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National Markings
National Markings
Eric Goedkoop
Published by EricGoedkoop
15 June 2005
Page 10

Aircraft of World War I
National Markings
1912 - 1918
Swiss aircraft carried the national flag as a full-chord wing marking. The red field was square, the cross approximately two-thirds the width of the field, and each of the four arms of the cross one-sixth longer than wide. Rudders were painted red and carried the same white cross. Fuselage markings were not carried.
  United States

During the Mexican Punitive Expedition, Curtiss JN-3s carried a single red five-point star high on the rudder.
19 May 1917 – 11 Jan 1918

The national insignia of a full-chord blue circle containing a white five-point star with a red central circle was carried on the uppermost and lowermost surfaces of the wings. Rudders were striped blue-white-red. No fuselage markings were carried.
11 Jan 1918 – 1 Jan 1920

With the United States’ entry into World War One, there was concern that the star-and-circle markings currently in use would be too easily mistakable for the German cross. America therefore adopted the French-style cockade, changing the color order to white-blue-red. Rudder stripes were reversed to red-white-blue. Based on the French scheme, fuselage cockades were not carried. The change in markings was ordered for all aircraft to be manufactured but not all aircraft in service; many existing machines stationed within the U.S. retained the earlier scheme.
Wing markings on American-built aircraft up to 1920 were positioned inboard of the ailerons, placing them much closer to the fuselage than was common for other countries. The only aircraft to see combat in Europe with this marking placement were the DH-4 Liberty Planes, carrying the revised French-style cockades. The Curtiss Jenny and Thomas-Morse Scout are two well-known examples of the practice, often showing the earlier star-and-circle insignias.
Aircraft supplied to the Americans by the British and French carried markings in the usual positions, distinguishing them from American-built. British-built machines are seen with fuselage cockades and white borders around the markings, neither of which appear on French-built.
Early-production Nieuport 28s carried atypical and apparently unauthorized rudder stripes of white-blue-red, corresponding to the color order of the cockade. This seems to have been a field re-painting of the original French blue-white-red stripes. Later examples were painted with American markings at the factory and have the officially-mandated red-white-blue pattern.
Web Sources:Aerei Italiani
The Aerodrome Forum
Chandelle, A Journal of Aviation History
Dansk Veteranflysamling
Diego Fernetti’s Argentinian Aircraft Page
Flags of the World
Insignia magazine Web Edition
Insignia of China
Naval Historical Center
Pagina Oficial del Ejercito del Aire
Rosebud’s WW1 and Early Aviation Image Archive
Roundels of the World
Russian Aviation Museum
Skytamer Images
Swedish (and Worldwide) Military Aviation
The Unofficial Page of Chile’s Air Force
War is Over
Wings Palette
World Air Forces
The WWI Modeling List Archive

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