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Pacific  Nightmare by zulumike Pacific  Nightmare by zulumike

A P-61 has taken out a Japanese Zero and now pursues a “Betty” bomber somewhere over the Pacific. The “Black Widow” is using its full firepower of armament engaging the guns and cannons in one to two second bursts. The 20mm cannon used a mix of AP-T (armor piercing-tracer) and HE-T (high explosive with tracer) cannon shells, which was very devastating.

The Northrop P-61 Black Widow, was the first operational U.S. military aircraft designed specifically for night interception of opposing aircraft, and was the first aircraft specifically designed to use radar. The P-61 had a crew of three: pilot, gunner, and radar operator. It was armed with four 20 mm (.79 in)  forward firing cannons mounted in the lower fuselage, and four .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns.

It was an all-metal, twin-engine, twin-boom design developed during WW2. The first test flight was made on 26 May 1942, with the first production aircraft rolling off the assembly line in October 1943. The last aircraft was retired from government service in 1954.

Although not produced in the large numbers of its contemporaries, the Black Widow was effectively operated as a night-fighter by USAAF squadrons in the European Theater, the Pacific Theater, the China Burma India Theater and the Mediterranean Theater during World War II. It replaced earlier British-designed night-fighter aircraft that had been updated to incorporate radar when it became available.

On the night of 14 August 1945, a P-61B of the 548th Night Fight Squadron named "Lady in the Dark" was unofficially credited with the last Allied air victory before VJ Day.




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:iconswordsaint001:
SwordSaint001 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2017
The P-61 along with the P-38 are amazing aircraft, both among my person am favorite wwII aircraft. you did truely fine work here.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You. Read about the 475th Fighter Group, an all P-38 fighter Group. They were a big part in destroying the Japanese AAF and eliminating Rabaul. 

 
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:iconswordsaint001:
SwordSaint001 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2017
Thanks I will do just that!
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:iconmarblemagic:
Marblemagic Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Student General Artist
A angel in the night, watching over us. 
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:iconpaphilly:
PAPhilly Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2014
Man, the P-61 wouldn't look that out of place in a sci-fi movie if you replaced the props with a turbofan.
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:icontygerstryke:
TygerStryke Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2014
it is to be noted that the "Widow" soon became the first "fully sealed" radar-equipped aircraft to be used for storm chasing during Project Thunderstorm, in which the USAF used P61s to assist the meteorological community in better understanding hailstorms.
The Hurricane Chasers took MUCH inspiration and still operate today.
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:iconcaniswolfe:
caniswolfe Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Beauty, wasn't she? Killer Widow in the sky! Another excellent work by Zulu. 
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fighting at night had to be scary, not knowing who and where the enemy was.
Radar changed all that.
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:iconcaniswolfe:
caniswolfe Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Agree with you there!
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:iconwhite31:
white31 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2014
I live near Fresno, where the Pacific night fighters trained at Hammer Field.  

I think it is unlikely that they used tracer ammo--they would have only alerted their foe if they missed. I could be wrong, but this was discovered by daytime fighter pilots--without tracer ammo, they shot down more planes.
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:iconuncledon:
uncledon Featured By Owner May 4, 2014
Another great work featuring another great aircraft of the period which has been somewhat overlooked in favor of others. I truly enjoy the way you almost always add a little known piece of history to deepen impact of your work.
As always thank you for sharing and the respect you've shown for those brave men and women who've served to guard the line regardless of the color of the cloth they wore.
Semper fidelis from an old Marine.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner May 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for the kind words, I always want to try to convey a story of what is occurring in a moment of war and what these brave men did by putting their lives on the line everyday. 

I am from the "baby boomer" generation and grew up surrounded by WW 2 family members and friends. Some of my works has been based on their experiences. Most of them have passed on but I am inspired by those that served our country. 
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:iconbigz1776:
BIGZ1776 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
That is one mean SOB, you'd hate to run into one of those in the middle of the night if you've got a swastika or a meatball on your plane.
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:iconmensjedezeemeermin:
MensjeDeZeemeermin Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
A brilliant use of technology and courage in the face of a vicious and stealthy foe...  The image does a nice job of making us think of those strange, intense, terrifying battles in the night... I wonder if they had to LAND in total darkness?

Thank for you sharing this.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you,
I have always been amazed at the training and the spirit of the "Greatest Generation". My dad was a flight instructor during WW2 and he said the future pilots were mostly only 19 to 21 years of ages. The training was very intense for combat pilots. They usually had over 400 hrs. of training prior to to combat.
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:iconmensjedezeemeermin:
MensjeDeZeemeermin Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014
And the U.S. did so well in a short time with the new technology--aerial radar, radar-guided 90mm guns that could also rip through German Armor... We owe them a lot.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Have you read about the proximity fuze called the VT Fuze developed by the USA during WW2?

It was considered a top secret weapon that by some estimates of shortening the war by one year.

It is a very interesting story of how it was developed and the technology that was invented in a short period of time.
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:iconmensjedezeemeermin:
MensjeDeZeemeermin Featured By Owner May 1, 2014
Oh, yes.  Thank God in His mercy that the GERMANS didn't develop it... or the Japanese.  It greatly helped the Navy fight off the Kamikazes.  

I remember reading a history of aviation in which an English radio expert was wondering if one could bounce a radio signal off an airplane.  "Congratulations!" I said out loud.  "You just saved Britain!"
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:iconn0t3r:
N0T3R Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
Love the P-67, great plane.  You did a great job showing it in it's element.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks Noter, always appreciate your feedbacks.
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:iconfotoshopic:
FOTOSHOPIC Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014
Nice job on this. I love the tracers.
Mitch
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks Mitch.

I went through learning curve for the tracer effects. 
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:iconmidway2009:
Midway2009 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Fear the Black Widow! :pride: :D
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You. Appreciate it
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:iconmidway2009:
Midway2009 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome.
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:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014   Photographer
Nice one! I understand the Widow was a huge plane.
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:icondx-101:
DX-101 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
this is such a rare aircraft it's not heard of that often nice work :)  
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You.

A lot on new technology in the aircraft. First flew in May, 1942. Enter the War in June '44.
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:icondx-101:
DX-101 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
no problem :) I know it had such little time on the war though and dam that thing had a loot of guns lol plus the bonus of having a black color and radar I could just imagine the zero pilots or any Japanese pilot that got shot down by one of these their hearts must have had skipped a beat or two hahaha
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It was another learning platform in the first use of radar, progressing toward the future.

i read the that the P-61 pilots favorite targets were the Japanese Betty because they would hit the exposed fuel tanks with "spectacular effects".

thanks for the feedback.
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:icondx-101:
DX-101 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
true that. easy prey for a predator lol no problem looking forward on future projects yes :)  
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have several projects in the works.

B-25 Strafers in the Pacific

P-38 based on Capt. Herb Cochran's combat missions in the Pacific.
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:icondx-101:
DX-101 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
that's awesome :O yes :)
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:iconrekalnus:
Rekalnus Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The incendiary tracer was used, giving the A6m2 its smoking colors. Maybe it was the marking tracers which were used for aiming that were left unbelted?

I ate up WW2 Night fighter, night bomber narrative, and often procedure was to give pilot no tracers and give defensive guns all they could use as in frighten away pursuers with big light show versus no real demonstrated accuracy in aimed defense...

It sounded unfair but a tracer was flying lead in the end and with accuracy, did its damage.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, normally they did not use tracers in Night attacks. They did use tracer rounds for Daylight strafing.

I was wanting to show the massive firepower of the Black Widow.
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:iconemerald-wolf13:
Emerald-Wolf13 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014
Would that not have required restringing the belts? (As they come from the manufacturer with tracers already in) Or did they get special ammo void of tracers?
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
They could get any type of loads from the manufacturer as described below.

The .50 caliber M2 machine gun was usually loaded with  600-650 rounds with disintegrating belt. Normally the belt was loaded with one tracer cartridge (red tip bullet) for every five or six "ball" or AP cartridges (black tip bullet). This load would be a normal load for the "daylight" missions of the USAAF. Night time missions would be without tracers rounds I assume.

As for the 20mm Aircraft Automatic Gun AN-M2, there was a variety of shells depending on the missions. HE High Explosive with or without tracer composite (painted red/black shot) and "Ball" or Armor-Piercing/Tracer or without Tracer ( painted black shot). The tracer composite was located in the base of the projectile and was ignited during propellant charge explosion in the cartridge. The tracer was good for 2000 ft.

The P-38 was arm with four .50 caliber and (1) 20mm cannon. As my reference they used  the .50 caliber load described above. As for the 20mm cannon they used 150-160 rounds of AP without tracers. All weapons were in the nose and usually could be fire in unison in short 1 or 2 second blasts.

All selected type ammo with belts came in wooden packing boxes marked as required by HQ.

All info based on Captain Herbert Cochran, P-38 pilot, 5th AF, 433rd FG New Guinea, two victories.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Once the radar "locked on" a target the enemy crew rarely knew what hit them. The surrounding aircraft would see the effects of the results I'm sure.


The P-61s did a commendable job in the South Pacific, but they entered the War in June 1944 and by that time they did not have many A/C targets as the 5th AF "Satan's Angels"  literally destroyed most of the Japanese pilots and aircraft in August '43 - December '43.

See my conversation above with Wolf13.

Thanks for the feedback.
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:iconemerald-wolf13:
Emerald-Wolf13 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014
Hmm...not surprising on the ammo...

The P-61 sounds like the PT Boat.  Not so good against destroyers that were it's original mission profile, but did huge damage against shallow draft transports that had been somewhat safe from our destroyers.

Cool, thanks for the info.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The PT-Boats used the M4 Auto-Cannon that fired a 37mm x 145mm artillery shell.

The was originally used on the P-39 Airacobra and the Russians love it.
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Hidden by Owner
:iconemerald-wolf13:
Emerald-Wolf13 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014
I'll have to do some looking into that.  Maybe I'll luck out and she'll get into CAF's rotation and make a trip out to Denver.  Lucked out last summer and got to see FIFI and Diamond Lil.

Does inspire me to at least go to the Wings Over the Rockies A&S Museum though.
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Submitted on
April 27, 2014
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OLYMPUS OPTICAL CO.,LTD
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