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

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Old 8 May 2005, 11:17 AM   #1
EricGoedkoop
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National Markings Questions

Hello all,

I have a few questions about national markings that I haven't been able to find answers to.

First: Were the black bands used by Germany immediately pre-war painted on both the top and bottom surfaces of the wings, or just the bottoms? The few photos I've seen only showed the underside of the aircraft. At the time these markings were in use, aerial combat was unknown and the concern was identifying aircraft from the ground so I would guess that the bands were not painted on upper surfaces, but I'd like very much to hear from anyone who might have more information.

Thanks in advance,

Eric
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Old 8 May 2005, 05:36 PM   #2
Dan_San_Abbott
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Prewar German national markings.

EricGoedkoop:
I happen to be working on coloring the three view drawings of the Alb.B.I(five variants). It so happens the Albatros B.I went through all the prewar and the 1914 -1915 variations in the national marking.
The German national marking went through though gestation period. The first proposal 28 November 1912, was a rectangle of 3 X5 squares with three black and two white squares on each side and in the center was two red squares interposed with three white squares. this proposal was turned down.
The second proposal on 15 February 1913, was to paint the under side of the right wing black and white on the underside of the right wing.
Within the same proposal was to paint on the under side of wing a cockade, either 100% of chord or 60% of chord at mid panel with the outer ring black the middle ring white and the center spot red. All ring widths were equal at 20% of diameter. Another proposal of the same date was to paint a black band on the under side of all wings at mid panel about 750mm wide. The latter proposal was adopted on 13 June 1913, it was to be accomplished by 20 April 1914.
With the mobilization order on 1 August 1914, instructions
were included about the National Marking. It was to a cross 75% of chord, with a black cross on a white square field. The base of the cross to be 50 % of the height of the cross, with the straight sides connected and all crossing in the very center of the cross. The cross was to be at mid panel on both sides of all wings and both sides of the rudder. The field units did it every which way it could be done.
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Dan-San
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Old 8 May 2005, 06:01 PM   #3
EricGoedkoop
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Thanks very much, Dan.

I have saved an earlier post from you in which you described the band as 500mm wide. Was a width specified in the directive, or was it left up to discretion like the initial cross markings?
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Old 8 May 2005, 06:13 PM   #4
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Band width?

EricGoedkoop:
I can't find the specific instruction on the band and its width. The 500mm was from a Alb.EE. The Alb.B.I 27/14 is 1200mm wide. I think it was up the the fancy of the painter in the FFA or the factory. In the case of Alb.B.I 27/14, it did not comply with the directive, it was only on the lower wing. The directive said all wings.
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Old 10 May 2005, 09:10 AM   #5
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Thanks again, Dan. Over on Rosebud's there are also two different LVG's that show the band only on the lower wings.
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Old 10 May 2005, 09:41 AM   #6
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Another question I had for you, Dan (and everyone) -

In your German camouflage article, you mention a 1916 telegram specifying that night-flying aircraft covered in "dark fabric" were to have crosses without white borders. I haven't found and can't recall seeing any photos of aircraft in this scheme. Was the directive followed? Or am I just not looking in the right place?
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Old 10 May 2005, 08:26 PM   #7
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Unbordered crosses.

EricGoedkoop;
Take a look at Windsock Datafile 65, "Fdh G.III-IIIa" by Peter Grosz, pages 5, photo 14, page 8, photos 22 and 23, page 9, photos 26 and 27.
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Dan
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Old 12 May 2005, 11:57 AM   #8
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Unfortunately I don't have that at my disposal, but now I know what to look for.

Thanks again!
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Old 13 May 2005, 05:00 PM   #9
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Austria-Hungary

Moving along, are there hard dates for the changes in Austro-Hungarian markings? Disregarding the numerous aircraft with German-style markings, I see four types of distinctly Austro-Hungarian Army Air Service markings - red and white stripes on wings and fuse; red and white stripes plus eisernekreuze; just eisernekreuze, borderless; balkankreuze - and can estimate time periods of their use based on the aircraft they appear on, but I have yet to find any reference to official directives stipulating the changes and the dates they took effect. Can anyone help me out?

Last edited by EricGoedkoop; 14 May 2005 at 03:18 PM. Reason: Badly worded post.
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Old 18 May 2005, 08:37 PM   #10
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No dice on Austria-Hungary, huh?


How 'bout the Americans? I've got two questions, and I'm really surprised that I haven't found the answers to either in the Archives here. Maybe somebody can point me in the right direction.

1) Why did the Nieuport 28s have tail stripes that were in a different color order and were expanded to cover the fin and rudder, when no other American aircraft carried similar markings? The white-blue-red order makes sense as it corresponds to the design of the American cockade, but if that was the idea than why weren't any other types of aircraft marked the same way?

2) Why did the Americans position wing markings so as to not appear on the ailerons? Up to 1920, both the original star-and-circle and the white-blue-red cockade were full-chord but located inboard of the aileron, practically touching each other on the Thomas-Morse Scout. From 1920 on, the star-and-circle appears out at the wingtip but is reduced in size. It's obvious that somebody thought it was a real bad idea for the markings to extend onto the aileron, but why?
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