350th Fighter Group 347th Fighter Squadron, Italy

PILOT Maj. Hugh D. "Rowdy" Dow
Skin by TonyT Download Skin


This skin, a follow on to "ChickenBones" and the second in a planned Series and has been painted on the excellent template provided by Snorri with a skin template layer added by Bo Nidle, Over this I have done some reworking to correct errors in the original voids and then added considerably many new layers to get the metal to a standard close to the photographic evidence I have.

From this Photographic evidence, I have then been able to repaint the skin to accurately portray the real "Screaming Red Ass Commander, Major Hugh Dows personal Mount as Co of the 347th Fighter Squadron 350th Fighter Group" None of which could have been done without the support and not inconsiderable help I have received from my Co Author Ferdinando D'Amico.. Thank you.

Painting Skins is an enjoyable Hobby, one gets the chance to research as accurately as possible the information available both online and in books to present an accurate and highly realistic skin and this is what I endeavor to do, to bring you the most accurate paint schemes possible using all the information available to me.

However, once in a while the information presented exceeds my wildest dreams in both in terms of availability and accuracy, through my Co Author of this Skin Mr Ferdinando D'Amico I have received information from Colonel Dow himself, the Actual Combat Pilot Of Screaming Red Ass Commander and Commanding Officer of the 347th Fighter Squadron to correct a couple of items while I was in the process skinning the aircraft.

I think this is a first having the Actual Fighter Pilot assisting to produce as accurate an aircraft skin as possible. I was requested to add the following text (noted in italics) from one the most unassuming people I have read and as such I am pleased too. These are the words recollected by Colonel Hugh Dow Rtd as told to my Fellow Co Author of this skin researcher/author Mr D'Amico without whom this series of skins would not be Possible.

From Hugh D. Dow

Anthony Taylor's computer rendition of my old flying machine, "Screaming Red Ass Commander", is outstanding. However, looking back at it from a distance of almost sixty years now, it seems like the ultimate, customized, ego trip, war machine. But as time has revealed it apparently is a one of a kind paint job on a combat aircraft. At that time, December 44, I had just turned 22 and in one of my youthful excesses I either initiated or concurred in having both my enemy air (2 Me-109s) and my (3) ground strafing aircraft scores depicted together on the side of the Jug at the time we deciding on the paint scheme.

In a tightly knit group of men totally consumed with the same mission, where everyone knew what the scores represented, it seemed quite appropriate at the time. But, today, in the context of the larger world, (one that we all had yet to experience) this co-mingling of the two categories seems quite out of place to this same old warrior. Thus, while I do not mind sharing a rendition of this unique war bird on the Internet, in the interest of accuracy, I request that the depiction of my old Thunderbolt fighter be accompanied by this explanation when ever it is displayed on a Web page.

Hugh D. Dow recants his story...

"I was not flying my aircraft on the day I was shot down. However, the following day it was in-commission and was fully loaded with bombs, ammunition and a belly tank for operations. Unfortunately, it got no further than the runway, that day. Lt. Larry Wells, who I flew several missions with, blew a tire on SCRAC during take-off and when it ran off the runway it shed its landing gear and ended up on its belly.

Fortunately, it did not burn and of course the bombs still had the arming wires inserted so they did not explode. Recently, I learned that the old machine did survive and was rebuilt to fly another day. An extract from his message reports: 1st Lt. Wayne H. Smith (347 Sq.) went down with 42-28961 (re- named Betty Jean at the time) on 3 Apr 45 following a dive bombing mission to Colorno. Statements in the report by the pilots Joseph Pickerel and Delbert Wylder indicate that Smith's parachute got caught on the tail when he tried to bail out. That was one of several 'double losses' suffered during strafing or dive bombing attacks. Shortly before his death, Smith had been overheard calling for his Flight Leader, Lt Norman K. Hubbard, to bail out! Hubbard was KIA, with Smith being the only eye witness-his call to Hubbard constituting the only information we have on what happened to him. Others on the ground who observed the crash could still be alive, of course. But, returning to 42-28961, like dozens of other 350th Jugs, the odds finally caught up with my old bird, unfortunately, taking young Smith down with it. I don't know the particulars on Marguerite, the bird I was photographed with after returning from a mission. It was just another 'pick up' substitute for a mission I flew when my SRAC was out of commission.

"Lillian" was the bird I was flying the day I was shot down.

...I was leading a formation of P-47's against targets of opportunity on Thiene Airdrome, on 22 Jan '45. I ordered my flight to maintain to cover as I dived down to recce the area. When closer to the ground, I sighted a number of ground targets and completed 2 strafing passes against these objectives. While thus engaged, the enemy opened up with 40 or 50 mm incendiary shells. The tail of my plane caught fire, the elevator controls burned in two and smoke and flames filled the cockpit. I bailed out at 2.000 ft, landing amidst a light explosion of flak and spraining my knee slipping on the powdery snow. About 30 minutes passed between the time my feet touched the snow and my capture.

I was, of course, afraid of capture and other than stopping for a moment to pick up a fragment of my aircraft's skin from the smoking hole in the ground, I did not stop again for anything frivolous. I could hear the Krauts from the airfield yelling to each other, within a very few minutes, as they ran towards the area where I had descended to the ground.

Naturally, I ran in the opposite direction. It was shortly afterward that I ran up to the fence that separated the path from a farmhouse. It was 25 to 50 meters from the fence. I called out something to the effect : "Can you help me"? at which point the door opened and a man stepped out on the porch. He looked at me for a few moments--gave no indication of his intention--and then went back into the house for a moment. It was at this point that both he and his son appeared in the doorway and he sent the boy out to the lane where I was standing.

I believe the young boy motioned for me to follow him and we then both began running down the path, with him in the lead. After two or three minutes of this the young lad suddenly stopped and turned around, obviously afraid. I don't recall that either of us said anything, but he then began running back from where we had come. I don't know whether it was at this point, or a few meters further down the path, (a wide walk way with fences on each side, obviously used by all the locals) that I saw what I took to be a small village maybe half a kilometer ahead. I had to make a decision. Continue into the village or look for some other place to hide.

From the shouts in the background I knew that I did not have much time. Naturally, I have always wondered whether I might have found a 'savior' had I proceeded on down that path to the village. But I was afraid that I would run into either an Italian police officer or a fascist sympathizer.

But that's the whole story; the man and his son were the only two humans I encountered between my arrival on the ground and my capture by German troops some 30 to 45 minutes later. I had hidden under some corn stalks for at least half of that time and had heard soldiers walk by and saw a German Officer on horseback ride by. He was up high enough to see my steps in the snow across the field and soon afterward I was surrounded and ordered-- 'OUST'..."

Dow was captured, brought to Verona and then, through the Brenner Pass by train reached Frankfurt-am-Main and then Nuremberg: There he was brought in a place known to most Allied pilots, and called "the Old Home Week". He was together with many other Allied pilots and crew and he met several other members of his unit previously shot down and captured.

He was freed on 27 April, and hitch-hiked for 4 days and three nights to reach Central France. From there he managed to reach Pisa and his unit on 8 May 1945.

Maj. Hugh D. "Rowdy" Dow on the skin artwork prior to corrections on the skin

Turning to Anthony Taylor's art work, I have a couple of corrections to offer.

I am sure that my name and rank (below the canopy) were in black paint-not red. Also, as I recall, it read: Maj. Hugh D. "Rowdy" Dow. And, I think it was a type of script presentation, as opposed to block letters. I don't want to try to find a copy right now but it should be possible to confirm those points, with a photo?

Another change that needs to be made is to paint the big A on the tail, red in color, not black. I haven't seen a photograph to confirm it but I'm almost certain that the logo, "Screaming Red Ass Commander" was painted down both sides of the fuselage.

While it's a nit-pick, in the interest of accuracy, it should be known that the USAAF helmets we wore in Europe had a black leather exterior (I still have one) and we ALWAYS wore our oxygen masks when airborne, the microphone was in the mask and no fighter pilot would fly without it 'glued' to his face, even on a 'test' hop around the pattern. However, that said, some pilots would sometimes disconnect their mask (on the left side only) on the way home, when well beyond enemy fighter engagement range, to light up a cigarette. Not smart since fire and oxygen don't exist side by side very well, but, what the heck, a risk none gave a hoot about, under the circumstance. Still, it was frowned on and was done out of the sight of others.

Finally, our mission was fighter-bomber work. As such, almost every mission started out as a dive bombing mission, followed afterward by a reconnoiter of the area for strafing targets, depending on the weather, fuel remaining and the flight leader's aggressiveness. Because we wanted as much time over target as possible, we also carried a 110 gallon belly tank shackled to the fuselage, almost always. (Fighters are still so encumbered). Because they were expensive, the only time we dropped them was when enemy aircraft were spotted or when a pilot got into trouble after severe flak damage. And not always, then-'out of sight, out of mind'. In an emergency, sometimes the pilot simply forgot to dump it. I know of at least one crash landing after AAA damage where the tank was still on. While most of the fuel had probably been expended, this one exploded on impact and may have been the major factor in the pilot's death? Also, on many missions from October 44 to the end of the war, and particularly during the final battle for the Po Valley, six 4.5 folding fin rockets were carried on flights, most in conjunction with two 500 pound bombs. The only missions I know of that were flown over enemy territory without two 500 pound bombs and the drop tank installed were some of the 2 and 4 ship Armed Reccy flights flown near the end of the war in support of our front line ground troops. (When two 1000 pound bombs were carried, I believe that the drop tank was removed, in most cases). In the final battle there was a need for constant overhead coverage, if possible, to look for and strafe opposing enemy ground forces, or to be on Combat Air Patrol overhead, waiting for targets to be identified for attack by "Rover Joe" and "Horsefly" forward ground and air controllers. Naturally, it took much more time to load bombs and refuel the drop tank than to refuel just the internal wing tanks-before sending the aircraft right back into action. However, under these battle conditions almost all of our Jugs carried the six 4.5 rockets in addition to their load of 3,200 rounds of 50 caliber ammunition. The rockets were notoriously inaccurate but you could 'kill' a tank with them if you scored a direct hit.

Let's not forget our fourth Squadron-the First Brazilian Fighter Squadron. As you know they flew aircraft painted in an olive drab color with the Flight and single digit number ID on the nose. Their Squadron emblem showing an ostrich is quite colorful. Hope I didn't wear out my welcome with all the add-ons-and that some of this helps.

Cheers, Rowdy

I hope you all enjoy this updated version of the skin produced by all 3 of us.


TonyT Not for commercial use without the express permission of all Authors and all Painters Involved

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P47D27 350th FG 347th FS - 7D3 - MISTRESS MARY (New May 29 2006)
PILOT Lt. Delbert E. Wylder
CREW CHIEF J. D. Roberts - Assnt. Andy M. Kirzinger
Skin by Monguse Download Skin

Lt. Delbert E. Wylder

Documentation and pesonal notations by Ferdinando D'Amico


This aircraft (s/n 44-29308) had a previous life with at least two other pilots and has a different name, before becoming Lt. Wylder’s mount. Thanks to the (commented) entries from the diary of this pilot, we have been able to retrace the events.

These are the relevant extracts from Lt. Wylder’s diary:

MISSION 51 - 2 hrs. 55 min. - April 11, 1945

Whitehead, Stuart, Verme, Sloan, Pickerel, myself, Wenzel and Bramley went up to Sacile. Whitehead and Stuart bombed the marshalling yards so did Steve, Sloan and Pickerel. The other three of us hit the rail diversion. Then we came back and strafed the factory and warehouses at Recoaro that we bombed yesterday. Then we strafed some barns south of Ostiglia that looked like an ammo dump. but wasn't. Saw a car kicking up dust but he got to town and hid before I could get him. I flew D-3 to day -- my own aiplane. It's a darned good ship has a hair trigger though too touchy. Roberts, my crew chief took "Kay's Baby Shoes" off the side to day. Hope I can get the new paint Job done soon.

NOTE: The crew chief was J. D. Roberts, Assistant crew chief was Andy M. Kirzinger. The plane was the only one in the squadron with a razor prop. "Kay's Baby Shoes" was the name of the plane when Smith was the pilot. After he was shot down, D 3 became my airplane. It originally had been Rock's plane, so I was the third pilot to have that plane. The propeller referred to was a Curtis Electric Paddleblade 13 ft. diameter, or the Curtis 12 ft. 2 in. diameter, I think probably the latter. Most planes in the outfit had Hamilton Hydromatic propellers, with 13 ft. 7/8 in. diameter.


MISSION 55 - 1 hr. 20 min. - April 14, 1945

Wenzel, Verme, Pickerel and I took off on another Rover Pete target against a gun position on a hill. I flew A 6, a razorback, and sweated it out all the way. We dropped frags near Zocca and then came back and shot rockets into the buildings on the hill. It was hazy and there was an overcast and I got lost for awhile then joined up and strafed the hillside. Wenzel got hit behind the armor plate and we came back to the field and landed. Wenze). Just had some scratches on the back of his neck. I hope it's the last time I have to fly that airplane.

They have (Gurney) the picture and name painted on my plane now. Looks sharp.

NOTE: The picture was of a "Petty" girl framed in red, with the words "Mistress Mary" also in red.

MISSION 56 - 1 hr. 45 min. - April 15. 1945

Whitehead, myself, Colonel Nielsen, and Verme went up to Vergato and contacted Rover Fete. They let us bomb our target and we took fire bombs in and spread fire all over an Observation Post. Then we reported to Rover Joe and they had us clobber a monastery with our rockets and then we strafed it good. They potted away at us with 88 mm. from somewhere up the valley. The monastery was just north of Tole'. We sighted some tanks and a mule train but couldn't identify them so we didn't strafe them. Dickerson and Ballard were up there as Rover Joe. We came back then and landed. Good mission. Had my picture taken with my plane to day.

"Mistress Mary" continued to fly war missions (most of them flown by Lt. Wylder) and did not receive any relevant damage. Its last mission was on April 30, 1945 (Wylder’s #68).

The pilot: Delbert E. Wylder was born on 5 October 1923 at Morrison, Illinois, and died on 14 December 2004 at Rio Rancho, a suburb of Albuquerque, New Mexico. After the war, Deb spent many years as a professor of literature at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. He retired in New Mexico with his beloved wife Edith. A remembrance party in his honor was held at his old career site, Murray State University of Kentucky, on 28 May 2005. The memorial party folder has a picture of Deb, taken in recent years, on the front; inside it reads in part: "Family, friends, books and wine: these were the four elements of Delbert Wylder. It is to celebrate Deb’s life, to share our memories of Deb and all the good times we had together, that we have gathered this evening. Let us lift our glasses and toast Deb Wylder: father, husband, World War Two pilot, author, educator, wine aficionado, and dear friend to everyone present".

I’d like to add that he was a great man, a very precious friend and a great inspiration and support for aviation research. I miss him a lot.

Ferdinando D’Amico

Monguse, Not for commercial use without the express permission of all Authors and all Painters Involved

Word Document prepared by Mr. D'Amico is included in the zip

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