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There are standard camouflage schemes of various Air Forces

Great Britain
RAF - Day Fighter Scheme
(August 1941 to end of 1940s)

Germany (Nazi)
Luftwaffe - 1940 Fighter Scheme
(Since May 1940)

Slovakia
SVZ - Khaki Camouflage Scheme
(1939 - 1944)

USA
USAAF - OD Green Scheme
(1940 - 1953)

Finland
Ilmavoimat - 1940 Camouflage Scheme
(1938-1942)

France
Armee de l'Air/Aeronavale - Multicolour Scheme
(1938-1942)

Yugoslavia
VVKJ - 1938 Camouflage Scheme
(1938-1941)
VVKJ - 1939 Fighter Camouflage Scheme
(1939-1940)
VVKJ - Modified Three-tone Camouflage Schemes
(1940-1941)

















USA

USAAF - OD Green Scheme
1940 - 1953

At the end of 1940, the US Army Air Force finally introduced the long due permanent camouflage finishes on its aircraft. The standard colour scheme specified for all land-based aircraft was Dark Olive Drab Green 41 on the upper surfaces and fuselage sides with Neutral Grey 43 on the undersides. This pattern was applied following a low, wavy demarcation line alongside the bottom of the fuselage sides. Due to the urgency in camouflaging such large numbers of aircraft, much paint of unsatisfactory quality was initially used pending the formulation of a dark olive colour with better weathering characteristics. Thus, aircraft painted in the early part of WWII weathered quickly creating a wide variety of colours that, depending on local conditions, ranged from a buff or light brown to a purplish green under the high UV concentrations of the high altitude aerial warfare over the ETO, or a reddish pink under the hot desert sun of North Africa.

From mid-1942, some machines began receiving a factory-applied pattern of irregular splotches, patches or stripes (the application varied greatly), of Medium Green 42 alongside the leading and trailing edges of the wings and other flying surfaces. In theory, this lighter colour would break up the continuity of the appearance and help to conceal the outlines of the dark painted upper surfaces. When freshly applied, Medium Green 42 was lighter in tone than the Dark OD Green 41, but as the later faded noticeably faster afterwards, the green blotches were most of the times noticeable as a darker border at the edges, thus negating the desired camouflage effect. In most cases this feature is almost impossible to distinguish in period black-and-white photographs.

After April 1941, theatre commanders were allowed to substitute Dark OD Green 41 for lighter, greener shades like Medium Green 42, Sea Green 28 or even British or Australian greens. However, as even the most forward depots appear to have been well stocked with OD paint, there are not many known instances in which this substitution may actually have taken place. From mid-1943, stocks of the Army's Olive Drab paint (the lighter shade that would become ANA 613), began to replace the faulty Dark OD Green 41, but quantities of the older paint remained in use even after the end of the war.



North American B-25C - OD Green Scheme 1

North American B-25C - OD Green Scheme 1


North American B-25C - OD Green Scheme 2

North American B-25C - OD Green Scheme 2

Dark Olive Drab Green 41
Dark Olive Drab Green 41

Medium Green 42
Medium Green 42

Neutral Grey 43
Neutral Grey 43

Bell P-39D-1-BE Airacobra (41-38359)
Bell P-39D-1-BE Airacobra (41-38359)
36th FS, 8th FG, location?, New Guinea, 1942.
(Pilot: Lt. George Welch)
Artist: © Thierry Dekker

Curtiss P-40N (62, 131???)
Curtiss P-40N (62, 131???)
80th FS, ? FG, Nagahuli, India, 1944.
Artist: © Vincent Dhorne

Republic P-47D-22-RE (42-25871/WZ-Y)
Republic P-47D-22-RE (42-25871/WZ-Y)
84th FS, 78th FG, location?, France, 1944.
Artist: © Jan Mace

North American P-51B-5-NA (43-6634/G4-R)
North American P-51B-5-NA (43-6634/G4-R)
?th FS, ?th FG, location?, France, Summer 1944.
Artist: © Jan Mace

Douglas A-20G-25-DO (43-9182/5H-B)
Douglas A-20G-25-DO (43-9182/5H-B)
668th BS, 416th BG, Wethersfield, Great Britain, February 1944
Artist: © Thierry Dekker


by Stephen Sender




Last update: 05/08/2013

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