The Octopus and The Military

Phil

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#1
As a sort of spin-off from Clem's propaganda thread, I thought it might be interesting to see if we could find examples of the octopus used by the military in the form of insignia, badges or unit markings.

Here's a nice example of the RAF 206 Squadron badge that depicts a lovely octopus image due to the maritime reconnaisance function of the unit. The badge was presented to them in 1938 by King George VI and the squadron was very active in the Second World War, operating mainly Hudsons and Liberators in the North Atlantic in a convoy-protection role. It was actively involved in the hunt for the Bismarck.

206 Squadron still functions in a Coastal Command role and operates out of RAF Kinloss. The squadron currently flies Nimrod aircraft though none of its' aircraft actually display the octopus badge as the aircraft are shared between a number of different squadrons.



The motto reads: Nihil nos effugit - 'Naught escapes us'.
 

Clem

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#2
Phil,

A very, very cool idea, this thread. The lovely Coastal Command crest is quite a bit more restrained than the United States Marine Corp's equivalent, developed for VMO-251. VMO-251 was formed as an observation group, conducting reconnaissance and scouting ahead of American invasion forces in the Pacific theater. Fighter and attack duties were soon added to VMO-251's slate, and the unit became VMFA-251.

The English heraldic artist got the number of arms right, but the American clearly had a bit more fun.

Off to find more.

Clem
 

Phil

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#3
Here we have a lovely example of the current uniform insignia awarded to divers in the Israeli Navy depicting a very stylised octopus. For divers who have been in service over 10 years there is a second badge available, not depicted here, which is the basically the same except it has a laurel wreath behind the octopus.



Many thanks to Lt. Cmdr Timothy Flath for letting me use this image!

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Clem

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#4
Phil,


MIUW Unit 101 is a United States Navy Reserve unit responsible for providing force protection (security) and logistical support (food) for elements of the fleet. Unit 101's mission profile states: "The giant red octopus, a native of Puget Sound and the Everett, WA region, signifies the coordination between numerous organizations and technologies in the support of our mission of command and control."

Wish we had an emoticon giving a crisp salute. Oh well.

Clem
 

Clem

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#6
cthulhu77 said:
Hey Phil...I just got an order for some PB-24's in 1/48th...it would be great to use that squadron insignia...
Greg,

Have you made custom decals with scanned images? I hear it's not too hard. Not that I know anything about model airplanes.

Cough.

:roll:

Clem
 

Phil

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#7
Yo Greg;

I there is a ceph involved post-it!

And if there isn't, if it's really cool post it anyway.

Bet there is no squadron with an ammonite insignia.

Pity.
 

Clem

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#8
Greg & Phil,

I'm looking for photographs of the aircraft described by former aviator (and Pearl Harbor survivor) Dewey Duane Farmer:

The first squadron was the Octopus Squadron, twin engine Vega Ventures, light Navy bombers.  They fired a 20 or 40 millimeter canon out its nose.  The top gun turret included:  a 360-degree turret that fired twin 50 caliber, 5 crew members, pilot, co-pilot; navigator; radioman and two enlisted men gunners.

The top turret was painted to look like the head of an Octopus, and then its legs went around the body of the plane.  I volunteered for a top turret spot but was turned down.


Mr. Farmer was referring to the Lockheed-Vega PV-1 Ventura, a medium-bomber and anti-submarine aircaft. A full account of Mr. Farmer's naval air service can be found here.
Below is a piece of model-kit box art depicting one of the "Octopus" squadron Venturas.

:heee:
Clem 
 

cthulhu77

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#9
Way cool!!! I will be checking in with Squadron Mail order to see if they can get that one...pity its 1/72..I like 1/48 better!
I tried the scanned image details once, and flubbed it big time...I think this time I will take it a copy shop, and have them do it the right way...
If you have any more pics of that squadron, it would be great if you could post them!
Thanks all!
Greg
 

Phil

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#10
Clem,

I think I have got what you wanted!

I have tried to find out the history of VPB-150 squadron It can be briefly summarised as follows:

VB-150was established at NAS Alameda in California on 15th September 1943 and was initially equipped with PV-1 Venturas. It retained this name until 1st October 1944 when the unit was designated VPB-150. The squadron was stationed at Kaneohe Bay from 25 March 1944 where the aircraft were modified with rocket rails and chin guns attached. The unit first saw action im July 1944 after it was redeployed to the Gilbert islands where it proceded to attack Japanese ground targets and installations in the Marshall Islands. It was again relocated to the Mariana Islands on 28th August and continued to fly reconnaissance and patrol flights, radar survey flights and bombing attacks on Japanese bases in the Pagan Islands. It remained based in the Mariana islands performing combat operations until March 1945 when it was relocated back to California. The unit was disbanded in July 1945 shortly after it had started to re-equip with PV-2 aircraft.




The emblem of the squadron was a cartoon style demented looking octopus holding various forms of armaments.



As can be seen from this set of model kit decals, the octopus, which was centered around the top turret, had only six arms.



Many thanks to Mr Jack Sullivan for the use of the Ventura photograph.

US Navy Patrol Squadrons
 

cthulhu77

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#11
Hmmm the pic of the plane looks like it has eight...I wonder if they got the decals wrong??
Fascinating stuff...and a new modeling project! Yaaaaay!!! :D
Looking into finding a Ventura in 1/48th next...
Greg
 

Phil

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#12
Clem said:
The lovely Coastal Command crest is quite a bit more restrained than the United States Marine Corp's equivalent, developed for VMO-251. VMO-251 was formed as an observation group, conducting reconnaissance and scouting ahead of American invasion forces in the Pacific theater. Fighter and attack duties were soon added to VMO-251's slate, and the unit became VMFA-251.

In addition to the VMO-251 emblem you have shown us here, it seems that the unit also painted a winged-octopus underneath the cockpit of their aircraft. The unit mainly operated photo-reconnaissance Wildcats (F4F-7) in the Pacific theatre. The items the octopus is holding depicts the various functions of the squadron.

This is an example of such a painting, though it is an 'unofficial' design and dates from the Guadalcanal campaign:



More information on this squadron is available here:

History of VMF-251
 

Phil

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#13
And another one for you.

This is the emblem of the USMC Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron - 11, named the 'Devilfish' , which is apparantly the oldest and largest squadron in the US Marine Corps.

This unit was also active in the Pacific theatre in World War Two, was deployed in Vietnam and also in Iraq during Desert Storm. Currently some units of Devilfish are stationed in Iraq.

 

Clem

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#14
cthulhu77 said:
Hmmm the pic of the plane looks like it has eight...I wonder if they got the decals wrong??
Greg,

You're absolutely right, the photo and the decals don't match up. The decal-set must represent another aircraft of the squadron. The recent glut of WWII themed movies, videos and books has encouraged many veterans to dig out their prints and negatives, with many previously unknown examples of a/c camouflage and decoration coming to light. The eight-armed PV-1 in the photo is more visually impressive than the six-armed version, so the photo may have been "discovered" after the model decals were produced.

Phil said:
The emblem of the squadron was a cartoon style demented looking octopus holding various forms of armaments.
Phil,

That's a wonderful emblem; the quality of the illustration makes me wonder if professionals weren't involved. (At least one example of WWII a/c "nose art" was a Disney gremlin cooked-up by Walt's artists for the sole purpose of decorating aircraft: it was not an extant Disney character.)

Thanks for these fantastic illustrations and photos.

Clem
 

cthulhu77

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#16
I talked with a client a few weeks ago about doing a large scale U-boat (1/72) and was kind of hmmm/hawing the whole thing...but that pic may have changed my mind!!!!
These pics you two keep on finding are awesome...thank you sooo much! :notworth:
Greg
 

Phil

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#17
Clem said:
Here's an emblem reputedly worn on the conning towers of two German U-boats (U-330 and U-114), during WWII.
Hmmm.....this is deeply strange. I've checked out U-Boat.net to try and find out some information and images of these boats but it appears that neither was constructed. U-114 was ordered in January 1939 at A.G.Weser, Bremen, but the order was suspended the following September. Similarly the Type VIIC U-330 was laid down at Flender-Werk, Lubeck on 3rd August 1943 but the construction was suspended on the 30th September and cancelled completely in July 1944. The octopus logo, if genuine, must have been a projected bootswappen.

What is particularly confusing is that the site dedicated to the career of Kapitanleutnant Stefan Michael Grabowski depicts a photo of the Type II U-330 The Octopus underway at sea on its way to Brest in November 1939. Another photo depicts the submarine in dry dock. I don't think that U-numbers were swapped between vessels so I'm not sure exactly was going on here.

I have found one other reference to a U-boat depicting an octopus but, unfortunately, no image. This is from the 'Navy Department, Report on the Interrogation of Survivors of U-595' :

"U-595 left Kiel for her first war cruise on Thursday, July 23, 1942. She was in the company of a 1600-ton supply U-boat said to be commanded by an Oberleutnant Vogel. (ONI Note: It is possible that this Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant) Viktor Vogel, who was previously thought to command U-588, but who may have been transferred.) This boat had an octopus painted on its c/t."

Unfortunately the article does not record the number of this supply U-boat.

.....the quest continues.......
 

Phil

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#20
cthulhu77 said:
Hey, just had a fun idea...how about a Tonmo logo on the side also???Now THAT would be great!!!
Hmmm.....Grossadmiral Tony Morelli, Kapitan zur See Steve von Shea und Fraulein Tintenfisch? Leutnant WeissKiboko?

Not convinced. :D
 

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