Bizarre schemes of US assembly bombers

The skies of eastern England contained a number of rather colourful aircraft in 1944 – Roger Freeman explained the reason in the May 1996 issue of FlyPast

IN APRIL 1944, a plotter at 18 Group, Royal Observer Corps received an excited report from the duty observer at one of the Suffolk posts to the effect that he thought he must be hallucinating for he had just seen a Liberator covered with red, yellow and blue polka dots.

That year there were many other amazed aircraft spotters when into their views came Liberators and Fortresses painted with the most bizarre markings ever carried by military aircraft, all in complete contrast to the drab camouflage finishes that had been the norm for so long. The purpose of this paintwork was to remain a mystery to many British observers and was often dismissed by them as just another crazy prank by their unruly American Allies. In fact, these colourful aircraft served a very serious purpose.

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