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Thread: 460 Squadron Tail Markings

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    Default 460 Squadron Tail Markings

    Hello,

    Those yellow checkers on 460 Squadron Aircraft, when did they first begin to be used by the Squadron please?

    And also

    Along with these markings When did the Squadron begin useing the Glossy Black camouflage on its aircraft instead of the Matt Black associated with Bomber aircraft ?

    Thanks
    Alex

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    Hello Alex,

    Are you sure about 460 Squadron? No.640 squadron used tail markings that fit your description.

    The following might be of interest:-

    No.4 Group.

    Examples of 4 Group aircraft carrying tail markings.

    640 'C8' (Halifax) NA422:'O'

    This tail marking is illustrated, in colour, on p.60 of the quoted ref.

    See:
    A Meaning in the Tail:Bomber Command Tail Markings.
    Giles,Martin.(Illustrated by Pete West).
    Air Enthusiast Fifty-one. August to October, 1993.
    pp.54-60.

    There is a photograph of NA422 wearing this scheme in 'The Halifax File'/Air Britain p.101.

    Col.

  3. #3
    Eddie Fell Guest

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    I had similar thoughts.

    The markings were introduced in the spring of 1944 shortly before D Day and were intended to assist in daylight formation flying when squadrons moved from night to daytime bombing.
    They were used by 78, 102, 158, 346, 347, 462, 466 and 640 Sqns. 10 Sqn also carried markings

    Cheers

    Eddie

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    Hello,
    Yes 640.
    my typo thanks for picking it up.
    So they would not have had these markings in February of 44 ?
    But how about the gloss instead of the matt black ?
    Thank
    Alex

  5. #5
    Eddie Fell Guest

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    Hi Alex

    Whilst I know very little about aircraft markings, I'm not aware that there was any large scale move to Gloss Black. I know of one aircraft painted such but that was with 158 Sqn and much later in the war (early 1945). The photos I have seen show most aircraft with the camo upper surfaces and matt black from a line below the cockpit (please forgive that less than technical description).
    Most of the aircraft in use by 640 Sqn in Feb 1944 were ex 158 Sqn. 640 only formed on 7/1/44 with it's crews coming from 158 and 466 Sqns.

    Sorry I can't add anything else that may be of use. Bill Norman may of course be able to offer further information

    Cheers

    Eddie

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    G'Day Alex,

    Some time back you posed the question, 'When did the squadron (640), begin using Glossy Black camouflage on its aircraft instead of Matt Black associated with bomber aircraft.'

    Whilst my answer does not relate specifically to 640 Squadron, it is applicable to all Bomber Command aircraft.

    'On 19 October 1942, the Directorate of Operational Requirements (DOR), Air Ministry, ordered that all aircraft painted with Special Night (basically Matt Black), should revert to Night (basically Gloss Black), this leaving the RAF with 40,000 gallons of Special Night and 20,000 gallons of special thinners, all of which was useless!'

    See:
    Royal Air Force Colours No.6 - Matt Blacks and Gloss Blacks.
    Goulding,James.
    Aircraft Illustrated. November,1980.(Vol.13 No.11) pp.514-6

    It is far and away, the best reference on this topic, then or now.

    I don't have a scanner, but if you have the slightest interest in these matters, I suggest you should try and obtain a copy of said article. Maybe one of our munificent board members can help.

    Col.

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    The USAAF used a gloss black, known as Jet (I think), but I'm not aware that Bomber Command ever did. The prewar Night was a matt colour. It was replaced by the very matt Special Night, which came in two variants RDM2 and RDM2A, This was the brainchild of Professor Lindeman, who had the ear of Churchill. He believed that the best camouflage at night was the darkest, and Special Night was a concoction using lamp black. However it had very poor adhesion, and produced very high drag. De Havilland was to claim this as 23mph on the Mosquito (although the A&AEE was to halve this estimate). Trials on a Halifax confirmed severe penalties on ceiling and time to height, and Special Night was dropped.

    Initially this was a reversion to the prewar Night, but I believe that this was followed (in 1943?) by a satin finish called Smooth Night - presumably a fine pigment paint similar to the well-known Sky Type S. Fighter Command had gone to Type S, for Smooth, fine pigment paints in 1940, initially only for Dark Green, Dark Earth and Sky colours. These lower-drag paints gradually came into wider use and the Type S suffix dropped.

    The matter the paint, the more reflective the aircraft becomes in searchlights, as a greater percentage of the light is reflected back towards the ground because of the rough surface. The smoother the paint, the more the light is reflected away from the aircraft and thus "wasted". The USAAF believed that their gloss black was so useful that an aircraft could fly through searchlights without being spotted. Believe that if you wish.

    I suspect that this Smooth Night is what you are thinking of when you refer to a gloss, but strictly it was only a satin finish - smooth but not gloss.

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