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WWI Warships: American



Revision Log
31 January 2008page first published

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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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American warships adopted similar paint schemes to those of the Royal Navy when serving with the Grand Fleet. However, some battleships had an area of black-and-white patches on the bow, presumably to cause confusion as to speed.

The wood used on the decks was darker than that on European vessels. However, although kept clean and washed down with salt water daily, it was not polished, and was permitted to fade into a pale greyish wood colour. Cortesine used on U.S. ships was a dark, rich chocolate in colour. Its placement was much the same as with other navies.

Water lines were red.

In the previous century, the peacetime colours had been a white hull, cinnamon-brown upperworks, and funnels of cinnamon or yellow. However, this was never seriously considered a war scheme, and all ships were quickly painted in mid-grey at the beginning of the Spanish American War. Apart from a few years prior to 1910, they had adopted grey permanently by WWI.

Most ships were painted in a standard mid-grey, but the USN seems to have adopted camouflage amongst its smaller warships with some enthusiasm. Destroyers were often camouflaged in dazzle-type confusion patterns involving a strong and contrasting mix of colours. They also experimented with various low visibility schemes.

U.S. involvement was too short for many changes to take place.