RAAF Marking's and Codes

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by Micdrow, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Document on the Markings and Codes of the RAAF.

    Enjoy
     

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  2. SABURO

    SABURO Member

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    :thumbup: excellent, thanks.

    Cheers,

    Olivier
     
  3. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Great, thanks buddy! :cool:
     
  4. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    :cool: THX M8.
     
  5. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Added another document.
     
  6. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Nice one, thanks mate.
     
  7. grob

    grob Member

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    Many thanks mate ,i havnt much on the RAAF so all helps
     
  8. Maharg

    Maharg Member

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    Many thanks M8. :)
     
  9. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Added a document above on Haze paint.

    Enjoy
     
  10. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff, thanks for sharing.
     
  11. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    This one's for the Boomerang fans! Wojtek kindly scanned the pictures from the article and will post them seperately. (Thanks again, mate!)

    C.A.C Boomerang Colours and Markings...The Full Story
    By Ian K. Baker (From Scale Aviation Modeller International – August 2001)

    Background

    If what follows does not at first seem to have much to do with the Boomerang colours and markings please bear with us for, as you shall discover, it does ultimately have direct relevance to the curliest bits of our subject. The story starts in pre-Boomerang days. How come? Well, read on.
    In order to augment and decentralise resources for british defence of far eastern territories, there was a plan that Australia should build Beauforts for the RAF as well as for the RAAF. The RAAF’s squadrons flying beside the the RAF in joint defence of Malaya and Singapore wore markings adjusted to conform more closely with British practice.
    Within the framework of Imperial defence thinking, it no doubt seemed logical for the RAAF to broadly adopt camouflage and markings patterned on current RAF schemes, particularly in view of the expectation that aircraft would now be built locally for both air forces. And so by early 1942 the RAAF had adopted, albeit briefly as things turned out, yellow-outlined fueslage roundels, also fin stripes and the practice of not placing roundels and serials on the wing undersides of many aircraft categories. The GAF-built Beaufort’s disruptive camouflage pattern was based exactly on the British one for that type of aircraft, and even CAC’s new Boomerang was given a standard camouflage pattern which bore a distinct resemblance to that of RAF fighters, being not at all like the earlier Wirraways.
    Australian green and brown camouflage paints were made with pigments which did not require the addition of quantities of white in manufacture to bring them to the correct shades, and were formulated to produce a hard, low gloss surface finish. Consequently they were much more resilient to fading and chalking than British camouflage paints, their appearance being noticably darker in tonal value than the Dark Green and Dark Earth on the RAF.
    In an attempt to produce colours closer to RAF ones for application to the Beauforts, lighter green and brown camouflage paints, with a more matt finish, were produced. One account of what followed goes like this: as there was already two dark Australian camouflage colours called Dark Green and Dark Earth (at first called ’RAF Dark Earth’ ), the lighter variants were called, not surprisingly, Light Green and Light Earth. This creates much more room for confusion when discussing these colours because, as many readers would know, there were also British camouflage colours called Light Green and Light Earth.
    Even if the above account was in some respect mistaken and the Australian Light Green and Light Earth were added to the RAAF’s stores inventory simply in imitation of the British range of colors, the fact remains that early DAP Beauforts, the first of those intended for the RAF, emerged factory-finished in two lighter colours, along with Sky undersides. And the result was the creation of an appearance much more closely resembling RAF camouflage than if the darker RAAF colours had been used.
    But what does all this have to do with Boomerangs? Simply this: one result of the events of early 1942 – the sudden fall of Singapore and the Dutch East Indies with the consequent disappearance of British forces from the Pacific theatre of war, was that all GAF Beaufort production would now go to the RAAF. And so Australia’s aircraft builders found themselves with stocks of Light Green and Light Earth camouflage paint which, it seems, they were instructed to use up before returning to regulation Foliage Green and Earth Brown.
    Earth Brown? Whatever happened to Dark Earth? Well, in the meantime Earth Brown had replaced Dark Earth as the specified camouflage brown in RAAF camouflaging instructions of July 1942, possibly earlier. In it’s hue, the Australian Dark Earth had been similar to the British colour of the same name, although somewhat darker. Earth Brown was more like dark chocolate in colour...different pigment again, and presumably more stable. So there was Dark Earth to be used up, too.

    Boomerang camouflage

    With all manufacturing and supply resources stretched to the limit in the emergency months of 1942, paint stocks of obsolete, but suitable, colours were not to be wasted. Not only the DAP but CAC also, it would seem, were to use up those paint stocks, for it is said that early production Boomerangs emerged wearing both Light Green and Light Earth, and Light Green and Dark Earth camouflage schemes. Although considered controversial in some quarters this information appears to be borne out by the appearance of certain of those aircraft in old photos. Australian aviation colours and markings historian Geoffrey Pentland also turned up the interesting information that Sky Grey was reportedly used on the undersides of some early Boomerangs at the time when Sky Blue was in short supply, no doubt as a result of that latter colour having recently been adopted for underside camouflage of all RAAF aircraft. There would otherwise have been little call for Sky Grey, as it is known to have been specified only for the undersides of impressed Empire flying boats and Supermarine Seagull Vs during 1940-41. Sky Grey and Sky Blue having much the same tonal value, substitution of the obsolete grey for the blue would scarcely have ben noticable.
    Regarding the colours themselves, Australian Light Green seems to have been much like the British colour of the same name: that is, a camouflage green with a touch of yellow-olive to it, not a whole lot lighter than the RAF’s well-known Dark Green. On the other hand, colour matchings of the Australian Light Earth indicate a colour a little darker than the RAF’s Light Earth, more like FS.*0219 (which is also like the lighter of two US ’Dark Earth’ shades which appeared on numerous Lend-Lease P-40s and Hudsons for instance, and is well matched by Humbrol 118 ’Matt US Tan’ ). The visual effect of this green-brown combination appears to have produced a tonal contrast between the two Australian ’light’ colours which is somewhat similar to the degree of difference between British Dark Green and Dark Earth.
    Production of Boomerangs got under way in the second half of 1942, the first 24 having been delivered before the end of the year. Deliveries continued throughout 1943 and 1944, the last of the CA-19 batch being delivered in February 1945. It is not recorded when the Commonwealth Aircraft Corp. (CAC) Boomerang production line finally used up it’s stocks of surplus Light Green and Light Earth. The then standard RAAF camouflage of Foliage Green and Earth Brown would have been phased-in as the other colours ran out.
    By the way, archival documents indicate that Foliage Green had always been the required green camouflage colour, not Dark Green as is sometimes reported, although it is always likely the latter may have been substituted on occasion. So far as this writer can ascertain, the standard CAC disruptive camouflage pattern continued unchanged until the new camouflage directive of May 1944.
    The 1944 changes to RAAF aircraft colour schemes were fairly sweeping and contributed to the distinctive ’late-war look’ which we can readily recognise in some photos of Boomerangs. These changes had been precipitated by an October 1943 US Army Air Force policy alteration: factory application of camouflage to most combat types was no longer required. Spurred by news of this policy change, the May 1944 RAAF painting instructuions set out simplified colour schemes, as follows.
    Fighters, fighter-bombers and bombers might henceforth be „uncamouflaged”, i.e. ’bare metal finish’ with fabric-covered surfaces finished Aluminium. Simple overall schemes applied to virtually all other categories: Night (black) for night fighters and night reconnaissance aircraft, Yellow for all trainers (with diagonal black stripes on upper and lower surfaces for target tugs), PRU Blue for photo reconnaissance aircraft. All other types were to be overall Foliage Green. The only scheme now listed with different upper and lower colours was the air ambulance combination of Foliage Green uppers with White undersides (plus red crosses).
    No longer viewed as the interceptor it was originally designed to be, the Boomerang now fell into the general category, which meant that it’s specified colour-scheme was overall Foliage Green. However, it must be borne in mind that the new scheme was only to be introduced on aircraft currently in service if reconditioning of paint finish was warranted. So although new Boomerangs were then delivered in the new overall green scheme, many currently in service would have served out their days in the earlier three-colour camouflage scheme.
     
  12. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Fading and Weathering

    Boomerangs, like any other aircraft of the RAAF, almost invariably worked in exposed hot dry, and hot wet, environments which promoted fading. Very high surface temperatures (hot enough to fry the proverbial egg! ) during the days could alternate with very cold nights, or with regular tropical deluges, depending on whether the aircarft was with an OTU somewhere in Australia, or with a squadron somewhere north. Uppermost surfaces: wings, tailplane and spine of the fueslage were the areas most affected. Paintwork on the fabric-covered, plywood-skinned fueslage sides and tops would appear to have faded fastest, the Light Earth and Dark Earth colours in particular.
    The Dull Blue of roundels and fin stripes faded markedly to a much lighter, washed-out blue, most particularly on wing topsides. The dark Australian shades of camouflage Foliage Green and Earth Brown faded back rather more slowly to resemble the well-known British RAF colours when new. This disparity in the rates of fading resulted in the roundel blue – at first as dark as, or darker than, the Foliage Green and Earth Brown colours – finally being decidedly lighter, unless repainted.
    A practice in some fighter squadrons when things were quiet was to have groundcrew fill idle moments polishing their aircraft, and certainly we may find photos of fighter Boomerangs looking quite shiny. This would have served to preserve, in some degree, the condition of the camouflage paintwork. Where this was not done, the sheen was soon lost, becoming steadily more matt.
    Sky Blue undersides became a kind of nondescript, grimy light shade from the mixed effects of oil slicks from engine and hydraulics, together with clay and earth from some types of fields, or coral dust and mud thrown up from others.

    Cockpits, Engine bays and Wheel Wells

    The RAAF’s Cockpit Green was about the same tonal value (lightness or darkness) as the RAF’s Grey Green but was greener (similar to FS.*4227 ) in hue.
    The colour of the gloss finish used in wheel wells and the inside of surfaces of engine cowlings and sometimes as engine enamel was called Grey Green and would seem to have been more grey than green, and darker than Cockpit Green. Actually it was very much like the RAF’s camouflage colour Light Slate Grey (i.e. similar to FS.*4159 ). An alternative gloss engine enamel called Battleship Grey had the same tonal value as Grey Green, but was a khaki-ish sort of grey (similar to FS.*6165 ) rather than greenish.

    National Insignia

    The very first Boomerang rolled out wearing the RAF-style markings that had applied for a time in the RAAF, early 1942, but then the Yellow outer rings to fueslage roundels were soon removed, in conformity with revised RAAF practice, so that the markings worn by the first Boomerangs during the initial period of testing and training were red, white and blue fueslage and underside roundels and fin stripes, with their blue and red wing topside roundels becoming blue and white in accordance with the interim wartime changes ordered at the end of July 1942.
    During October 1942 red had been deleted from all insignia. By the time the first operational Boomerang squadron went into action it was early 1943 and national insignia were by then Dull Blue and White kind in all positions. Standard C.A.C proportions for Boomerang roundels appear to have maintained a diameter ratio approximating 3:5, but repaints could introduce variations.

    Other Markings

    Fueslage Codes. In january 1943, the RAAF introduced RAF-style three-letter codes, to be worn on the fueslage sides. A two-letter code was assigned to every squadron and it was intended that each aircraft would also be provided with a third identifying letter which would normally be seperated from the other two by the fueslage roundel. Where this seperation was not made by the roundel, a hyphen was to be used. An interesting point is that the instructions actually called for the squadron code to be forward of the individual aircraft letter on both sides of the fueslage. That this requirement was ignored (or perhaps never noticed) by some squadrons is apparent, but in other cases it was followed, so it is risky for us to make assumptions about codes on unseen starboard sides of fueslages unless we can find photos revealing both sides, or sufficient views of other aircraft of the same squadron for us to draw a conclusion – and even then we risk being wrong as some squadrons had a mix: squadron codes ahead of the starboard roundel on some aircraft, but aft on others.
    Also little known even now is the fact that upon their introduction in 1943, Sky Blue was specified for these codes. However, the May 1944 overhaul of colours and markings called for Medium Sea Grey to be used for codes against Foliage Green and Night (and Black against other colours). Although it is entirely likely that White may sometimes have been used for the painting of codes, as is often stated, it should be remembered that Sky Blue rapidly faded to an off-white, often creating the impression of being white in old photos when, in fact, this was not the case.

    White Theatre Markings

    Trigger-happy pilots and gunners in the air and on the ground in the New Guinea war zone were too often firing first, then checking the identity of their targets. Mistakes were occurring. The USAAF decided upon the application of distinctive white markings to all friendly single-engined fighter aircraft, effective from September 1943. To be painted White were wing leading edges and the whole of the tail assembly. Spinners were frequently painted white also. This measure affected considerable numbers of RAAF and USAAF 5th AF Aircraft (RNZAF P-40s too- Evan). In due course, white-tailed aircraft were to be seen in Australia as it was desirable to have aircraft given these markings prior to moving to the New Guinea war zone, and retired aircraft would return with them. Until May 1944, the RAAF also stipulated that the white fins of it’s aircraft should continue to carry the blue portion of the fin stripe. In August 1944 the USAAF decided that the white markings need no longer be applied to uncamouflaged (i.e. bare metal finish) aircraft, and the RAAF followed suit in September. Then this change was overtaken by the decision in December of that year to no longer require the white markings at all. However, it should be understood that abandonment of the white New Guinea theatre marking was not a requirement to remove it, and many aircraft would continue to wear their white paint until the end of hostilities.

    Serials

    Since september 1939, the specified colour for the marking of serials on camouflaged RAAF aircraft had been grey. At first this had been the early RAAF markings colour known as Grey, subsequently replaced by Medium Sea Grey which was slightly lighter.
    Specified size was 8 in. (203 mm ) height.
    Specified location was mid-way between roundel and tailplane which, on the Boomerang, meant that subsequent application of codes partially obscured serials. Reapplied serials (following repainting or application of white tails) were repositioned under the tailplane, out of the way.
    The Boomerang was alotted Stores airframe number A46, this therefore becoming the serial prefix. Serials ran as follows.
    CA-12 Boomerang, A46-1 to A46-105
    CA-13 Boomerang, A46-106 to A46-200
    CA-19 Boomerang, A46-201 to A46-249
    CA-14/14A Boomerang, A46-1001

    It may be of interest to some readers to understand C.A.C’s own slightly unusual designation system. This made no use of type or model identifications of modifications and variants in the style of, for example, ’P-40E-1-CU’. Rather, it assigned successive ’CA’ numbers to each job it undertook. C.A.C’s CA-1 was a batch of Wirraway Is, then the next job, CA-2, was the initial Wackett Trainer. Jobs CA-3,-5,-7,-8 and -9 were all Wirraway IIs. There could be detail differences between CA-3 and CA-5 Wirraways, but the point is that they were not necessarily successive variants at all. The CA-4 and -6 jobs were something different, not other Wirraway variants: the CA-6 was a batch of the definitive Wackett Trainer, whilst the CA-4 was the progenitor of the ill fated CA-11 Woomera.
     
  13. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Drawing Captions

    A46-37, of No.84 Sqn., as seen at Horn Island early 1943. Said to have been camouflaged Light Green and Dark Earth, which produced a very low-contrast combination. Undersides were officially Sky Blue, however readers should bear in mind our earlier comment regarding the use of Sky Grey. The paint finish was well maintained and had very posssibly been waxed and buffed to impart a softly shiny surface as well as darkening it a little. Notice how the result of CAC’s positioning of the Grey or Medium Sea Grey serial results in it being partially covered by the codes. Although sometimes said to have been white, code letters could equally have been fading Sky Blue. This squadron does not appear to have applied it’s codes according to official instructions, placing it’s squadron letters aft of the roundel on the starboard side of the fueslage.

    A46-197, QE-P of No.4 Sqn., as seen at Wau, mid-1944. Although it has been said that camouflage on this example may have been Light Green and Light Earth, the fact of it’s being the 197th example, delivered April 1944, would seem to call this into question, unless CAC had a considerable quantity of those obsolete colours to use up. (The 199th is believed to have been the last of the three-colour scheme examples before overall green was introduced.) Without further documentary evidence, one cannot be certain. It may be that there is some other explanation for the heightened contrast between the two camouflage colours, such as a repaint, or partial repaint, in the field. The black serial does suggest such a possibility, in addition to which the code letters appear to have been applied in a grey, at a time when the correct colour was still Sky Blue. Not only that, but the grey appears darker than Medium Sea Grey. This squadron does appear to have applied it’s codes accrding to official instructions, so far as we can ascertain, consistently placing it’s squadron letters forward of the roundel on both sides of the fueslage. White tail, wing leading edges and spinner.

    A46-228, BF-R of No.5 Sqn., as seen at Bougainville, February 1945. Delivered in Dec. 1944, the camouflage on this example was the simplified late war scheme of overall Foliage Green. The serials were re-stencilled in black after the ID white was applied to the tail. Notice the individual aircraft number ’228’ repeated either side of the engine cowling in white. White wing leading edges and spinner. The codes have been applied in Medium Sea Grey. This squadron does not appear to have applied it’s codes according to official instructions, many photos indicating squadron letters consistently placed aft of the roundel on the starboard side of the fueslage, as shown here.

    Camouflage Pattern for the Boomerang

    Although bearing a superficial resemblance to characteristic RAF single-engine fighter camouflage, the design devised by CAC was specifically intended to allow for factory prepainting of frequently replaced parts, with the intention of minimising or eliminating the amount of painting that would have to be done in the field to match up new parts with the existing camouflage pattern. Notice that the entire canopy framing is green, that ailerons and elevators are all a single colour, and that both wingtips are all green. The only variation occurring in the factory-applied camouflage pattern appears to have been where the Sky Blue underside colour did not rise to merge with the tailplane underside as shown here, the continuing green on the port side making the rudder pattern identical on both sides. Placing this variation in a chronological or production sequence has not been possible.
     
  14. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    fantastic information Evan :D :D
     
  15. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #15 Wurger, May 25, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2016
    Boom1.jpg Boom2.jpg Boom3.jpg Boom4.jpg boom5.jpg boom6.jpg As it was requested by Evan.Here some scanned B&W profiles of Boomerang.And one colour profile I have found via the Internet.
     
  16. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Some profiles from the book CAC Boomerang, CAC Wirraway.
     

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  17. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    #17 Micdrow, May 25, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
    boom 3.jpg These from the book, CAC boomerange by the book series profile.
     
  18. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Great !!!! :D :D
     
  19. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff guys! :D :D
    Many thanks Wojtek for posting the pics, and the colour profile of BF-R.
    Interesting the green (and in one case blue) tops to the fins of some of those 4 squadron aircraft.
     
  20. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    Awesome stuff guys, really great :D

    Just noticed on the last set of profiles one of the locations says Mildura, New South Wales. That should be Mildura Victoria.
     
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