(09) Luftwaffe Fighters 1945

Color profiles: Arkadiusz Wróbel, captions: Marek Murawski
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Luftwaffe fighter aircraft produced in the closing weeks of 1944 were usually camouflaged in schemes specified by the November 1941 issue of the Luftwaffen Dienstvorschrift (L.Dv.) 521/1. These were combinations of  RLM 74 Graugrün (Grey-Green), RLM 75 Grauviolett (Grey-Violet) and RLM 76 Lichtblau (Light Blue). The two shades of grey provided segmented camouflage for the wings, tailplanes and fuselage decking, whilst the light blue RLM 76 covered the undersurfaces, as well as the fuselage and tailfin sides. The prescribed pattern of segments was detailed in the factory instructions. This basic camouflage was supplemented by a light mottling of RLM 74 Graugrün (Grey-Green), RLM 75 Grauviolett (Grey-Violet) and RLM 02 Grau (Grey) on the fuselage and tailfin sides. These three colours were used all together or in combinations of two at a time. Occasionally, RLM 74 Graugrün was replaced by RLM 70 Schwarzgrün, which was also used for painting the propeller blades and spinners. This painting scheme can be found on Messerschmitt Bf 109 Gs, Focke-Wulf Fw 190 As and early Ds, as well as on Messerschmitt Me 262s and Me 163s of early production runs.
On 15th August 1944 the OKL (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe) issued a document known as Sammelmitteilung No 2 to aircraft factories and repair centres. The document included an order to discontinue the use of RLM 74 Graugrün. That paint, once its stocks had been used up, was to be replaced by a new colour designated RLM 83 Dunkelgrün (Dark Green). The latter was a shade of dark green, which offered a sharper contrast to other colours than the hitherto used RLM 74. Some manufacturers, however, continued to use the ‘old’ paint stocks for several more months.
National insignia were painted in RLM 21 Weiß (White) and RLM 22 Schwarz (Black). Balkenkreuze on the upper wings and fuselage sides were usually applied in a simplified, outline style. The outlines were in white; in the case of the fuselage crosses they were often filled in with  RLM 74 Graugrün, or later with RLM 83 Dunkelgrün. Notably, the ‘Handbuch der Lackierbetriebe’ (Paint Shop Handbook) identifies RLM 74 and RLM 75 as Dunkelgrau Grünlich (Dark-Grey Greenish) and Mittelgrau (Medium Grey), respectively. Nevertheless, to date it has not been possible to determine whether the different colour designation was the result of an actual alteration of the colours themselves.
The closing period of the war, during which the Germans experienced deteriorating economic conditions and severe supply problems, witnessed a great variety of individual camouflage styles. Some Messerschmitt Bf 109 Gs produced by the Erla plant were painted only in a single colour on the sides and upper surfaces - either RLM 83 Dunkelgrün or RLM 81 Braunviolett (Brown-Violet). Due to the use of ‘ersatz’ constituents in the production process of RLM 76 Lichtblau, the batch manufactured in the early months of 1945 was of a different hue, changing from light grey/sky blue to a greenish/yellow blue. Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4s were as a rule camouflaged in RLM 81 Braunviolett and RLM 82 Hellgrün on the upper surfaces, and RLM 76 Lichtblau on the fuselage sides and bottom surfaces. A similar camouflage was applied to the rocket-propelled Messerschmitt Me 163s and Messerschmitt Me 262 jets. A large portion of Me 262s produced in April 1945 lacked camouflage on the underside - which was left in a natural metal finish, with the panel joints covered with primer.
Germany’s Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Ds showed substantial variation in undersurface camouflage. Depending on the manufacturer, there were at least 15 variations, ranging from an overall coat of RLM 76 Lichtblau, through a partial natural metal finish on the centre section, to the front underside being coated with RLM 81 Braunviolett.
Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger jet fighters featured two-colour camouflages on the upper surfaces. The port wing and fuselage spine were painted in RLM 81 Braunviolett, whereas the starboard wing was in RLM 82 Hellgrün. The undersurfaces were usually painted in RLM 76 Lichtblau, sometimes supplemented with RLM 65 Hellblau (on the landing gear bay doors, gun access hatches and wooden elements).

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-8 marked ‘White 9’ of 9./JG 5 flown by Uffz. Martin Ullmann; Herdla, Norway, March 1945.

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Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-9 marked ‘Yellow 1’ of II./JG 11; Kastrup/Copenhagen, Denmark, April 1945.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D-9 (W.Nr. 500 698) marked ‘Brown 18’ of 7./JG 26, flown by Lt. Gottfried Dietze; Schleswig-Land, May 1945. The aircraft in RLM 75/82/76 finish.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D-9 (W.Nr. 500 636) marked ‘White 16’ of I./JG 2; Bayreuth-Bindlach, May 1945.

Focke-Wulf Ta 152 H-1 marked ‘Yellow 1’ of 7./JG 301, flown by Ofw. Willi Reschke; Alteno, February 1945

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Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-14/AS (W.Nr. 78x xxx) marked ‘Yellow 6’ of 11./JG 52, flown by Oblt. Walter Wolfrum; Deutsch Brod, Czechoslovakia, 7th May 1945.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4 marked ‘White 12’ of 9./JG 3; Pasewalk, March 1945. Fuselage is camouflaged in RLM 81/83/76, with a panel of RLM 76 directly under tailplanes; wings are finished in RLM 75/83/76.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4 (W.Nr. 334 176) marked ‘Yellow 1’ of 11./JG 3, flown by Uffz. Martin Deskau; Pasewalk, April 1945. The aircraft in RLM 75/83/76 finish.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4 marked ‘White 5’ of I./NJG 11; Leck, May 1945.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4 (W.Nr. 335xxx) marked ‘Green-Black Double Chevron’ of Stab III./JG 52, flown by Hptm. Adolf Borchers; Deutsch Brod, Czechoslovakia, May 1945.

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a (W.Nr. 111 918) marked ‘Black Chevron’ of Stab III./JG 7, flown by Gruppenadjutant Oblt. Günther Wegmann; Parchim, late March 1945.

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a, coded ‘B3+BC’ of 7./KG(J) 54, flown by Ofw. Friedrich Gentsch; Neuburg an der Donau, March 1945.

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a (W.Nr. 501 232) marked ‘Yellow 5’ of 9./KG(J) 6, flown by Hptm. Günter Overdiek; Neuburg an der Donau, April 1945.


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TC09Luftwaffe Fighters

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