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Old 5th September 2006, 02:31
GrahamB GrahamB is offline
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Smile RLM 64 and the Junkers Ju 52???

After getting used to seeing the colour RLM 64 listed as a pale blue, the recent books by Michael Ullmann and Kenneth Merrick have now established it as a dark olive green, supposedly resurrected as the late-war colour RLM 83. No use for the colour during its existence pre 1938, when it was deleted from the colour cards, has been offered and no surviving documentary evidence has yet been discovered. After studying many photographs of Junkers Ju 52 aircraft (see previous post on engine mountings) there may be a possible use.

Many photographs appear to show Junkers Ju 52/3ms in an all-dark camouflage, notably the ‘gm3e’ version in the early war years during the campaigns in Scandinavian, the Low Countries and in Crete, and especially those with the centrally-placed pre-war style swastika on the tail fin/rudder. In many cases this has been interpreted (correctly) as a ‘standard’ RLM 70/71 scheme with black undersurfaces or as an overall green – either RLM70 or RLM71. A common, but not exclusive, feature of the Ju 52 ’70/71’ scheme is the very low contrast between the colours. The overall dark scheme is sometimes claimed to be a faded version of this. It is odd that in other cases the fading is claimed to result in an increased contrast between the two colours. Another feature of the 70/71 painted aircraft is that many show non-standard (relative the RLM diagram) patterns, suggestive of post factory application.

Junkers Ju 52 3/m ge and g3e/g4e aircraft were manufactured from 1934 and appeared in two principal military painting schemes: an overall grey-green (RLM 63) with black trim and subsequently a 3-toned splinter scheme of dark brown (RLM 61), medium-dark green (RLM 62) and grey-green (RLM 63) on the uppersurfaces, with pale blue (RLM 65) below. During 1938 the camouflage was simplified and introduced the RLM 70, RLM 71 and RLM 65 scheme that the Ju 52 would wear (with some modifications and specialised overpainting) until the end. Bomber aircraft produced before 1938 (i.e mainly the g3e version) that were converted to transports by Weserflug and Wiener Neustadter Flugzeugwerke could be entirely repainted, partially repainted or left in original camouflage depending on condition, pressure of work and amount of conversion/restoration required. Obviously, upgrading anachronistic markings would be more important than changing one dark green for another.

There is one apparent painting scheme that needs to be accounted for, however. It is evident that some pre-war g3e bombers were painted in an overall dark colour, probably for a night-bombing role – the best photograph of this scheme is that on page 11 of the AirDOC No.1 book, of a g3e aircraft attached to an unknown training unit There is absolutely no evidence of splinter pattern, as there is none in many other photographs. I offer the possibility that RLM 64, a dark olive green, was used for this scheme. It has parallels with the camouflage practices of the RAF and French airforce during the early-mid 1930s, the RAF using NIVO (more or less the same as Dark Slate Grey) while the French night-bombers were finished in an overall Vert Tableau or Ombre Calcinee (burnt umber). This was an application of the principle of a single dark concealing colour being most effective at night. If this was the case, the fact that RLM 64 was more or less confined to this limited use on Ju 52s, for a short period before the 70/71 scheme was adopted, has minimised the possibility of finding officlal evidence. Also, aircraft in this scheme, fairly new, would not need a great deal of re-painting when required for front-line transport service and if partially overpainted with RLM 70 this would probably show slightly less contrast with the putative RLM 64 than the slightly paler, greyer RLM 71.


I would be grateful for any comments - no doubt these will be forthcoming in any case!
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Old 6th September 2006, 12:50
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: RLM 64 and the Junkers Ju 52???

There is another scheme not accounted for.

Apparently coming between the 60-series and 70-series scheme, with fewer segments than the first but more than the latter (as seen along the fuselage sides. The key recognition feature is a large area of light (grey?) around the nose, and another on the rear starboard fuselage. It is seen on KG255 He 111Ps, Romanian He 111H-3s, and apparently on at least one Ju 52. It may be the 60-series colours.
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Old 6th September 2006, 18:37
Modeldad Modeldad is offline
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Re: RLM 64 and the Junkers Ju 52???

On the other hand it could have been plain ol' 70 or 71. It should be noted that many of the Bf 109 Ds also had a single dark green top color.

Perhaps it was the need to get the aircraft out in the field ASAP. Perhaps the Ju 52s were quick over paints of the 61/62/63 scheme. This was commonly done to the HS 123 which quite frequently was seen in a single green when committed to combat.

I am of the persuasion that a nation going to war does not use a special color when there were other greens to choose from. 71 would have done the job quite nicely.
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Old 7th September 2006, 02:02
GrahamB GrahamB is offline
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Re: RLM 64 and the Junkers Ju 52???

Thanks for the replies.

I don’t want to be pedantic or obsessive about this suggestion but there are problems with some of the previous interpretations of this all-dark scheme. Obviously, RLM 64 sits within the 61-65 bracket and the dark-olive it represents is a very useful military camouflage colour. The evidence suggests that all-dark Ju 52s existed in 1938 and probably earlier than that, when the Kamfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung were exactly that – bomber units. As the 70/71/65 scheme came in about late 1937 or 1938 the implication is that this is the scheme the Ju 52s should have been wearing; new-build (military) aircraft coming off the lines in 1938/1939 (probably g4e and even g5e versions) would certainly be painted in the familiar 70/71/65 camouflage, with the deletion of RLM 64. Conversions from earlier g3e, g4e and even ex-LUFTHANSA ge versions would have needed some sort of repainting (see original posting). Some Ju 52s originally with the 61/62/63 scheme did (at some point) receive a dark-coloured paint job on their undersides.

A few days ago I managed to obtain a copy of the original (1973) K. Merrick book Luftwaffe Colors Vol.1. In it he says that the dark under surfaces were temporary black, applied (eg. as on page 106) because ‘it saw service on the war front’. To me this is not a particularly strong argument: (a) the dark scheme was in place before WW2; (b) apart from Ju 52s where are the other Luftwaffe aircraft ‘on the war front’ with black under surfaces before the night bombing of Britain in late summer 1940 (i.e. why no He 111s with dark undersides during Polish campaign?).

The transport role of the Ju 52 in the early war years was primarily by daylight, including mass-landings on crowded fields such as during the attacks on Norway, Holland, and Crete.

Remember as well that there are no official German RLM publications (I think) to show the 77/76, 77/65, 65, 76, 77 or 02 high-altitude schemes, nor the 70/02/65, 71/02/65, 77/75/76, 76/75/76 day-fighter schemes or the 82/83/76 and 81/83/76 late-war defensive schemes that have been proposed over the years. We are fortunate that good colour photographs or real aircraft/fragments have confirmed some (but not all) of these. There is just one colour photograph that could just be interpreted as the RLM 64 scheme – page 104 of Transporter Vol.2: a very olivish Ju 3/m g3e, at least in comparison with the few blues and true greens left in the print. It is just not good enough for validation though.

What we need is a wreck of an early-war g3e in an unquestionably all-dark, unicoloured paint scheme!

Best wishes

Graham
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Old 7th September 2006, 15:27
Modeldad Modeldad is offline
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Re: RLM 64 and the Junkers Ju 52???

"Remember as well that there are no official German RLM publications (I think) to show the 77/76, 77/65, 65, 76, 77 or 02 high-altitude schemes, nor the 70/02/65, 71/02/65, 77/75/76, 76/75/76 day-fighter schemes or the 82/83/76 and 81/83/76 late-war defensive schemes that have been proposed over the years."

Now I'm too lazy at the moment to pull all the books. But does your stament mean that Mereck, Mombeek, Ullman, Wadman, Smith, Creek etc have been making it up all these years?

Any one want all my books, they are now worthless.
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Old 7th September 2006, 18:00
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: RLM 64 and the Junkers Ju 52???

I believe the comment that many known Luftwaffe schemes are not to be found in RLM technical orders is correct. It is certainly difficult to otherwise explain such schemes as seen on as KG100's He 177s, to name but three examples. I suspect that the authors you quote would agree. However several of them are more known for their technical and/or operational knowledge than for their detailed study of camouflage schemes: on the evidence of the work I've seen I'd personally not trust at least one of them on colours. (Other matters, clearly yes.)

If you've any books I haven't, do send them. But I suspect I have all Ken Merrick's.
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Old 7th September 2006, 21:52
GrahamB GrahamB is offline
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Re: RLM 64 and the Junkers Ju 52???

Hi All,

Modeldad, you have missed the point. My intention was to show that that the schemes mentioned do not appear in official documents or displayed in formal painting schemes- we are reliant on other data, some of which is supported by real evidence such as good colour photographs, aircraft remains or intelligence reports (these are sometimes not worth very much). The authors you mentioned are not wrong or mistaken but at some point started with a hypothesis about a colour scheme (e.g the familiar 71/02 fighter colours) based on data such as b/w photos and then proceeded to track down supporting evidence - successfully in many but not all instances.

This only parallels the process that I have been trying to do - my hypothesis is based on considered examination of photographic evidence supported by a small body of camouflage theory, dating evidence etc. Whether it can ever be confirmed (finding of official documentation, good colour photographs, aircraft remains, contemporary painting/sketch etc ) is not really something I have control over and it is not that important. I just hope that my post gets people to think and keep vigilant.

Kia ora

Graham
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Old 8th September 2006, 07:47
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?

Cheers

Graham
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Old 9th September 2006, 11:45
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Re: RLM 64 and the Junkers Ju 52???

Very interesting remarks about the Ju52 and images published in the "Luftwaffe camouflage 1935-1940". Also to note that top image as well image on the following pages of this book also show Ju52 in the similar fashion to the your note. If this mean anything to you- Yugoslavia received Bf109E and Fi156 with one top coat. For a long time it was beleived that this color is RLM70. As well I know that Germans used other colors for the finish and export I try to get any other info about the possible color on this plane but with no success. So this posts made by you is very valuable. Info about the planes export to Turkey and top coat in one green, not 70 or 71, is interesting.

Thank you!
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Old 11th September 2006, 00:54
GrahamB GrahamB is offline
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Re: RLM 64 and the Junkers Ju 52???

Pilot,

Many thanks for the signs of some support for my observations – I was starting to feel quite lonely! I’m not surprised by the inconsistency in the current and previous literature about the use/identification of single dark-colour upper sides on pre/early war Luftwaffe aircraft (those certainly in one colour, not misidentifications of low-contrast 70/71 applications). Most of it seems unsupported and is largely one person’s opinion versus another’s. The most recent example is in ‘Scale Aircraft Modelling’ Vol. 28 no.7 with Mark Rolfe depicting several early Bf 109s in topsides of only RLM 70. Smith & Gallaspy (Luftwaffe Camouflage & Markings Vol.2) wavered between calling RLM 70 or RLM 71 for the Ju 52 aircraft in overall dark camouflage – but at least they acknowledged the overall dark colour and did not invoke the use of temporary black for the undersides. The recent ‘Transporter’ books also contain the same interpretation but the artist missed an opportunity to profile one (‘1Z+AZ’ on pages 20-21 of Vol.1) in the overall dark scheme, choosing for some reason to use RLM 65 and black codes for the lower surfaces. There are many other examples in the literature.

I guess it does not really need spelling out, but there were clear groupings of colours that were designed for particular roles – this was not mere haphazard use. The Germans were (apologies for my being a bit stereotyping here) sticklers for rules and regulations, so observed departures from standards were obviously rare, forced by demands of in-service pressures or changed practice. Alternatively there may be other ‘standards’ for which we have no current official or corroborative evidence. The possible partial and non-standard pattern over-painting of a single dark colour (RLM 64?) with RLM70 splinter on some pre-‘standard 70/71/65’ factory-painted Ju 52s would have to fit in the first category, as perhaps were the various (and inconsistently interpreted) schemes used in the Spanish Civil War, where landscape and climatic conditions were very different from the Luftwaffe’s expected theatre of operations in northern Europe. A theoretical motive for the possible use of RLM 70 on all-dark Ju 52s could actually be the reverse of what Merrick and others have proposed: rather than creating a night camouflage by adding black under surfaces to a daylight 70/71/65 scheme (even specialised German night fighters didn’t turn black until mid-late 1940) it was the creation of a disruptive upper surface camouflage for reducing detection from aerial observation during daylight – contemporary Luftwaffe ‘policy’. A dark, low-contrast splinter effect is not really of any added value at night.

The early series colours RLM 61, 62 and 63 also formed a disruptive land-based (daylight) camouflage, with RLM 65 the single colour for under surfaces; ditto the paired 70/71, 72/73, 74/75 and of course 81/82. These are all specific schemes using more than one colour, the implication to me being that any one of the upper surface colours was to be used only with the other in the group and not singly – part their ‘design’ or formulation. Other than for RLM 63 (?), there are no known official documents (?) authorising their use singly until the late-war use of RLM 75 on night-fighters, perhaps a combination of deletion of RLM 74 and a change in camouflage practice (pale concealing colour versus dark concealing colour at night). Obviously the lower-surface colours such as 65 and 76 were employed as single-colour applications, if we exclude later pragmatic/field use in specialised schemes (maritime and night especially). The apparent ‘oddballs’ are the upper-surface RLM 64 (see further), 77 and 79 (RLM 80 was introduced slightly later according to K. Merrick). It is interesting that in the recent literature the interpretation of the role of RLM 77 has seemingly changed or been supplemented from [non-camouflage] night-fighter letter-coding to [camouflage] high-altitude use without explanation – although it certainly looks right – a single-colour application, or as a pragmatic substitute for one of the 74/75 colours – as per RLM 02 with 70/71) – a similar role to RLM 64=83 substituting for RLM 74?

If this logic (not too circular?) is applied, then RLM 64 (basically a very useful olive-drab) could have been used as a single colour application for either upper surfaces, and/or as an overall dark-dull scheme for Ju 52 3/m g3e night bombers, paralleling RAF and French practice (the RAF’s NIVO is abbreviation for Night Invisibility Varnish, Orfordness, matched to FS34096). The Turkish He 111 F-1 order still fell in the period of 61/62/63 use, so if M. Griehl’s information is correct, the (dark) olive green could well have been [single-colour use] RLM 64 rather than [officially multi-colour use] RLM62 (or 70 or 71). Similarly, there are some authorities who are claiming overall RLM70 for Bf109s as early as 1936 (e.g. Michael Ullmann for the Bf 109V-5, page 42 of Luftwaffe Colours 1935-1945). Perhaps it was more likely that, at this time, RLM 64 was used – a single colour application implied by its non-linkage to other colours – RLM70 was almost certainly developed to ‘belong’ with RLM 71, especially at this early period before pragmatic or substitution usage was adopted.

Kenneth Merrick seems to have inadvertently provided some support for the actual existence and if not actual earlier use of RLM 64 by proposing its resurrection as RLM 83. Does this mean that [previously deleted] stocks were already available, or that the same colour paint (a bloomin’ good military colour anyway, that would not actually ‘need’ a pre-existing version) was quickly re-developed using more modern or economical formulations? It also seems strange to me that all these late-war colours (RLM 81-83) required field testing (by JG54?) when aircraft wearing the pre-war 61/62 (and 64?) were still in service. Additionally, there is a hint of actual usage of RLM 64 that Merrick admits (although no role could be found for it), through the comments on one of the 1938 colour charts about it being ‘secret’, along with 61-63 and 65. Why classify a defunct or non-existent colour as secret?

What I really want to do is find some spare time to finish my Heller Ju 52. A huge 1/48 Revell kit also waits, although the frustration is that I can’t use the wonderful snake markings for ZG26’s ‘3U+ML’ because the faired and spatted undercarriage is not supplied in the kit!

Best wishes

Graham

Sorry for this post being rather long and complicated!
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