Colours of the Bulgarian Dewoitine 520

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by Beejay, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. Beejay

    Beejay New Member

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    #1 Beejay, Oct 29, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
    Hi,

    Bulgarian Dewoitine 520's are depicted with gray schemes, green schemes, yellow wing tips and fuselage bands or white (even both). And they all depict the same machines.

    I've read all the English stuff I could find (Mushroom's book, Nedialkov's books, Ospreys), but no-one says anything about it, yet somehow they all know in their profiles, which are all different! There is an article about these machines in Avions 133 (2004), but I couldn't get hold of it.
    And were these 520s the ones captured in 1942, or the ones produced for Germany in 1941-42?

    So, what's the consensus: gray or green, white and/or yellow, and why?

    Beejay
     
  2. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #2 Wurger, Oct 29, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
    As memo serves these D.520s were captured planes in 1942 when the entire France was conquered. Soon after that D.520s became the equipment of two German training units, 60 planes was given to Italy and 100 aircraft got Romania and Bulgaria. 96 D.520s were delivered to Bulgaria in Sepetember and November of 1943 and stayed in service untill 1946/1947. These were both a part of these captured and just assembled planes. The camo scheme for them seems to be made with the same paints used by German Luftwaffe at that time mostly. It means the camo consisted of RLM74/75/76. However some repainting of these with the green colour might have happened. These white or yellow bands were the quick ID elements and depended on units and the period of time. Here a couple of examples.... found in the net.

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  3. Beejay

    Beejay New Member

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    Thanks.

    The thing is that the same photos are interpreted by one as grays and by another as greens, the same bands as yellow by one and white by another (btw, on their Me-109Gs they're always interpreted as being yellow). It seems some of the Bulgarians were ex Luftwaffe (trainers), while others were ex French. The question is whether the planes got a new paint job (after delivery?), or not. And if so, whether or not Luftwaffe colors were used (the Bulgarians had their own paints and camo schemes too of course).
    Take your first pic for example: is the top scheme a 2-tone or a 3-tone? Is the number red, white or something else? Some even interpret the light spot on the lower front of the tail as an arrow pointing up!
    It's interesting that the great majority (i.e. all except 1) of Bulgarian (sourced) profiles and art I've seen show greens, not grays, and yellow, not white. But to be fair, none of those books actually mention in the text what colors they are. On the other hand, fighters prior to 1943 used (1 or 2) greens, while the 1943 and later Me-109Gs show a similar disagreement between grays and greens.

    The frustrating thing is that I cannot find photos of a D-520 (or Me-109G) alongside another type, so there's nothing to compare. Sigh, does anyone have a copy of the 1943 Bulgarian painting regulations for military aircraft??

    Beejay
     
  4. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #4 Wurger, Oct 30, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
    It's a very interesting statement. I have checked the Mushroom Model Magazine Special no.6115 and found four profiles of Bulgarian D.520s with RLM74/75/76 camo scheme and RLM74 mottling said in captions. One of them is for the White14. Why the number is considered to be white? Because of the Bulgarian National Marking painted next to it. I'm sure you know these colours for the marking. So there is no problem with an interpretation of the number , also of the band or the thin stripe on the rudder. The trouble can be a colour of the wing tip and the national marking on upper surface of the wing. These look like yellow painted. Why? Check B&W images of Spitfires where the RAF roundels are clearly visible. Then you might grasp what is going on. The yellow paint is always darker than the white colour in old pictures. Because there were used two kinds of camera films, the yellow can be either almost black or dark one like in the shot of the "White14" and can be confounded with the red one rather. Concerning the green colour... RLM74 is called Graugr√ľn in German what is translated as Grey-Green in English. And it wasn't a pure grey as you can think.


    And the second image posted above being of a better quality...

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    And the next shot of Bulgarian D.520

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #6 Wurger, Oct 31, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
    I haven't seen as well. Maybe it can help... please, notice the same light effect on the starboard wing tip.

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    here shots of the same Bf109 of larger size... and from different directions.... the starboard wing tip appears to be white.

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    And here you are a shot of Bulgarian D.520s just received from Germany. As you can notice their camo scheme doesn't seem to be of French type rather.

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    And here being in Bulgarian service....

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  7. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #7 Wurger, Oct 31, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
    In the book I have found info that Bulgarian quick ID elements were of white. In 1943 became yellow. Also there is another info that fighter aircraft obtained from Germany weren't re-painted. The exception were Bf109Es that were repainted with the green clour used by Bulgarian AF earlier.

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  8. Beejay

    Beejay New Member

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    Thanks! Do you have the exact details about the change from white to yellow?
    I know about the challenges with B&W pics.

    I do not believe that the machines weren't repainted. For one, the German 520s were from training units, so had yellow under sides. For another, there're pics with neat and clean Dewoitines after delivery with fitting captions, so it seems they were overhauled in Bulgaria. In that case, why would the Bulgarians not use their own paints and colors? Btw the machine you introduced, to me shows a clear 3-tone top scheme.

    Beejay
     
  9. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #9 Wurger, Nov 1, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
    I'll try to find more about the yellow colour. Let you know.


    These yellow undersides could have been repainted by Germans. But it is not sure if these used by them for training , were sent to Bulgaria. It is more likely these D.520s were taken from French factories ( already with German camo scheme ) and sent via Germany to Bulgaria. I have found an info that these were initially intended to be employed for the air defence of the Reich, but in August 1943 the fighters were sold to Bulgaria. 100 units were planed to be delivered in September and these were to be followed by 24 more later that year. In fact 96 D.520s were eventually delivered. These equipped 2/6 and 4/6 regiments at Karlovo airfield, which commenced their conversion in November.
    Why no Bulgarian own paints used... it seems to be easy to explain. Bulgaria needed these planes for supporting their fight against allied air raids against targets in Bulgaria and decided to run the war going with Nazi Germany together. As a result it's logical that their camo scheme couldn't be different from the German one, especially that Bulgarian units had to cooperate with the Luftwaffe squadrons.

    BTW Why do you think the camo scheme seen in the posted picture was the three-tone one?

    Here is the image posted again in our forum and seems to be of a decent quality.

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  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Excellent info!
     
  11. Beejay

    Beejay New Member

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    Thanks Wurger.

    On the other hand ... I think Mushoom's book says the thing about the trainers. Anyway, there's the photo of the just arrived German 520s which carry non-fighter Luftwaffe codes on the fuselage (very unfortunately you can't see the unit code!). And if you repaint almost half of the plane (yellow), why not the whole thing? Plus the photos don't show any sign that on the other surfaces only the German symbols were overpainted (you would be able t see that, because of the different position of the respective crosses). In some of the Me-109Gs on the other hand this is very clearly visible. Then there's the pic of the D-520 with a Bulgarian cross, but (yet) without numeral, wearing the long stripe and an arrow / chevron shape under the cockpit. Some have opted for the chevron interpretation, I guess because of the link with Germany, but then why the very un-Luftwaffe (and un-Bulgarian) white stripe? On the other hand the white stripe, often with something like an arrow head, was a requirement for Vichy fighters, so perhaps that particular machine was ex-French. And if 1 then why not more?

    Why 3-tone? Because I see 3 very distinct tones on the wing and the top of the fuselage and tail (not counting the yellow tip and white/black cross of course). I don't think that can be explained away with dirt/angle to sun/gloss/etc. I won't go as far as claiming it's a French scheme, although one could make a case for that with similar arguments as used for the Luftwaffe scheme. I still think they wore some kind of Bulgarian coat, just don't know the colors.

    Interesting.

    Beejay
     
  12. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #12 Wurger, Nov 3, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
    Can you post the picture of the just arrived German 520s which carry non-fighter Luftwaffe codes on the fuselage?
    Here you are a couple of these used by Germans.

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    If it would be done it was done by Germans but not by Bulgarians. Then these colours were of RLM paints for sure.

    I don't think so. Judging by pictures of Bulgarins' D.520 all of them were painted with LW camo scheme. No codes and other French-like markings on them, just German national markings or without of them. Have a look at these images below.

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    Still can't notice any additional colour on the wing of the D.520. Can you edit the pic with Photoshop for instance and mark the one in there?
     
  13. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Wurgs, amazing..... I am just gobsmacked at your knowledge man
     
  14. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Do you mean the D.520?

    [​IMG]

    I have found a profile of the plane. According to the caption the D.520 was flown by Colonel ( Group Captain ). I think , it was the same rank as the LW Geschwader Kommodore. So,no wonder the officer was entitled to sign his plane with the marking that undoubtely looks like the German one but it was adjust to the Bulgarian way of painting and marking of aircraft. Have a look at these profiles and compare them, please. The profile source - the Internet.

    D520 bulgar1.jpg
    wing commander szewron.jpg
     
  15. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    THX Mate...:)
     
  16. Beejay

    Beejay New Member

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    Finally got it, sorry for the delay.

    As you can see from the code, these weren't fighters.

    Btw, the same book presents the clean D520s without any markings (that you show above) as "after being camouflaged in the field workshop" (p 13). So according to him they were camouflaged in Bulgaria.

    Also still not sure about that group leader explanation. As far as I know, this insignia wasn't official Bulgarian. And the stripe wasn't either, nor German. So either it was a personal emblem (if so it seems the only personal emblem in the Bulgarian AF), or the French connection may be true, especially when you take into account that neither machines in the photo have any numerals, suggesting they have not yet (or only just) been issued to a Bulgarian unit.

    Beejay

    Bulgarian D520 ex Luftwaffe.jpg
     
  17. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #17 Wurger, Nov 9, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
    No problem Mate. There always is a time for talking and discussing a such interesting topic. Unfortunately there isn't too much info about Bulgarian AF.

    Concerning these black codes on fuselages...... it's not true these weren't fighters. All German fighter planes ( also these captured and prototypes ) were coded with a such military code when sending to operational units or being tested. It was also the radio code. But all of them were removed in destination squadrons and replaced with numbers. Here examples..

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    Here the next two shots of D.520 that according to captions, were sent to Bulgaria. Both of them with letter code on fuselages. It seems that the kind of marking was used on aircraft that were considered to be used in units of the Reich Defence initially.But these have never been used for that. These used by Germans for training always look like being dirty because of these exhaust stains. So no wonder these had to be repainted. As you mentioned, there aren't seen traces of covering with paints German markings because Bulgarian ones were placed at a little bit different areas. It can indicate that entire planes were repainted or just they used the same colours. Therefore no traces can be noticed.

    D520 bulgar.jpg
    D520 bulgar_.jpg

    Concerning the Group Leader marking. I really don't think is had any in cammon with France. It might have been painted either for a German's commander or , what is more likely , for the Bulgarian one. And it could have been an try to pretend the German marking. I think the clue is the date when these shots were taken. Most of them seems to be taken when D.520 arrived Bulgaria or just soon after the date. In the book I showed above I found info that the yellow quick ID elements appeared shortly after attaks on targets in Bulgaria. Because Dewoitine D.520s were sent to the country in 1943, the kind of ID markings could appear on them at that time. But taking these pictures into consideration these yellow markings appeared on them later rather. In my humble opinion it was in the late Autumn or in the Winter 1943. Why?... please look at backgrounds of these images. All these with not marked planes seems to be taken during either August or September 1943. It can be indicated the weather conditions. These yellow ID parts seems to be applied to the wing tips, spinners only and possible on rudders ( the picture of the D.520 with the "arrow" and these in the hangar and in front of it ) ) . But I'm not sure the yellow band on fuselage was applied too. The shot with the pilot in, might confirm that. It was taken in the Winter and I think it was the one for 1943/44. No the band on the fuselage. The another info found in the book says that the white band on the fuselage behind the cockpit was intriduced when Bulgaria changed sides and joined the Soviet Union in its war against Nazi Germany on 8/9 September 1944. The image of the "White 14" with the band on the fuselage can show it. Especially that the caption says it was taken in 1944. But when exactly... The Spring or the Winter 1944? I would say it was an early winter time. Also the picture with the Bf109 also is dated on 1944. But which one the winter time, at the beginning of the year or the ending? Judging by these wing tis, and spinner that seem to be of white it could be the winter time on the turn of 1944 and 1945. The band of the fuselage could be left yellow. However it seems to be of white too.
    If it did it could mean that the picture of the White 14 the Bf109 were taken at the same time because the quick ID markings look the same.

    What do you think?
     
  18. Beejay

    Beejay New Member

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    I waited a couple of days before replying in the hope that someone I know in Bulgaria would find a solution, but but so far no luck.

    You could be right about the recognition bands.

    The best thing would be a photo of an operational Bulgarian D520 next to an operational earlier type, so we can compare colours. If only ...

    Beejay
     
  19. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I don't think it is possible. Firstly, because there is really not too much about these planes used in Bulgaria. Secondly, units that used D.520s , seem to station at airfields where there weren't other squadrons based.
     
  20. Sagittario64

    Sagittario64 Member

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    Quick question here since this is about the Bulgarian 520s. were they able to effectively fight the USAAF p-38s and p-51s, or did all they do was shoot four-engined bombers down? I have heard many wwii tales of obsolete/obsolescent aircraft scoring victories over much more advanced enemy aircraft
     
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