Am I Blue?

Bill Shatzer (
Fri, 6 Jan 1995 17:38:18 -0500

I *don't* know the exact shade of the German underside WWI
blue (I suspect it was actually several shades) but I would
be most wary of assuming any relationship between the
various RLM WW2 blues and the WWI color (or colors).

1. I've never seen any reference to any official German WWI
color specifications. Even assuming the Luftwaffe wanted
to avoid "re-inventing the wheel" by simply resurecting the
WWI color, it would have been difficult to have done so without
some sort of reference available.

2. The new Luftwaffe was doing a lot of "re-inventing the
wheel" with a/c camo schemes anyway. The original 4-color
brown/green/RLM gray/light blue "splinter scheme" had no
WWI conterpart nor did the later dunkel grun/schwartz grun/
hellblau scheme. As the Luftwaffe was obviously going to
some considerable trouble to devise completely new camo schemes,
it seems unlikely that they wouldn't have taken the same trouble
in selecting the colors for these schemes.

3. There had been some significant advances in paint technology
between 1917 and 1935. It seems unlikely that the old paint
formula (or color) would have be reused when much better, more
modern paint formulations were available.

4. What was a"good" undersurface color in 1917 would not have
been a good undersurface color in the 1930's or '40's. WWI
aircraft routinely operated at under 10,000 feet where a
brightish blue might, in fact, come close to matching the
sky. As altitude increases however, the blue of the sky
tends to "wash-out" so that a gray or grayish blue or whiteish
blue would give a better undersurface camo. match. Assuming
the German WWI blue was a reasonably good camo. for a/c
flying at 5,000 ft., it would probably be not so good
for a/c at 15,000 or 20,000 ft. Presumably (?) the RLM was
smart enough to figure this out and select more appropriate
undersurface color than the WWI blue.

Oh well, I'm probably wrong on this 'un too.

Cheers, Bill


Bill Shatzer - -