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RAF markings during WW2


Nils
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I'm not sure it this is correct place to ask, but I posted a topic (which got lost.. ) the other day asking why some RAF planes (especially) during WW2 had the tactical codes reversed on starboard side of the fuselage,

for example GS-M on port side, would be M-GS on the starboard side. Some machines have it, some not..

I just wondered how the rules for markings applied for tactical codes? I have also seen the reversed codes on US planes..

PS If admin find this post misplaced, please PM me where it belongs..

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The only rules were;

1. The squadron Codes were never to be separated, ie always DW-D,  QV-K, never D-WD or Q-VK

2. When advised by AMO the letters height, width and brush stroke size was to be adhered to

3. The colour of the code letters was to be as advised by AMO

 

How the letters were displayed on the fuselage was up to the painters at the squadron and could be influenced by the space available. How the letters were displayed on the fuselage was often, but not always, the same on every aeroplane in the squadron

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12 minutes ago, Black Knight said:

The only rules were;

1. The squadron Codes were never to be separated, ie always DW-D,  QV-K, never D-WD or Q-VK

 

 

And even then, you can find exceptions to that rule!

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Ok thanks, that made sense ( in a way 😁), atleast that explains the veriations. I’ve never thought about it until recently, and does the rule still apply?

Thanks again..

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On 3/18/2022 at 11:21 PM, Nils said:

does the rule still apply?

Thanks again..

No! Modern RAF aircraft do not have squadron codes in the manner of WWII aircraft. Any markings they had, have sadly been removed. You will only tend to find the aircraft serial number (eg zz999) nowadays 😔 Long gone are any squadron markings that we would see not too long ago!

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The kind of squadron code system used in WW2 has not been used for many years. Squadron codes were abandoned starting from approximately 1951, with some commands moving to single squadron letters for some time and then disappeared before the end of that decade.

Later a new system with a letter for the squadron and one for the aircraft was used at some bases but there was never a really consistent system and other units used numbers.

Interestingly the last use of the WW2 code system was not in the RAF but in Norway, as their air force retained the same codes previously used in WW2 until 1970. These were the same codes from the RAF system as the Norwegian postwar units have their roots in the ones manned by Norwegians in the RAF and retained the same numbers when transferred under Luftforsvaret control. Other countries also used the same codes for a few years after the end of the war, although none for as long as the Norwegians.

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6 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

.. as their air force retained the same codes previously used in WW2 until 1970.

 

September 1972, to be precise. 🙂

 

Nils

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On 18/03/2022 at 23:21, Nils said:

Ok thanks, that made sense ( in a way 😁), atleast that explains the veriations. I’ve never thought about it until recently,

it's the the very underappreciated can of worms in RAF markings, which mostly are fairly uniform...  If you want accuracy, you need a photo, and others from the unit at the same time.

Decals manufacturers and profile artists tend to miss the subtleties, and it's a reason why often generic code sheets are not much use.... 

 

Code running order could, and did vary even in a squadron during the war.....   Once you start looking,  the more quirk you will find...

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks a lot for for all helpful replies. As I said the planes that had reversed codes, was on the plane's starboard side of the fuselage. As 90% of all profiles and also most photos only show the aircraft's port side...

But at least i've learned here that very often it's a good qualified guesswork, as none documentation shows starboard sides with squadron codes and nose art..

In the Norwegian airforce I believe, reversing the squadron codes seems to have been more or less the rule, during WW2 and after..

Edited by Nils
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