"Battle of Britain" Buchons - strobe cannons??

Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

17 years

Posts: 18,309

I remember seeing in either Aeroplane or Flypast fairly recently some references to one of the Battle of Britain film Buchons being equipped with strobe lights in the wing-mounted dummy cannons to simulate gunfire.

The article (or letter, I forget exactly which) states that the strobe lights looked very realistic when fired - however, they were not used!

I've been sitting watching the film this evening and, just as the "Battle in the Air" sequence really ramps up, there is a shot of a new pilot flying a Spitfire (referred to as "Red 3" by his section leader) being attacked from astern by a Buchon...

...which does indeed have strobe lights in its cannons!

I wound the film back a couple of times to make sure I wasn't imagining this, and they are definitely there!

Have a close look the next time you watch the film....

Original post
Profile picture for user Roobarb

Member for

15 years 4 months

Posts: 1,177

Sad as it is, I have the identity of that Buchon in my files at DX! I'll check for you tomorrow.

Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

17 years

Posts: 18,309

If I remember from the article, the close-up picture showed the "White squadron" badge just beneath the canopy.

It's sad to think that, for all the efforts of the film-makers to get it "right", little things such as this seem to have been omitted for some reason. One of the Spitfires (MH415, I think?) was also fitted with strobes in the machine-gun positions, but these aren't seen either....

Profile picture for user Roobarb

Member for

15 years 4 months

Posts: 1,177

Even sadder! It was G-AWHI/"Yellow 4+-" and it also had smoke pots and was the only aircraft known to have fully rounded wingtips fitted and they were in bare metal. I have pictures of it at Lydd in August '68. Sorry can't post due to copyright. Septic also has pictures of it in France with rounded tips but didn't have an ID until my pictures showed up. How's that for an answer :)

Roobarb

Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

17 years

Posts: 18,309

I'd say you get a gold star for that! ;)

Profile picture for user bradleygolding

Member for

14 years 8 months

Posts: 271

Hi Daz,

I've got some out takes with them firing, but check out the Battle of France straffing run. In the first shot of the Me 109s look at the a/c on the left. Those look like strobe cannons to me.

All the best,

Steve

Member for

14 years 11 months

Posts: 301

This is a very interesting discussion. When I first saw the film in 1969 one thing that puzzled me was that gun flashes from wing guns were not usually depicted. There was one shot in the Polish Hurricane sequence where you see a Hurricane firing its guns (filmed from head on) and another similar shot elsewhere in the film of a Buchon firing its guns but on looking at these sequences again I think they were both done in the studio with back projection.

When I visited the Palm Springs Air Museum ,in California in November 2001 I noticed that their Mark XIV Spitfire had been painted with washable 1940 -style camouflage paint (which had been partly removed) and the gun ports had strobe lights fitted. This had been done for "Pearl Harbor" though the producers later changed their plan and filmed the Spitfire sequences in the UK.

Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

17 years

Posts: 18,309

Steve - I hadn't noticed that in the Battle of France sequence. Will need to check it out again at some point. Would love to see more out-takes, though.

Colin - that Spitfire XIV is/was the famous G-FIRE, owned by Spencer Flack in the mid-1980s, and it was fitted with strobes back then - along with a stunning scarlet/white/blue paint scheme.

In the film "Aces - Iron Eagle 3", the Spitfire appears in a scene where it chases a Soko Galeb jet trainer (representing some South American fighter! :rolleyes: ), and the strobes are certainly seen in it, albeit briefly. If I remember rightly, the strobes are fitted in all four gun ports, not just the two cannon barrels.

You didn't by any chance take any pictures of the Spit while you were there?

Member for

14 years 11 months

Posts: 301

Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me that day!

Colin

Profile picture for user bentwingbomber

Member for

17 years 2 months

Posts: 522

Even sadder! It was G-AWHI/"Yellow 4+-" and it also had smoke pots and was the only aircraft known to have fully rounded wingtips fitted and they were in bare metal. I have pictures of it at Lydd in August '68. Sorry can't post due to copyright. Septic also has pictures of it in France with rounded tips but didn't have an ID until my pictures showed up. How's that for an answer :)

Roobarb

You really must get out of that shed in the garden more often.;)

Profile picture for user Septic

Member for

17 years

Posts: 1,475

Here is that mystery Buchon with the full wingtips.

Septic.

Thanks for confirming the id Col, this pretty well confirms that con No. 166 / G-AWHI / N90607 stayed in these markings throughout the filming as the Buchon still wears its Yellow 4 markings today whilst in store at Big Spring Texas USA.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v157/woodlands/FullwingtipBuchonYellow4Lydd68.jpg

Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

17 years

Posts: 18,309

Thansk for that, Septic.

They're not too distinct, but you can just make out that the ends of the cannon barrels are "fatter" than what they should be...

Also, is it just me or are those exhaust stubs a bit odd as well?

Profile picture for user Septic

Member for

17 years

Posts: 1,475

Hi Daz,

The exhausts are from a Spit/ Hurri. I will find a close up for you.

Septic.

Profile picture for user Septic

Member for

17 years

Posts: 1,475

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v157/woodlands/Yellow4GAWHI.jpg

Septic.

Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

17 years

Posts: 18,309

Thanks yet again, Septic! :)

I'm sure, many moons ago now, that I had a children's book of aircraft that included a colour photo of a similiarly-equipped Buchon. Sadly, I'm fairly certain the book was binned some time ago (unless it's somewhere in the recesses of the loft!).

Profile picture for user wl745

Member for

12 years 11 months

Posts: 563

They may well have had strobes but I recall the B of B flotilla overhead in Cambridgeshire with a lot of "Rat a Tat "going on and very convincing it was!

Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

17 years

Posts: 18,309

The Heinkels still had machine-guns fitted - lots of blanks used!!

Profile picture for user bradleygolding

Member for

14 years 8 months

Posts: 271

Just for you Daz, oh and anyone else who's interested. Buchon with strobe cannons firing.

All the best,

Steve

Attachments
Profile picture for user DazDaMan

Member for

17 years

Posts: 18,309

Great shot. You can almost hear those (dummy) cannon blazing away!

Also a shot that should be in the "How Low Can You Go?" thread...