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Why are they referred to as Luftwaffe tropical paints ...


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Ambition?   Germany really did have historical interests in the tropics.  Or because "sub-tropical paints" was a bit too verbose?  (For the German language?  Maybe not.)  Or more simply because Africa = tropics in most minds?

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Well I must say I’ve wondered the same thing myself. In English at least ‘Tropical’ is not ‘Arid’ nor is it ‘desert’. I wonder if it’s a difference in meaning in the German language. 

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Is this how the Germans themselves officially referred to these paints/colours?  Or is it simply a slack English-language journalistic term? Are the paints themselves any different, or just the colours?  Did the Germans actually cluster them into a group with a particular title?  This would be unusual - the maritime greens 72/73 may be another group appropriate for such an individual official name but were they given one?  We do now know that the so-called "Export" group in the late 60s was not named as such by the Germans.

 

I do suspect it is simply casual use by post-war writers.  Why tropical rather than desert I can't say: but of course the equivalent term was used by the British for the extra kit on their aircraft.   These were expected to operate over a wider range of conditions, of course, but the term was in use from the start.

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24 minutes ago, JWM said:

most likely this is a British name to distinguish from "Temperate" or "Sea"...


Perhaps it’s simply a general misunderstanding (ignorance) of geography.

 

Would it be similar to the use of the designation ‘Trop.’ for some Hurricane variants?

Assuming the Hurricane’s larger filter was initially developed for use in North Africa (if the baesystems site statement “Tropicalised Hawker Hurricane MK.IIB for use in North Africa and fitted with Vokes filters and Rolls Royce engine.” is anything accurate to go by), does that imply a generalisation of anywhere hot as being tropical?

 

Edited by Blimpyboy
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In case of British Empire "tropical" was for simply designed to use  "south, beyond Homeland" I guess - any other hotter climate zone worldwide, no matter if it is Singapore, India, Afghanistan,  Egypt, Kenya or Trinidad... (humic or dry - no matter)

J-W

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That makes sense, I s’pose.

 

 Mind you, some geographic definitions of the tropical zone encompass approx. 34 deg. North to 30-ish deg. South, which almost covers Africa...

Edited by Blimpyboy
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I doubt the paints were originally called "Tropen-" or anything like that, but the dedicated versions of the planes were (like "Bf 109 F/trop") and "Tropen" or "Tropen-" is a simplification of "subtropical and tropical" / "tropis and subtropics" (etc.) used before. Similar to the use in the Englisch lanuage like in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_medicine "Tropical medicine is an interdisciplinary branch of medicine that deals with health issues that occur uniquely, are more widespread, or are more difficult to control in tropical and subtropical regions".

 

Sometimes it gets even more oversimplified, the hospital formerly known as "Tropeninstitut" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernhard_Nocht_Institute_for_Tropical_Medicine

 got (re)named to "Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin" but plain people called it "Tropeninstitut" and people employed there called it "Tropi" (probably still do).

 

In everyday life that is not much of a problem, but we have "Obst" (almost like "fruit") and "Gemüse" (pretty much like "vegetable") and usually one knows what is this or that, but go out onto the street and ask a citizen to give you a proper definition! If they fail give them a second chance to name the proper plural ob "Obst".

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And people says that German is the best language for philosophy because of its precision !;)

Regards

J-W

 

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17 hours ago, JWM said:

 

And people says that German is the best language for philosophy because of its precision !;)

Regards

J-W

 

 

Unfortunately I can't compare it to Polish (yet), but compared to English there are a few "advantageous differences" at least when written.

 

"time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana" would not work in written German: "Die Zeit fliegt wie ein Pfeil, Fruchtfliegen mögen Bananen" leaves no room for following a wrongish track (but there are other funny traps). It might be more "difficult" to write, but when reading having all the nouns identified by a capital letter helps to comprehend the sentence's meaning faster.

Edited by Jochen Barett
embarassing typo
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Precision, logically constructed language... 

(semi-truck = Lastkraftwagen-anhänger)

We called it the Meccano language at school for funsies :D

ok I'll get me :coat:

 

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Thank you all for the interest and responding.  

 

Was hoping for some evidence of German documentation form the Luftwaffe aspect, but there is some proof of the use of the term tropical within the German Army. Tropenausrüstung (tropical equipment) is mentioned in Panzer Tracts 3-3, as authored by Jentz & Doyle.  They describe the term defining any region that  has "hot climates over 28 degrees C".    Also, those vehicles that were readied at factory level for use in these regions, had a "Tp" stamp attached to the chassis number.

 

So it seems tropical back then may have been a more general term, and include anything south of temperate Europe.

 

regards,

Jack

Edited by JackG
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10 minutes ago, alt-92 said:

Precision, logically constructed language... 

(semi-truck = Lastkraftwagen-anhänger)

We called it the Meccano language at school for funsies :D

ok I'll get me :coat:

 


Apparently with 63 letters this is the longest German word ever to exist; “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz“, which can be translated into the “Beef Labeling Supervision Task Transfer Act”. 
 

Still doesn’t explain why the paints are referred to as tropical though 😉

 

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1 minute ago, desert falcon said:

Still doesn’t explain why the paints are referred to as tropical though 😉

True :)

I think @JackG may have a very good point though. 
In the Netherlands, we have a TropenMuseum  - same early 20th century attitude I guess, anything climate-wise not standard temperate is tropical. Simples. 

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14 hours ago, alt-92 said:

Precision, logically constructed language... 

(semi-truck = Lastkraftwagen-anhänger)

We called it the Meccano language at school for funsies :D

ok I'll get me :coat:

 

I'd translate semi-truck to "Sattelzug" where the Zugmaschine pulls the semi-trailer (Sattelauflieger) on a saddle, but before we argue, you teach me how to say sneeuwwitje 🍺 so I can order another drink besides koffie verkeerd ☕

 

It seems when the Luftwaffen Dienstvorschrift L.Dv 521/1 was first issued nobody at the Reichs Luftfahrt Ministerium thought about conquering the world including the Sahara and following Ullmann and Merrick&Kiroff the order concentrated rather on materials and processes than on schemes. The paints were listed in a color atlas, but not "grouped". The jobs (schemes) to do were categorized by the type of airplane, at first common schemes for fighters and bombers (later split up), maritime aircraft, winter camo, night camo, night fighter camo, gliders and eventually "Tropenflugzeuge" (planes modified for use in tropical (including subtropical) areas.

 

But this is dangerous terrain! In the end you might find youself doubting RLM 02 was ever officially used on day fighters, or squiggle camo was done with 02 (or 79) rather than "76 all the time", and in worst case one stumbles into that blue Ju 88.

 

I remember building my first Ta 152 "a few years ago" just after I climbed the ladder from using the paint given in the instructions by Airfix/Revell/Frog/Heller/... to using Humbrol Authentic colours and I just learnt fighters were not alway done in 70/71/65 but from a certain time on in 74/75/76 - but well before I learnt of the existence of 81/82/83, so I did it in 74/75/76 (I vos only following ze orders! https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235036273-frog-172-fw-ta-152-h/ ) and soon somebody came up with 81/82/83 (and the mix-up of what is what)  for "late war" planes. What a bummer. So first know-it-all modellers painted their Ta 152 in Braunviolett and Hellgrün and before I could consider a repaint of my model somebody came up with the "fact" that the first Ta 152 were actually painted in 74/75/76.

 

To get back to the original question: Nobody cared about the subtle / purely academic / most important difference between tropc and subtropic, but it was different from normal or arctic and had the Luftwaffe reached antarctic regions they may well have applied the "arctic" scheme.

 

When I grow up I will build a Maltese Spitfire! I still remember well how the models were painted in that museum in Malta. 🎃

 

Edited by Jochen Barett
typo
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I suspect that this was simply an extension of British terminology by witers and modellers starting in the 1950s/60s.

 

Most of the influential historians and modellers of the period who wrote in English were more familiar with RAF and FAA practice than German practice. There were Temperate and Tropical Schemes for land and sea service (where tropical meant anywhere whcih was warmer than the South of France). At that time German wartime archives and standards were much less accessible to most people than they are now.  So "Luftwaffe tropical scheme" starts to be used as a convenient way of describing a scheme using terminology which was familiar to enthusiasts and modellers at a time the official name wasn't widely recognised. After a while; everyone knows what is meant by the unofficial term and the official name tends to rather fall by the wayside. 

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7 hours ago, desert falcon said:


Apparently with 63 letters this is the longest German word ever to exist; “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz“, which can be translated into the “Beef Labeling Supervision Task Transfer Act”. 
 

Still doesn’t explain why the paints are referred to as tropical though 😉

 

Sounds like you have a tropical beef!  😀

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I suspect that to the average Englishman,,German or Dutchman (to use the contemporary language) tropical meant anywhere South of Biscay or East of Brindisi, i.e. any where a pith helmet was appropriate.

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