after a tavern, that's his specialty.
And lastly, photos of a Landing Craft Medium, LCM from AK-105, the Attack Cargo ship USS Naos.
x Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: January 2013
December 2012 ASM Newsletter
This is a shot of the rear of a medical vehicle on the M-60 firing range at
Middle: Bradley Fighting Vehicles (probably the M2) during a demonstration at
Bottom: An M1 Abrams tank during the demonstration
with the Bradleys. This was in the M1's early days, when the engine was still
having problems and detractors were saying that the engine should have been a
diesel. The army made the correct decision, but there was still some debugging
to be done. We students at the
x Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: December 2012
October 2012 ASM Newsletter
In 1980 and 1981 (or was it 1981 and 1982?) I attended the Armor Officer
Advanced Course at
During some time off, a couple of the guys in the class went with me to the museum, and I took photos of the tanks.
I did not try to identify the vehicles at the time; just took the pictures. So as I look at the photos more than 30 years later, I realize that the track-heads among us (Jim Guld, etc.) will do a much better job of identification than I am.
WWI Mark IV tank. I have no idea if the camouflage has any semblance to reality.
WW I French Renault tank. Having a rotating turret made this tank the predecessor to the WW II tanks and the ones we use now. On that basis, this is a historic weapon system.
Big American tank. M-??. If I remember correctly, this was the predecesser to the M-60, and the hull could be lowered to reduce the silhouette. Too expensive to manufacture, some of its features were used on the M-60.
M-3 Grant inside museum
Another M-3 Medium tank, but without the cupola
Row of tanks
Half track and armored car inside the Patton Museum.
German self propelled gun
The T28 super heavy tank (also called 105 mm Gun Motor Carriage T95) was a prototype heavily armored self-propelled gun designed for the United States Army during World War II. It was originally intended to be used to break through German defenses at the Siegfried Line. Sometimes referred to as a super-heavy tank, the T28 was re-designated as the 105mm Gun Motor Carriage T95 in 1945 and then renamed a super heavy tank in 1946. It weighed about 90 tons. The reason it had two sets of tracks on each side was so the outer tracks, road wheels, and fenders could be removed for rail transit. It was intended to be a Maus killer.
Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: October 2012
September 2012 ASM Newsletter
As I check my old logbook, I see that I made two flights to Blythe. One on December 31, 1960, and the other on April 8, 1961. The black and white photos would have been from the first flight, the color photos from the second one. So I finally have a couple of specific photo dates.
There were a few World War II aircraft sitting at the airport, and they sure were a lot hotter than the Cessna 140 that I was flying. And in those days there were still airports with old military aircraft scattered about.
The first three photos were of a former Navy Reserve Corsair that had been
Another cool airplane was the P-47D Razorback, N5087V, shown in the following several photos. And the last photo is me leaning against the propeller of the P-47D, trying to make it look like I’d flown the cross-country in that. T hose were the days when I was lean and mean. A long, long time ago.
The next three photos are of a P-63 Kingcobra, N9003R. Darn, but it was a hot looking airplane. And Gary Hartpence, who flew the second cross-country in a separate plane with me (formation flight, sort of), is standing on the wing.
And then there was the P-38 Lightning, N9011R and/or N9005R, photos O, P, Q and U. Or is it a former F-5 Photo plane? That squadron nose insignia looks more photo than fighter.I wonder what happened to the planes. Are they restored and sitting in a museum somewhere, or were they scrapped and melted down to make pots and pans? I really hope that they got a second life that was an honorable one.
Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: September 2012
July 2012 ASM Newsletter
Unusual Aircraft at Mojave
Well, folks, as I mentioned in the Foto File with the US Army F-86s, I lived fairly close to the Mojave airport (maybe 75 miles). And in the late 1970s, Bert Rutan had his homebuilt aircraft factory going in a hangar at the airport. Monthly, they had a fly-in of VariEzes - completed ones, not the ones under construction. I drove there several times and took photos of these really unusual planes that were designed to be unstallable.
Last year I went by Mojave and looked for his hangar, but it is now Scaled
Composites and occupies a lot more space than it used to. And I went there
on a Friday that they were closed. I’d hoped to see some unusual new dream
machine, but no such luck. However, the
Anyway, photo 1 is a Rutan Quickie at Mojave, with some old worn-out airliners in the distant background. Those old airliners are probably still there, painted for airlines that no longer exist.
Photo 2 is a VariEze at Mojave.
Photo 3 is a larger VariEze, probably a Long-EZ.
Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: July 2012
May 2012 ASM Newsletter
Consolidated P2Y-1 Patrol Planes
During the 1930s my father was in US Navy patrol plane squadron VP-10 on the
West Coast and in the
These flights pushed the American patrol capability, and were of great interest
to the Japanese navy. There are several mimeograph pages from squadron
newsletters describing Japanese efforts to gather information about the flights.
And this was many years before
For those of you who are not "old guys" like me, the mimeograph machine was what you used before copy machines existed.
Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: May 2012
April 2012 ASM Newsletter
I always thought that the B-24 Liberator was a "neat" airplane. The twin vertical tails set it apart from most of its contemporaries, and it looked (and still looks) unique.
Several times when I visited my daughter Mari, who lived near
The B-24, as a museum aircraft, had a bit of the hassle that aircraft sometimes got into during the Second World War. The nose art showed a lady with her bare breasts displayed. The wife of a new base commander was upset (I can't understand why) and it was ordered that the lady have clothing painted over her bosoms. I probably have a photo somewhere of the bare-breasted lady, but don’t know where it is.
Unfortunately, I was not allowed to see the interior of the aircraft, so have no inside views.
I believe that
Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: April 2012
March 2012 ASM Newsletter
If you like Corsairs and want to enter Josh Pals's October "Movie or TV Show"
contest, here’s one for you. In the 1970s I lived in
There was a runway paralleling highway 126 and probably about a quarter mile South of the road. At one end of the runway were the Quonset huts of the Americans, and at the other end were the bamboo and palm huts of the Japanese.
I was able to take photos of the aircraft taxiing around, and sometimes watched
the planes fly west towards the ocean near
It was fun to watch the series after seeing the planes fly around, and these photos bring back fond memories.
Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: March 2012
February 2012 ASM Newsletter
always thought that the F-86 Sabre was a beautiful aircraft (with the exception
of the ugly-nosed F-86D). And during the years I've taken photos of
The Canadian acrobatic team, the Golden Knights, flew Sabres at airshows and I took those shots in 1959 at an airshow in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The all-gold Sabres looked really sharp. And at the same airshow there was also a flyby of USAF F-86Ds.
And in 1960 I took pictures of an F-86 "hack" or chase plane at Edwards AFB, with its high-viz paint all faded.
Then in 1962 there were FJ-2 Furys at Miramar NAS, by San Diego.
And I took photos of several Sabers with civilian ownership-one of them in military markings (FU-513), the other in civilian markings. If I remember correctly, the civilian Sabres were at Chino airshows.
And the US Army Sabres were at the Mojave airport, probably in 1979. Mojave is close to both Edwards AFB and Fort Irwin. I spent time at Fort Irwin in both antiaircraft and armor units, and wonder if the Army Sabres were used for calibration of antiaircraft equipment. If one of you wants to research that further, the aircraft serial numbers may help.
Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: February 2012
January 2012 ASM Newsletter
X-Planes at Edwards AFB
My neighbor Lester Walton was an aircraft engineer at Convair in San Diego. He took me on several trips to Edwards Air Force Base to attend "open houses" for aircraft manufacturers and contractors.
The first one I went to was, I think, in 1958. I took photos of a number of aircraft, including the Bell X-1E. At that time, the X-1E was almost a Sci-Fi plane, about the hottest thing around.
Several years later, in May of 1960, Lester took me to another open house. The X-15 was on display, and it was the hottest thing around. Talk about real world Sci-Fi.
This is old stuff now, and we have gone to the Moon since then, but in the late 1950s and early 1960s, this was where science fiction and the real world met, and it was exciting to see.
Link to ASM Newsletter that included this article: January 2012
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