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Test Graham

Hurricane "spaghetti" scheme: I said it was blue!

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I would add that a scheme would still be official if it obeyed local instructions rather than Air Ministry rulings. In this case it seems that the Middle East saw a widespread adoption of Light Earth (replacing the Dark Green) before or shortly after the outbreak of war, although it is not clear how universal this was, or if it was restricted to certain areas. There was then some discussion whether the lighter colour - Light Earth or the "new" Middle Stone - should replace the Dark Green or the Dark Earth. Replacement aircraft were still arriving in DG/DE well into 1941, and the DG/ME scheme appears on Hurricanes in the spring, this one on Crete (if that is what it is? On reflection I think it may be Desert.) would have been one of the earliest, and Hurricanes were still being delivered in this scheme when squadrons were diverted to Ceylon following the outbreak of the Pacific War. It then disappeared with the general adoption of the Desert Scheme, operations having ceased in more temperate areas of the ME so there being no call for the green.

I don't think I've seen the scheme on any type other than the Hurricane, but then there are more photos of Hurricanes than of other types. It did not see any use on the P-40. Perhaps only the Blenheim need be considered?

Edited by Graham Boak

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AMO A.513 Camouflage Colouring and Markings of Aircraft 10th July 1941 para 3(ii)(a)(i):-

". . or dark green and mid-stone, according to the nature of the country in which they are to operate."

It might have been an error but it was an officially stated error.

And

AMO 926/40, (12.12.40) paragraph 5 (i) "Temperate land scheme camouflage........Aircraft of the Middle East Command are coloured MIDSTONE and DARK GREEN"

The Appendix for A.513 appears to indicate this is the Tropical Land scheme (as aside, but still my choice for a certain torpedo bomber in Singapore)

Edited by Dave Fleming

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....

I think the reason why the Italian hypothesis is prevelant is the Italians got pushed back in North Africa rather quick when the British came into the picture. So somebody was thinking that some Italian paint stocks might have been located at a storage depot and somebody got creative. To me, it makes some weird sense from an "in the field" perspective where a crew chief might have had to patch up some bullet holes on the front of a damaged kite and all he had was this paint... so he went to town.

Hi,

Apparently the luftwaffe used captured paint stocks, on some 109's on the eastern front, there was a thread on TOCH/LEMB or an article in luftwaffe im focus about it.

cheers

Jerry

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Graham: I'm assuming you got that from photos as I'm not aware of any documentary evidence to back it up. There is a reversal of tones in B/W photos when taken with orthochromatic film which accounts for both the high contrast and pattern. This was noted by Richard Caruana in his 2001 SAM article on Malta Hrricanes. Michael Bowyer, reported that Hurricanes delivered to M.E. were Dark Earth/Mid Stone in August 1941 which is backed up by archive documents in December 1941. He also reported the same colours on Blenheims in 1940. There are also archive documents whereby aircraft have had a much lighter dark earth than usual (noted for Wellesley bombers). Then there are the P40s from US with lighter "dark earths" as well.

David: you quoted wrongly. It says "in place of Dark Green" NOT "and". Furthermore I would point out that the filters fitted to Hurricanes/Spitfires operating in the desert were called Tropical, i.e the term "Desert" and "Tropical" can not be used as you have done to imply a new colour scheme.

Nick: the AMOs/Communications are full of such errors, eg. Night fighters were "Dark Green and Sea Green" in AMO 1096. Another one is Hurricanes in Grey and Brown, but did we ever see any aircraft with these colours?

Cheers,

Mark

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Mark: I'm not sure just what part you are referring to, but the first reference I saw to the DG/MS scheme was not just from photographs but from reports from such as Ian Huntley who spoke with veterans. Your comment on orthochromatic film does not properly capture what happens. The tones are not simply reversed. On orthochromatic film the Dark Earth appears very nearly as dark as the Dark Green, so Temperate Land appears as two dark colours. The Dark Green is the darker of the two colours and never appears as a light colour. On panchromatic film the Dark Earth appears significantly lighter, especially on a used aircraft with faded paint. Then there is the unanalysable effect of filters, and whether the photo was taken uplight or downlight, but we must make do with what we can.

From 1939/40 photographs of the likes of Wellesleys and Valentias, you can very clearly see that a very light colour has appeared where the Dark Green was. Not where the Dark Earth was. Michael Bowyer is generally a very reliable source, but not least because of his direct observations. I doubt that this extends to the more esoteric parts of Middle East operations, because I don't believe he left the UK at any time. He is therefore unlikely to be as informed of the early changes made in theatre, before the time Mid Stone was standardised as an RAF aircraft colour. However, I do believe it is correct that some early deliveries were made in Dark Earth and Mid Stone, but that these were not the norm until late in 1941. There's no argument about deliveries after the summer of 1941: they will indeed (generally) have been delivered in the Desert Scheme. (Generally, because there will always be some lag, often considerable.) As Chris Shores states in his latest work, this was when the scheme was standardised. In April some aircraft were still being delivered in Temperate Land - see Canadian production Mk.Is in Greece. From Spring to Autumn, and even later for some examples, Hurricanes were being delivered with an appearance that does not match either, but does match Tropical land.

The effects of colour exchange or reversal can be confusing. There was very little colour reversal (as opposed to mirror imaging) on RAF aircraft, but there are a few examples of it seen in the Middle East. This appears to be true of at least one of the early Hurricanes in a "desert" colour scheme, where it stands out from an otherwise standard line-up . However, such examples are rare. Single examples of Hurricanes in the Tropical Land scheme cannot be distinguished from those with a reversed Desert scheme, but where there is a carrier deck full of such aircraft, or where all the aircraft seen of a particular squadron show the same effect, then simple colour reversal can be ruled out. Another confusing matter is the fading of colours in the sunlight, and in this case a faded Temperate Land aircraft will have a much higher contrast that a freshly-painted one: however this high contrast will not appear on a new aircraft.

The P-40s are an irrelevance, as their colours are well known and there is no link to Tropical Land. However, the name was not an invention of Dave but of the Air Ministry, being present in the Appendix quoted. Although commonly referred to as a Tropical Filter, this was not an official name for the device, as the air filter was only part of the tropicalisation of an aircraft. Re Tropical Land. There is documentary evidence of the scheme; there is anecdotal evidence of the scheme; and there is photographic evidence that is best interpreted as showing it in use. I don't know quite what else is required in the way of confirmation. OK, colour photos would be nice...

Richard Caruana is not an entirely reliable source. He has stated that Mid Stone always appears dark on ortho film - it does not. This alone would produce a false bias in his analysis, though not the only one. He had Spitfires being painted in USN Sea Blue a year before this colour was introduced. The same article, indeed? (If you are relying upon that article for other areas, I'd point out that a more recent publication of an ortho-film photo suggests that his three Gladiators viewed on a pan-film photo were not in Temperate Land but Temperate Sea. However, the man cannot be faulted for that!)

For more thorough and better-researched accounts of early Middle Eastern colours, I refer you to Ian Huntley's SAM article (no7, I believe) and Paul Lucas's Britain Alone. However, colour details of the early years of the Middle East conflict were not recorded in the details we modellers would like - or if so, have not survived. Even now fresh fragments are surfacing - a SAAF reference to Light (Middle East) Blue for aircraft undersides, for example!

Edited by Graham Boak

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Hello,

I suggest the assumption stems from the initial link with 208 Sq and its low-level fighter recce role. Together with the longer strings of the mottled colour (hence "spaghetti"), and the thought of it being the upper surface camouflage colour wrapped down, then we have a consistent set of ideas. If the earliest well-publicised photo had been the example captured in Crete, with no specific connection to low-level operations and small spots of mottle on a colour that was lighter than the underside, then these connections would not have been made.

I trusted the "makeshift Italian camouflage" interpretation entirely, until this thread was started.

My attempt at justifying the "spaghetti" scheme was that, until December 1940, the only single-engined monoplane fielded by the Regia Aeromautica was the ground-attack Breda Ba. 65, which was not exactly a star performer. Arguably, mis-identification of a Hurricane as a Ba. 65 might give the RAF pilot some advantage even in a fighter vs fighter engagement, not exclusively in the ground-attack role that, for the Hurri, came somewhat later.

I agree correct identification of friend from foe is important but, then, any pattern designed to break the profile of an aircraft and make it less conspicuous goes in the opposite direction. This would probably be a matter of balancing risks and advantages. So far with the (old) theory.

A look at the pictures in "Hurricanes over Tobruk" shows that Hurricanes from several squadrons had a light colour on the sides of the nose, including P2643:YK of 274 Sqn., P2646:TP-K and V7544:TP-S of 73 Sqn. and P3822 of 3 Sqn. RAAF. In some (earlier?) pictures this appears to be just one plain colour with no mottles.

In the UK a few Hurricanes also had light-coloured nose sides (85 Sqn. and, if I recall correctly, 17 Sqn.) but, in this case, they appear to result from the underside colour being extended up, not the upper colour extending down. I wonder if this might be the starting point for desert Hurricanes as well? I recall Sky was generally considered too light a colour for desert skies, so replacement with light blue, eventually overpainted with darker coloured streaks, might have been the next step.

Fulmar pictures confirm that the "spaghetti" mottling of these aircraft was applied over a basis colour that was darker than Sky. Although an Italian-style green-over-light brown might explain the resulting tonal values in a b&w picture it appears, admittedly, a slightly unconvincing choice for a naval fighter.

How would I finish a late-1940 806 Sqn. Fulmar at this point? Well, I don't know; just keep reading this thread.

Claudio

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"Nick: the AMOs/Communications are full of such errors, eg. Night fighters were "Dark Green and Sea Green" in AMO 1096. Another one is Hurricanes in Grey and Brown, but did we ever see any aircraft with these colours?"

Come off it, Mark, you and I both know that was not the point. You asserted the scheme was never officially stated whereas actually it was. Whether we "ever see" (how? where?) aircraft in these colours is irrelevant to that point. And since the "colours" shown in monochrome photos are infinitely debatable and an absence of photos is evidence of nothing but an absence of photos even that question is tenuous in its implication.

Graham's third and fourth paragraphs in post # 30 above are also pertinent. One of the problems with assessing colour from photographs is the variable degradation of the paint surfaces in harsh environments, resulting in confusing tonal contrasts in photographs of Hurricanes in service in both the Middle and Far East.

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Graham/Nick,

"Re Tropical Land.”

This is a name you have invented to describe Mid-Stone/Dark Green. It does not appear anywhere directly stating this in any archive documents.

"I'm not sure just what part you are referring to, but the first reference I saw to the DG/MS scheme was not just from photographs but from reports from such as Ian Huntley who spoke with veterans."

Ian Huntley is the only source (1978/2001 SAM). In his 1978 article he quotes a SINGLE guy from a transport squadron and that's it. There were no other veterans that I know of. Since when has anecdotal evidence taken precedence over primary source? The lighter colour could just have well have been faded light earth as has been recorded in archive documents for Wellesley Bombers in UK.

"From Spring to Autumn, and even later for some examples, Hurricanes were being delivered with an appearance that does not match either, but does match Tropical land"

This is based only on your interpretation of B/W photos ... and that name that you have invented appears again.

"The P-40s are an irrelevance"

Yes they are relevant, This is what Ian quoted as evidence in his 2001 article: "It has been said that the first Beaufighter unit to stage East in early 1941 was painted in this scheme, as were many Tomahawk fighters". The "sand" was later shown to be due to a lighter shade of Dark Earth used in initial deliveries of P40s as shown by Dana Bell in his articles. No mention of Hurricanes either. Note also in 2001, he states that the Dark Green/Mid Stone was only a "possibility".

"There is documentary evidence of the scheme"

Where please quote the reference? The November 1940 and July 1941 (corrected) AMO'S are quite clear and the colours are Dark Earth/Mid Stone. Even Ian Huntley noted that the 1941 order was "half-hearted".

"and there is photographic evidence that is best interpreted as showing it in use."

No, there are no photographs, only your interpretation of photos.

"Richard Caruana is not an entirely reliable source"

I found his argument was a lot more convincing than yours.

"For more thorough and better-researched accounts of early Middle Eastern colours, I refer you to Ian Huntley's SAM article (no7, I believe) and Paul Lucas's Britain Alone"

That is an opinion by you.

"Come off it, Mark, you and I both know that was not the point"

Yes it was the point Nick.You can not decide what is an error and what is not?

Regards,

Mark

Edited by Mark Mackenzie

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Mark,

Per the earlier posts, Nick isn't stating what is or what is not an error. You originally said "There never was a Dark Green/Mid-Stone scheme officially stated." Nick proved that such a scheme had been officially stated. Now it may have been an error but it was still officially stated. The receiving units wouldn't know it was an error until the correction came out which, depending on when it was noticed and the priority of the message traffic, may (and I stress may) have resulted in some airframes being incorrectly camouflaged.

Cheers,

T'other Mark

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"Yes it was the point Nick.You can not decide what is an error and what is not?"

As t'other Mark has pointed out it's not about me deciding what is an error or not. You made a statement that this scheme was never officially stated and you were wrong because it is stated in AMO A.513, intentionally or otherwise.

As for "Tropical land scheme" you will also find that term quite clearly stated in Appendix 1 of AMO A.513 as the upper surfaces colouring scheme required for "Operational aircraft for service abroad" which follows the specific instruction quoted above. A "Desert scheme" is not even mentioned so the Appendix term is linked directly to para 3(ii)(a)(i). To put this in context para 6 of 513 states:-

"Appendices I and II give the standardised camouflage colouring and markings of aircraft."

So you are wrong again and the term "Tropical land scheme" was not invented by Graham but rather by the author of AMO A.513 in July 1941. That instruction therefore officially promulgated a scheme consisting of Dark Green and Midstone as the Tropical land scheme. FWIW my own personal view is that para 3(ii)(a)(i) intended that either Dark Green or Midstone would be applied, depending on the country, etc., but was badly worded and misunderstood, hence the later corrections.

The question remains whether any Hurricane aircraft were actually painted in the Tropical land scheme but evidencing that they were not is equally tenuous to evidencing that they were.

Edited by Nick Millman

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Mark/Nick,

Per the earlier posts, Nick isn't stating what is or what is not an error.

I took the meaning of "Come off it, Mark, you and I both know that was not the point" to be that Nick felt that the Dark Green/Sea Green was an error and that the Dark Green/Mid Stone was not. The point I was trying to make was that when something is obviously an error, we can not take that as evidence of some sort of new camouflage scheme. I notice no-one is claiming Sea Green/Dark Green as a night-fighter scheme, unless I have missed something. I am well aware of AMO513. The only thing Nick proved is that I should have used the word "sanctioned" in my post instead of "stated". If it was wrongly stated in AMO513 then it was never officially sanctioned. Right guys?

Nick, no where do the terms Dark Green + Mid-Stone = Tropical Scheme appear directly in AMO 513. The term "Tropical Land Scheme" could equally mean "Dark Green and Dark Earth" as well because this was also a colour scheme for aircraft abroad.

The only aircraft I have seen in Dark Green/Mid-stone were US aircraft, where the Olive Drab was over-painted with sand disruptive; the most recent example being a Dakota.

Regards,

Mark

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Mark, this is getting tedious. I'm not about to argue the finer points of "stated" and "sanctioned" relative to an AMO!

My post # 35 clearly provides the context. Dark Green and Dark Earth was the Temperate Land scheme. The key element in 513 is the colouring for "Operational aircraft for service abroad":-

"The upper surfaces are to be camouflaged in accordance with the instructions contained in sub-para. (i) (a) above (i.e. that is the Temperate land scheme - Dark Green and Dark Earth), or dark green and mid-stone, according to the nature of the country in which they are to operate."

In Appendix 1 under "Operational aircraft for service abroad" the colouring for upper surfaces is given as "Tropical land scheme", so yes, of course, this refers to the options described above. But "Tropical land scheme" also includes Dark Green and Midstone, as stated, with a very clear qualifier regarding the country in which the aircraft operates, e.g. with local discretion. The fact that "Tropical land scheme" includes, effectively, aircraft in the Temperate land scheme, does not negate the existence of Dark Green or Midstone as a scheme. That is made clear in the context explained.

But to get back to specifics you stated that the term Tropical land scheme was invented by Graham. It was not. Now, faced with the evidence that it was not, you are suggesting that it could refer to the Temperate land scheme which is a different issue. It doesn't just refer to the Temperate land scheme because then it would have just said that, as it does elsewhere in that AMO. It refers to the options described at para 3(ii)(a)(i). So, at that time, it was both stated and sanctioned. The question of whether the Dark Green and Midstone combination was ever applied remains unresolved but the evidence of that transport pilot suggests it might well have been - and the subsequent correcting correspondence that we have debated before suggests that someone, somewhere was getting it wrong.

What was in error, perhaps, was the intended combination of colours, not the existence of a Tropical land scheme. Personally and as already mentioned I believe the wording probably meant dark green or midstone but that doesn't mean receiving units didn't scratch their heads and compound the error or that local command used their discretion in ways that the AMO did not intend. The AMOs were often not clearly worded and the to-ing and fro-ing of queries and corrections demonstrates the confusion they sometimes caused. With the greatest respect the fact that you haven't seen aircraft in Dark Green and Midstone (how would you know anyway?) is neither here nor there. You can't have seen all the Hurricanes deployed in the Middle East in all circumstances and not every Hurricane was photographed.

Don't get hung up on "sanctioned" schemes. For example AMO A.664 of July 1942 makes absolutely no provision for schemes on fighters abroad except the day fighter scheme and desert schemes but we know that fighters in SEAC were in Temperate land scheme. That wasn't an "error" as such but it wasn't "sanctioned" by AMOs.

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Mark: you have set out nine paragraphs. There is some repetition in your declarations, and you are short on actual discussion of your reasoning.

1. Also 3A, and 5. Tropical Land was not invented by me. I used it believing it to be an official term, as indeed it has proven to be, being found in official documentation. I find it a useful shorthand for the scheme to distinguish it from others.

2. A similar discussion on its origins also appears in Lucas. I would not argue that a single piece of anecdotal evidence, despite the level of detail discussed, takes "precedence" over official documentation (although it might, in appropriate cirumstances), but I certainly do accept it when it agrees with the official documentation, as it does in this case. What it also does is support the suggestion that this scheme was not an error, but reflected genuine disagreement over the ideal camouflage for a varied set of environments. Not all the Middle East war was fought over a desert.

2A. A lighter colour could indeed be faded Dark Earth, a point I raised earlier. However, if so it would appear in the camouflage pattern where Dark Earth appeared. Although the use of the mirror image for camouflage patterns was common in the early war years, this is not so for the exchange of colours - although isolated examples can be found. One photo proves nothing. A number of such photos, including ones with more than one aircraft on them, does go much further. There are a number of photos from the early period (1939/40) where the lighter colour has replaced Dark Earth in the pattern, but few showing the reverse. Had the lighter colour been faded Dark Earth, then the darker colour would also show some signs of fading, if much lesser, and the aircraft as a whole would show signs of wear. It would not appear on new aircraft, as it does in 1941.

3. Also 6 We do indeed rely upon interpretation of photos, and I argue that as a process, although clearly limited, it is far from valueless. You and I (and indeed others) can differ on individual interpretations, but these are open to argument and require more than simple dismissal. It is not just the interpretation of single tones, but their relationship to others in tone and in position, and the general context of the photograph.

4. I entirely agree that Ian Huntley was incorrect with regard to the P-40s. That is why it has no current relevance.

7. Rather than simply dismissing my comment, could you perhaps explain just where RC was correct in assuming that Mid Stone always shows up dark on ortho film? There are few photos of desert-camouflaged aircraft showing two dark colours, as there would be were this true. I think this appearance of Mid Stone is a point worthy of more general discussion, if anyone wants to take it up elsewhere?

8. In their work, Messrs. Huntley and Lucas show evidence for thorough research in their approach taken: discussion of the matters involved, the evidence and its varied sources, and the alternatives. Other writers on the subject have relied upon working from a limited (and perhaps inadequate) set of official documents, or even simply expressed "that's the way it is". That's why "better researched" is not just a matter of my opinion: these works show their research, where others show their lack. I believe this approach makes their work better, whether or not you or I agree with their conclusions.

9. But you are capable of looking at a 1940 official document and declaring that it has to be an error? Motes and beams, sir. You are no better qualified to do that than Nick or I. It may be an error, but there is good reason to argue that it was not.

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David: you quoted wrongly. It says "in place of Dark Green" NOT "and". Furthermore I would point out that the filters fitted to Hurricanes/Spitfires operating in the desert were called Tropical, i.e the term "Desert" and "Tropical" can not be used as you have done to imply a new colour scheme.

Ooops, I knew that, why did I read that wrongly? Apologies.

For many years it was my view that 'dark Green' was a typo for Dark Earth in AMO 513, and a signal/amendment to that effect would turn up in the PRO files. can't remember what changed my mind.

One document that no-one ever seems to have found (or at least published in entireity) are the PRE-war colour scheme notations that established such things as the tropical sea scheme etc - My suspicion is that references to temperate land, tropical l;and etc have their origins in those.

Edited by Dave Fleming

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One document that no-one ever seems to have found (or at least published in entireity) are the PRE-war colour scheme notations that established such things as the tropical sea scheme etc - My suspicion is that references to temperate land, tropical l;and etc have their origins in those.

Not quite no-one; there were (at least) four tropical schemes, for landplanes, from 1935-38, which used various "earths," "sands," and the occasional green, plus a couple of tropical sea schemes, which used combinations of blues and greens; whether they were still extant in 1939/40 is a different story. Although it might have no bearing, whatsoever, on this discussion, when, in 1940, Sky made its official appearance, Malta said, "Thanks, but no thanks," as did Singapore.

Edgar

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Mark: you have set out nine paragraphs. There is some repetition in your declarations, and you are short on actual discussion of your reasoning.

1. Also 3A, and 5. Tropical Land was not invented by me. I used it believing it to be an official term, as indeed it has proven to be, being found in official documentation. I find it a useful shorthand for the scheme to distinguish it from others.

2. A similar discussion on its origins also appears in Lucas. I would not argue that a single piece of anecdotal evidence, despite the level of detail discussed, takes "precedence" over official documentation (although it might, in appropriate cirumstances), but I certainly do accept it when it agrees with the official documentation, as it does in this case. What it also does is support the suggestion that this scheme was not an error, but reflected genuine disagreement over the ideal camouflage for a varied set of environments. Not all the Middle East war was fought over a desert.

2A. A lighter colour could indeed be faded Dark Earth, a point I raised earlier. However, if so it would appear in the camouflage pattern where Dark Earth appeared. Although the use of the mirror image for camouflage patterns was common in the early war years, this is not so for the exchange of colours - although isolated examples can be found. One photo proves nothing. A number of such photos, including ones with more than one aircraft on them, does go much further. There are a number of photos from the early period (1939/40) where the lighter colour has replaced Dark Earth in the pattern, but few showing the reverse. Had the lighter colour been faded Dark Earth, then the darker colour would also show some signs of fading, if much lesser, and the aircraft as a whole would show signs of wear. It would not appear on new aircraft, as it does in 1941.

3. Also 6 We do indeed rely upon interpretation of photos, and I argue that as a process, although clearly limited, it is far from valueless. You and I (and indeed others) can differ on individual interpretations, but these are open to argument and require more than simple dismissal. It is not just the interpretation of single tones, but their relationship to others in tone and in position, and the general context of the photograph.

4. I entirely agree that Ian Huntley was incorrect with regard to the P-40s. That is why it has no current relevance.

7. Rather than simply dismissing my comment, could you perhaps explain just where RC was correct in assuming that Mid Stone always shows up dark on ortho film? There are few photos of desert-camouflaged aircraft showing two dark colours, as there would be were this true. I think this appearance of Mid Stone is a point worthy of more general discussion, if anyone wants to take it up elsewhere?

8. In their work, Messrs. Huntley and Lucas show evidence for thorough research in their approach taken: discussion of the matters involved, the evidence and its varied sources, and the alternatives. Other writers on the subject have relied upon working from a limited (and perhaps inadequate) set of official documents, or even simply expressed "that's the way it is". That's why "better researched" is not just a matter of my opinion: these works show their research, where others show their lack. I believe this approach makes their work better, whether or not you or I agree with their conclusions.

9. But you are capable of looking at a 1940 official document and declaring that it has to be an error? Motes and beams, sir. You are no better qualified to do that than Nick or I. It may be an error, but there is good reason to argue that it was not.

Graham,

In regard to: “as indeed it has proven to be, being found in official documentation. I find it a useful shorthand for the scheme to distinguish it from others”. You are extrapolating. No where does it state that tropical land scheme = mid stone + dark green. The term was used pre-war for any of the overseas schemes, including those in the desert. The term “tropical” was also used for the filters fitted to aircraft operating in the desert.

Lucas based his research on the earlier article by Ian Huntley. His findings regarding the use of Dark Green/Mid Stone were conjecture only: i.e. this is what Paul said:

“The Air Ministry appears to have made a mistake ... “

Then later:

“... and it would appear that this is how many were finished during the first half of 1941, both in the UK prior to dispatch to the Middle-East and those repainted in theatre.”

Note how the word “appear” occurs in both references to this scheme. Now, Michael Bowyer recorded first hand the camouflage colours of Blenheims in UK. This what he wrote in his book "Bombing Colours":

"An interesting feature was that during their preparation for the Middle-East theatre they were now being repainted to have Dark Earth and Middle-Stone upper surfaces. This led to several incidents over Britain in the Autum of 1940 where the Blenheims in strange camouflage colours attracted the attention of defending fighters”.

He also recorded the colours of Hurricanes in August 1941 as Dark Earth/Mid Stone. Somehow this has been overlooked by both Paul and Ian. I would also point out that, Ian waters down his argument in 2001 and say's “it was possible” only.

Regarding photos, I did not say that mid-stone always appears dark and neither did Richard. I dismissed your comment because there was nothing to back it up. i.e. would you please mind giving a reference to these photos rather than just stating “there are a number”. Here is a colour photo of a Blenheim in Greece, March/April 41. It is clearly Dark Earth/Mid-Stone:

4530810620_38ae49db92.jpg

The reason AMO 513 was an error, was because it was declared an error by Air Ministry not by me. Here is the correction to AMO 513 given by Air Ministry:

DSCN0902.jpg

Note the date and also the urgency. It was circulated in October 1941, three months after the July AMO. The correction to the Night-fighter colours I mentioned earlier took two months.

In anticipation of a reply from Nick, who may argue that the term “amendment” doesn't mean correction, here is the on-line definition of amendment, less there be any confusion. Please note 2):

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/amendment

Also, Nick I know it doesn't explicitly state AMO 513 in the title, but clearly given the closeness of the dates it can only refer to this document or derivatives of it.

Regards,

Mark

Edited by Mark Mackenzie

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The reason AMO 513 was an error, was because it was declared an error by Air Ministry not by me. Here is the correction to AMO 513 given by Air Ministry:

DSCN0902.jpg

Note the date and also the urgency. It was circulated in October 1941, three months after the July AMO. The correction to the Night-fighter colours I mentioned earlier took two months.

And there's the amendment I speculated on in my earlier post - thanks Mark!

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Note the date and also the urgency. It was circulated in October 1941, three months after the July AMO. The correction to the Night-fighter colours I mentioned earlier took two months.

By "urgency" I meant the speed with which a signal would be disseminated (ie "Priority" or "Flash"). The fact that this amendment was issued 3 months after the original mistake gives ample opportunity for airframes to be incorrectly camouflaged in mid stone and dark green.

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By "urgency" I meant the speed with which a signal would be disseminated (ie "Priority" or "Flash"). The fact that this amendment was issued 3 months after the original mistake gives ample opportunity for airframes to be incorrectly camouflaged in mid stone and dark green.

For what its worth, and this is my opinion and nothing more, I think Graham is right and some aircraft were Dark Green/Sand. But not in 1941, not to the extent he is suggesting and not called tropical either. The source will eventually turn up, probably in local orders from Middle-East. Ian Huntley mentions a Circular 761 of May 1940, which remains unseen. Hopefully vigorous debates like this will stir up someone to go and find it.

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4530810620_38ae49db92.jpg

Usually my color perceptions are shot down here on this forum but let me nevertheless state that it looks like Light Earth to me not Mid Stone, especially of I consider the Dark Earth looks pretty dark here.

Edited by occa

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Usually my color perceptions are shot down here on this forum but let me nevertheless state that it looks like Light Earth to me not Mid Stone, especially of I consider the Dark Earth looks pretty dark here.

I'm not convinced of the of the "accuracy" of colour rendition of anything in that photograph. Maybe it's just degraded with age.

Cheers

Edited by chaddy

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I'm not convinced of the of the "accuracy" of colour rendition of anything in that photograph. Maybe it's just degraded with age.

Cheers

The colors of the trees, the sky and the grass all look pretty natural ...

Every time a color does not fit to what you have as written AMOs you twist it to that the photo must not be right.

Edited by occa

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Every time a color does not fit to what you have as written AMOs you twist it to that the photo must not be right.

Far from twisting anything, I make no claim that the colours are different to what you state them to be.

Your opinion of what the actual colours are may well be correct. I merely pass the comment that the colours as rendered in the photograph seem "odd". There is a definite overall colour cast on that photograph. It is 70 years old; I would expect that some degradation/fading, at least, to have occured over that period, if nothing else.

Cheers

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Far from twisting anything, I make no claim that the colours are different to what you state them to be.

Your opinion of what the actual colours are may well be correct. I merely pass the comment that the colours as rendered in the photograph seem "odd". There is a definite overall colour cast on that photograph. It is 70 years old; I would expect that some degradation/fading, at least, to have occured over that period, if nothing else.

Cheers

Fair enough, sorry didn't even mean you but some color 'experts' here lol.

The longer I look at that photo the more mysteries appear btw, there are patches of a dark rich red brown visible in that Blenheim even.

Maybe it's that infamous three color scheme ...

Cjeers

Edited by occa

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The longer I look at that photo the more mysteries appear btw, there are patches of a dark rich red brown visible in that Blenheim even.

Maybe it's that infamous three color scheme ...

Cjeers

I've noticed that too. I've had a close up look in Photoshop as well. That patch of "dark brown" aft of the roundel, just above the squadron codes, looks odd to me. There is a strange demarcation between that and the colours surrounding it.

Without straying too far off topic, there are elements of that photograph that remind me of the ones my uncle used to enhance, by hand, way back in the 50's. Long before Photoshop! Although to be fair one can't be too dogmatic as the picture we are seeing on here is a small file size and it can't be "blown up" very much to check it it closely, without losing definition.

Cheers

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