RAF Spitfire warpaint – Camouflaging a classic

The RAF’s Supermarine Spitfires wore a wide variety of camouflage schemes which illustrate how single-seat fighter camouflage evolved considerably between 1938 and the immediate post-war period. Paul E Eden examined the subject in the March 2013 issue of Aviation News.

As early as 1934, the UK had recognised Hitler as a new threat in Europe, beginning a rearmament programme in the hope of deterring German aggression.  The British and French governments engaged with the German Führer in a series of political manoeuvres in September and October 1938 which ultimately resulted in Czechoslovakia being absorbed into the Third Reich.  While senior officials met to appease Hitler in Bavaria, Europe’s military leaders anxiously awaited the outcome of this so-called Munich Crisis, a travesty that launched Europe into war.  The still-expanding Royal Air Force responded to the Munich Crisis by applying green and brown camouflage to its aircraft, obscuring the colourful markings of the inter-war years.


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