Lockheed B-34 The Texas Wrangler in USAAF ASW camouflage

WW2 USAAF Sea Search Camouflage

USAAF Camouflage Reference Contents:

WW2 USAAF Sea Search Camouflage (1941-1945)

The Sea Search scheme, or so-called ASW camouflage, was a modification of the standard early-WW2 camouflage scheme where the undersides were painted with Insignia White No. 46 instead of Neutral Gray No. 43. Insignia White No. 46 is an off-white color with a tint of sepia. However, it can look just like plain white, especially in wartime photos.

The Sea Search scheme still assumed Dark Olive Drab No. 41 for the upper surfaces, with Medium Green No. 42 blotches on the wing and tail edges. The demarcation line between the colors ran higher on the sides of the fuselage (compared to the regular early-WW2 scheme), forming distinct waves and passing into the fins. This camouflage scheme was used exclusively on USAAF aircraft assigned to anti-submarine missions.

WW2 USAAF ASW Camouflage Color Guide

  • Insignia White No. 46: Each time a new standard was introduced, small changes were made to Insignia White. Insignia White No. 46 has a slightly warmer tone of white with a slight ivory touch compared to its post-war successor FS 17875.
  • Dark Olive Drab No. 41: A dark olive camouflage color that varied from dark green to grey-brown as it worned and faded in the sun. In 1943 this color was replaced by the ANA 613 Olive Drab.
  • Medium Green No. 42: A moderate green color with a slight bluish tint. In 1943 it was also replaced by ANA 612 Medium Green, but unlike Dark Olive Drab No.41 and Insignia White No. 46 the shade remained almost the same.
Original Paint No. 46
Insignia White
No. 41
Dark Olive Drab
No. 42
Medium Green
General Lower Upper Blotches
Arcus Colors - - 525
Model paints for WW2 Sea Search USAAF aircraft camouflage.

Photos of Aircraft in WW2 USAAF Sea Search Camouflage

USAAF B-34 The Texas Wrangler
The Lockheed B-34, the USAAF version of the USN PV Ventura, was painted in the Sea Search scheme. The contrast between the upper and lower surfaces of the aircraft is more obvious compared to standard ground camouflage.
USAAF Anti-submarine B-24D Mitchel 130409 Lady Jane
A very good illustration of how the camouflage demarcation line between Dark Olive Drab No. 41 and Insignia White No. 46 can run not only along the fuselage sides but also the tail fins, as on this North American B-25D Mitchell "Lady Jane".
Consolidated B-24 at the Consolidated-Vultee plant
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator proved an effective weapon against Kriegsmarine and IJN submarines. USAAF ASW camouflage was applied to such aircraft directly at the Consolidated-Vultee factory.

References to USAAF Sea Search Camouflage:

  • 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

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