06 March 2012

Pink camouflage

Seriously.  From an article at io9:
Spitfires went through extensive rounds of camouflage paint, from dark and light brown, to a pale gray, to a baby blue. Perhaps their most unusual color, though, was a light pink. The pink, slightly too washed-out to be an actual baby pink, still seems bright enough to signal every enemy within five miles. This is certainly true when the Spitfires were seen from above. They stand out brightly against the ground. To make sure they were rarely seen from above, these planes were painted to fly just under cloud cover. Although the planes were ideally meant to fly at sunset and sunrise, when the clouds took on a pinkish hue and made the plane completely invisible against them, they were also useful during the day. Clouds are pinker than we give them credit for.
Further details and explanation at the link.   I sent the link to my brother-in-law, who is an air traffic controller and military history enthusiast.  He replied that not only were planes painted pink, but also some submarine periscopes and snorkels.


  1. Also used by the Long Range Desert Group (and Peniakoff with his "Popski's Private Army) on the Pink Panther desert patrol vehicles. There's a rather fetching picture of one here...

    Both Peniakoff and the LRDG are worth reading about - bizarre tales of desert warfare before the days of night-capable surveillance and satellites.

    1. More pix and info here -


      Tx. Skipweasel.

  2. Mountbatten Pink as it was called was invented by Lord Mountbatten and applied unevenly through the Royal Navy. It was intended to mimic sunrise and sunset but was discontinued by 1941 although some smaller ships retained this colour.

    1. Interesting. I found a pic at a model shop's page -


      Tx, Dave.

    2. One of the reasons why Mountbatten Pink was not more widely used is because, while under certain conditions it is indeed a very effective color, outside of those conditions it was a fairly poor camouflage. In fact if I remember correctly, under certain conditions it had the reverse effect, making the poor ship painted that color even more visible.

      Actually though, my favorite camouflage color was not pink, but white, which was used by escort ships in the North Atlantic. Very Effective, especially when new and clean.

  3. Then again there's Dazzle Pattern. q.v. Wikipedia et. al.

    A rather large colleague at work has a dress that looks remarkably like a dazzle pattern ship. She was - er - ambivalent, when I pointed this out.


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