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Rlangham

RAF vehicle camouflage

Question

I've seen this asked on another forum so thought I might give it a go here. In WW2, what colour would the emergency vehicle's at RAF bases (especially the fire tenders) be painted in? The Airfix kit of an Austin K6 fire tender says it should be in red, but the Fordson fire tender I saw the other day was a sort of olive drab, and i've seen models in RAF blue, can anyone help out?

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I have RAF . MT orders for camouflage .It changed a lot from 39-45. I have the FORDSON WOT 1 CRASH TENDER that is in its correct camouflage(Micky mouse) .Light earth /dark earth. For Jan 43 to aug 43.I will try to find the rest of the information and put it on the forum TONY CORBIN

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Cheers, when you do find it that'd be very useful, i'm buying a Fordson WOT1 fire tender soon (too bad it's in 1/76th scale!) and not sure what to paint it. By the way, did you get my PM the other day?

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The airfix kit is a post war version there was a lot of huff and puff when it came out about what colour it should be but the main ww2 is dark earth and black or olive green

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)I think dark earth /dark green was early 1942 .Light earth/dark earth1943 .Then OD ?. Not red or RAF blue till 1945

(did not get pm) TONY

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Camouflage of mechanical transport

 

All RAF MT vehicles.

 

1941 KHAKE GREEN / disruptive patten TARMAC GREEN or LIGHT GREEN

AUG 1942 CAMOUFLAGE GREEN/ disruptive patten DARK TARMAC

DEC 1942 CAMOUFLAGE LIGHT BROWN/disruptive patten DARK

BROWN

SEP 1943 ANTI- GAS MT BROWN SPECIAL/disruptive patten BLACK Matt

SEP1944 ANTI-GAS OLIVE DRAB with out disruptive patten.

1944 Upper surfaces of vehicles used within landing area of airfields to

be painted YELLOW.

Until the end of the war an area of GAS DETECTOR PAINT irregular in

shape approximately 36 square inches to be applied to each front to be

visible by the driver

APRIL 1946 semi gloss RAF BLUE/GREY wings chassis semi gloss BLACK

Also vehicles wernot to be altered until the next occasion that the vehicle requried re painting

 

TONY CORBIN

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Rlangham,

 

Thanks for raising this subject on this forum - as it was me that recently raised it on the MLU Forum without much success! And thanks to Tony for the info.

 

Do you have details of the colour of RAF vehicles in the UK from 1939-40? If you believe all the war films they were RAF blue and this is certainly a popular choice for many preserved RAF vehicles. But how accurate is it? Looking at photos of the Battle of Britain era the vehicles shown are camouflaged. Did the RAF use RAF blue before the war and did it disappear during the Munich Crisis of 1938 or did it say in use to 1941?

 

If anyone can put paint codes to the colours that would be a great help to members restoring.

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A few final points.

 

Perhaps the 1939-40 RAF scheme was the scheme that Tony described for 1941?

 

Re-reading Tony's list it seems that the RAF vehicle colours follow those of the British Army in NW Europe, which would be quite logical and therefore the colour codes are easy enough to find.

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Dear Tony,

 

An old post I know, but with regard to your Fordson Trucktor restoration, what colours did you find painted on it and what year was it made?

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HI larry H57

Built late 1939 . First painted in R A F Blue . Then I think it went to Allen Taylor for conversion to Tractor an then in the camouflage it as now painted in . ?? Pattern & pant where found on removing all the other coats very carefully . Looks like the coped the aircraft camouflage of the same time .

P2180049.jpg

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Thanks Tony,

 

I know from photos that a few RAF vehicles in the UK were in RAF Blue in 1939-1940 and that for a time some RAF Vehicles were painted in what I will call an emergency scheme of green and brown similar to a Spitfire or Hurricane (though not the same paint). This scheme seems to apply to vehicles built pre-war and not those coming off the production line in WW2. I guess therefore that your vehicle got painted at that early time when anything was better than shiny RAF Blue. The colours you found on your Fordson are quite unique and I wonder if you have found a paint classification to match?

 

They don't match the RAF equivalent of the Army G3 Green with G4 Dark Green as disruptive that I have seen on other RAF vehicles from 1940.

 

I have quite a few photos of RAF vehicles in WW2 so I'll share some more.

Edited by LarryH57

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RAF Ford Sussex Balloon Winch vehicles seen on a foggy and frosty day in the winter of 1939-40. These vehicles are still in RAF Blue with Gloss Black mudguards (which incidentally was a pre-war scheme resurrected in 1946) and in addition have white 'black-out' painted on the front mudguards and along the sides. They retain their civi style registration numbers.

Ford Sussex 1.jpg

Ford Sussex 2.jpg

Edited by LarryH57

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Thanks again Tony

 

I'm not sure if it is my PC but despite the similarity to a Hurricane, the green on your vehicle looks like a lime green

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And now I need the help of members who know about Fordson N Tractors as this trio of Fordson N Tractors appear to be in a civi gloss green. Note also that Fordson is picked out in yellow. So can anyone say whether this colour was a production colour perhaps for civi use and from those made some just got redirected to the RAF?

 

The Fordson pulling the long load of bombs is pulling the first two bomb trailers which are RAF Blue while the ones behind are in 'camo' which just shows that some ground equipment stayed how it was received. Would the RAF go to the trouble of camouflaging a trolley accumulator, used to start the RR Merlins?

 

In the photo with the Spitfire, once again the tractor appears to be a civi gloss green. Note that the inside door of the bowser appears to be RAF Blue, so perhaps they never bothered to paint it.

 

Over to you with your comments and more photos?

Fordson N Tractor.jpg

Mildenhall 1942.jpg

RAF Tractor and bowser.jpg

Edited by LarryH57

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I am not seeing your photos but at the start of WW2 Fordson tractors were painted orange all over for the civilian market. It quickly became clear that a field full of that days production on the edge of London made a rather good marker for the german bombers so they changed the colour to gloss dark green all over. I am not sure if Ford picked out the Fordson script on the radiator in yellow/orange but it is very common on restored ones.

 

David

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David,

 

Many thanks for your reply. Hopefully you can see the photos today, as it was about the time you replied that I amended my post and replaced links with the actual photos, only to then see the photos twice!

 

Anyway from what you have said it seems logical that gloss green was not so strange.

 

I wonder if the gloss green tractors in use by the RAF can be dated to an approximate time; even though other Fordson N's I have seen in photos from 1940 were clearly camouflaged it could well be the RAF received an emergency batch in 1941.

 

The first photo of the WAAF driving a Tractor towing a very long line of bomb trailers comes from a period I believe when the Stirling was first in use circa 1941 when the propaganda value in showing off was immense compared to a couple of bombs on a 1939 bi-plane. The tractor towing a 4,000 lb 'Cookie' may also date from 1941 as that year saw its first use, and likewise the Fordson and Bowser with a Spitfire V.

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Seeing as the QLs seen here were almost certainly delivered in SCC.2 Brown and were supposed to have a black or dark brown camo covering the surfaces as seen from above, I think the RAF realised that for the tank on the back, that the black or dark brown would have to come too far down the sides, hence the use of patches of black or dark brown as seen below in the first photo;

 

Incidentally can anyone say which month the QL became available in 1941, presumably both to the Army and RAF at the same time

Bedford QL in WW2.jpg

Bedford QL in WW2 - Copy.jpg

Bedford QL and Mosquito.jpg

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Another Fordson in RAF Blue from 1939-40. Is it a support vehicle with gas cylinders for Barrage Balloons or some kind of Crash Tender?

RAF Fordson in RAF Blue.jpg

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Its a crash tender, equipment was 3 x 30 gal froth extinquishers each with a delivery hose and lance type applicator, plus a dozen or so 2 gal extin . At the outbreak of war my guess is this type of arrangement on a 6 x4 truck would be half of the RAF's crash tender establishment. The Fordson Sussex was the most common but I have others recorded with the equipment on Crossley 6 x 4, one example on a WOT1 and one on the North west frontier Waziristan in 1938 on a Crossley IGL 7.

The attached is Duxford mid 1940, by which time camo prevails- my guess KG 3 plus a dark green disruptive. In case you don't know the example you posted was taken just before hostilities commenced at RAF Northolt.

TED.

Duxford  1940 rear.jpg

Duxford 1940 (2).jpg

Edited by ted angus

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Ted,

 

Thanks for your input as always on this site and other forums. Are you an MVT member? I seem to recall you had an Austin Gypsy at one time?

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How about this photo Ted; is this evidence of RAF Blue still in use on an RAF Bowser in June 1940 at RAF Wattisham?

RAF Blue Bowser - 110 Sqn June 1940.png.jpg

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Another scene with RAF truck ?

165204.jpg

361285.jpg

Edited by goanna

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Ted,

 

Thanks for your input as always on this site and other forums. Are you an MVT member? I seem to recall you had an Austin Gypsy at one time?

I used to be a member of the SMVG , I had an ex Auxiliary Fire Service Gipy, and my real pride was a Coventry Climax trailer pump which was new to the Army in november 1943. I bought to as a pile of bits and did a full nut and bolt restoration. Unfortunately my wifes ill health put paid to going to the shows then my own bad health forced me to sell both.

TED

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How about this photo Ted; is this evidence of RAF Blue still in use on an RAF Bowser in June 1940 at RAF Wattisham?

 

Larry I have seen this pic in black and white- I would strongly suggest it is a modern colourisation - several of these are doing the rounds by someone who seems to think the RAF remained blue grey through out

 

TED

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