8th Air Force B-17E Camouflage

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8th Air Force B-17E Camouflage

Joined: December 15th, 2009, 1:19 am

September 20th, 2010, 1:31 am #1


I am working on a B-17E in the markings of a Fortress s/n 41-9018 flown by the 327th BS 92nd BG 8th USAAF. I am not exactly sure where to proceed with the camouflage. The camouflage sported by B-17E s/n 41-9017
appeared in topside dark Olive Drab with Sky (Duck Egg Blue) undersurfaces. However, B-17E s/n 41-9019 was painted in a camouflage scheme consisting of Olive Drab and Dark Earth uppersurfaces with Sky undersurfaces.

Shall I go ahead with painting the uppersurfaces Olive Drab or proceed with the two color camouflage scheme? Any input in this regard would be gratefully welcomed!

Thank you,
Marin Ennis
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Joined: February 28th, 2005, 4:05 pm

September 20th, 2010, 2:49 am #2

Hi Marin,

A few decades ago I began a still-unfinished list of B-17E colors based on photos. The list recorded serials 41-9017 ("Heidi Ho"), 41-9018, and 41-9019 ("Little Skunkface") all in RAF colors (or at least their American equivilents). That doesn't prove that your aircraft wore the scheme in theater - the AAF was recamouflaging a number of those aircraft prior to shipping them overseas before Washington ordered the aircraft shipped without regard for the color scheme.

BTW, watch for some VERY wierd variations on the national insignia, particularly if the insignia are painted above BOTH wings.

Cheers,


Dana
(Pardon any typos - I still haven't found my reading glasses!)
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 3:46 am

September 20th, 2010, 3:06 am #3

I am working on a B-17E in the markings of a Fortress s/n 41-9018 flown by the 327th BS 92nd BG 8th USAAF. I am not exactly sure where to proceed with the camouflage. The camouflage sported by B-17E s/n 41-9017
appeared in topside dark Olive Drab with Sky (Duck Egg Blue) undersurfaces. However, B-17E s/n 41-9019 was painted in a camouflage scheme consisting of Olive Drab and Dark Earth uppersurfaces with Sky undersurfaces.

Shall I go ahead with painting the uppersurfaces Olive Drab or proceed with the two color camouflage scheme? Any input in this regard would be gratefully welcomed!

Thank you,
Marin Ennis
The one picture I've located of 41-9019 shows her wearing the the RAF style camouflage, that Dana mentioned, while 41-9019 was assigned to the 414BS/97BG. It also shows the aircraft did not have the US insignia in 4 locations on the wings.

HTH

Tony H.
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 3:50 pm

September 20th, 2010, 7:43 am #4

I am working on a B-17E in the markings of a Fortress s/n 41-9018 flown by the 327th BS 92nd BG 8th USAAF. I am not exactly sure where to proceed with the camouflage. The camouflage sported by B-17E s/n 41-9017
appeared in topside dark Olive Drab with Sky (Duck Egg Blue) undersurfaces. However, B-17E s/n 41-9019 was painted in a camouflage scheme consisting of Olive Drab and Dark Earth uppersurfaces with Sky undersurfaces.

Shall I go ahead with painting the uppersurfaces Olive Drab or proceed with the two color camouflage scheme? Any input in this regard would be gratefully welcomed!

Thank you,
Marin Ennis
Beware of easy assumptions. RAF B-17Es did not wear Temperate Land but Temperate Sea camouflage, that is Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey (actually greenish) on the uppersurfaces, because they were intended for Coastal Command, and indeed so used. The matter was recently discussed (on Britmodeller, perhaps?) including colour photographs. There is a recent book from Mushroom dedicated to RAF B-17s - I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive at my local hobby shop.
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Joined: June 2nd, 2005, 10:20 pm

September 20th, 2010, 8:37 am #5

Recovered pieces of two B-17E's that were intended for the 97th BG in the spring of 1942 were reportedly found to be wearing the Temperate Land Scheme colors.

More than a decade ago, during the recovery of one of the "Lost Squadron" P-38E's from Greenland, one of the B-17E's was also partially uncovered. Parts recovered from this machine still bore well-preserved remnants of US-equivalent Dark Earth and Dark Green paint.

Similarly, another Operation Bolero B-17E, 41-9032, aka "My Gal Sal", was recovered from the icecap in 1996. This machine hadn't been buried under the ice like its counterparts, so it's condition was much poorer. Though most of the paint had been blasted from the airframe by 53 years of arctic weather, traces of the markings remained. Remnants of the original camouflage were used to duplicate the colors that 41-9032 wore when she bellied in on the ice; again, Dark Earth and Dark Green equivalents with Neutral Gray under surfaces. "Sal" is being restored as a memorial, and though the work is not to airworthy standards, great efforts have been made to ensure that the aircraft's equipment is complete and that the restoration accurately duplicates the aircraft's configuration and markings at the time of its loss. There's a few pictures of the restored sections on the memorial website here:http://www.ultimatesacrifice.com/

That said, I've just read the MMP book on Coastal Command Fortresses (it's excellent, btw), as well as the thread on Britmodeler (and Paul Lucas' article in MAM), and I agree that it seems likely that at least some of the B-17's flown by the 97th at Polebrook wore the Temperate Sea Scheme as well. Period pictures indicate that still other B-17E's also wore "conventional" USAAF camouflage of Dark OD and Neutral Grey. Given the haste with which B-17E's that had been destined for the RAF were pressed into service by the USAAF in late 1941/early 1942, I think it's entirely possible that B-17E's in 8th AF units wore all three schemes, or some variations thereof (like Sal's DG/DE topsides over Neutral Gray bottoms).

The camouflage worn by USAAF B-17's in the six months following December 7th seems to be a convoluted subject. I've been studying the topic - mainly through secondary sources, admittedly - since my Dad and I built Revell's 72nd scale B-17 as "Peggy D" when I was six years old (the instructions noted that it was to be painted in Olive Drab and Medium Green, iirc). Unless further documents appear, or someone spends the $$ required to dig up "Big Stoop" and "Do Do" from under the icecap, I'm not sure we're ever going to get any firm answers (and even then...). Adding to the confusion, I've noticed that faded US Olive Drab bears a striking resemblance, under some conditions, to RAF Dark Earth or the US manufactured equivalents. And that's not even touching the case of the B-17's that were camouflaged by the Hawaiian Air Depot!
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Joined: February 28th, 2005, 4:05 pm

September 20th, 2010, 11:43 am #6

Beware of easy assumptions. RAF B-17Es did not wear Temperate Land but Temperate Sea camouflage, that is Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey (actually greenish) on the uppersurfaces, because they were intended for Coastal Command, and indeed so used. The matter was recently discussed (on Britmodeller, perhaps?) including colour photographs. There is a recent book from Mushroom dedicated to RAF B-17s - I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive at my local hobby shop.
I haven't yet found specific serial ranges for the switch to the Temperate Sea Scheme, but the Brits didn't request the switch from the Temperate Land Scheme until some time 1942, after a number of Es had already been delivered.

Cheers,


Dana
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Joined: February 20th, 2009, 3:00 pm

September 20th, 2010, 2:36 pm #7

Here is another monkey wrench in the works on these RAF style camouflage B-17s. This Fortress II, one of the last B-17E built shown in transit at Wayne County Airport, 3rd Ferrying Group has, judging by the contrast between the roundel and the fuselage and under wing, the high altitude ¾ day bomber pattern but a lighter color than Deep Sky Blue, maybe some color for Coastal Command?

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Good question is where these RAF style patterns where done. To me they seem to be done at factory since both the 97th BG ships and this one it appears that the tail numbers and national insignia, both American and British are neatly applied over whatever camouflage pattern is used.

The best to you all,

Tom Michel
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Joined: June 2nd, 2005, 10:20 pm

September 20th, 2010, 4:05 pm #8

as you say, the pattern has the correct high demarcation, but that underside color does not look like white, especially when compared against the fuselage roundel.

The tone seems a bit too light to be one of the US-manufactured "PRU Blue" equivalents, but I could very well be wrong about this (and I suspect I am, in fact). Maybe it's a lighter blue-grey or "sky blue" color, or possibly even one of the US "Sky" equivalents. Of course, this is all just speculation...

Great pictures, though. Thank you for sharing them!
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Joined: February 28th, 2005, 4:05 pm

September 20th, 2010, 8:21 pm #9

Here is another monkey wrench in the works on these RAF style camouflage B-17s. This Fortress II, one of the last B-17E built shown in transit at Wayne County Airport, 3rd Ferrying Group has, judging by the contrast between the roundel and the fuselage and under wing, the high altitude ¾ day bomber pattern but a lighter color than Deep Sky Blue, maybe some color for Coastal Command?

[/IMG]

[/IMG]

[/IMG]

Good question is where these RAF style patterns where done. To me they seem to be done at factory since both the 97th BG ships and this one it appears that the tail numbers and national insignia, both American and British are neatly applied over whatever camouflage pattern is used.

The best to you all,

Tom Michel
Hi Tom,

Great shots that I've not seen before. So far I've only seen that demarkation on aircraft in the Coastal Command ASW colors (with the white undersides) and on two B-17Es with "Deep Sky Blue" undersides amd Temperate Land Scheme colors above. This could be a third aircraft in that scheme (filters and film could lighten the blue up considerably, as in the roundel) or another newly documented scheme.

The trick will be to find some sort of contract file that lists the colors in which each aircraft was delivered. I'm supposed to get back to work on my B-17 book soon - I'll see if I can find an answer!

Cheers,


Dana
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 3:50 pm

October 9th, 2010, 8:23 pm #10

Look for B-17s in Coastal Colours revisited
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