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David E. Brown

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About David E. Brown

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  • Birthday 01/14/1956

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    http://www.stormbirds.com/experten
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    Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Luftwaffe camouflage and markings focusing on mid- to late-war fighters, bombers and nightfighters especially the evolution of colours and their use. Aircraft such as the Fw 190, Bf 109, Me 262, Ju 88 G-series, Ju 87 G series, He 219, Hs 129.

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  1. Gents, I welcome this thread and the diligence of fellow enthusiasts in seeking original source information to validate a long-and oft-published profile of “B3+PM” of 4./KG 54: 56 years from 1964 when it was first published by Karl Ries Jr. (1963). Obviously he drew upon a photo that could have been in his collection and not published in any of his books, or, it appeared in a book / magazine published prior to 1963 (perhaps in Germany). Like others, I have not found an image of it in any of the publications noted above nor others in my files. Regarding its camouflage and markings, it is a virtually identical with the above photo of “B3+CM”. This machine would have worn the standard RLM 70/71/65 camouflage scheme over which was applied a coat of white water-based distemper in late 1941 and lasting until spring 1942 when it would have been removed. That the Air Doc (2005) profile of “B3+PM” illustrates the aircraft’s nose, cowlings and wing leading edges with its original colours exposed supports the interpretation that the lighter colour was a temporary white distemper for winter camouflage. Now whether this is artistic license on their part, or based on a photo is speculative. The diagonal band behind the wing leading edge is a diagnostic marking for KG 54, with “B3+PM’s” red band is appropriate for its II. Gruppe. Such bands were first seen on Luftwaffe bombers (He 111, Ju 88 and Do 17) in early 1940 and were tactical markings used to identify the Gruppe to which they were assigned in their respective Geschwader: Diagonal encircling nose band ahead of the cockpit = KG 2 Diagonal fuselage band behind the wing trailing edge = KG 54 Vertical fuselage band behind the wing trailing edge = KG 76 These markings ranged between 10 and 30 cm in width and coloured accordingly: blue = Geschwaderstab white = I. red = II. yellow = III. blue = IV. green = V. The units appear to have begun phased them out prior to Barbarossa and were seen into the spring of 1942. They made a reappearance in late 1944 when seen on a number of Me 262s operating with KG(J) 54. The profile of the aircraft shows a white tailband. It is in the proper position and correct dimensions for the Russian theatre yellow marking. Without seeing the photo of the aircraft it is unknown why the band was shown as being white. Perhaps it was overpainted with a fresh application of white that contrasted with a grimier white camouflage paint. My thoughts on the spinner – based on comparison of other contemporary II./KG 54 Ju 88s would be a red tip (II. Gruppe) and white ring (4. Staffel). It is improbable that “B3+PM” was painted in an overall uppersurface colour of RLM 79 Sandgelb. II./KG 54 was not operational in the Mediterranean theatre until 27 October 1942 when it was flying out of Catania, Sicily, with operations over Tunisia and the western Mediterranean to 25 March 1943. Based on the loss listing published by Radtke (1990), the unit was flying Ju 88 A-4s (and later a few A-14s) with virtually all A-5s associated with KG 54’s V. Gruppe (i.e. its operational training unit). Furthermore, that this colour was a light grey is similarly discounted. The Regia Aeronautica did use a light blue grey (Grigorio Azzurro Chiaro 1) for its S.79 aircraft for several units undertaking aerial torpedo operations and training in the Mediterranean. Photographic evidence shows that the paint adhered well to the aircraft’s forward fuselage, cowlings and wing leading edges and thus not a temporary paint. I believe that “B3+PM” did exist and Karl Ries using a photograph of it to create his profile. It represents an operational machine with 4./KG 54 during the winter of 1941-42 in Russia, and had a temporary white distemper paint applied over its standard factory-applied RLM 70/71 that was showing signs of weathering due to the weather and related operational factors. I welcome further discussion (and evidence!) to learn more about this machine. Cheers, David References Air Documentations (Air Doc), 2005 ADM 72/48011 Junkers Ju 88 Part 3: Ju 88 A, Lehrgeschwader 1, Nahaufklärungsgruppe 1, FFS(B) 34, KG 51 “Edelweiss”, KG 54 “Totenkopf”. Six page instruction booklet with three decal sheets for 16 aircraft. Radtke, S., 1990 Kampfgeschwader 54 - Von der Ju 52 zur Me 262 - Eine Chronik nach Kreigstagebüchern, Berichten und Documenten. Schild Verlag, München, 383p. Ries Jr., K., 1963 Markings and Camouflage Systems of Luftwaffe Aircraft in World War II – Volume 1. Verlag Dieter Hoffmann., Finthen bei Mainz, 110 p.
  2. Neil, Thanks for the kind words. With respect to the colour profiles in Claes' book illustrating the use of RLM 83 Dunkelblau, these subjects were based on examination of photos of the respective aircraft coupled with other datasets. An important clue is the fact that these aircraft all have a single uppersurface colour over which was applied one or two additional contrasting colours. These observations were combined with new knowledge of this colour that includes photos of aircraft parts painted in this blue shade, official reports (e.g. AI2g), narrative information, etc. Though not definitive, we believe our interpretations, based on the available evidence and deductive reasoning, are reasonable. A point should be made that KG 26 was particularly creative in modifying factory-applied camouflage as the unit saw fit reflecting the operational conditions it was operating in. There are a number of examples in Claes' book illustrating this point. The use of promulgated and experimental colours for Luftwaffe aircraft operating in the marine environment is a much overlooked subject. Cheers, David
  3. my mistake. This aircraft was one of two Me 262s that landed at Innsbruck-Reichenau, a few kilometers east of the temporary airfield at Hötting where all other JV 44 Me 262s landed and were dispersed. Note that the machine was previously with III.EJG 2 operating from Lechfeld, with the white `8`on the nose and narrow yellow fuselage band behind the cockpit. Cheers, David
  4. Gents, The above machine is Me 262 A-1 "White 8 S", WNr.500492 of JV 44 found at Innsbruck-Hötting, Austria in early May 1945. The camouflage (overall thin application RLM 82 with large mottles of RLM 81) and markings (simple in-outlined hakenkreuz) styles are diagnostic of machines from the 500xxx werknummer series. Other photos confirm its werknummer. Cheers, David
  5. The main wing undersides were left unpainted with visible puttied seams. Undersides of the engine nacelles, fuselage, and horizontal stabilizers were finished in RLM 76, or, its approximate equivalent(s). Consult photos of the subject machine for details. Cheers, David
  6. BTW, RLM 83 - "Dunkelblau RLM 83" - is now confirmed as a dark blue martime colour for original use in the Mediterranean theatre probably alone as an uppersurface colour. In other situations, it was probably used to replace RLM 72 when used in conjunction with RLM 73. It was created https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234998100-fw-190d-9-barkhorn-camo-scheme/&tab=comments#comment-2279223 The various dark green shades seen applied to late-war aircraft (when used in conjunction with RLM 82) is possibly the dark green shade of RLM 81. When used with RLM 75 other possible colours could have been RLM 71, 72, 73 and 80 which were surplus stocks by mid-1944 when aircraft requiring use of these colours were no longer in production, e.g. Ju 87, Ju 52, He 111, Fw 200, He 115, Bv 138, etc., etc. Production was switched almost exclusively towards day and night fighters as part of the Speer's Emergency Fighter Program, and production ceased on almost all other types. Existing paint stocks were thus utilized by firms switching to fighter production (components and/or final assembly), thus conserving stocks of precious raw materials and industrial compounds for use with more urgently required items. In addition, given the severe disruption in the transportation infrastructure, there invariably were local shortages of paints and other materials at various facilities. Thus, when required, reduced stocks of paints at facilities were extended through dilution, application of thinner coats, leaving parts unpainted, etc. Cheers, David
  7. Thanks Dave, My comments on this and related machine is posted ten (10) threads below this one: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235037398-raf-me262-colours/ David
  8. Hi Ben, Yes, that profile of Yellow 8 is arguably the best representation of the scheme to date, though the markings require refinement. Since both Red 1 and Red were JG 7 aircraft, they originally wore the unit's tail band, and, crest. These markings, and their original numbers, were painted out once the aircraft were received by NJG 11. The painted-out crest was the ideal location for the unit to paint the aircraft's new number. Indeed, except for one B-1a aircraft (WNr.110306, so-called "Red 9"), photos show that 10./NJG 11's Me 262s had their numbers painted in the forward fuselage position: Red 1 - 1123?? - A-1a (previously White 2 of 1./JG 7) Red 2 - 112372 - A-1a (previously White 7(?) of 1./JG7) Red 8 - 110305 - B-1a Uncoded - 110306 - B-1a (no photographic evidence showing a "Red 9") Red 10 - 110635 - B-1a Red 12 - 111980 - B-1a Uncoded - 110165 - B-1a (duel-seat trainer) Cheers, David
  9. Gents, There is an aircraft that has an identical camouflage and markings scheme to Red 2 and was well photographed and should be used for guidance to determine Red 2's colours and scheme. If the images of “Red 2” are compared with the Me 262 discovered by the Americans at an airfield between Stendal and Borstel, Yellow 8, WNr.112385 of 3./JG 7, there is an identical match (these can be found online). The camouflage scheme of RLM 81 and 82 and patterns around the engines and the extremely low upper/lower surface demarcation line are very similar for both of these aircraft and distinctive for 1123XX Werknummer series. Note too that in addition to similar markings, the position of the JG 7 crest, tailband, and gun loading markings are identical as well. The low contrast between the uppersurface colours suggests a darker shade for RLM 82 over which the 81 was applied lightly, hence also reducing contrast. Indeed, that one can observe the puttied seems on the fuselage confirms that the uppersurface paints were very lightly applied. Note the wing undersides were unpainted with putted seems visible. The aircraft's JG 7 tail band and unit crest (and original number) were painted out by the Germans prior to its capture. (I believe, based on analysis of its photographs, that it was originally coded "White 7".) I suspect this machine was nominally assigned to “IV./JG 7” (JV 44), but never was sent to the unit is southern Germany. Indeed, it was likely transferred to 10./NJG 11 where it was coded “Red 2” (red number as were all other aircraft in the unit). It is possible that this aircraft may have been flow / surrendered by Major Erich Rudorffer at Schleswig, but that’s another story. Note that there is a similar machine that has caused lots of confusion in identifying Red 2. This is Red 1 / White 2 (WNr.1123??). It ended up in Canada where it lies buried somewhere under Downsview Ontario airport. Photos reveal that it looks the same as Red 1 with identical visible and painted-out makings in the same positions. It was found at Schleswig (as seen in several photos) along with all the two-seat Me 262s of 10./NJG 11, and these aircraft as we know were all coded with red numbers. It is also known the unit operated several single-seat A-1a aircraft. I thus believe that Red 1 and Red 2 were both JG 7 aircraft transferred to and used operationally by 10./NJG 11 during the last weeks of the war, with the Red 2 the only surviving single-seat Me 262 nightfighter, Cheers, David
  10. Gents, Interesting discussion. Previously on this website I articulated my thoughts on these subjects might be of interest to fellow readers: Cheers, David
  11. Gents, This machine is an He 111 H-16 WNr.161392 coded A1+CT of 9./III./KG 53. It was discovered at Le Bourget, France, in August 1944. The camouflage is 70/71/65 with large irregular mottles of very lightened RLM 76. Undersides were painted black over RLM 65. This was an increasing common scheme - with many application styles - seen in photos of He 111 H-16s and H-20/22s flown by KG 4, KG 53, and KG 55 from the summer of 1944 to war's end when they were used for transportation duties. Cheers, David
  12. Gents, I forgot to add that a new photo of the Me 262 "Yellow 3+I" of 9./KG(J) 54 reveals that its original code was "B3+AT", so it was a machine that appears to have been assigned to the 9. Staffel for a considerable period of time. Unfortunately, its Werknummer remains unknown, and it does not appear in the loss listing published by Radtke. I am leaning towards a machine from the 1103xx series, as similar camouflage and markings are observed on the oft-photographed "White 7" WNr.110386 of III./EJG 2 found at Neubiberg. Cheers, David
  13. Gents, Following Dave Wadman’s comments – and kind words – I thought it perhaps useful to start from the beginning to describe how our knowledge of KG(J) unit markings evolved since these markings were first noticed in photos of Me 262s back in the late 1970s. Initially, it was thought that they defined aircraft operating with Industrie Selbstschutzschwarme (ISS – Industry Self-Defense Unit) units. This was based on several lost listings of Me 262s associated with ISS 1 and 2. However, as these were ad hoc and temporary units, it is thought highly unlikely that they wore any distinctive markings. The green and blue tail band on the Me 262 that graces the cover of Monogram’s “Jet Planes of the Third Reich” is based on an interpretation using available information over 30 years ago. Standing in front of the original painting in Tom Hitchcock’s study, he told me that he and Richard Smith made a guess as to what kind of unit would have such a unique fuselage band style. That’s it, a guess. This was also confirmed to me by Richard. The colour combination was an interpretation comparing the various grey tones with known maintenance colours and they arrived at a blue and green combination. Years later, Jim Crow sent me photos of the aircraft in question – Yellow 5, WNr.501232. In some images the chequer tail band (karoband) was visible, in others it appeared as a black band. Obviously, some of the photos were using orthochromatic film such that reds appear as black. Indeed, where the two band colours could be seen, the grey tones for red and the light green are very similar. The darker colour could either be only dark blue or black, two similar shades of grey. The contrast with the latter colour would make the most sense and this was confirmed via other sources – see below. This was our first clue. I should note that in some cases the image showing Yellow 5 with a black band has been Photo-shopped where the lighter cheques are shown but there is no acknowledgement in the captions that this digital revisions has taken place - hence confusion with this aircraft and its markings. Bottom line is that the karoband – Industrie Selbstschutzschwarme relationship was an educated guess over thirty years ago. More data has been discovered to identify the true identity of the units wearing these bands. Since there was not documentary of other data that linked these karobands to the Industrie Selbstschutzschwarme units, focus shifted to the possibility that they might be related to those of the Kampfgeschwader (Jagd) units. Over the past years, numerous photos have surfaced (several in colour) that have confirmed the colour of two of the bands (green/white and red/black) and unit affiliations. In my research, I have determined that photographic documentation exists for 19 individual aircraft wearing these bands, both published and unpublished: In addition, three (3) styles of such markings are evident, again via photographs: III./KG(J) 6: two band styles – large (Bf 109), small (Me 262) I./KG(J) 27: one band style – large (Bf 109 & Fw 190) I./KG(J) 54: three band styles – large (Bf 109), medium and small (Me 262) III./KG(J) 54: two band styles – large and medium (Me 262) The following colour combinations and unit affiliations are believed to be as follows: KG(J) 6 – red / black KG(J) 27 – green / white KG(J) 54 – blue / white In our Experten Decals book ED-2A (Brown and Wadman, 1997), Dave and I were the first to prove conclusively that the karobands were linked to the Kampfgeschwader (Jagd) units. This was based on photos of an Me 262 A-1a “Yellow 3+I” that revealed it wearing a large style blue and white (we originally interpreted as green / white) and most importantly, the famous KG 54 “Totenkopf” Geschwaderwappen. Since then, photographs of several other similarly marked aircraft from KG(J) 54 have been discovered that confirms this interpretation. While no official documentary evidence has so far turned up, narratives from pilots and other unit members have provided additional information. This relates to descriptions of the KG(J) 6 and 54 aircraft having red and black and blue and white tail markings that first appeared in an article by Jan Horn (1996) on KG(J) 6. The pieces were falling into place and confirmed that red and black were the colours for KG(J) 6 and blue and white for KG(J) 54 respectively. Photographic and crash report documents published by Jerry Crandall (Proulx, 2005) has linked an Fw 190 A-9 with KG(J) 27. Rajlich et al. (2001) published several photos of Bf 109s wearing large karobands that were interpreted as possibly associated with an unknown KG(J) unit. The colour photo of the Bf 109 G-10 at Kaufbeuren ("Yellow 2") shows it wearing a green / white band. Based on a process of elimination, these would have to be the colours assigned to this unit. Other KG(J) units were designated by the Luftwaffe to convert to the Me 262: KG(J) 30 and KG(J) 55. However, they were either given new responsibilities (Mistel program, KG(J) 30), or were disbanded (KG(J) 55). These events happened prior to or soon after any orders to apply chequer tail bands, hence, they would not exist. But when did these markings first appear, and why? Based on information contained in personal correspondence, publications and articles by S. Radtke, M. Boehme and J. Horn, it appears that the various KG(J) units adopted the fighter-style tactical markings sometime during the March 15 - March 22, 1945 period, with the markings themselves being applied during this time or a little later. Radtke (1990) infers that for I./KG(J) 54 this took place sometime between March 22-26. It is important to recall that since mid-1944 several units on the Western Front had been wearing colourful tailbands for recognition purposes, with the first use of such markings by Strurmstaffel 1 (JG 1) appearing in October / November 1943. It was not until late February 1945 that the Luftwaffe got around to formalized the unit, colour(s) and pattern designations for the Jagdwaffe. It is known that several of the units never wore their assigned Reichsverteidigung bands. The order stated the reasons for these markings: By the order of the Reichsmarschall and for purposes of improving aerial recognition, Jagdgeschwader aircraft are to be marked by fuselage-encircling colored stripes as indicated in the appended enclosure. Attention of troops down to platoon level is to be drawn to these markings which should simplify the recognition and distinction of our own aircraft. I believe that Generalmajor Dietrich Peltz, commander of the Kampfflieger, believed that similar markings would be needed for the aircraft of the IX. Fliegerkorps under his command, especially since his Me 262 units were now operating as fighters. Since most of the available colour combinations had been used, it would make sense to use a different pattern given the limited colours available. Hence, the use of chequers as opposed to vertical bands. It is interesting to note that the colours selected for the KG(J) unit’s bands shared the same dominant colour used by fighter units that had the same numerical designations which surely cannot have been a coincidence (first proposed by Dave Wadman): Red – JG 6 & KG(J) 6 Green – JG 27 & KG(J) 27 Blue – JG 54 & KG(J) 54 With the exception of III./KG(J) 54, all Me 262s from III./KG(J) 6 and I./KG(J) 54 reveal identical RV band and number styles. Photos of Bf 109s of these units indicate that both wore the same colour bands but in different styles, the larger cheques probably created to better suit visibility on the narrow tapering fuselage of the Bf 109. KG(J) 27’s aircraft would be expected to follow this pattern and do. Below is a compilation of known karoband aircraft though I suspect I have left a few aircraft off the list, and more will be presented in the upcoming JaPo book: Unit Size Colours Photos Aircraft Code WNr. Location 9./III./KG(J) 6 small red / black yes Me 262 A-1 Yellow 5 501232 München-Riem 9./III./KG(J) 6 small red / black yes Me 262 A-1 Yellow 3 500??? Saaz (Žatec) 8./III./KG(J) 6 small red / black yes Me 262 A-1 Red 7 5012?? Saaz (Žatec) 8./III./KG(J) 6 small red / black yes Me 262 A-1 Black 1 11???? Saaz (Žatec) 7./III./KG(J) 6 small red / black yes Me 262 A-1 White 1 501219 Saaz (Žatec) 7./III./KG(J) 6 small red / black yes Me 262 A-1 White 11 500??? Praha-Ruzyně 7./III./KG(J) 6 ? red / black yes Me 262 A-1 White ? 501201 Nr. Kladno, CZ 1./I./KG(J) 6 large red / black yes Bf 109 G-10AS White 7 ?????? Praha-Ruzyně 1./I./KG(J) 6 large red / black yes Bf 109 G-10AS White 9 ?????? Praha-Kebly 2./I./KG(J) 6 large red / black yes Bf 109 G-10AS Black 3 ?????? Praha-Kebly Stab./I./KG(J) 6 large red / black yes Bf 109 G-10AS Black < ?????? Praha-Kebly 7./III./KG(J) 27 large green / white yes Fw 190 F-9 White 2 206000 Wels, Austria 1./I./KG(J) 27 large green / white yes Bf 109 G-10AS Yellow 2 ?????? Kaufbeuren 3./I./KG(J) 54 small blue / white yes Me 262 A-1 Yellow 3 1105?? Moosburg 3./I./KG(J) 54 medium blue / white yes Me 262 A-1 Yellow 2 ?????? Praha-Ruzyně 1./I./KG(J) 54 medium blue / white yes Me 262 A-1 White 1 ?????? Nasvačily CZ 1./I./KG(J) 54 medium blue / white yes Me 262 A-1 Black 11 111901 Bohemia 1./I./KG(J) 54 large blue / white yes Bf 109 G-14 White 4 ?????? Bohemia 3./III./KG(J) 54 large blue / white yes Me 262 A-1a Yellow 3 110??? München-Riem That’s about all I can add to this discussion. More information and photos is available in the two-part series on Me 262 units operating in the Protectorate that I co-authored with colleagues at JaPo (Brown et al., 2010; 2012). There is a separate title on Bf 109s of the KG(J) units currently in preparation that will no doubt add to the story of these units. Cheers, David References Boehme, M., 1992. JG 7 - The World’s First Jet Fighter Unit 1944/1945. Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Altglen, Pennsylvania, 230 p. Brown, D.E., and Wadman, D., 1997 “Checkmate” – Gelbe 3 / B3+?T, Me 262 A-1a, WNr.17030?, III./KG(J) 54 – Experten Decals No.2A Experten, Calgary, Canada, 12 p. Brown, D.E., Poruba, T. and Vladař, J., 2012 Messerschmitt Me 262 Production & Arado Ar 234 Final Operations – Luftwaffe over Czech Territory 1945 - Volume IV JaPo, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, 160 p. Brown, D.E., Janda, A. Poruba, T. and Jan Vladař, J., 2010 Messerschmitt Me 262s of KG & KG(J) Units – Luftwaffe over Czech Territory 1945 - Volume III JaPo, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, 180 p. Horn, J, 1996 Als die Kampfflieger noch Jäger werder Solten – Das Ende des KG(J) 6 im Raum Prag. Jägerblatt – Officielles Organ der Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger E.V., Vol.XLV, Nr.1, Köln, p.38-43. Proulx, M., 2005 Wings of the Black Cross – Volume 3. Eagle Editions, Hamilton, 36 p. Radtke, S., 1990 Kampfgeschwader 54 - Von der Ju 52 zur Me 262 - Eine Chronik nach Kreigstagebüchern, Berichten und Documenten. Schild Verlag, München, 383 p. Rajlich, J., Kokoška, S., and Janda, A., 2001 Luftwaffe Over Czech Territory 1945 JaPo, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, 263 p. Smith, J. R., and Creek, E., J., 1982 Jet Planes of the Third Reich. Monogram Aviation Publications, Boylston, Massachusetts, 400p.
  14. Gents, As a response to the original questions posed at the beginning of this thread, I consulted two well known and respected books on the Dora series. First, based on JaPo’s analysis of aircraft from Fw 190 D-9s from the 2109xx werknummer series, and presuming that Barkhorn’s Dora was WNr.210909, it would have been painted as described below. Note that for Japo’s RLM 83 Dunkelgrün, I have substituted the Dunkelgrün variation of RLM 81 (i.e. “RLM 81a”) in recognition of the new knowledge about these colours discovered since the publication of JaPo’s book in 2005. COLOURS: RLM 81a Dunkelgrün variant (JaPo’s RLM 83) RLM 81b Braunviolet variant RLM 82 Hellgrün RLM 76 Graublau CAMOUFLAGE: Cowling (forward half) – RLM 82 Cowling (rear half), gun panel and central fuselage – RLM 81a Rear fuselage – RLM 82 Fuselage mottling – RLM 81a / 82 Tail and rudder: Overall RLM 76 with mottles of RLM 81b Wings and tailplane (upper surfaces) – RLM 81a and RLM 82 Wings and tailplane (lower surfaces) – RLM 76 A significantly different interpretation is presented in the Eagle Editions book for aircraft from the late 210xxx werknummer series. Again, I have substituted the Dunkelgrün variation of RLM 81 for RLM 83 (i.e. “RLM 81a”) in recognition of the new knowledge since the 2009 publication of this book. COLOURS: RLM 81a Dunkelgrün variant (Eagle Edition’s RLM 83) RLM 81b Braunviolet variant RLM 82 Hellgrün RLM 76 Graublau CAMOUFLAGE: Cowling, gun panel and central fuselage – RLM 81a Rear fuselage – RLM 82 Fuselage mottling – Trace RLM 81a / 82 Tail and rudder: Overall RLM ?? light green variant with mottles of RLM 82 Wings and tailplane (upper surfaces) – RLM 81a and RLM 82 Wings and tailplane (upper surfaces) Variation – RLM 81a and RLM 81b Wings and tailplane (lower surfaces) – RLM ?? light green variant Additional Feature: The narrow panel covering the engine exhausts was painted black. Given the different interpretations for these late 210xxx werknummer series Doras, it is recommended that both publications be consulted for complete details and analysis of known aircraft from this werknummer series so the reader can draw his own conclusions based on the evidence. Cheers, David Crandall, J., 2009. The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Dora Volume Two: Fw 190 D-9, D-11, D-13. Eagle Editions, Hamilton, MT, 400p. Deboeck, M., Larger, E., and Prouba, T., 2005. Focke-Wulf Fw 190D Camouflage & Markings Volume 1. JaPo, Hradec Kralove, 208p.
  15. Gents, While not commenting specifically on the colours of Barkhorn’s Fw 190 D-9, I wish to address some of the comments and questions regarding RLM colours 81, 82, 83 and the so-called “84”. Much has been written and discovered about them over the past 40 years, and I believe that it is worthwhile to review what we know. In hindsight, the use of late-war colours 81 and 82 on fighter aircraft was an expediency measure in itself. These colours were specifically designed to replace those used on bombers and other like aircraft; NOT fighters! If anything, the only aircraft that appeared to have been painted in the proper colours – as planned by the RLM – was the Ar 234 – and precious few examples at that. Add to that the fact that colour medium grey 75 was still widely used right to the end of the war and in combination with a dark green (eventually replacing the greenish grey colour 74), or with 76 on night fighters. It is thought that this colour also appeared in combination with 81 and 82. As ordered in the Luftwaffe’s “Sammellmitteilung 1” of July 1, 1944 (partial quotation): “The impending introduction of camouflage colours 81 and 82 in place of 70 and 71 was announced in message GL/C-E 10 Nr.10585/43 (IVE) Az.82b 10 of 21st August 1943. The introduction of these colours is henceforth prescribed as follows: 1) All new aircraft types whose mission would have called for the use of colours 70 and 71, are from now on to be painted in colours 81 and 82. 2) For types currently in production, colours 70 and 71 are to be superseded by colours 81 and 82 as soon as possible. Available stocks of 70 and 71 are naturally to be used up. As it may be supposed that these colours will not be exhausted simultaneously, and in order to avoid re-orders of small quantities of 70 and 71, the use of residual stocks in the following combinations is authorized: Colour 82 to be used with 70 (replacing 71) Colour 81 to be used with 71 (replacing 70) Should, however, stocks of one colour be so large as to unduly delay the implementation of the regulation camouflage, efforts must be made to trade away these stocks to sub-contractors, company plants or to other aircraft manufacturers. 3) The method of application (mottle scheme) of these colours is unchanged. 4) Aircraft plants will report implementation of the colour change, together with the modified OS-lists (Oberflächenschutzliste) to GL/C-E 10 IV.” “The delivery of colour sample cards for the RLM-shades 81 and 82 is for the present not possible, thus testing of the paint for correct colour-shade is omitted.” Note that no colour names were attached to these new shades, and as evidence from Oberflächenschutzliste indicate, the various aircraft manufacturers themselves assigned their own names to the colours to best describe them visually: 81 = Braunviolett (Messerschmitt), Dunkelgrün (Dornier) and Olivbraun (Blohm & Voss) 82 = Hellgrün (Messerschmitt & Blohm & Voss), Dunkelgrün (Dornier) and possibly Lichtgrün purported by some authors. Note that in this document there is a specific pairing of light and dark colours: Colour 82 to be used with 70 (replacing 71) Colour 81 to be used with 71 (replacing 70) By inference then, RLM 82 has to be the light colour and 81 the dark colour. And when analyzing the colours found on German aircraft during restorations (e.g. NASM Do 335 and Ar 234), and comparison with then contemporary colour photographs and manufacturers’ Oberflächenschutzliste, the light colours correspond to RLM 82 and dark colours RLM 81. That RLM 81 had several different shades of that there is now no doubt. The companies described the paints they received from their suppliers in the manner they appeared to them. Certainly the RLM anticipated variations as stated above and indeed did not supply official colour paint cards because of this nor was colour matching and testing required. Further proof of RLM 81’s green variation is provided by the 2008 discovery in the Czech Republic of preserved jugs of RLM paints by the team from JaPo. These were taken from the Diana Factory that produced the Bf 109G-10/U4 right to the end of the war. Eight different paints were identified all in metal cans: white (RLM 21), yellow (RLM 04 or 27), green (RLM 25), silver (RLM 01?), light blue (RLM 76), medium grey (RLM 75), dark grey (RLM 66 or 74), and a dark green. It was presumed that this was (RLM 83, however, the paper label on the outside of the can was preserved and identified its contents as “___lack 71__.81”. Thus, by inference this RLM 81 is a dark green and would be similar to the shade found associated with the light green shade RLM 82 on various aircraft types. More on this amazing discover can be found here: http://www.letletlet-warplanes.com/2008/07/01/luftwaffe-paints-new-discoveries/ Regarding RLM 83, in 2013 respected Luftwaffe colour research Michael Ullmann announced that he discovered a Luftwaffe document describing the colour - Dunkelblau: Test order E2-45/31: Development and verification of camouflage for the Mediterranean Sea. Report August 1943: “Alongside RLM 73 a “dark blue” colour will be used. Flight test in the near future.” Report September 1943: “Use of the camouflage pattern “Land” and “Sea” with RLM 73 and the dark blue colour 300/III suggested for introduction.” Report November 1943: Closed with report dated 10. November 1943. “Colour RLM 83 “DARKBLUE” with RLM 72 for sea- and RLM 70 for land-based aircraft suggested for introduction.” There is no doubt that RLM 83 was not a dark green but in fact a dark blue, and that it appears to have been a colour designed for operational use in the Mediterranean theatre. The dark green shade seen on many Luftwaffe aircraft during the last year of the war is the green variation of RLM 81 as noted above, or. More on Michael’s discovery can be found at this link: http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=33931 It should be noted that there were some hints in the literature that a dark blue camouflage colour existed in the Luftwaffe inventory. Way back in 1977 Smith and Gallaspy (p.34) related the comments of a KG 76 pilot Joachim Siebers about the colour of his newly-received Ju 88. His unit was in Sicily in early 1943 with the new aircraft arrived from Munich painted in an “ominous camouflage” of “…royal blue uppersurfaces with a pale blue-grey scribble”. In addition, an A.I.2.(g) report No.8/11 of 8 February 1944 regarding a Ju 88 presumably shot down over Britain in January 1944 described the aircraft coded “VR+FR” thusly: “Some very deep blue paint was found on the uppersurface of the aircraft, and it seems probably that it had been operating on the anti-shipping sorties in the Mediterranean area at a very recent date.” Such a statement implies that the RAF was well aware of this colour’s use, and its geographic and operational association. And at this point I might add my thoughts on another 80-series late-war colour - the so-called underside colour “RLM 84”. This term was coined by noted and respected Luftwaffe aviation researcher, author and publisher Tom Hitchcock in and appeared in the initial edition of his Monogram Close-Up on the "Messerschmitt Bf 109 G - Part 2" (p.13, 1977). However, given the limited information available at the time he pointedly and cautiously identified it as a “provisional” term only. He used it to describe the various blue-grey, grey-blue, green-blue, blue-green, etc. shades of undersurface colours increasingly observed on preserved aircraft and parts, wreck fragments, in photographs, etc. He was attempting to understand these shades relationship with the then newly discovered uppersurface colours 81, 82 and 83. The inference was that it was / they were new colour(s), though there existed no documentary evidence to support this as there was for the uppersurface colours 81 and 82. Later, Steve Sheflin, in his magazine “Airfoil” presented his interpretations of late-war colours for the colour slide of the Fw 190 D-9 “Blaue 12” WNr.500570 of 8./JG 6 and other aircraft. He did this to try and reconcile his interpretations of the greenish underside colour with the known uppersurface colours 81 and 82 and repeated Hitchcock’s provisional terminology: ". . . 84, the undocumented blue-gray undersurface color seen on several late war planes." (p.6); ". . . the undocumented Gray-Blue undersurface color 84." (p.9); and finally "The undersurfaces are believed to be in a form of the undocumented Blue-Gray color (provisionally numbered 84), a color sampled on several Luftwaffe aircraft after the war." (p.31). Unfortunately, though emphatically stated as being a provisional identity created by a noted aviation researcher, to this date there is no evidence in known RLM, Luftwaffe or manufacturer documents of RLM 84 as an official colour. I am thus astonished by the continued use of this term by model companies, paint manufacturers, decal firms, publishers, illustrators, authors and enthusiasts who all should know better by now. Consequently, there is as yet no German documentary evidence identifying, acknowledging or using the descriptive terms "graublau", "grünblau", "graublau", and "lichtblau" for these specific undersurface colours. These were designated by Ken Merrick and Tom Hitchcock in their book “The Official Monogram Painting Guide to German Aircraft 1935-1945” to describe the colours as present on preserved samples from German aircraft. Colour chips replicating these colours were included along with their comments that they had found no official information on these colours, but that they were indeed used by the German aircraft industry. So, were these unique late-war undersurface colours different in appearance from the RLM-promulgated shade of colour 76? (The colour 76 itself being variously known and designated by aircraft manufacturers as “Lichtblau”, “Blaugrau”, “Graublau” and “Weissblau”) Absolutely. But then again, there are documented variations of 76’s official colour shade of paints supplied by the known manufacturers throughout the war. Colour 76’s bluish cast deteriorated over time to the point that it appeared almost white when seen applied to night fighters such as the Bf 110 G, Ju 88 G and He 219 A. Its brightness compromised the need to conceal it on the ground to the point that many of these aircraft had meandering patterns of 81 and probably 71 applied to their entire uppersurfaces. Nevertheless, these colour shades did exist and were used in significant quantities during the last year of the war. This brings me to consider and intriguing possibility that these shades are unknown colours that were previously developed of we know nothing about. Specifically, they could have been theatre- or environment-specific colours have existed from RLM 84-98 but never officially promulgated and issued to manufacturers and Luftwaffe operational / maintenance units since the rationale to do so no longer existed. In other words, aircraft were not flying over the desert in 1944 nor later that year over the Mediterranean or Bay of Biscay, so paint shades developed for these specific condition - but not officially promulgated for use - were no longer needed and what limited stocks existing were thus stockpiled. And furthermore, specific aircraft types requiring such colours were simply no longer in production and such paints would be surplus and available for use on other aircraft. One can only imagine what quantity of paint stocks of RLM 65, 70, 71, 72 and 73 were available in mid-1944 when the manufacture of bombers, maritime and related aircraft types ceased and all efforts switched to the emergency fighter program. One would think that it better to use (and extend through modification) older colours and paints than to create new colours and draw down increasingly limited stockpiles of raw materials. A possible example of this blue-green colour being observed on an operation aircraft is described by Ken Merrick in his 1977 book “German Aircraft Markings 1939-1945”. There (p.128) he recounts in some detail the story of an aircraft of RAF Coastal Command of No. 58 Squadron encountering a uniquely camouflaged Bv 222 in the Mediterranean. The crew of Halifax “R” HR983 while on patrol 8 October 1943 sighted a Bv 222 (possibly the V2 or V4) and upon interception the turret gunners in both aircraft fired at each other with that of the Bv 222 put out of action. It then opened its throttles and pulled away to escape from the Halifax. During their debriefing all Halifax crew members agreed that the enemy aircraft was painted in overall duck-egg blue; a good description for RAF Sky type-S that RAF types would have been familiar with (and also for the greenish shade of “RLM 84”). Merrick postulates that this may have been an experimental colour being tested by this aircraft as photos taken of the V2 and V4 prior to this event reveal them to be finished in the normal RLM 72/73/65 scheme. He also states that this bluish-green colour has been identified on the undersides of Fw 109s recovered from the sea and on land in Norway. With such discussions, one must also consider the impact of quality control for these items during the last year of the war. The loss of access to necessary raw materials forced the Germans to use substitutes were possible or limit/eliminate their usage. This realization is plainly in evidence with the various directives and instructions issued from the RLM regarding paints. Indeed, the RLM dictated to the aircraft manufacturers that if at all possible they NOT paint the undersides of their aircraft as an economizing measure! There is abundant photographic evidence confirming this, yet at the same time other newly produced aircraft did have their undersides painted. This all begs the blindingly obvious question: Why would the Luftwaffe spend precious time, effort and resources to produce a new series (!) of underside colours when at the same time they were instructing manufacturers not to use any underside colours or if they did, use up or trade away existing stocks for more important colours? I believe that this evidence reveals the response of an industry in chaos trying to turn out as many weapons as it could under increasingly desperate conditions in the shortest period of time with the least amount of strategic materials. Thus, various unofficial camouflage colour combinations should be the rule rather than the exception. These conditions would therefore result in the use in any combination of: Official colours matching required specifications. Official colours having variations in shades due to the effects of raw material substitutions. Paint shades approximating official colours mixed/created at the paint manufacturers, aircraft factories, component manufacturers, repair and recycling facilities and field units. Paint shades completely different from any official colours mixed/created/mixed at the paint manufacturers, aircraft factories, component manufacturers, repair and recycling facilities and field units. Use of currently unknown experimental paint shades that were produced but not promulgated and distributed for their intended official use. Unpainted or partially painted major components and parts. Any combination of the previous six points (many dozens). Thus, points 2, 3 & 4 are the logical explanations for the genesis and creation of these unique underside paint shades. Yet point 5 must seriously be considered – we just have so little data available to us today. These were no doubt deliberately created and used extensively. Since the mid-1970s when information on these colours was first published, not a single official German document has been found that even hints at the existence of these paints or the possibility they were official RLM colours. But again, they existed, which tells this writer that we are missing something very big here. Finally, I have written and published much about this subject many times, and interested parties might want to delve into the subject in more detail via my article posted on the Hyper-Scale website. It is a bit dated but still useful: http://www.clubhyper.com/reference/luftcamdb_3.htmn Overall, this is an interesting subject that we are still learning much about! Cheers, David REFERENCES Hitchcock, T.H., 1977. Monogram Close-Up 7: Messerschmitt Bf 109 G - Part 2. Monogram Aviation Publications, Boyleston, 32p. Ivie, T., and Sheflin, S.W., 1985. The Last of the Luftwaffe – ‘Roundup In The Sky’, Furth, Germany - 8 May 1945. Airfoil, Vol.1, No.3, Airfoil Publications, Costa Mesa, California, pp.4-10 & 31-38. Merrick, K.A., 1977. German Aircraft Markings 1939-1945. Sky Books Press Ltd., New York, 176p. Merrick, K.A., and Hitchcock, T.H., 1980. The Official Monogram Painting Guide to German Aircraft 1935-1945 (including Appendices and Supplements). Monogram Aviation Publications, Boylston, Massachusetts, 144p. Smith, J.R., and Gallaspy, J.D., 1977. Luftwaffe Camouflage and Markings 1935-45, Volume 3. Kookaburra Technical Publications Pty. Ltd., Melbourne, 164 p. (Also published by Monogram Aviation Publications under the title "Luftwaffe Colors").
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