Thank you Dick. Very helpful and detailed information. I have the Raven book you reference, but did not remember this photo, very good to have. Also, thanks for your observation of dull black, 507C, and 507A. This makes more since for the tones that appear in the photos.
1. No radar seems correct. CAFO 509 dated 6th March 1941 shows Calcutta as allocated but not yet fitted or being fitted with 1 x Type 279 set. I see no reason to doubt the C-in-C’s word in his epitaph re Calcutta quoted on page 203 of “Valiant Quartet”: “…the only AA cruiser without radar”. Howse’s radar fitting tables on page 396 in Kingsley’s book also says “none when sunk”.
2. No second HACS. Was to have been fitted as part of A&A’s authorized by CAFO 1180 dated 6th June 1941.
3. Allowing for the potential for the design to have evolved over time and therefore photos taken at different times to be showing different things, the pattern appears similar but not absolutely identical each side. See page 107 of Raven’s recent book on cruiser warfare for another starboard view of Calcutta at Alexandria and compare this and the photo in the Raven record on Steelnavy in detail with the port view Profile Morskie photo. Three tones obvious in the page 107 photo. I have a much better quality version of this image and would suggest dull black, 507A and 507C. Allocation of tones and shapes of panels not quite as in Raven’s WP Vol 1 WP (or Wright) – again see the photos.
I picked up the new Trumpeter 1/350 HMS Calcutta kit last week and was looking it over and comparing to what references I have for the ship and came up with a few questions that am hoping any RN experts here can help with. First off on looking at the kit it looks to be very nice and well detailed. Anyone building the kit can improve on it by replacing the weapons, boats, and directors from one of the 3D Printing companies that offer these items. The kit does come with an extensive PE set with railing, but the builder may want to replace this item also. It would be fairly easy to convert this kit to the Cairo or any of the other high bow C Class ships.
Now for the questions (these would also apply to the H-P Models 1/700 kit since it is the same as this kit).
1. Did the Calcutta ever receive an air warning radar? I have two sources that say she did not, but with no explanation. These are the books "Valiant Quartet" and "Cruisers of World War Two an International Encyclopedia" by M. J. Whitley. The Freidman "British Cruisers" says the C Class AA ships had priority for radar, but does not give any details about installation and the Raven/Roberts British Cruiser book does not talk about radar for these ships. I know Coventry (and Curlew before her loss in Norway) received radar before going to the Eastern Med with Calcutta based on "Valiant Quartet". I also have two photos of Calcutta in a Med Fleet camo pattern, one saying taken at Alexandria (same photo as on the cover of the Profile Morskie Calcutta plan book) that show no foremast pole or radar above the foremast tripod that the forward HADT is on. The other photo is on Steelnavy in the Raven Record photos, again no foremast extension. Both Alan Raven in his Warships Perspectives Camouflage Volume One: RN 1939-1941 and Wright in his RN camouflage Volume 3 book show their profile drawings of the ship to have the foremast extension and radar on the fore mast and mainmast. I am leaning toward no radar even up to her loss on June 1, 1940.
2. The kit comes with two HADT MK IIIs, one on the foremast tripod platform and the second one in a position aft on a pedestal. Did she have both of these or just one on the mainmast platform? The plans for Calcutta in the Raven/Roberts British Cruiser book and the Profile Morskie book show both in place. However, the John Dominy drawings of the C Class ships on Steelnavy only show the foremast HADT, not the aft unit. The drawings in the Raven camouflage book and the Wright camo book don't have the aft HADT in place. The two photos of the Calcutta in the Med camo pattern noted in 1 above also show no aft HADT. Early photos of Cairo in 1939 and 1940 only show the forward HADT, but show the second one aft in 1942 before her loss. Calcutta and Cairo were converted at the same time. The first two ships converted, Coventry and Curlew had both HADT units. I am leaning to only one HADT for Calcutta throughout her WWII career. This is not a surprise to me since I have been reading the new book on the Town Class and it is noted that several of the Towns did not receive the two forward HADT units for more than a year after the war started so these must have been in very short supply.
3. Does any one have any other photos of Calcutta in the Med Camo pattern? The Raven and Wright Camo books pretty much agree on the pattern and colors, dark, medium, and light grey (507A, 507C and a mix of the two). Raven notes that the pattern is probably the same on both sides and based on the two photos I mention above it looks like it could be so since one is of the port side and one of the starboard side. The photos are so dark so unless they have something better I don't know how they got three colors out of the two photos I have. It would be nice to have some other information if available.
Hope someone can help with these questions. These ships did great work against very long odds, no air cover, not many with radar, missing directors and few light or medium AA guns. The C AA conversions were successful and well liked, but paid a high price with all four of the first 4 conversions being lost.