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Colour Conundrum

The 18 Group Coastal Command ‘Norge’ Scheme of 1943
Bristol Beauighter TF Mk. X, LZ295/2•Z, operated by No. 404 Squadron, RCAF, Davidstow Moor Strike Wing, circa mid-1944.

Finish is BS 381c: 640 Extra Dark Sea Grey (Vallejo 71.110 US Dark Grey) to the upper surfaces with the fuselage sides and wing upper surfaces showing a patchy and chalked inish of BS 381c: 638 Dark Sea Grey (Vallejo 71.405 BS Dark Sea Grey). The wing leading edges, originally White, are in fresh Extra Dark Sea Grey. The undersides are in Sky Blue (Vallejo 71.306 Sky Blue). The codes are in BS 381c: 435 Dull Roundel Red (Vallejo 71.080 Rust), with BS 381c: 356 Trainer Yellow (Vallejo 71.078 Yellow RLM 04) outlines. The undersides and serials are in Sky Blue (Vallejo 71.306 Sky Blue). Note areas of overpainting to the airframe.

For some time there has been speculation about the colour scheme applied to some of the Bristol Beauighters operated by 18 Group of RAF Coastal Command on anti-shipping operations around the Norwegian coast during 1943 as some photographs appear to show a three tone camoulage scheme somewhat reminiscent of that employed by the United States Navy.

Between late 1941 and early 1943 there were two basic camoulage schemes employed on Coastal Command anti-shipping and anti-submarine aircraft. Both roles called for the use of the Temperate Sea Scheme of Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey on the upper surfaces with anti-shipping aircraft having Special Night, Night or Sky under surfaces to Pattern No. 1 and anti-submarine aircraft having White under surfaces to Pattern No.2.

This policy began to change on 30 December 1942 however, when HQ Coastal Command wrote to the Air Ministry to inform them that Coastal Command camoulage policy had been under review in the light of operational experience and that as a consequence, HQ Coastal Command now sought Air Ministry approval to introduce a number of new camoulage schemes.

For medium or low lying aircraft in the anti-submarine, antishipping and meteorological reconnaissance aircraft, which were to be camoulaged against detection from either the ground or the sea, three different schemes were thought to be necessary to deal with different conditions.

Scheme ‘A’ for day lying in the Western Approaches, Bay of Biscay and North Sea featured upper surfaces inished in Extra Dark Sea Grey, side surfaces inished in matt White and under surfaces inished in gloss White. Scheme ‘B’ was intended for day and night lying in the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Caribbean. It was also intended for use where aircraft operated mainly under moonlight in all areas such as certain (but unspeciied) anti shipping aircraft. This featured Extra Dark Sea Grey upper surfaces, Dark Sea Grey side surfaces and gloss White under surfaces.

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