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Author Topic: Squadron code placement  (Read 8747 times)
madferret
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« on: May 05, 2009, 11:15:46 PM »

Great site for a great aircraft, I think I finally have a handle on the different versions of the wings and where the cannon bulges go.

Does anyone know of rules governing when the squadron codes goes before or after the roundle on the right side of the aircraft? I've seen them on both the left and right of the roundel. (or is it roundle)

Thanks,

Madferret
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Antoni
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2009, 12:36:25 PM »

Air Ministry Order A154/39 dated 27 April 1939, stated:

1. It has been decided to adopt a standard system of identification
marking on aircraft of operational squadrons throughout the service,
at home and abroad, and on those items of equipment which
are liable to be taken into the air.
2. The system is to be adopted forthwith.
3. No markings other than those described hereunder are to be permitted
on operational units.
Aircraft identification markings:
Type of Marking: National Marking
On the top surfaces of the wing tips: A blue ring surrounding a
red centre
On both sides of the fuselage: A blue ring surrounding a red centre
On the lower surfaces of the wing tips: A blue ring surrounding a
white ring and the latter surrounding a red centre
Code Letters: (to indicate squadrons and individual aircraft)
Two letters to indicate number of squadron: Either forward or aft
of the national marking on both sides of fuselage.One letter to indicate individual aircraft: On the other side of the
aircraft national marking on both sides of the fuselage.
Aircraft number:
The Air Ministry letter and number allocated to the aircraft: Underneath
the lower planes and at the rear end of the fuselage.
Squadron badge:
As approved by HM the King; as laid down in Air Ministry Orders
Note: Fighter aircraft:
(i) are not to carry the national marking on the lower surface of the
wing tips;
(ii) the lower surface of the starboard plane and half the undersurface
of the fuselage is to be painted white. The corresponding
port side is to be painted black.
5. The code letters allotted to squadrons are shown at the appendix
to this order. They are to be painted in grey paint (Stores Ref.
33B/157). The letters are to be 48 inches high and are to be made
up of strokes 6 inches in width. Smaller letters are to be used only
when the space available on the fuselage makes such a course
unavoidable.
6. Squadron badges may be carried if desired on aircraft but they
must be removable at short notice without leaving any trace.

This left enough latitude for the squadron codes to be placed where there was the most room. On a fighter aircraft this would usually be forward of the roundel. So, reading left to right, on the port side AB*C and on the starboard side C*AB. However, the rules still allow for an alternative interpretation, that the codes should read the same from left to right on both sides of the fuselage. So port side AB*C and starboard AB*C.

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madferret
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2009, 10:57:00 PM »

Thank you, that was vague...
Seriously though, thanks for the info. I guess I should try to find pics of both sides of planes that I build.
The decal instructions for the Cammett Spitfire Mk. XVI conversion for the PCM kit shows a top view with the fuselage roundels offset to allow for the 9N*F to be read the same on both sides. It looks odd but I guess it would be legal.
Thanks again,

Madferret

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Editor
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2009, 09:53:45 AM »

I believe that later during the war as marking practices in the UK settled, AB*C on the port side and C*AB on the starboard side was the most common convention, for the reasons stated above (more room forward of the roundel than aft). However, there were variations on the theme. Particularly during 1939-40 the application of squadron letters seem to have varied wildly from unit to unit.

I would also like to add AB*C on BOTH sides as a fairly commonly seen variation on the theme.

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Edgar Brooks
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2009, 01:03:17 PM »

Roundels were factory-painted, so would have been directly opposite each other, in fact the position of the centre of the roundel was 53" from the leading edge of the fixed part of the canopy, i.e. the seat bulkhead.
  Not generally known is that Spitfire Squadrons had a special dispensation, allowing 20", instead of 24", codes, because of the difficulty in fitting them between the lower edge of the (open) canopy and the top edge of the wingroot fairings.  There are photos, in which you can see that, due to difficulties fitting the letters in, on the starboard side they partially cover the serial no.
  And (just to confuse things, even further) there are photos, in "Spitfire at War 3," of 41 Squadron 21s, post-war, on which the fuselage roundels were set much further forward, so much so, in fact, that the E (of the port side EB codes) is painted on the door, and the roundel partially goes onto the wingroot.  The only plausible reason, that I can come up with, was to keep the starboard roundel off the radio hatch, but the starboard codes still read (for example) EBoK, so the hatch must have received some paint.
Edgar
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Editor
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2009, 12:15:15 AM »

I remember reading somewhere that on later model Spits (Mk. IX), CBAF and Supermarine placed the fuselage roundels in slightly different positions. It can be seen by the position of the IFF port, which in one of the cases (can't remember which of the two) ended up within the white ring of the roundel, in the other within the red area.

I can confirm seeing this difference in the photos which I studied researching for the series of colour profiles of Mk. IX (still to be posted here Smiley.

However, the difference in roundel placement was minor so it didn't markedly affect the space available for the letters fore and aft of the roundel.
/Martin
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