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Old 8th September 2006, 06:47
GrahamB GrahamB is offline
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Re: RLM 64 and the Junkers Ju 52???

I thought it might help if I added this example of a typical ‘thought-provoker’ that forms part of my musings about the all-dark Ju 52 camouflage schemes and is a slight caution to the reflex (but understandable) use of terms such as ‘standard 70/71 camouflage’. I apologise to those who do not have the relevant book, but the actual photograph may be published elsewhere and there are comparable prints available showing the salient feature (non-standard splinter pattern on all-dark aircraft).

On page 110 of the second version of Kookaburra’s ‘Luftwaffe Colors vol 1’ Luftwaffe Camouflage 1935-40, by Alain Fleuret, there is a wonderful photo of a Ju 52 of IV/KGzbV 2 - G6+MQ – being loaded with ammunition, probably in France. Note the contradiction in the last sentence of the caption “Quite new in appearance ……… faded black code letters”. Although the print is somewhat washed-out the camouflage scheme appears to me to be:

1. Two dark tones, of very low contrast, with the lighter being on all surfaces; i.e. there is no sign of a pale (RLM 65) tone on the under sides such as the lowermost part of the fuselage, beneath the tailplane or on the tailplane strut. Nor is there evidence of (very) black temporary paint.

2. The darker of the two tones is seen as a section of ‘splinter’ pattern straddling the door. I cannot discern any other sections of the darker colour although someone may be in possession of a better (or even original) print.

Interpretation of this photograph (and some others) could easily just rest with that given (70/71), but there are slight problems with this:

1. The section of splinter pattern only approximates to the RLM drawing “Ju 52/3 m 2 farben-Sichtschulz – Muster A”, dated 26 October 1939. It is not a good match. The RLM 70 application also seems incomplete (pending a better print to show otherwise).

2. There is no official pattern known for the continuation of the one of the dark colours (RLM 71?) on under-surfaces. The existing RLM guidance/direction (including that specific to the Ju 52) was for pale blue (RLM 65) below.

3. According to Kenneth Merrick’s research the use of temporary black was not promulgated until June 1940.

Two plausible interpretations are that it is a factory 70/71 scheme, but clearly not conforming to official requirements in either pattern or use of only two colours, or (more likely in my opinion), it is an aircraft previously painted in one overall colour (RLM 71 or the putative RLM 64) that has received a partial repaint, either in the field or at a repair/conversion depot, with RLM 70 applied in an attempt at conforming to RLM regulations (if applied after 10/39) or current Luftwaffe practice (if applied before 10/39) – see below.

I am not a scholar of RLM documents so do not know the significance of their role or authority. Does the date ‘26/10/39’ on the official document imply that from that date Junkers Ju 52 aircraft were to be painted in this ‘70/71/65’ scheme (factory and post-manufactured aircraft), that it merely regularises an existing Junkers painting scheme, or is it solely aimed at standardising the upgrading of paint jobs on existing aircraft? Perhaps both of the last two?

If the date is significant in relation to factory application – help please! – this would confirm the dating of the all-dark scheme as being predating the ‘70/71/65’ era, and would also imply that Junkers was quite a late-starter applying these colours, if only with regard to Ju 52s.

Another possible tiny piece in the jigsaw: after reading Graham Boak's informative and kind posts I had a look at my copy of Heinz Nowarra's book on the Heinkel 111. He writes (page 82) that the He 111 F-1 aircraft supplied to Turkey were finished in olive-green on their upper surfaces (not 70/71). The accompanying photo seems to show quite a dark colour. Could this be RLM 64 - the only olive-green listed during the period?


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