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Camouflage, Colors and Markings Topics related to Camouflage, Colors and Markings of WWI aircraft

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Old 27 March 2005, 01:59 PM   #11
edvalerio
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German Naval AC Camouflage

Thanks Tripehound, for the info from the Windsock W29 datafile. Before joining this forum and hearing from you gentlemen, the only reference to the naval lozenge camo was from the writeup (copywrite date 1992) supplied by Americal/Gryphon with their 2 sheets of naval hex decal sheets. The writeup, and indeed the coloration of the decal sheets, follow what was said in the Windsock datafile closely enough so that one could surmise both came from the same source material. Interestingly, the decal writeup cites the source for the lighter 'non-brown' scheme as an actual piece of fabric from an Agean-based AlbW4 owned by one Rodney Gerrard. Unfortunately, it is nowhere mentioned whether these were hand-painted hexes or pre-printed fabric. I scaled the hexes off the decals, and indeed they are meant to represent regular hexes of approx. 15cm across the flats.

Now, here is my problem: Dan-San cites an official document wherein a) no 'light' scheme is even mentioned, and b) the 'dark' scheme (that is the one with the brown in it that everyone seems to agree existed) is made up of hexes whose circular diameter is 30cm, which gives us a hex whose flats are something like 22cm across- a very significant difference. Also, according to Dan-San's document if I understand him correctly, all these hexes would have been handpainted, since the docoment only mentions preprinted fabric composed of non-regular hexes.

In other words, here we have three good (I understand Americal/Gryphon enjoys a reputation for doing decent research, as does Windsock and of course Dan-San) sources which do not add up. Clarification, anyone?

As ever- Ed
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Old 28 March 2005, 07:55 AM   #12
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The patterns were pre-printed. The dark fabric sample examined was from an H-B W 29 and the light sample was from an Albatros W 4. DSA's document, also in the possession of Peter Grosz, the author of the Datafile, has this, dated April 1918:

"All aircraft surfaces visible from above, that is the top surfaces of both wings, the fuselage, the floats, the tailplane and elevator, are grey-violet in regular hexagons of 15cm side length."

The "grey-violet" may be the light version. There's a difference between 'side length' and 'across the flats'. This may have come from different translations. I can shed no further light on this. The ABB document also says the three colors will be determined "in conjunction with the SVK", and that "Samples of the colour tones can be obtained from the SVK". Further, the Datafile, in the paragraph on Variations, states:

"None of the logical distinctions seem to apply for there is no evidence to suggest that one scheme succeeded the other chronologically, nor were the schemes apparently related to manufacturers or areas of operation."
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Old 28 March 2005, 09:25 AM   #13
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Hi Ed,

Dan-San is completely right with the colors, let there be no possible discussion about that.
However, the early planes (1915/1916) do seem to have had some variations. I've seen darker fuselages on for example the FF33 De-Porr, I've seen fuselages with the large 33 cm camouflage pattern, and this was also the case on the planes of the Torpedostaffeln, such as the Gotha WD14, but there are also photo's of completely white or very light greyish FF41A's, HB GW's and of these last ones I even very strongly doubt there was any camouflagepattern on the wings.
Concerning variations from unit to unit, there still is little known on the matter.
The Zeebrugge HB planes in 17/18 seem to have had a dark stripe on both sides of the fuselage near the tail, but that is on most of the planes, not on all of them, probably depending on the Staffel they were part of. This is, for me anyway, still as good as unknown territory.
Concerning Oostende, as there as good as no known photo's it is even harder to say.

Best from Johan
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Old 28 March 2005, 09:32 AM   #14
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Hi,

Also special for example is the photo I have on a Rumpler 6B1 751 in the second half of 1916 at Zeebrugge with it’s pilot Lt. Bücker. Fuselageas well as other parts of the plane seem to have been painted in a two color camouflage pattern of very irregular form, more similar to WW II patterns. One of the colors being light, the other rather dark. Question of course again is what colors ?

Best from Johan
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Old 28 March 2005, 10:05 AM   #15
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Hi,

Found something more :

About Warnemunde seeflugstation there were captured W29's in seagreen at the end of the war it seems. So this makes me think that they kept the seagreen colors overthere untill the end of war. Curious thing is it not ???

So the other colour on the Rumpler could possibly have been the same seagreen ???

Concerning Zeebrugge I found the discription, confirmed by Dan-San, I think in the bio of the Christiansen brothers of 1943.

Best from Johan
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Old 28 March 2005, 07:36 PM   #16
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My Gallery
Rodney Gerrard documents and samples.

Gentlemen:
Any fabric samples and or "official documents" that came through or from Rodney Gerrard are totally suspect. All fabric samples in the hands of various individuals that originated with Rodney Gerrard, have been proven to be fakes. One of the people who got a royal screwing, was Dr.Glenn Merrill. He purchased a major portion of the Gerrard collection. I had the opportunity to very closely examine the documents and fabric samples, I became very suspicious and discussed the situation with Greg VanWyngarden. These and other samples held by other collectors have examined by Alan Toelle, and the results published in Cross & Cockade International. The conclusion is all the samples that were examined were fakes. Under no circumstance, would I give Rodney Gerrard as the source of any piece of fabric or his documentation.
They are all based on an over active imagination!
After April 1917 there were only the camouflage scheme as specified by by the AAb and ordered by the SVK.
THERE IS ONLY ONE PRINTED FABRIC ORDERED BY THE AAB AND THE COLORS SPECIFIED WERE GREY-BLUE, GREY- VIOLET AND GREY-BROWN.
Anyone who professes that there was some other printed fabric, is misinformed about the facts as specified by SVK and the AAB.
Anyone who continues to put out misinformation about the colors on German Naval aircraft after 3 April 1917 is wrong.
All German manufacturers had to abide by the requirements of the AAB, or their airplanes were not accepted for delivery, until they DID! There was no option, they had to conform to the specifications and the AAB.
The printed fabric design and colors originated with the SVK and the AAB.
There was only three colors ever, after, 3 April 1917, grey-blue, grey-violet and grey-brown.
Blue skies,
Dan-san

Last edited by Dan_San_Abbott; 28 March 2005 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 29 March 2005, 04:45 AM   #17
edvalerio
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German Naval AC Camouflage

Gentlemen:
Well, regarding the naval lozenge camo, that last from Dan-San did it for me!
Pity though, that 'light' scheme sure was pretty. Also, even though the darker of the two decal sheets currently offered by Americal/Gryphon seems to come pretty close to the colors Dan-San describes, if I read him correctly the 'regular hex' size portrayed should scale to about 22cm across the flats instead of the 15cm as they have them. In the company's next revision, it'd be nice if they'd correct this, as well as offer a decal sheet for the later (post April 1918) 'long hex' printed fabric. We need a letter-writing campaign!!

This was my 1st post on the forum, and the response has been gratifying as well as most illuminating. I'd like to thank everyone for their contributions.

Ed

PS: I've got a later post out there regarding 'German Two-seater Factory Finishes', which is looking might lonely. I don't suppose........?? (yeah, I know- I'm being selfish, right?)
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Old 29 March 2005, 07:04 AM   #18
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A disagreement between experts... imagine that!

I am most definitely not one of those experts, so who to believe?

Sources cited for the Datafile: "B Nr. 5952 - Special Conditions Concerning Seaplanes, January 1916"; and a supplementary order dated March 28, 1917.
It appears this is where the brown-blue-violet scheme came from.

Then other major source is "Allgemeine Baubestimmungen fur Seeflugzeuge der Kaiserlichen Marine", the section on colors dated April 1918. It appears this is where the two blue-violet scheme came from.

People cited: German historians Bruno Schmaling and Michael Schmeelke. In the acknowledgements at the end are also P L Grey and G K Merrill. It would appear G K Merrill, or more properly his collection, is in serious question.
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Old 29 March 2005, 01:28 PM   #19
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German Naval AC Camouflage

Tripehound, regarding your last: would you happen to know the provenance (i.e. the issuer) of the document "Allgemeine.. etc"? The reason I ask is this: The documentation Dan-San cites has the force of authority; it consists clearly of directives issued by pertinent government ministries. In other words, one was under orders to carry them out.

The "Allgemeine...etc" doument would seem to me otherwise. 'Allgemeine Baubestimmungen' is a very odd construction; my German is rather rusty, but I would translate that roughly as 'General Building Dispositions' or perhaps better yet as 'General Building Consensus'. In other words it is certainly not an order, but rather something officials(?) might say in throwing an idea out there for one to try if they so desired. It seems very much more in the realm of somebody's suggestion rather than a directive to use those colors.

Any other German readers care to weigh in on this?

Ed
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Old 29 March 2005, 01:54 PM   #20
Regulus
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Ed,

Your translation is very correct. Also, and as I already mentioned, I completely agree with Dan-San. Also, all the photo's I have on the period 1917-1918 (EOW) completely seem to proof and underline that this is correct indeed. Although all photo's are black and white, nothing points in the direction of other colors etc.
Problem very often is, and I have made that mistake myself in the past, that one takes for granted what 'experts' say without checking it myself or without making any conclusions myself.
Also one must be carefull as there is more then one kind of naval camouflage even within the Kaiserliche Marine. There is as you probably already did conclude, a difference between land and sea planes.

Best from Johan
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