Luftwaffe Camouflage

 

Day Fighters 1937-1940

During the summer of 1937 with tensions on the rise in Europe and the Luftwaffe still undergoing growth a new passive camouflage system was introduced. Two colours, used in unison over all uppersurfaces. The two new colours, Black Green 70 and Dark Green 71 (respectively : Schwarzgrun and Dunkelgrun ) were accompanied by Light Blue 65 (Hellblau) as the official undersurface camouflage colour.

70
71
65

The use of 63/02 as primary camouflage was finally shopped in the autumn of 1938 only to re-emerge later when field experiments were carried out by fighter units in France.But it was referred to as 02, for the identification numbers and descriptions of colours 61,62 and 63 had been discontinued.Field tests were being carried out with varying combinations of 70/02 and 71/02 and even with 70/71/02. The resulting camouflage effects produced a disruptive pattern better suited for air to air combat. By May 1940 all the units serving in France were to receive replacement aircraft camouflaged in the newly approved RLM scheme of 70/02/65.

70
71
65
02

 

 

 

Day Fighters 1940-1944

The question of the introduction of an RLM approved camouflage scheme incorporating the new colours 74 Gray-Green, 75 Gray-Violet and 76 Light Blue (respectively : Graugrun , Grauviolett and Lichtblau ) remains enigmatic. The first Bf 109 F-2s photos show a low contrast camouflage consistent with 74 and 75 colours with a heavy overspray of one or both colours taken down the fuselagesides.By August 15, 1941 Messerschmitt had set forth the new scheme with colours 74/75/76 with fuselage mottle of 02/70/74.

02
70
74
75
76

 

     

 

The first photos of the Fw 190 which entered service with JG26 in June 1941 , show the same camouflage pattern but with far less mottling on the fuselage.

74
75
76

 

     

 

The reissue of L.Dv.521/1 and 2 in November 1941 incorporated the new scheme. Upper surface camouflage was 74/75/76 with lower surface 65. The 74/75 combination was confined to the upper part with 76 for fuselage sides grading into 65 coloured lower surfaces.Also all spinners were to be painted in 70 with 1/3 in White 21. But that four colour. scheme was never applied. Messerschmitt had already adopted the 74/75/76 scheme by August 1941 and RLM document HM-Anweisung Nr.7/42 dated May 18, 1942 refers to a simplified colour. scheme for Fw 190 , the colours listed as 74/75/76.

 

 

 

 

Day Fighters 1944-1945

The RLM order of August 15, 1944 withdrew from general use the colours 65 ,70, 71 and 74. and introduced the three new colours as 81 , 82 and 83. Unfortunately the RLM failed to identify the nature of the new colours either in descriptive terms or by colour card standards.Dornier company defined both 81 and 82 as Dark Green. Messerschmitt defined these two colours as Brown-Violet for 81 and Light Green for 82.Examination of genuine samples varied. For colour 81 ranging from Dark Green to Brown-Violet and for colour 82 from Dark Green to Light Green.Color 83 is an enigma.Not a single document can specify its true colour. Generally colour 81 is identified as Brown-Violet , colour 82 as Dark Green and 83 as Light Green.

Basic camouflage schemes were 75/82/76 , 81/82/76 , 81/83/76.

75
76
81
82
83

 

     

 

 

 

Rocket Interceptors 1944-1945

The only rocket interceptor to became operational was the Messerschmitt 163.Although few aeroplanes were built, they had a variety of camouflage schemes: 74/75/76 , 02 overall with patches of 83 on the fuselage wings were 81/82, 74/75/76 with fuselage mottle of 74/02, 81/82 with large mottles of 74/75, 81/82/76 with 82 soft patches on the rudder.

74
75
76

 

 

 

 

Night Fighters 1939-1945

In the early days of W.W.II night fighter camouflage was the standard day fighter scheme of 70/71/65. From 1940-41 a new scheme was introduced on BF 110's: all Black 22 upper and side surfaces with lower surfaces Light Blue 65. By late 1942/early 1943 the camouflage was changed yet again, this time to incorporate colours 76(overall) and 75(mottling over the plan view area) with the variation of He 219 and Ju 88 night fighters,in which the mottling (75) was in the form of hundreds of small spots closely spaced. Black 22 reappeared in 1944 not as a camouflage colour but as an identification aid for flak and search light crews (the starboard wing lower surfaces were painted with Black 22). Black again was used on the lower surfaces of the late war Me 262B-1a/U1 aircraft.The upper surfaces were painted with solid 83 with a dense mottle of 81 and 82.

 

70
71
65
75
76
81
82
83

 

 

 

 

 

Bombers 1938-1945

In the opening days of W.W.II the majority of bombers were painted in 70/71/65 camouflage scheme although a few older aircraft still retained the old 61/62/63/65 sheme.In late 1940's with the introduction of night bombing in England a new temporary colour in the form of Black 22( 7120.22) appeared in the camouflage.It was applied to the lower and side surfaces up to the line of the top edge of the Balkenkreuz(fuselage cross).Later those surfaces were painted with the permanent Black 22(7124.22) thus allowing the use of permanent paints to be used on top of it if need it. In late 1943 a revised scheme was used on Ju 88, Ju188, Do 217Ks and He 177s. Permanent Black 22 lower surfaces with uppersurfaces in 76 with a mottle pattern of 74 or 75. In August 1944 colour 65(7125.65) was discontinued and replaced by 76(7126.76). Finally in July 1944 the colours 81 and 82 were introduced to replace 70, 71 and 74.

 

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70
71
65
74
75
76
81
82

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

North African Theatre

Luftwaffe oparations in North Africa produced a new series of colours. These were promulgated in L.Dv.521/1 of November 1941 and were 78 Light Blue , 79 Sand Yellow and 80 Olive-Green(78 Hellblau,79 Sandgelb and 80 Olivgrun). Early Ju88's , He111's and Bf110's were painted in overall 79 with 65 undersurfaces.Bf109E's received a mottled application of 80 over 79 with 65 on the lower sides. This was changed with the arrival of the Bf109F which had a scheme of overall 79 with 78 lower surfaces. That scheme was revised again when more Bf109F's arrived with a high demarcation line between upper and lower colours at the centreline of the fuselage. Also some Bf110's received the same scheme since both were made by Messerschmitt. Finally all aircarft types used tactical theatre markings in 21 White, a fuselage band,wing tips and some times spinners.

78
79
80
21
65

 

         

Last updated Jan, 11 2011

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