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National Markings
National Markings
Eric Goedkoop
Published by EricGoedkoop
15 June 2005

Aircraft of World War I
National Markings
1912 - 1918
Early Argentinian military aircraft carried a 1:2:3 cockades and horizontal rudder stripes in the national colors of light blue and white. Placement and size varied; examples range from a Bleriot XI marked with small cockades on the wings only to AVRO 504s (supplied post-war) marked in all the usual British locations.

On 1 October 1913, red-white-red chordwise stripes on the wingtips, horizontal stripes on the rudder and bands around the fuselage were ordered as national markings for all Austro-Hungarian aircraft. This striping was extended to include the tailplane on 28 August 1914.

Aircraft supplied to Austria-Hungary from Germany came marked with the German Eisernes Kreuz, which was also a symbol of national significance for the Austrians. Red and white identification stripes were added to the German markings. On 5 May 1915 it was decreed that the Eisernes Kreuz on a white field were to be carried on wings and rudders of all Austro-Hungarian aircraft and by 1916 the red and white stripes disappear from army air service machines.

Austrian markings loosely followed the German pattern for the remainder of the war. Fuselage crosses were ordered in 1916, but they were removed shortly thereafter due to pilot complaints that the marking provided too good an aiming point for the enemy. In November 1916, a month after Germany eliminated the white cross field in favor of the 50mm white border, Austria-Hungary followed suit. On 7 July 1918, the Balkenkreuz was introduced, and it appeared in various forms until the end of the war.
It was very common for Austro-Hungarian aircraft to carry unbordered black crosses on the wings and rudder, even over top of darker-colored camouflage patterns. Wing crosses often appeared inboard of the ailerons at approximately mid-panel, in contrast to the German practice of located them nearer the tips. Serial numbers followed a distinctive two-part, decimal-separated format and were prominently marked on the sides of the fuselage.
Aircraft of the naval air service were identifiable by their rudder markings, the Austrian coat-of-arms over red-white-red horizontal stripes. Naval aircraft carried this device for the duration of the war, and continued to use the red-white-red wingtip and tailplane stripes long after they had been abandoned by the army air service. Flying boats were often marked with Eisernes Kreuz on white fields against their dark wooden hulls, even when they carried plain black crosses on their wings.

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