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Development of Squadron Markings and Codes 1939 - 1945


By 1944 most of the developments in camouflage, colouring and markings had been incorporated into Air Publication 2656A.  The details given below amended up to and including Amendment List No 8 (AL8) of October 1944.

Chapter 1     Camouflage schemes

Introduction

1. The instructions in this chapter concern only the external camouflage colour schemes for aircraft. Identification markings are dealt with in Chapter 2 of this Section

2. All external surfaces of aircraft are to be camouflaged with the exception of the following:

(i) Exhaust stub pipes.

(ii) Exhaust manifolds

(iii) Flame dampers.

(iv) Tail pipes.

(v) Transparent windows, except under certain circumstances (see also para. 10).

(vi) Tyres.

(vii) Working parts of mechanisms.

3.   Propellers are finished by the propeller manufacturer in accordance with the relevant specification. Should it be necessary to re-finish a propeller in service, the paint normally used is night, with a 4 in. yellow band covering the complete tip of each blade. The method of re-painting propellers is described A.P. 1538B, Vol II, Part 3, Sect. II. Control which require to be re-balanced after re-finishing should be treated in accordance with the instructions given the relevant A.P., Vol II, Part 4.

Layout

4. The layout of the camouflage is defined as follows, in conjunction with para. 5:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES.-The upper surfaces should be in accordance with the disruptive patterns shown in fig. 4 to 9, at the end of this chapter. It may be found that mirror images of these patterns have been used by the manufacturers on certain types of aircraft. When such aircraft require to be re-camouflaged, the manufacturer's pattern should be copied so as to preserve uniformity in all Service aircraft of a particular type.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- The under surfaces are usually finished in one colour only, the boundary between the upper and under surfaces being determined as detailed in para. 5

Boundary between upper and under surfaces

5. There are two patterns defining the boundary between the upper and under surfaces. The pattern which should he used depends upon the operational role of the aircraft and is indicated in the paragraph dealing with each particular type. The two patterns are illustrated in fig. 1 and are defined as follows:-

(i) PATTERN No. 1.- The boundary is the line of contact traced on the fuselage by the template shown in fig. 2. If the wing is above the mid line of the fuselage the boundary is continued under the wing, conforming to the templateDiagrams showing boundary lines of camouflage patterns, but is curved upwards or downwards to meet the chord of the tailplane when this is attached to the fuselage.

(ii) PATTERN No. 2.- The boundary is a line parallel to the centre-line of the fuselage, fig 2 - Boundary template for marking pattern No 1 passing through a point 1/4 D below the top of the fuselage at the section of maximum depth, D. For the purpose of this definition any superstructure (cockpit cover and fairing, etc.) is ignored. The boundary is curved upwards or downwards to meet the leading edge of the fin and/or tailplane, but not to meet he chord of the wing. The fins and rudders are regarded as under-surfaces.

6. With both patterns the top surfaces of wings and tail-planes are treated as upper surfaces. The upper surfaces of top wings of biplanes are camouflaged in darker colours than the upper surfaces of the bottom wings. The interplane struts should be painted in the colour used for the lower wing at the point where the base of the strut meets the wing.

7. The boundary for wing nacelles should be determined independently of the fuselage, but in the same manner as for the pattern specified for the type of aircraft.

Boundaries between colours

8. The boundary between upper and under surfaces should be either a straight line or else in bold curves. It is not necessary to obtain a precise dividing line between the upper and under surfaces or between different camouflage colours on the same surface. The colours may be sprayed, for example, to a chalk line giving an overlap of one or two inches at the boundary.

Colours

9. The colours which should be used for camouflage depend entirely upon the role of the aircraft. The colours are detailed in the paragraphs concerning individual operational roles.

Painting of transparent blisters and noses

10. The painting of transparent moulded blisters and noses is necessary in connection with certain special installations. The painting should be external, in conformity with the camouflage scheme, and restricted to one coat. No primer should be applied. The paint used must contain no lead oxide or carbon black; pa ints to D.T.D.308, 314, or 517 are suitable.

11. Where such parts have already been given more than one coat or have been painted internally, the paint should be removed and the transparency refinished in accordance with para. 10.

12. For flying boats and naval aircraft the painting of such transparencies should be one coat applied internally. This is to avoid adhesion of salt and to facilitate washing.

Fighter Command aircraft

Day fighters (except high flying)

13. Day fighters should be camouflaged follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.-Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS.-Ocean grey.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.-Medium sea grey.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER-SURFACES.-Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.-Sky.

(v) ADDITIONAL RECOGNITION COLOURING-

(a) A vertical band of sky, 18 in. wide around the fuselage immediately forward of the tail unit.

(b) As specially notified for the particular type.

Day fighters (high flying)

14. High flying day fighters should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES.- Medium sea grey.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- P.R. blue.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER-SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) FINS AND RUDDERS.-Medium sea grey.

(v) SPINNERS.-Medium sea grey.

Intruders

15. Intruder aircraft should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i)     UPPER SURFACES

(a)   UNSHADED AREAS.-Dark green.

(b)    SHADED AREAS.- Medium sea grey.

(ii)     UNDER SURFACES.- Night

(iii)    BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER-SURFACES.-Pattern No. 1.

(iv)    SPINNERS.- Medium sea grey.

Night fighters

16.  Night fighters should be camouflaged as follows: -

(i)  UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAs.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS.-Medium sea grey.

(ii) UNDER SURFACE.- Medium sea grey.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER-SURFACES. - In side elevation, the      boundary is to follow the centre-line of the fuselage, but should be curved upwards or downwards to meet the leading and trailing edges of the mainplane and tailplane roots.

(iv)  FINS AND RUDDERS.- Medium sea grey.

(v)   SPINNERS.- Medium sea grey.

Note ... The scheme detailed in para. 13 is universal for all normal day fighters. The schemes detailed in para. 14, 15, and 16 should not be applied unless specific instructions are issued

Bomber Command aircraft, gliders and tugs

Day bombers (except Mosquito)

17. All day bombers except those of the Mosquito type should be camouflaged as follows. The scheme for the Mosquito is detailed in para. 18

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark earth

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Sky.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.-Medium sea grey. (.

 

Mosquito day bombers

18. Mosquito day bombers should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS - Ocean grey.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Medium sea grey.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Medium sea grey.

 

Night bombers and gliders and tugs

19. All night bombers, and gliders other than glider trainers, should be camouflaged as follows. The scheme for glider trainers is detailed in para. 41.

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark earth.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Night.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 2.

(iv) SPINNERS.-Dark green or dark earth.

Tugs

20. Aircraft diverted for use as tugs retain the camouflage scheme of their previous role. No additional recognition colouring or marking is required.

Overseas Commands

Aircraft operating in desert areas

Day bombers

21.  Day bombers operating in desert areas should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED.- Mid-stone.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark earth.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Azure blue.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Mid-stone or dark earth.

Day fighters

22. The camouflage schemes for day fighters operating in desert areas are the same as those for home based day fighters, which are detailed in para. 13 and 14.

Night fighters and intruders

23. The camouflage schemes for night fighters and intruders operating in desert areas are the same as those for home based aircraft fulfilling similar roles, which are detailed in para. 15 (intruders) and 16 (night fighters).

Night bombers

24. Night bombers operating in desert areas should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED.- Mid-stone.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark earth.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Night.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 2.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Dark earth.

Aircraft operating overseas in other than desert areas

Day fighters, night fighters, and intruders

25. Day fighters, night fighters, and intruders operating overseas in other than desert areas should be camouflaged in accordance with the instructions given in para. 14 to 16 inclusive for home based aircraft fulfilling similar roles.

Day bombers

26. Day bombers operating overseas in other than desert areas should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED Areas.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark earth.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Azure blue

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Dark green or dark earth.

Night bombers and tugs

27. Night bombers and tugs operating overseas in other than desert areas should be camouflaged in accordance with the instructions in para. 19 and 20 respectively

Aircraft engaged on coastal duties

28. Aircraft engaged on overseas coastal duties should be camouflaged in accordance with the instructions contained in para. 32 to 36 inclusive, as applicable.

Paras 29 to 31 refer to Naval aircraft and have been omitted

Aircraft engaged on coastal duties

Ordinary coastal duties

32. The instructions in this paragraph concern all aircraft used for coastal duties except photographic reconnaissance, meteorological, air/sea rescue, and other special duties aircraft:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES.- Extra dark sea grey, except where white is specified by sub-para. (ii).

(ii) UNDER-SURFACES.-The under surfaces as defined bv Pattern No. 1, including the under-surfaces of the wings and tail, should be glossy white (see para. 35 for definition of glossy white, and para. 36 for special requirements for flying boats). The under-surfaces between the boundaries defined by Patterns No. 1 and No. 2 should be standard white and, in addition:-

(a) The standard white should be extended upwards and merged into the upper surfaces in such manner that, in front and side elevations, the aircraft appears, almost entirely white, and:-

(b) For the engine nacelles, the standard white should be extended upwards to cover the whole of the top surface forward of the boundary of the upper surface colour of the wing near the leading edge.

(iii) FINS AND RUDDERS.- White.

(iv) SPINNERS.- White.

(v) RUBBER DE-ICING SHEATHS.-Flexible paint to D.T.D.557 (Stores Ref. 33B/505).

(vi) ENGINE COWL RINGS.- White to D.T.D. 314 (Stores Ref. 33B/176, 177, 343, or 396 for 1/2 gall., 1 gall., 5 gall Home, and 5 gall. Overseas containers respectively).

(vii) ANTI-GLOW SHROUDs.-Anti-glow white to D.T.D.557 (Stores Ref. 33B/528)

Special coastal duties Scheme A

33. Scheme A for the camouflage of aircraft for special coastal duties is as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES.- Extra dark sea grey.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES. - The under surfaces as defined by Pattern No. 1, including the under surfaces of the wings and tail should be glossy white (see para. 35 for definition of glossy white, and para. 36 for special requirements for flying boats). The under surfaces between the boundaries defined by Patterns No. 1 and No. 2 should be dark sea grey.

(iii) SPINNERS.- Extra dark sea grey.

Special coastal duties-Scheme B

34. Scheme B for the camouflage of aircraft for special coastal duties is as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES.-Extra dark sea grey.

(ii) UNDER-SURFACES.- Night.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER-SURFACES.-Pattern No. 2.

(iv) SPINNERS.-Extra dark sea grey.

Note . . . The standard scheme detailed para. 32 should be used in all instances unless special instructions are issued for the application of the schemes detailed in para. 33 and 34.

Definition of glossy white

35. The glossy white finish called for in para. 32 and 33 should be obtained as follows:-

(i) "C" FINISHES.- Where "C' finishing materials are used, the glossy, appearance should be obtained by applying a final coat of transparent covering dope (Stores Ref. 33B/85, 86 and 87 for 1/2 gall., 1 gall. and 5 gall. containers respectively) over the standard white. The matt white finish required elsewhere should be obtained by the use of white to D.T.D. 314 or 517.

(ii) "S" FINISHES.- Where "S" finishing materials are used, the glossy appearance should be obtained by the use of white to D.T.D.260A, the matt white finish required elsewhere being obtained by the use of white to D.T.D.314 or 517.

Special requirements for flying boats

36. For flying boats, the underwater surface of the hull and of the wing-tip floats should be given a coat of anti-fouling white to D.T.D. 420B (Stores Ref. 33B/367), followed by a coat of white to D.T.D.420B (Stores Ref. 33B/463)

Training, communications, and target-towing aircraft

Training and communications aircraft

37. The instructions in para. 38 and 39 concern all training and communications aircraft except glider trainers, the camouflage scheme for which is detailed in para. 41.

Monoplanes

38. Monoplane trainers and communications aircraft should be camouflaged as follows:

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark earth.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Yellow.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER-SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Dark green or dark earth.

Biplanes

39. Biplane trainers and communications aircraft should be camouflaged as follows: -

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) TOP PLANES:-

    UNSHADED AREAS.- Dark earth.

    SHADED AREAS.- Dark green.

(b) BOTTOM PLANES: -

    UNSHADED AREAS.- Light earth.

    SHADED AREAS.- Light green.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Yellow.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER-SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Light green or light earth,

Note. . . Existing aircraft which have been camouflaged with an approved scheme not conforming with para. 38 or 39 should not be changed unless specific instructions to that effect are issued.

Target-towing aircraft

40. Target-towing aircraft should be camouflaged as follows: -

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark earth.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Stripes, as defined below, should be applied to the surfaces of the wings, nacelles and wpe11.gif (24926 bytes) fuselage. The base colour of the remaining under surface, including the under surface of the elevator but not of the tailplane, should be Yellow. The under surface of the tailplane should be Night. The Stripes should be 3 ft. wide and Night in colour. They should be inclined at 60o to the lateral axis of the aircraft, and should run aft from port to starboard. The distance between centre-lines of the stripes should be 9 ft., and the centre-line of the datum stripe should pass through the centre of the port roundel.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER-SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Dark green or dark earth.

(v) ADDITIONAL RECOGNITION COLOURING. A vertical band of Sky, 18 in. wide, around the fuselage immediately forward of the tail unit.

Glider trainers, private venture, and prototype aircraft

Glider trainers and prototype gliders

41. Glider trainers and prototype gliders should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- As for target-towing aircraft (see para. 40).

(ii) ADDITIONAL RECOGNITION COLOURING. The upper surface of the wings should be Yellow for a distance of 8 ft. from the extreme tips

Private venture and prototype aircraft

42. The camouflage instructions in this paragraph concern all private venture aircraft, and prototype aircraft other than prototype gliders, the scheme for which is detailed in para. 41:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES.-The colours should be those detailed for the ro1e for which the aircraft is intended.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.-Yellow (excepting flying boats and amphibians, which, to save labour, should have their under surfaces finished in the colours for the role which they are intended to fulfil).

Ambulance, air/sea rescue and Service transport aircraft

Ambulance aircraft

43. Ambulance aircraft should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark earth.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- White.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Dark green or dark earth.

Note ...For ambulance aircraft operating in desert areas, the colours detailed in para. 21, (i) and (iv), may be required instead of those given at (i) and (iv) above.

Air/sea rescue aircraft

44. Air/sea rescue aircraft should be camouflaged as follows.-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.- Extra dark sea grey.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark slate grey.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Sky, or if specially required for aircraft destined overseas, Azure blue.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Extra dark sea grey or dark slate grey.

Service transport aircraft

45. Service transport aircraft should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.- Extra dark sea grey.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark slate grey.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Azure blue, or, if specially required, Night.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Extra dark sea grey or dark slate grey.

Autogiros, air observation, army co-op., A.A. co-op., and target aircraft

Autogiros

46. Autogiros should be camouflaged in accordance with the scheme for their particular role. The rotor blades should be finished on both sides with either of the two colours used for the upper surface of the fuselage.

Air observation aircraft

47. Air observation aircraft should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark earth.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- As upper surfaces.

(iii) SPINNERS.- Dark green or dark earth.

Army co-operation aircraft

48. Aircraft diverted for army co-operation duties are finished in the colours used for their previous role.

Anti-aircraft co-operation aircraft

49. Anti-aircraft co-operation aircraft should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAs.- Dark earth.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Night.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 2.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Dark green or dark earth.

Target (pilotless) aircraft

50. Pilotless target aircraft should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES.

(a) UNSHADED AREAS.- Dark green.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Dark earth.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- Sky.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iv) SPINNERS.- Dark green or dark earth.

P.R. and meteorological aircraft

Photographic reconnaissance and special met. aircraft (high flying)

51. Photographic reconnaissance and special meteorological aircraft should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- P.R.U. blue.

(ii) SPINNERS.- P.R.U. blue.

Photographic reconnaissance aircraft (low flying)

52. Low flying P.R. aircraft should be camouflaged as follows:-

(i) UPPER SURFACES

(a) UNSHADFD AREAS.- Extra dark sea grey.

(b) SHADED AREAS.- Extra dark sea green.

(ii) UNDER SURFACES.- P.R.U. mauve.

(iii) BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND UNDER SURFACES.- Pattern No. 1.

(iV) SPINNERS.- Extra dark sea grey, or extra dark sea green.

Note..... The Service is permitted licence in the camouflaging of P.R. aircraft.

Meteorological aircraft (as allotted by the service)

53. Aircraft allotted within the Service for meteorological duties should remain camouflaged in the operations colourings used for the normal role of the aircraft.

Illustrations relevant to Chapter 1.  The terms 'Shaded' and 'Unshaded' refer to the areas shown in these diagrams.

Camouflage scheme for single engined monoplanes  Camouflage scheme for small twin engined monoplanes  Camouflage scheme for medium sized twin engined monoplanes  Camouflage scheme for multi engined monoplanes  Camouflage scheme for amphibious and biplane flying boats  Camouflage scheme for sland biplanes

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