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tonyot

RAF Hurricanes in Desert Camo?

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Hello Folks,

Does anybody know when the desert scheme of Mid Stone, Dark Earth and Azure Blue was introduced onto the Hurricane production line, as opposed to being applied by MU`s upon arrival in Egypt? I have heard September 1941 quoted before but I have never seen a photo of a factory finished Hurri in desert colours with an A1 Type roundel, the only ones that I have seen have been wearing the later C1 Type?

Hope somebody out there can help,

Cheers

Tony O

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Bump...can anybody out there please help?

Tony O

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That would be very interesting to find out - perhaps if you asked the Brooklands Museum it may be in their documents? Hurricanes were being delivered to Takoradi still in Temperate Land in late 1940, and some were still carrying this when fighting in the first Tobruk siege. There were still new examples being delivered to the ME in TLS as late as the Greek campaign. The Trop Land Scheme (DG/MS) dated to early 1941 and can be seen on fighters parked on Furious's deck, presumably for a 1941 delivery to Malta. This scheme appears to be in use in Ceylon as late as early 1942. So this would suggest that the earliest the Desert scheme (DE/MS) appeared in production was mid to late 1941. Or possibly even later.

But that's all derived from studying photographs, and earlier writings. It is possible that more than one scheme was being painted at the same time, and we just aren't looking at the right photos - if they even exist.

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Was just looking at this relating to the Vildebeest thread,

The Desert scheme is interesting as it appears, disappears then re-appears through the AMOs. It's in AMO 926/40 of 12/12/40 as aircraft of Middle East Command having Midstone in place of Dark Green.

Then in AMO 513/41 (10/7/41) Operational aircraft are to be in TLS or dark green and midstone, and the tables in the appendices use the phrase 'Tropical Land Scheme'. However, in AMO664/42 (2/7/42) the TropLS has disappeared and we now have the Desert Scheme of Dark Earth and Middle stone.

Not directly related to Hurricane production, but does relate to the use of these schemes. Once caveat - AMO's are not infallible - in the amendmend to 664/42 in A1096/42, the Night Fighter scheme is listed as Dark Green and sea green medium. This is later corrected to 'sea grey' medium' in A1377/42, but that is too months later. Did we see two/tone green RAF nightfighters in those two months?

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Thanks very much for getting back to me lads.

I was discussing this question with a friend regarding the artwork for a forthcoming book and Graham you have repeated almost word for word what I said to him...which is nice to know....however I disagree about there being any Mid Stone and Dark Green aircraft in Malta or the Far East....or even that this scheme ever existed on Hurricane`s at all......and if it did then it was definitely not applied on the production line! I think a lot of the photographic evidence for a DG/MS so called Tropical Land scheme can be explained by fading of the Dark Earth in strong sunlight to look lighter (ie make it appear like Mid Stone in relation to Dark Green which did not fade half as much and in some cases went darker) and also by the strong lighting conditions found in the Med/ Far East which would have a similar effect even on freshly applied Dark Earth? My findings suggest that Hurricanes destined for overseas retained their Dark Earth and Dark Green upper surface colours and had Sky Blue added to the undersides by the MU or packing unit dealing with their departure from the UK. I like to go by photo`s rather than by using AMO`s or other orders because as you say Dave they are not infallible, and can only be considered as a guide.

Despite the evidence, or lack of it....my friend just stood his ground by saying that he had read from a well known author (from quite a few years ago) that the desert scheme was introduced on the production line from September 1941, so it must be true.......however he had no answer to the facts that were presented ...such as the evidence in photos from as far afield as Malta, the Middle East and the Far East and the lack of any photos from the production line wearing anything other than C1 Type roundels.......!!

I`m pretty sure it was more like mid 1942 at the earliest before the desert scheme appeared on the production line and may even be a typo for Sept 1942 but it would be interesting to know for certain,

All the best

Tony O

Edited by tonyot

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I would not be surprised to find that the Desert camouflage appeared on the production line round about September 1941. Certainly long before the 7/42 AMO which I see as tidying up a messy situation rather than introducing anything new.

If you want me to back this up, I'll point you at Paul Lucas's Britain Alone, which states that the first AMO describing the Desert Scheme is A.926, dated 12 December 1940. There then follows a description of the confusion around the Tropical Land Scheme described in AMO A.513 10th July 1941 but "this is how many aircraft were finished during the first half of 1941": meaning DE/MS to A.926.

Note that where Paul sees this as a misunderstanding, Ian Huntley saw it as a change in requirements from the ME. DG/MS was fine for the Nile, Palestine and Iraq, but DE/MS was better for the Western Desert.

Photos of the first Spitfires for Malta show the desert scheme in April 1942. These may have been painted in an MU rather than at the factory.

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Here's a copy of two loose minute sheets from AVIA 15/770.

Based on this, shortly after 12.11.41 looks to be a good estimate.

img497.jpg

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What's with the Dark Earth, Ocean Grey and Sea Grey Medium scheme described on the second page? Never heard of that one before unless it's a typo for Dark Green and Ocean Grey...

Edited by mhaselden

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What's with the Dark Earth, Ocean Grey and Sea Grey Medium scheme described on the second page? Never heard of that one before unless it's a typo for Dark Green and Ocean Grey...

Yes, I assume so.

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Good stuff Ian, but it only gives us a date for separation of treatment of Mk.IIB (excluding fighter-bombers) and Mk.IIC. It does not imply that the overseas scheme was not available on certain airframes before this.

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Good stuff Ian, but it only gives us a date for separation of treatment of Mk.IIB (excluding fighter-bombers) and Mk.IIC. It does not imply that the overseas scheme was not available on certain airframes before this.

Yes, that's true of course. So what we can probably conclude is 'not later than shortly after 12.11.41'.

Edited by iang

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The introduction is somewhere between 12/12/40 and 21/11/41. The key point to me is that it is well in advance of the often-quoted 1942 AMO 664.

We know from the 73 Sq history and Cull's "Hurricanes over Tobruk" that these aircraft were delivered to Takoradi still in TLS, but that's not surprising in the timescale of February 1941. TLS aircraft were still available for Greece in April, but we'd have to check serials against delivery dates to determine the importance of that. Oh, for a "Hurricane The History".

However, it is generally accepted (I think) that the Mk.IIBs sent to Java/Sumatra were in TLS - reasonably enough for this theatre but suggesting that their delivery predated the above. It doesn't rule out some production in Desert but not universal.

Edited by Graham Boak

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The introduction is somewhere between 12/12/40 and 21/11/41. The key point to me is that it is well in advance of the often-quoted 1942 AMO 664.

It's worth remembering that AMOs and CAFOs did not *generally* instigate changes in camouflage and markings - they typically formalised practice that had been promulgated to units and manufacturers by other means. I seems that both Hawker and Gloster caused MAP a headache over colour schemes in early 1941, so variations from official practice (as enshrined in Technical Circulars to Resident Technical Officers or Memorandum to Local Technical Committees) are not to be ruled out. For example, MAP received several notices of Sea Hurricanes being finished in a 'Land Scheme' in the spring and early summer of 1941. The last one on file is listed as V7653, which was delivered from General Aircraft Ltd, Hanworth to MSFU Speke on 13/7/41 in 'land camouflage'. Four other examples are referred to in the extant correspondence. Interestingly, Sturtivant does not list V7653 as being on FAA charge.

Edited by iang

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Greetings,

What an interesting thread. A colour photo of a crashed Hurricane in early 1941, in the book "Recon for Rommel", shows it to be in Dark Green/Dark Earth colours.

Ian Huntley in his April 2002 article in Scale Aviation Modeller International states that a Dark Green/Light Earth scheme existed in Addenda to AMO A.520/39. He also quotes a Circular Letter No. 761 of 8th May 1940 given to contractors showing both the Mid Stone/Dark Earth and Mid Stone/Dark Green colour schemes. Have any of you guys come across these references?

Cheers,

Mark

Dark Green/Light Earth was called Tropical Land Scheme. It seems to have been designed for use in areas like the Nile Delta and Palestine. It was seen on MkI (trop) Hurricanes early in the war. As the fighting moved fairly promptly to the desert then the desert scheme replaced it.

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