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"Spad XIII cowling color - 5 color cammo scheme" Topic

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13 Jan 2011 10:05 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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quidveritas Inactive Member09 Dec 2007 9:00 p.m. PST

I've been trying to figure out the color of the cowling on the Spad XIII's in the Storkes Squadron (Groupe de Combat No. 12 – Les Cigognes).

There's just all kinds of info on these BEFORE they went to the 5 color cammo.

I want the cowling color AFTER they went to the 5 color cammoflauge. Right now I have conflicting sources -- one says white. One says blue.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks much.


yeoman Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 5:52 a.m. PST

There's red and camo as well!
As you have found out there are huge gaps in our knowledge of WW1 aircraft colour schemes. what we have are a few written descriptions and tonal interpretations and even then they can be conflicting. The 'storks' have a fairly good pictorial history but it is by no means complete.

You really have to research individual aeroplanes to be sure and even then you will have to allow for wear and tear and replacement cowlings on aeroplanes.
I have several books on the Storks and there seems to be no obvious pattern as to who had which colour.

I will have a search though my books later and see if I can find anything more definitive.

ajbartman Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 7:54 a.m. PST

Yes, I have seen camo and white. Yeoman is right all the way. I would say do what you want (what looks good). There are a few aces out there with some good info, but other than that…

quidveritas Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 11:10 a.m. PST

Based on my research thus far, white is a pretty good bet as the "standard" color. (If nothing else, it's easy to paint over if I eventually discover it was something else). As noted above, there were others used.

Apparently the original commander of the unit was from Alsace. At the time, the Stork was kind of the "provincial bird of Alsace" as it were, as they apparently were (and maybe still are) nesting on roof tops. AND apparently these storks are white. It appears the stork motif went beyond the stork on the side of the aircraft and white was used "preferentially" in the aircraft of this particular unit.

Of course this may be a "urban legend" of sorts as well but it was a nice story. ;-)


KevanS Inactive Member29 Jan 2008 2:14 p.m. PST

Early aerial squadrons were modeled after cavalry squadrons. One tradition that they maintained was the separation of a squadron into separate elements (flights), designated by colour. Blue, red, and/or white flights were common, but there seems to have been no standard set of colours. The cowlings were often painted to reflect this, but with combat losses, it was probably common to see planes transferred between flights without repainting, and new planes that had not been repainted from the factory comouflage. And some flights/squadrons chose other ways of marking flights, never repainting the cowling.

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