USAAF Camouflage Reference Contents:
WW2 USAAF Aircraft Cockpit Colors
Delving into the hues that adorned the cockpits of USAAF aircraft during World War II is a journey rife with controversy and speculation. Setting the stage, the earliest directives on cockpit colors date back to September 9, 1938 (Specification No. 98-24113-A), outlining practices that would become widespread in USAAF aircraft.
The primary color on the palette was 'Yellow Green,' officially known as Green Zinc Chromate. It found its place on aircraft with open cockpits or sliding enclosures, a common sight on fighters and single-engined aircraft. For aircraft with enclosed cockpits, integrated into the fuselage like bombers, Bronze Green No. 9 took the spotlight. This color, introduced as early as November 1919 (US Army Specification No. 3-1), was a very dark olive green shade resembling black-green, although it appeared lighter on closer inspection.
Fast forward to September 12, 1942 (Spec. No. 98-24113-A Amendment No.6), a significant alteration occurred. Green Zinc Chromate held its ground for open cockpits, but a newcomer named Dull Dark Green, having debuted in USN service, ousted Bronze Green for closed cockpits. This color, speculated to be a darker version of Medium Green No. 42 with a bluish hue, added a layer of complexity. Its appearance varied widely, sometimes resembling a turquoise-like blue-green. The color, close to aged bronze, further blurred lines with Bronze Green.
Late in 1942, Green Zinc Chromate morphed into Interior Green ANA 611, standardized by the USN and introduced to the ANA palette on September 28, 1943.
A final wartime adjustment, on April 6, 1945 (Specification No. 98-24113-B), mandated Medium Green ANA 612 for visible cockpit areas, replacing Dull Dark Green. Glass-reflected areas were to be Black ANA 604. This meant the upper halves of cockpits were painted black. Just before the war's end, on August 18, 1945, an amendment formalized Interior Green ANA 611 as the replacement for Yellow Green. Given the curtailment of aircraft production in 1945, it is likely that very few aircraft received ANA 612 cockpits.
The path to consistency proved elusive, as not all USAAF manufacturers adhered to the guidelines. Curtiss Cockpit Green and Northrop Cockpit Green emerged, each a proprietary deviation. Curtiss Cockpit Green leaned towards a more tinted version of Green Zinc Chromate, appearing slightly brown. Northrop Cockpit Green, was closer to the standard version of Green Zinc Chromate. Republic's color, approximating Bronze Green and later Dull Dark Green. Bell Green, a dark shade which was similar to Medium Green. While early P-38s with Olive Drab cockpits added the diversity.
WW2 Cockpit Colors by Aircraft
Here is summary of main cockpit colors for major USAAF aircraft.
- P-39 Airacobra (All versions): Bell Green.
- B-17E and early versions of Flying Fortress: Bronze Green,
- B-17F/G Flying Fortress: Dull Dark Green,
- B-29 Superfortress: Dull Dark Green.
- B-24D Liberator: Bronze Green,
- B-24E and the late Liberators: Dull Dark Green.
- P-40 Warhawk (All versions): Curtiss Cockpit Green.
- A-20 Havoc: Green Zinc Chromate or ANA 611 Interior Green. However, the color appears browner than regular ANA 611,
- A-26 Invader: Interior Green.
- P-38E and F-4 Lightning: Dark Olive Drab No. 41,
- P-38F and later: Green Zinc Chromate / ANA 611 Interior Green.
- B-26 Marauder: Green Zinc Chromate or ANA 611 Interior Green.
- B-25B/C/D Mitchell: Bronze Green,
- B-25G and the late Mitchells: Dull Dark Green,
- P-51A Mustang: DuPont Gray Green 71-036,
- P-51B Mustang: Dull Dark Green,
- P-51D Mustang: ANA 611 Interior Green,
- P-51D(late)/H Mustang: ANA 611 Interior Green and ANA 604 Black.
- P-61 Black Widow: Northrop Cockpit Green
- P-47C Thunderbolt and P-47D Razorback: Republic Bronze Green,
- P-47D/M/N Bubbletop: Republic Dull Dark Green.
Photographic evidence of cockpit colors from this era is rare, and even rarer are color photos, complicating efforts to pinpoint exact shades. Restoration adds another layer of complexity, with repainted aircraft potentially deviating from the original. Therefore, all information presented remains speculative and should not be considered definitive on this contentious topic.
Guide to WW2 USAAF Aircraft Cockpit Colors
- Green Zinc Chromate: resembled Interior Green but with a brighter yellow hue.
- Bronze Green: Different sources specify the modern equivalent as FS 24050 or 24052, although these shades are different. If considering not only American ranges, the German RAL 6031, which is also labeled Bronze Green, might be a good fit.
- Dull Dark Green: Despite the active use of this color, it was never added to the ANA palette. Some sources claim that FS 34092 is the closest analog from the FS palette. If analyzing real samples of US Air Force aircraft, this color has a more blue, turquoise hue resembling more FS 34058.
- Interior Green ANA 611: This color evolved from Green Zinc Chromate and was intended to standardize aircraft cockpit paint from different manufacturers. The closest in hue is the modern FS 34151, although the latter has a duller and brownish tint compared to the original color.
- Black ANA 604: It was a black color with a grayish tint, which was later transformed into the satin color ANA 622, intended for painting night aircraft. The closest modern analog is considered to be FS 37038.
Manufacturer Specific Colors
- Curtiss Cockpit Green: Modern FS 34151 (which is often cited as the closest analog to ANA 611) is much closer to Curtiss interior color than ANA 611 because it has a more pronounced brownish tint.
- Northrop Cockpit Green: This color was quite similar to the standard Green Zinc Chromate.
- Bell Green: Bell aircraft cockpits were painted in a hue reminiscent of Medium Green No. 42 or its successor ANA 612.
- Republic colors: The cockpits of Republic aircraft were painted with a paint resembling something between Bronze Green and a Dull Dark Green.
Green Zinc Chromate
Dull Dark Green
|General (Sep. 1942)||Cockpit||Cockpit|
|General (Sep. 1943)||Cockpit||Cockpit|
|General (Apr. 1945)||Lower Cockpit||Upper Cockpit|
|Gunze Mr. Color||C351||-||-||C27||C33|
|Vallejo Model Air||71.094||71.013*||-||71.137*||71.057|
|Vallejo Model Color||-||70.897*||-||70.850*||70.950|
|AK Interactive||AK 2306||AK 2205||AK 2106*||AK 2303||AK 735|
|AK Real Colors||RC262||RC264||RC230*||-||RC001|
|AMMO by Mig||A.MIG-220* (!)||-||A.MIG-077||A.MIG-220*||A.MIG-046|
|Lifecolor||-||(UA 111)||-||UA 004*||LC 02|
Photo Reference to WW2 USAAF Aircraft Interior Colors
- Archer, Robert D. and Archer, Victor G., USAAF Aircraft Markings and Camouflage 1941-1947, Schiffer Publishing (1997)
- Bell, Dana, Air Force Colors Volume 1 1926-1942, Squadron/Signal Publications (1995)
- Elliot, John M., ;The Official Monogram US Navy & Marine Corps Aircraft Color Guide Vol 2 1940-1949, Monogram Aviation Publications (1989)
- Rodrigo Aguilera, The World Wars.net