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RAF Bomb Colours


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#1 Scott Hemsley

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 02:44 AM

In 2002, I was inquiring about the bombs carried on Typhoon aircraft during 1944-45 and eventually got a reply from a chap who was a RAF Armourer in the Far East during the 50's.

He started out by stating the bombs were painted an overall 'dark bronze green' and ALL 'filled' bombs had a 1" red band painted around the nose along with other coloured bands denoting the type of explosive they were filled with:

Amatol ----- light green
RDX -------- blue
TNT --------- light green and black bands
Torpex ----- light blue
A/P bombs had white pands painted on either side of the red 'filled' band, while Semi-A/P had a single band painted immediately in front of the red 'filled' band.

He then went onto say that the bombs themselves usually had a far from pristine appearence and the painted bands were often crudely applied.

.... so what does the yellow band seen in so many WW2 builds, signify? Just curious.


Scott

Edited by Scott Hemsley, 04 May 2012 - 02:46 AM.


#2 Super Aereo

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 03:48 AM

In 2002, I was inquiring about the bombs carried on Typhoon aircraft during 1944-45 and eventually got a reply from a chap who was a RAF Armourer in the Far East during the 50's.

He started out by stating the bombs were painted an overall 'dark bronze green' and ALL 'filled' bombs had a 1" red band painted around the nose along with other coloured bands denoting the type of explosive they were filled with:

Amatol ----- light green
RDX -------- blue
TNT --------- light green and black bands
Torpex ----- light blue
A/P bombs had white pands painted on either side of the red 'filled' band, while Semi-A/P had a single band painted immediately in front of the red 'filled' band.

He then went onto say that the bombs themselves usually had a far from pristine appearence and the painted bands were often crudely applied.

.... so what does the yellow band seen in so many WW2 builds, signify? Just curious.


Scott






Probably just a misinterpretation of the light green band.

For more info on British ordnance you can download for free a PDF of the US Navy's NAVORD OP 1665 from here:

http://www.lexpev.nl...rdnance1946.pdf


Flavio

#3 Super Aereo

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:31 AM

(Unless you were referring to US H.E. bombs, which were marked with one or two (depending on charge type) 1-inch yellow bands on nose and tail)

#4 Mike S

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:47 AM

This might help, notes taken from my father-in-law's WW2 armourer's note book.
All live bombs Dark Green; Fillings; Amatol, Bararol & T.N.T. 1 inch Light Grey band.
H.E. = 1/2 inch bright Red band at nose.
S.A.P. = 1/2 inch White band above Red band
A.P. = 1/2 inch White band each side of Red band.
All live bombs and rockets carry a 1/2 inch Light Green band below any of the above combination, it does NOT replace them
Practice bombs overall White with 1/2 inch Green band.
Lettering on Live bombs is White or Light Grey, and Black on practice bombs.

Depth Charges and torpedos Black or Dark Blue.

#5 Selwyn

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 02:03 PM

In 2002, I was inquiring about the bombs carried on Typhoon aircraft during 1944-45 and eventually got a reply from a chap who was a RAF Armourer in the Far East during the 50's.

He started out by stating the bombs were painted an overall 'dark bronze green' and ALL 'filled' bombs had a 1" red band painted around the nose along with other coloured bands denoting the type of explosive they were filled with:

Amatol ----- light green
RDX -------- blue
TNT --------- light green and black bands
Torpex ----- light blue
A/P bombs had white pands painted on either side of the red 'filled' band, while Semi-A/P had a single band painted immediately in front of the red 'filled' band.

He then went onto say that the bombs themselves usually had a far from pristine appearence and the painted bands were often crudely applied.

.... so what does the yellow band seen in so many WW2 builds, signify? Just curious.


Scott



scott,

WW2 US bombs had yellow bands. so they might have misinterpreted this as same for WW2 British bombs. the other reason is probably that modern British bombs have yellow bands (Nato Standard marking Scheme) so they assume all bombs have always been marked this way.

Selwyn

#6 Alex Gordon

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:32 PM

Does this practise apply to the early war buff coloured bombs?

#7 dogsbody

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:40 PM

This is a large file, but it should have all the info you need.

http://www.lexpev.nl...rdnance1946.pdf





Chris

Edited by dogsbody, 04 May 2012 - 08:42 PM.


#8 Selwyn

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:33 PM

Does this practise apply to the early war buff coloured bombs?



The British Explosive marking scheme was adopted by the British Army and Royal Navy in the mid 19th century as a standard Marking system for all Military Explosives. In accordance with this system all High Explosive Shells for Army Artillery and Naval guns were painted in the base Light Buff colour for easy identification with a system of coloured rings to identify role and filling.

This Marking system was carried over to the first Aircraft bombs in 1914. And did not change until early in WW2 when the base colour changed to Bronze Green for I believe ground camoflage reasons. (Incedentally, Artillery HE shells remained Buff as they were delivered mainly in boxes!) The colour ring marking system did not change.

The ring marking system was continuously added to as new propellants and explosive fillings were developed and used in UK ordnance, but the basic Marking system remained in use with the British until 1964 when the UK adopted the NATO standard explosive marking system as used today.

The British Aircraft Bomb base colour (Bronze green) changed to Deep Bronze green, along with the official British bomb single point suspension system to the NATO standard twin point, at the same time.

This change to NATO standards was not an overnight change, the bombs were repainted on the normal servicing cycle and the suspension system modified on bomb refurbishment, and of course on new build bombs. this change process probably took about ten years in all.

I think the last RAF Aircraft types in service that used British standard single point bomb suspension were Buccaneers (in Internal bomb bay) and Hunters.

Selwyn

#9 Slater

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:44 PM

Interesting that the current Paveway IV 500-lb warheads are painted a light gray (with a single yellow band and markings). The complete weapon is gray from nose to tail (IIRC).

#10 Test Graham

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:24 PM

Camouflaged to match the aircraft carrying it. The Luftwaffe did much the same thing in WW2 with large external stores, large bombs generally being either light blue or black. Or, as have be seen, blue on top and black underneath - without any neat demarcation!

#11 Selwyn

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:40 PM

Interesting that the current Paveway IV 500-lb warheads are painted a light gray (with a single yellow band and markings). The complete weapon is gray from nose to tail (IIRC).


I haven't seen anything official on this but the new PW IV bombs are indeed grey. but the old 1000lb bombs are still Deep Bronze Green but you will find them with grey guidances when configured as Paveway II or Enhanced Paveway II!

Selwyn

#12 Selwyn

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:53 PM

Camouflaged to match the aircraft carrying it. The Luftwaffe did much the same thing in WW2 with large external stores, large bombs generally being either light blue or black. Or, as have be seen, blue on top and black underneath - without any neat demarcation!



Graham,

I dont think the RAF changed to overall green on its bombs for airborne camoflage reasons. At the beginning of WW2 most RAF bombs were 500lb or below in weight and internally carried, so airborne camoflage was not a major consideration. Bomb stacks in store the open of which was standard certainly for the 500lb bombs in 1939 were very conspicuous from the air. There was much effort put in to camoflage these bombs and there are several pictures of bombs with their "top halves" painted in a dark colour (green?) and buff bottoms, as testimony to this. so it would be sensible to paint them overall green.

I suppose that they were aware of future aircraft having external underwing carriage as well so that may also have been a contributory factor in changing the colour.

Selwyn

Edited by Selwyn, 05 May 2012 - 12:54 PM.


#13 Test Graham

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:59 PM

I was referring to the Paveway, and modern boring grey aircraft, not wartime. If there was any similar reason behind the wartime change to green it would be for camouflage when stored on the ground, as you say. Most carriage was internal or when external would call for Sky or a similar underside colour, which does not seem to have happened in the RAF.

#14 Iain Wyllie

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 05:09 PM

This is a large file, but it should have all the info you need.

http://www.lexpev.nl...rdnance1946.pdf

Chris


Thanks very much, it is a real mine of information .......... so to speak.

Iain