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Dana Bell

British ASW camouflage...

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Does anyone here know when Britain introduced white camouflage for anti-submarine aircraft.  All of my books dance around the subject, and the one on-line source I've found is clearly wrong.  (That source claims Britain introduced the white scheme in July 1942, while US records seem to indicate the scheme was already being used in March/April 1942.)

 

I'm writing up the US Navy's slow adoption of the scheme, and it would help to know just when it had been developed.

 

Many thanks!

 

 

 

Dana

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Many thanks, Ewen,

 

That's great for my needs - US Navy Neutrality Patrol units certainly would have seen these colors in Canada and Newfoundland before we entered the war, but the first mention of white ASW colors didn't come until March 1942.  I'm suspecting the "not-invented-here" syndrome delayed our adoption of the colors for several months.

 

Nice site, by the way!

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Dana

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Dana

Coincidentally last night I was reading “Boeing B-17 Fortress in Coastal Command Service” about the deliveries of the Mk.IIA (B-17E) and Mark II ((B-17F). These were being delivered to Dorval in Canada from the Cheyenne Modification Centre from about March 1942. 

 

They arrived in Cheyenne in either

1. OD/NG or

2. RAF high level bomber scheme, Temperate Land (dark green/ dark earth) upper surfaces and Deep Sky undersurfaces, fuselage sides and vertical tail.

 

From 22nd aircraft they were repainted there in Temperate Sea Scheme, (extra dark sea grey/dark slate grey) upper surfaces with sky undersides.

 

When they arrived in the U.K. the went to Burtonwood near Liverpool for Coastal Command mods before issue to squadrons. They were also repainted as required in Temperate Sea Scheme upper surfaces and white under surfaces, fuselage sides and vertical tail. There is a 19 page Appendix that I haven’t got to yet dealing with the camouflage of these aircraft as well as the Mark I (B-17C) and Mark III (B-17G).

 

If B-17s we’re being repainted with white undersurfaces in the U.K. from March 1942, it may explain why they wouldn’t see that until later. Also existing aircraft when the new orders were issued may not have been repainted until due a major service. I can’t recall ever reading anything about what Consolidated were doing with Liberators about then for Coastal Command but most of the Mark II ended up as bombers or transports.

 

The above book also has a couple of photos dated May and August 1942 taken at Dorval showing a variety of types including Hudson’s and B-17s. None show any white undersides or sides. So again maybe it wasn’t so common in early 1942 your side of the Atlantic.

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16 hours ago, EwenS said:

Aug 1941 for Wellington, Whitley and Liberator.

 

Full details of all the changes here http://www.hrmtech.com/SIG/articles/coastal_cam.asp

 

Glad to see my web page is of use - it was the best I could do with the information I could find. I'm always happy to amend it or add to it if anyone has good information, just PM me.

 

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Info I have was TSS scheme with Sky lower surfaces starting Jan 41 with the change to high white sides/lower surface in in Aug 41  but photo's and info of RAAF Sunderlands I have still have them in the Sky lower surface scheme till at least mid 42 when  July 1942 AMO A.664/42 came into effect for Sunderlands and they got the white sides and lower surface.

Edited by Sydhuey

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Hi Ewan,

 

Thanks for the update!  Your note on the Coastal Command B-17s caught my attention on two ways - first, I ordered a copy of the the book, and second I remembered I had found some long-forgotten documentation on export B-17Es.  A 12 March 1942 memo from Group Captain Ryds of the British Air Commission to the US Defense Aid Organization listed new requirements for B-17E ASV aircraft.  The camouflage was to be based on Air Diagram 1161 with the following exceptions:

 

- Upper surfaces were to be Extra Dark Sea Gray duPont 71-19324 and Dark Slate Gray duPont 71-19323, and

 

- Undersurfaces were to be dull white duPont 71-001, carried 3/4th the way up the sides and on fins and rudders.

 

Additional notes called for dull British red and blue for the insignia, rather than the brighter American colors.

 

Things must have been pretty busy in early 1942 - the Production Division didn't pass the new instructions to the Cheyenne Mod Center until 23 May, so we can expect a further delay in implementing the new colors.  One undated photo shows B-17E FK209 in the US with the new colors, but the demarcation low on the fuselage.

 

It's funny that I can't seem to write about USN ASW camouflage without first understanding British camouflage, but at different times we either ignored or mimicked the British experience!

 

Cheers,

 

 

Dana

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Thanks, Rossm and Sydhuey,

 

I appreciate the added details.  (And that really is a great site!)

 

With all the new research on UK colors and markings, I'd love to see a new book that put the history of WWII color schemes.  We've had very good coverage of the basics - going all the way back to the Ducimus Camouflage and Markings series - but surely the last 50 years worth of primary research should have given us a new master work?  I think we could all make room on our shelves for a compilation of everything new that's been turning up...

 

Cheers,

 

 

Dana

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PM sent (don't worry, folks, you're not missing anything much!)  I had a cluster of references to high vs low demarcation, and white bottom/sides, from about 1 July to Sept '41.  Some of this might have been experimentation, but there was some indication of policy.  Looking back at the previous comments, this ties in neatly.

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Hi Ewen and Dana:

 

Thanks for picking up my book.

 

Ewen: Per the book, only early Mk.IIAs/B-17Es were delivered in either OD/NG or Temperate Land/Deep Sky. By the time the Mk.IIs/B-17Fs came along they were being painted Temperate Sea/White over the OD/NG factory finish.

 

Dana: Greetings, and thanks again for your assistance with the camouflage content.

 

Robert

Edited by robstitt

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Thanks Rob. I’m only just getting into it so have either missed that or have yet to come to it. Great book by the way. Well worth the money.

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Adding to Dana's note on the instruction from Group Captain Ryde to Cheyenne that the Dupont under surfaces colour would be 71-001 White, this was never implemented on the remaining Fortress IIAs/B-17Es prior to their delivery to the UK. Instead, the under surfaces on the remaining Fortress IIAs were painted Sky with, as Dana notes, the lower demarcation line (Pattern No. 1), the quoted FK209 being an example. It would appear that while the Temperate Sea upper surfaces requirement was picked up, so too was the reference to Sky for the under surfaces of 'general reconnaissance land planes' on Air Diagram 1161.

 

The May 23, 1942, instruction from the Production Division at Wright Field - kindly provided by Dana - notes that there was an attached marked-up copy of Air Diagram 1161 depicting the painting of these aircraft. This would likely clarify how the Temperate Sea/Sky scheme came about but I believe the drawing has not survived.

 

Robert

 

 

Edited by robstitt

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9 hours ago, Dana Bell said:

Thanks, Rossm and Sydhuey,

 

I appreciate the added details.  (And that really is a great site!)

 

With all the new research on UK colors and markings, I'd love to see a new book that put the history of WWII color schemes.  We've had very good coverage of the basics - going all the way back to the Ducimus Camouflage and Markings series - but surely the last 50 years worth of primary research should have given us a new master work?  I think we could all make room on our shelves for a compilation of everything new that's been turning up...

 

Cheers,

 

 

Dana

 

If you write the book, I'll buy it!

 

 

Chris

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Here is my effort from four years ago.

 

 

Etienne.

 

 

Coastal Command  B-17 Fortress

 

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Hi

    in case it is of interest, the stores paint colour references 

 

extract from

 

memo issued 29 aug 1941

 

” undersurfaces” glossy white 33B/161

 

remaining side surfaces

matt white 33B/168, 169

 

side surfaces rudder and fin

matt white

 

de icing 

special white paint from RAE farnborough

 

engine cowlings

stove enamel 33B/177

 

 cheers

    jerry

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Did any Coastal command aircraft use Pinkish grey camo as used by the Royal Navy (known as Mountbatten Pink) or the pink tint used by low level PR Spitfires. I believe the pink worked very well against overcast skies.

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No.  PRU Pink was only of use in certain conditions, and was much paler than is usually represented anyway.  The two Mountbatten Pinks disappeared rapidly from use when he moved on to other things.  

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20 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

No.  PRU Pink was only of use in certain conditions, and was much paler than is usually represented anyway.  The two Mountbatten Pinks disappeared rapidly from use when he moved on to other things.  

And anyway a scientific test of Mountbatten Pink concluded that "the only thing magical about it was the name".

Edited by Seahawk

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28 minutes ago, AltcarBoB said:

Did any Coastal command aircraft use Pinkish grey camo as used by the Royal Navy (known as Mountbatten Pink) or the pink tint used by low level PR Spitfires. I believe the pink worked very well against overcast skies.

Hi

 

    Bowyer mentions in Coastal colours,

 

    that he saw in sept 1941 with 502 Sqn , a Whitley with pink undersurfaces.

 

     also with 502 Sqn a whitley T4141 with sky undersurfaces

 

      cheers

        Jerry

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5 minutes ago, brewerjerry said:

    that he saw in sept 1941 with 502 Sqn , a Whitley with pink undersurfaces.

 

Hmm.  Where was 502 based at the time?  St Eval?  If so, that was also the base of the PRU Spitfires monitoring Brest etc.  I believe the St Eval Spitfires were major, if not the main, users of PRU Pink.  One could imagine a conversation in the mess one night...  Pure speculation.

Edited by Seahawk

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