Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Magnesium Overcast

Today's midweek update, like last week's, comes from the collection of Cathy Hansen, and shows a trio of RB-36Ds from the 5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing flying in formation, probably over Korea in 1953 (although the terrain looks very much like Southern California).

One giveaway that these are reconnaissance versions of the B-36 are the large camera ports on the side of the fuselage midway between the nose and the wing.

This photo appears to show the same formation as shown in an image on page 86 of Dennis Jenkins' book Magnesium Overcast; that photograph was taken from below and the right side of the formation. It does make sense, though, that multiple images would have been taken during an air-to-air photo shoot.


  1. Any idea as to why they used an X in a circle on the tails?

  2. It was a carry-over for group markings from WWII, in which. there's some information about these markings during WWII here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USAAF_unit_identification_aircraft_markings
    and here: http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Markings/USAAF_BG_Markings.htm
    And this link includes some for the era when this photo was taken, and lists the 5th SRW as a circle, but doesn't differentiate within the Wing as to what units used what letters: