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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:17 pm 
I am considering making a model of HMS Hood as she was during the Spanish Civil War when she displayed neutrality paintwork on A and B turret. My investigations lead me to believe the stripes for the RN ran from bow to stern Red - White - Blue, The French Navy Blue - White - Red and the German ships substituted Black for Blue.

As well as this the Hood had a red circle painted on the top of A turret , could anybody confirm this for me.

Much appreciated in advance.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:00 am 
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Stripes were only on B turret, from bow to stern red,white blue, the circle on A turret roof is still unknown but most recent investigations have arrived at dark blue.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:04 am 
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Note that there's a stripe at the rear of the roundel as well. From this image I'd say it's blue as well.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 7:35 am 
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To put some focus into my stash I have decided to concentrate on ships that took part in the Spanish Civil War non intervention patrols. The correct order of the recognition stripes does matter to me. From bow to stern RN colours have been represented as red white blue or blue white red but I have yet to see any evidence to back either opinion. I need more certainty so time to look at some photographs. Yes I know this is often referred to as an exercise in futility but I disagree. Please note I am not asserting that colours can be identified from B&W photographs but there is information within them to assists us as B&W photography is a science not a black art. I should also say I have been a keen photographer since my youth and, when I had a darkroom, I developed my own films and printed my own pictures. That’s a lot of films and a lot of pictures. I have a fair degree of knowledge.
What we must have is known colours. Say a flag. So here are some contemporaneous pictures of republican aircraft from the SCW. I know that these aircraft have the colours of the republican flag on the tail (Bright red at the top then yellow then purple) and recognition bands in the same bright red on the wings and behind the cockpit.
Attachment:
c5abb4b0031a60f6f20a3f90b740f22e--air-force-civil-wars.jpg

Attachment:
Esparanza_Potez_540_FARE.tiff.png

Attachment:
Koolhoven FK-51 001.jpg

Attachment:
39789515e761f7a161415b4c2d44cc21.jpg

I can understand why at this point people throw up their hands and walk away but we need to study these photos against the science. I should say I see posts in forums about the difference between orthochromatic and panchromatic film, but this is a bit of a red (or rather black) herring. Ortho film (introduced in 1870) has no sensitivity to red, or yellow, light. So those parts of a picture remain unexposed on the film negative which therefore shows up as black on a print. It also does funny things to flesh tones which is another giveaway. So red and yellow colours on ortho film always show up as a flat black on a print. It doesn’t darken red it renders it black. Pan film introduced in the early 1900s is sensitive to all light and so avoids this effect. So we know for certain these 4 pictures are on Pan film. Where the confusion lies is that colour sensitivity on Pan film can be altered by using different coloured filters on the camera lens. Filters are primarily the reserve of enthusiasts and professionals. For example I would use a green filter on a landscape as this lightens the greens to give you more variety of tone between all the greens an so add depth and interest to the print. However it also darkens reds and blues but in a landscape this is normally not a problem. A red filter is another common filter. It lightens reds and darken blues and is often used because it can add punch and drama to a picture. Fortunately, the effects on how colours are represented under filters is a known. The photography mad web site has an excellent article on the use of coloured filters in B&W photography including a great chart showing the effect on various reds yellows greens and blues filters have. https://www.photographymad.com/pages/view/using-coloured-filters-in-black-and-white-photography
If you are still hung up on orthochromatic film its effects are the same as panchromatic film with a blue filter. As you can see from the chart rather easy to spot and rarely used for obvious reasons.
Now what can we tell these photos? Well looking at the i-16 on its nose, it is a snapshot of an incident (so likely amateur photographer) but notice how the red bands on the wing and fuselage are difficult to see? Dark green and bright red the same tone? We need to look at the light. We can tell from the shadows that there is a strong sun to the left and rear of the plane, so most of the plane is in indirect light which has darkened down everything so minimalizing the difference in tone between colours. However, the tail of the plane is in direct sunlight (and probably over exposed – these are tricky light conditions) and it confirms red is darker than purple.
The Potez in flight shows a marked contrast between the green and the red parts of the fuselage. We know from the reflection of the front of the plane it is in direct light. Looking at the rudder colours the top of the rudder is green then we get the red yellow and purple. The purple is the darkest shade. Not what we expect but the lightening of the green and red and the clear contrast between them suggests an orange filter has been used which also explains the dark shade for the purple.
The Koolhaven biplane shows strong distinction between the green and the red but both are very dark. We can tell from the shadow of the photographer in the foreground that the sun was strong, low and directly behind the photographer. I consider this has fooled the photographer into bad underexposure. Still it confirms that even underexposed red should be darker than green and purple in direct light. It also highlights when compared to the i-16 on its nose the difference in tones between direct and indirect light
The last photo of an i-16 on the ground is in the rarer light earth with green patches camouflage. Looking at the detail in the pilot’s uniform tells us the exposure is spot on. The high contrast between the two camouflage colours both of which are lighter than we might expect coupled with the good definition of the grass says green filter. Hence why the bright red looks black.
So, what have we discovered? We can consider 2 of the photos to be false friends as they have been taken with a filter. The other two confirm that red should be darker than purple or blue. Looking at the pictures of these turret markings the front colour is usually the darkest. So, if the RN recognition stripes were red white and blue the colour nearest the bow was red not blue.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 10:47 am 
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So if you have not all fallen asleep how about some proof?

What to make of this picture of HMS Warspite and her recognition stripes?
Attachment:
b5ded15c6e626aeacb3536a75cd70ffc_resized_2a.jpg

Darker colour to the rear. Not what we expect. But a very sharp good contrast print with excellent depth of field so a skilled photographer. High contrast punchy print so red filter? Definitely because Joy of joys in the foreground is a lovely big White Ensign. Known colours! The red is lighter, the blue darker so yes a red filter has been used. So for sure we can say red to the bow then white then blue. As it is a red filter the reds are lighter so more difference between shades of red. I would confidently assert the red on the turret is the same shade of red as on a White Ensign. We can’t be so sure on the shade of blue as the red filter has the effect of reducing the range of blue shades so mid and dark blue would look similar in this picture.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:43 am 
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There is no need to analyse b&w photos in this way to confirm that the British order (bow to stern) was red, white and blue. There is ample contemporary evidence in colour on film, in artwork and on models (of the time). One example:
Attachment:
Warspite 1938 Players car.jpg


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:52 am 
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dick wrote:
There is no need to analyse b&w photos in this way to confirm that the British order (bow to stern) was red, white and blue. There is ample contemporary evidence in colour on film, in artwork and on models (of the time).


Evidence it may be but reliable it isn’t. I would be very surprised if Players had sent their artist down to Gibraltar to paint this. He would have worked from a photo and in your example they have guessed right. Here is a postcard where the artist guessed wrong.
Attachment:
warspite-hms-royal-navy-postcard-12834-1-p.jpg
You just can not assume a model or picture was made from reference to the actual real object.
Like wise there is not ample colour film. Colour film wasn’t commercially available until 1936 when Kodachrome and Agfacolor Neu were released. Both were colour reversal films (slides) rather than colour negative film for prints (Yes Kodak developed a process by which you could make prints from these films but not until the 1940s). They were also very expensive, slow (so need lots of light to expose them) and had to be sent back to manufacturer for developing. I would not expect someone to use their expensive new show off film to take a picture of a grey warship. What you do have out there to fool to unwary are coloured photos where a black and white image has been hand tinted afterwards. Here are two examples. Reliable aren’t they?
Attachment:
hms_barham2r.jpg
Attachment:
3791834092_781d902013_z.jpg


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:37 am 
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British aircraft all carried the fin flash ordered red at the front, white and blue at the rear - unless the white was deleted for lower visibility reasons as was also common. The French wore the same but in reverse.

It would seem entirely logical that the British armed forces wore the stripes the same way round in the same way that the Union Flag has a right way up.

As a footnote - "dick" there is Richard Dennis who has forgotten more about the subject of Royal Navy colours than most have ever learned, including a large amount of time invested trawling through the National Archives. He's probably too modest to say so himself, but by and large you can trust him on subjects like this :)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2022 2:04 pm 
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I caught this one a couple years late, but it’s just reared it’s head yet again over at the HMS Hood Association site. Apparently there are some old colourised photos and images of older (but not contemporary) model builds (which were incorrectly coloured) which remain online and cause confusion. These images incorrectly show the order as blue, white then red (rather like earlier WW1 era RFC aircraft tails).

As these gentlemen (both experts when it come to RN colour schemes) have indicated, the correct was red, white then blue (front to rear)…just like British military aircraft of the period (as Jamie said). This is proven by colour images (such as the cigarette card from an earlier post) as well as colour footage (as previously mentioned). Below is a screen capture of an old late 1930s colour film clearly showing red at the front of a QE class warship’s “B” turret. So, there’s some conclusive proof for you. Now if we can only get all those erroneous images offline or updated, LOL (never happen)!

Attachment:
CABCEFD5-78E6-4D99-83A3-4B5BC6323961.jpeg

I wish I could give credit to the person who originally posted it plus provide a link to their website, but I cannot locate that information… I just remember saving this several years ago. If anyone here has that info please advise, and I will update the post accordingly.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2022 4:28 pm 
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That's HMS WARSPITE Frank! Can't help with a Reference though.

Bye the bye, did the Admiralty actually stipulate the required order for the colours in something like an AFO (Admiralty Fleet Order for the uninitiated)?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2022 4:09 am 
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FW_Allen wrote:
I caught this one a couple years late, but it’s just reared it’s head yet again over at the HMS Hood Association site. Apparently there are some old colourised photos and images of older (but not contemporary) model builds (which were incorrectly coloured) which remain online and cause confusion. These images incorrectly show the order as blue, white then red (rather like earlier WW1 era RFC aircraft tails).

As these gentlemen (both experts when it come to RN colour schemes) have indicated, the correct was red, white then blue (front to rear)…just like British military aircraft of the period (as Jamie said). This is proven by colour images (such as the cigarette card from an earlier post) as well as colour footage (as previously mentioned). Below is a screen capture of an old late 1930s colour film clearly showing red at the front of a QE class warship’s “B” turret. So, there’s some conclusive proof for you. Now if we can only get all those erroneous images offline or updated, LOL (never happen)!

Attachment:
CABCEFD5-78E6-4D99-83A3-4B5BC6323961.jpeg

I wish I could give credit to the person who originally posted it plus provide a link to their website, but I cannot locate that information… I just remember saving this several years ago. If anyone here has that info please advise, and I will update the post accordingly.


That looks like a screenshot from the Roland Smith 'Royal Navy at War in Colour' DVD Frank. He has a few sequences filmed around Malta just before the war. I must take another look at it with neutrality markings in mind.

As an aside, a friend sent this to me, he found it online somewhere:
Attachment:
neutrality marking.jpg


It is listed as Admiral Graf Spee but I think it is Admiral Scheer as I'm not sure Admiral Graf Spee ever wore neutrality markings in that configuration, Admiral Scheer definitely did. Also her mainmast looks more like Admiral Scheer. Resolution is too low to see the bridge structure and definitively confirm.

In any event, same as the comments by the poster in the screenshot, it is the first colour photo I have seen of German neutrality markings of the same era. The colours are clearly red, white, black from bow to stern on Turret Anton forward. But then you can just about make out Turret Bruno aft through the masts and booms on the freighter and the colours there are black, white, red from bow to stern. So the two are in reverse order.

It's a curiosity that the Germans painted the markings on their aft turret also. I can't think of any British Capital Ships doing that. Though some did have white identification letters painted on the turret roofs. RO = Royal Oak, RS = Royal Sovereign, RP = Repulse etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2022 5:43 am 
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Asmussen and Leon "German Naval Camouflage: Volume 1 1939-1941" indicates that both ADMIRAL SCHEER and ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE wore neutrality patrol stripes on the gun houses during the relevant stages of their careers.

I've tried to determine which of the two sisters the image shows from the readily seen recognition features but have decided not to stick my neck out. There seem to have been some modifications to the those on the tower of the forward superstructure which confuse the issue. That said is it not possible that Asmussen and Leon might also have got things confused?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2023 2:26 pm 
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Graf Spee definitely did wear neutrality stripes alright, but I have yet to see a clear photo of her having them in the style that Deutschland and Admiral Scheer did with the thin stripes applied to the turret front as is shown in the photo I posted.

Anyway, I had another look at Roland Smith's DVD there with the film clip of Warspite that Frank posted the screenshot of above. There is also film taken aboard British Destroyers at the time and the neutrality markings on them are clearly red, white, blue going from bow to stern.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2023 3:59 pm 
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Here's a scan of an image of Admiral Graf Spee with the neutrality stripes shown.
Source: Pocket Battleship "Admiral Graf Spee" by Siegfried Breyer


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2023 4:02 pm 
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According to illustrations in Asmussen and Leon (A and L), DEUTSCHLAND and ADMIRAL SCHEER had their stripes applied to the front of the main armament gunhouses; these reached over the roof. The crown of the roof of each was painted black: DEUTSCHLAND had a white ring painted on the black square of "A" turret, ADMIRAL SCHEER had the white ring painted on the roof of "B" turret. When ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE deployed to the patrols off Spain she had the national colour stripes applied to the rear of each gunhouse: these also reached over the roofs. The crowns of the roofs were later also painted in the national colours, red to the rear, white and black to the front.
This scheme was later painted out and the stripes were re-painted at the front of the gunhouses: A and L indicate that these were somewhat broader than those originally painted at the rear. The photograph attached to Mr Church's post of 10.09am of 31 Dec '22 may therefore be of ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE if one can imagine that the stripes are "broad," whatever the case though that ship is clearly not DEUTSCHLAND. A and L does not contain any photographic images of [i]panzerschiffe[i] showing the stripes painted up.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2023 4:05 pm 
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Ha!

Many thanks Tim. Your post flagged up just as I pressed "Submit" on my last post: I decided not to alter my draft.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 1:36 pm 
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I have the Asmussen and Leon book myself.

It does not show Graf Spee with thin style neutrality markings on the front of the main gun turrets as in the photo I posted. When Graf Spee did carry markings on the fronts of her turrets, it seems they were much wider than those in the photo I posted.

So I'm going to leave my neck out and say that the photo I posted is of Admiral Scheer and not Admiral Graf Spee. In any case it is somewhat beside the point as the main question of the thread was about the order of the colours of the stripes.

British was red - white - blue from bow to stern.

German was red - white - black from bow to stern on turret Anton forward, but then black - white - red from bow to stern on Turret Bruno aft*.

*The stripes on Graf Spee's turret roofs in the photo posted by Tim above seem to be the exception to this in that they appear to be black - white - red from bow to stern and presumably the reverse on turret Bruno aft. Haven't seen any good photos of Turret Bruno, never mind any colour ones.


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