Development of Naval Camouflage 1914 – 1945
Part III: British Camouflage in World War II
reprinted courtesy of Plastic Ship
Modeler Magazine issue #97/1)
suit the British best. It was based
loosely on the British Western Approaches type but differed in that it used the
American colors of Sea Blue and Light Gray. The pattern was different port and starboard.
Photographic evidence shows that almost every vessel was delivered in the
same design, and a large percentage of these ships ran around for several months
in this scheme before being repainted with the British patterns and colors.
The author has called this type “American Western Approaches” type.
the end of 1943 a conflict arose between those who believed that camouflage was
of minimal value and those who felt the opposite.
The non-believers stressed the extensive use of radar with its all
weather ability to detect ships and aircraft and its ability to determine
intention by the use of IFF. Radar’s
capability to detect at considerable distances allowed the vessel to have a
adequate time to prepare her defense thus obviating the need for camouflage. Not surprisingly, other parties, the camouflage section being
one of them, vigorously opposed this proposal and cited examples were radar had
no effect upon a ship’s ability to defend itself.
For example, radar was of almost no value during a snowstorm, and other
weather conditions such as the level of humidity could also effect its
performance adversely, and…. There were many occasions where radar sets were
turned off to maintain electronic silence.
The arguments for and against the use of camouflage carried over into the
first months of 1944. The result
was a compromise. The camouflage
section managed to convince the Admiralty of the value of retaining some type of
deceptive paintwork. Their
opponent’s arguments against its use prevailed to the extent that the current
Admiralty disruptive patterns were ruled out and were replaced with extremely
simple designs, ones that could be carried by all types of vessels without the
need to prepare hundreds of patterns. Benefits
included the reduction in time needed to maintain the paintwork and material
savings by not needing to keep an extensive range of colors in stock.
of these new designs consisted of a simple rectangle of light or medium tone
along the hull, with the upperworks a lighter color, so giving a measure of
disruption but with some degree of concealment.
These new schemes began to come into use during the first half of 1944
and within only a few months most of the ships in the Navy had discarded their
old camouflage for the new simple standard camouflage.
Although of a very simple pattern and using only two shades, the
Admiralty Standard schemes were considered to be the most successful designs
the introduction of the standard schemes and the general feeling that patterned
camouflage was of little value, a number of vessels operating in the North
Atlantic and the North Sea appeared to dispense with any form of camouflage, and
during the last nine months of the war several corvettes, escort destroyers, and
frigates ran around painted in overall light grey (507C) in fact almost
identical to peace time practice.
TYPES - WW II ROYAL NAVY
AND GREEN TYPE (FLOTTA TYPE,)
from April to December 1940. Carried by battleships, cruisers and destroyers
operating with Home Fleet during the Norwegian Campaign.
used: 507C, dark brown, light green, and white.
example believed to he carried by (GREENVILLE in January, 1940. Used by several
ships during Norwegian campaign, including two of the (County class heavy
cruisers and destroyers of the Brazilian ”H” class from 1940 until some time
used: 507A, 507C, MS 1, MS 3, and White.
Worn on certain ships, but not used generally.
on ships from battleships and aircraft carriers down to destroyers, operating in
the Mediterranean from mid 1940 to well into l942. Used on some ships operating
in the Nnr1h Atlantic in the 1940-42 period. Patterning was almost always
different port to starboard.
used: Black, 507A, 507B, 507C, and white.
believed to be as peacetime practice.
No information available.
by destroyer BROKE during latter part of 1940. Later worn by a few Flower class
corvettes during the first part of 194l. Used by small numbers of Coastal Forces
craft during 1941 and 1942. Which actual ships used it is not known.
used: light blue, light green, 507C, and white.
believed as peacetime practice - may have varied between ships.
and topmasts: White.
vertical surfaces: Same as 1942 Western Approaches type.
As l942 Western Approaches type.
PETER SCOTT TYPE
from around mid 1941 to mid 1942. Worn by all types of vessels from corvette
size up to and including destroyers.
used: 507A, dark blue, white, and sometimes MS 1.
As peacetime practice.
and topmasts: White.
vertical surfaces: Same color as adjacent surface.
No information available.
from late 1941 into 1943 by a small number of escort vessels operating in the
North Atlantic during the winter months.
As for 1942 Western Approaches type.
As per 1942 Western Approaches type.
vertical surfaces: White.
ADMIRALTY DISRUPTIVE TYPE.
appeared in early 1941 and used extensively on cruiser classes, but also on
larger vessels and on destroyers.
used: MS 1, MS 2, MS 3, MS 4, MS 4A, BS, B6, 507A, S07C, and white.
Wood, semtex, and corticene decks were left in their natural colors. Bare steel
areas were either 507B, 507A, or MS 1. Choices of
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