RAF Fighter Command paint schemes 1939-1941

July 10, 2010 0 Comments

The colours Dark Earth and Dark Green were standard for upper surfaces until May 1942. There was little variation in the patterns other than a mirror-image application. The two types were designated 'A' and 'B' schemes.

 

Undersurfaces and underside national markings were subject to a number of changes:

 -In early 1940, the official scheme had a white right wing, black left wing and split fuselage colours to match. In fact, the manufacturers interpreted this as requiring an aluminum finish to the fuselage, which was an error, but it was not corrected for a long while. No underwing roundels. (Before this date various versions with and without roundels had been used)

-On 18th May 1940 Roundels were reintroduced, but with a yellow roundel ring on the left wing. The entire fuselage and tail surfaces were now split white/black for new aircraft. Black was intended to be the specific colour 'night', though this did not always happen.

 -On 6th June 1940 the colour designated "Type S" was introduced for undersurfaces, without underwing roundels. With modern perspective (and communications methods), it is easy to be critical of the problem that neither manufacturers nor existing squadrons actually knew what "Type S" looked like! More than one written clarification was made, but the effect was to introduce a range of colours in the field from 'Duck Egg Blue' to 'Duck Egg Green' to 'Light Grey'. To compound the problem, official stocks of "Type S" paint were not available freely until over a month later than this. Each squadron/maintenance unit and each manufacturing location had to interpret what can best be described as 'imprecise' instructions. A common 'Duck Egg Bluish Green', which is indeed how one Ministry correction described the colour. (Later on, the Ministry would correct the description to be 'Sky', but by then the term 'Duck Egg Blue' was popularly established.)

 -On 1st August 1940 large (45/50") roundels reintroduced.

-After the official end to the battle, from 27th November 1940 a black left wing was reapplied, along with a sky spinner and tailband.

 

As some of these changes were introduced in the middle of the Battle of Britain there was considerable field variation, as one might imagine.

 

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Hawker Hurricane

 

Unit specific emblems for Squadron Numbers 1 (wasp), 3 (spinner), 85 (hexagon), 87 (cat), 242 (booting Hitler), 303 (National), 310 (National) Squadrons. Scheme 1- night/white undersides, no under-wing roundels, full-fin flash Scheme 2- night/white undersides, under-wing roundels, half-fin flash Scheme 3- blue undersides, large fuselage roundels, no under-wing roundels, half-fin flash Scheme 4- large fuselage roundels, no under-wing roundels, full-fin flash Scheme 5- no under-wing roundels, half-fin flash Scheme 6- small under-wing roundels, full-fin flash Scheme 7- standard underling roundels, small fin flash Scheme 8- night/sky undersides, under-wing roundels, sky-blue tail band/spinner

 

Supermarine Spitfire

 

Unit specific emblems for Squadron Numbers 54 (kiwi), 65 (East India), 66 (spinner), 234 (mailed fist). Scheme 1- blue undersides, no under-wing roundels Scheme 2- no under-wing roundels (standard early battle scheme) Scheme 3- oversized fuselage roundels, blue undersides, no under-wing roundels Scheme 4- underside roundels (standard late battle scheme) Scheme 5- wingtip underside roundels

 

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Camouflage and the Ministry of Defence

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