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Historic Aviation => Spitfire => Topic started by: One-Oh-Four on September 24, 2013, 04:10:44 AM

Title: ADGB Spitfires and invasion stripes, summer/fall 1944?
Post by: One-Oh-Four on September 24, 2013, 04:10:44 AM
Hello all,

No. 322 (Dutch) Sqn flew the Spitfire Mk.IXB (or LF Mk.IX(c?) ) from August 1944 'till November 1944. Before that they flew anti-V1 missions in Spitfire Mk.XIVc's as part of ADGB. As far as I know they ere still part of ADGB during the time that they flew the LF Mk.IX, although they flew quite some escort missions and fighter sweeps into France according to this site: .

From October/November 322 started receiving Packard engined Spitfire LF Mk. XVIe's with which they trained for the fighter-bomber role in 2TAF. In January 1945 they were deployed to Woensdrecht Airfield in the Netherlands.

Most photos I know are from that last period. I can find almost none from their Mk.IX period. My question is; did those Mk.IX's carry invasion stripes? If I remember correctly, the regulations for that time frame would call for stripes on the underside of the fuselage and wings for August and only on the underside of the fuselage for October/November?

But were those stripes also carried by Spitfires attached to ADGB?

This is a phot I found on the internet on different websites. It should be MK 265, 3W O B.


Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!
Erik B.

Title: Re: ADGB Spitfires and invasion stripes, summer/fall 1944?
Post by: Antoni on September 24, 2013, 03:22:58 PM
There does not seem to be much evidence in photographs for ADGB fighters having distinctive markings from Aug 19944 onwards. One reason often cited is that they were removed to help getting the maximum speed out of the machines because they were trying to destroy the V1s. Maybe? They were retained by 2nd TAF because they were suffering most from misidentification incidents, i.e., friendly fire from both aircraft and AAA. When discussions started to remove them they objected and partly as a concession to them, roundels on the upper wings had a white circle added.

On 6 July 1944, HQ AEAF recommended to SHAEF that no further aircraft should be given the distinctive markings and that those already applied should be allowed to fade out and not be renewed. lf approval were to be given, it was requested that all Army and Navy commanders be instructed to inform everyone, especially gun crews, that henceforward they could expect to see friendly aircraft without the distinctive markings and that the absence of the markings could no longer be accepted as an indication that the aircraft were hostile. Approval for this must have been given promptly (perhaps by telephone) as the same day saw HQ AEAF give permission for some aircraft  o carry the distinctive markings only on their under surfaces. lt is thought that the removal of the distinctive markings from the upper surfaces was authorised by SHAEF in Amendment No 2 to Operational Memorandum No 23, which was effectively blanket permission for any aircraft which required tactical camouflage to dispense with the distinctive markings on the upper surfaces. Thus for the period 6 July to 19 August 1944, the distinctive markings could be seen applied to the under surfaces only of the wings and fuselage.

The next change in the distinctive markings came with the issue of Amendment No 3 to SHAEF Operational Memorandum 23 on 19 August 1944. This stated that the distinctive black and white markings would be removed from aircraft's wings, but that the markings around the fuselage would remain. The period 25 August to 10 September 1944 was allotted for the removal of the markings. lt was acknowledged that some units might experience some difficulty in removing these markings from their aircraft, especially on some wood and fabric surfaces, without damaging the structure, and that as a consequence the wing markings might still be found on some aircraft after 10 September.

On 6 December 1944 SHAEF circulated a letter headed 'Suspension of Operational Memorandum No 23' which stated that the provisions SHAEF Operational Memorandum No 23 would be suspended from 31 December 1944. Except for the  PR aircraft of No 34 Wing, 2 TAE the distinctive markings were to be removed where this was be possible without damaging the aircraft and having due regard for the time and materials available for the work to be carried out. All commanders were to ensure that all personnel under their command were to be instructed that if an aircraft of Allied manufacture was seen without distinctive markings, the absence of such markings did not necessarily indicate that it was hostile. Furthermore, Allied aircraft might be seen which still carried the distinctive markings and that under some lighting conditions faded striping might resemble the German cross. The removal of the distinctive markings was in no way to affect the national markings which were in use at that time, and which would continue to be carried by aircraft.

Following the removal of the distinctive markings described above, aircraft  which were serving in the Second Tactical Air Force had their markings modified slightly, beginning in January 1945, as it would appear that during the progressive removal of the distinctive markings as described above, 2nd TAF experienced difficulties with the recognition of its aircraft by its erstwhile allies.

On 3 January 1945, HQ 2 TAF sent a Signal, AO 373, to the Air Ministry stating that present operations had established the need for a clearer means of recognising aircraft. As a consequence 2 TAF was removing the Sky markings on the spinner and around the rear fuselage on fighter aircraft. (This may have been a reaction to Operation Bodenplatte.) Additionally, all roundels on day-flying aircraft were to be applied using Red, White, Blue and Yellow in accordance with National marking lll of DTD Technical Circular No 360 lssue 2 and AP 26564. 2nd TAF requested that the Air Ministry and SHAEF should inform all concerned and that the Air Ministry should arrange for all future deliveries of day-flying aircraft to conform with the new requirements. Whilst the decision to remove the Sky recognition markings from the spinner and around the rear fuselage did not appear to upset the Air Ministry at all, the alterations to the National markings was quite a different matter. On 4 January 1945 the Air Ministry signalled 2 TAF pointing out that Signal AO 373 of 3 January conflicted with the Air Ministry instructions to apply Red, White and Blue roundels to the upper surfaces of the wings of day-flying aircraft which had been sent out on 2 January for just this reason. The Air Ministry requested that 2 TAF amend its instructions to conform with those of the Air Ministry while stating that if these alterations in the markings were thought to be really necessary, then the case for them should be submitted for consideration. HQ 2 TAF submitted its case for the alterations in writing in a letter dated 22 January 1945. The letter stated that the number of instances where Allied aircraft were being shot down by either Allied aircraft or anti-aircraft guns due to mistaken identity was causing grave concern. The request was therefore made that the Red, white, Blue, and Yellow National marking should be accepted as standard for all roundel positions on day-flying aircraft of that Command. The Yellow outer band was thought to add to the contrast of the colours on camouflaged aircraft, making the roundels more easily seen and recognised whilst being a very simple means of assisting recognition. The letter then went on to point out that in order to further assist recognition, 2 TAF had already agreed to accept uncamouflaged aircraft into the Command on which the yellow outer band was thought to be unnecessary. Finally, the letter informed the Air Ministry that as no instruction had been received specifically ordering the removal of the Yellow outer bands, it had been decided to continue applying them.

When the Air Ministry failed to take any further action with regard to the application of National marking lll in all six positions, the work evidently carried on, as on 5 February HQ 2nd TAF signalled the Air Ministry to inform them that the repainting of the roundels to this type rad now been completed. Even so, the matter was far from closed as the Air Ministry was considering the position. It would appear that the Air Ministry's opposition to the change was due to the possibility of confusion by aircraft of other Commands flying over the Continent. A minute dated 24 March made the point that in the face of 2nd TAF's continuing disobedience in the matter, there were two choices open to the Air Ministry. Either 2nd TAF's request could be denied again, or all Commands could be signalled to ask if there were any cases of mistaken identity due to the Yellow outer surround to the roundels. ln the event of negative replies, the Air Ministry should concede the point to 2nd TAF it would appear that ultimately the point was conceded and the National marking llls were allowed to remain to the end of the war and beyond.

Title: Re: ADGB Spitfires and invasion stripes, summer/fall 1944?
Post by: One-Oh-Four on September 24, 2013, 11:49:49 PM
Hi Antoni,

Thank you very much for your elaborate answer! Very helpful indeed!

Erik B.