of the Do 335:
A Critical Re-evaluation
This short article was written with the intent
to conclude the ongoing discussion on the identity of the paint colours applied
to the Dornier 335. Using official
documentation, this writer hopes to provide conclusive answers to the following
What were the actual camouflage colours applied to the Do 335?
What were the camouflage colour combinations? RLM 70/71, RLM 81/82,
one or more combinations of these four colours, or unknown colours?
colour was applied to the aircraft’s underside: RLM 65 or RLM 76?
What evidence exists to confirm the conclusions described
Michael Ullmann is an employee of Dornier GmbH
in Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany and is responsible for the
preparation of technical documentation for equipment currently in use with the
German armed forces (Bundeswehr). He
has been seriously researching Luftwaffe camouflage colours for over eight
years, actively collaborating with other well-known authors and researchers, and
is the author of several self-published books on the subject.
His latest work, “Oberflächenschutzverfahren und Anstrichstoffe der
Luftwaffe 1935-1945“ (Surface Protection Procedures and Paint-Materials of the
Luftwaffe 1935–1945) was published by Bernard & Graefe in 2000, has
received critical acclaim from recognised researchers and enthusiasts alike.
Hikoki Publications will publish an expanded English language version of
this book (with actual paint chips) in early 2001 under the title “Luftwaffe
Definitions and Specifications
To better understand the subject of Luftwaffe
camouflage paints, and specifically those relating to the Do 335, it is
necessary to define several items and concepts.
Role of the Do 335
In 1942, the Reichsluftministerium (RLM)
tendered a formal request to the German aviation industry for proposals for a
fast-bomber (“Schnellkampfflugzeug”). In
response to the request, Dornier submitted its P 231/3 design for consideration,
and a development contract for three prototypes was awarded in early 1943.
An important fact to remember for this discussion is that the RLM
identified the Do 335 as a “single-seat, twin-engine “combat aircraft” (in
During the period of development for the Do 335,
the L.Dv 521/1 (1941 edition) was the current official document specifying the
particular camouflage colours to be used on all Luftwaffe aircraft.
It clearly indicated the required paint colours for combat aircraft as
The colours 61, 62 and 63 are no longer to be
used. 70 and 71 replaces these colours for all land based combat aircraft,
72 and 73 for all naval combat aircraft and 74, 75 and 76 for fighters and
To determine the colour for the camouflage,
determine as follows:
Trainer (High visibility paint)
Fighter (Colours 74, 75, 76, 65)
Destroyer (as for b)
Bomber and transport (Colours 70, 71, 65)
Naval aircraft (Colours 73, 72, 65)
Tropical aircraft (Colours 78, 79, 80)
On the basis of this document and
specifications, the Do 335, a fast-bomber (“Schnellkampfflugzeug”), was to
be painted in RLM 70, 71 and 65.
This Part 0 of the descriptive handbook for the
Do 335 contains general statements about the aircraft. It is of particular
importance for this discussion that Part 0 contains a three-side-drawing of the
aircraft’s camouflage (Chapter D). The
Handbook in turn references the camouflage drawing to the Dornier construction
drawing “D0 335 A-0, Sheet 10”. Accordingly, this drawing was used for
identifying the camouflage colours, noted there as:
- Upperside: Dunkelgrün 81 / Dunkelgrün 82
- Underside: Hellblau 65
- Propellers: Grün 70
The Do335 aircraft Handbook was issued on
22 December 1944 but with the subject information dated a month earlier, 26
November 1944. In the context of
these two different dates, it is therefore important to understand the process
of issuing of Handbooks for the Luftwaffe, why such variations occur, and, their
The draft of an aircraft Handbook was written by
its manufacturer (here, Dornier), and then submitted to the RLM.
Simultaneously, the Handbook was delivered to the testing-command and to
the responsible proving grounds, like Peenemünde, Travemünde or Tarnewitz, for
additional review. All these very different departments made alterations and/or
corrections to the Handbook based on their own work, and simultaneously
submissions based on the ongoing technical development of the airplane had an
influence on the Handbook.
Alterations and corrections to the Handbook
could be multiple and various. For
example, they could range from simple things like misspellings to items relating
to revised technical content or impending directives that would regulate the
actual layout of a handbook. These
directives were produced by the RLM, and in the case of the
Collected-Communications (Sammelmitteilungen) 1 and 2, directly influenced the
camouflage of the Do 335. Eventually
however, the Handbooks must go to press to be made available concurrently with
the aircraft’s actual production. In
the case of the Do 335 Handbook, the printing deadline was probably November
1944, which is supported by the notation “Information dated 26 November 1944
“on the Handbook’s cover page.
At the time of printing, all information that
was available up to that point was to be included in the Handbook.
Any new information received after the press run naturally was not
included in the book. Given the
circumstances of the time and the existing but rudimentary
information-technology (telephone, mail, telegraph), it was indeed difficult to
collect all the required information in a timely manner.
Normally, information was distributed to individual specialists and
organisations in different locations and was then circulated between them.
Importantly, the checking of the Handbook drafts was occurring at the
same time the specialists’ reviews were taking place and being collected.
Once received, all material and data had to be checked, incorporated into
the document, and then prepared for actual printing (type-setting, photography,
layout, engraving, press set-up, acquisition of inks and paper and so forth).
The time necessary for this entire laborious process to be completed
suggests that for the Do 335 the actual deadline for receipt of all information
and revisions from individual specialists, teams and institutions could not have
been any later than sometime in mid-1944. This
interpretation has a profound influence on the evolution of the Do 335’s
A mysterious air continues to surround these
colours. The answer to the simple
question remains elusive: What did these colours look like?
Although it is surely one of the most actively discussed subjects in
interested circles, the theories have yet to provide definitive answers in this
lively debate. Fortunately, some documents still exist that shine light into
As described above, the Do 335 was to be
camouflaged in accordance with its task in RLM 70/71/65. The1 July 1944 RLM
Sammelmitteilung 1 provides the following statements regarding the introduction
of Colours 81 and 82.
The impeding introduction of camouflage
colours 81and 82 in place of 70 and 71 was announced in message GL/C-E 10
No. 10585/43, IVE, AZ. 82 bs 10 of 21 August 1943. The introduction of these colours is henceforth described
All new aircraft whose mission would have
called for the use of colours 70 and 71 are from now on to be painted
in colours 81 and 82.
For colours currently in production, colours
70 and 71 are to be superseded by colours 81 and 82 as soon as
stocks of 70 and 71 are naturally to be used up.
Assuming that both colours are not depleted evenly, and to
avoid repeat orders of smaller quantities in 70 or 71, the use of
residual quantities in following combinations is authorized:
Colour 70 (as residual quantity) + Colour 82
71 (as residual quantity) + Colour 81
Should, however, the residual quantity of a
colour be simply too large and the transitional period to the regulation
camouflage be too long, efforts must be made to try to exchange these
quantities with subcontractors, company plants or other aircraft
The method of application (camouflage-scheme)
of these new colours doesn't change.
Aircraft plants will report the transaction of
the colour change with the modified OS-List to GL/C-E 10 IVS.
Comparison of this information in
Sammelmitteilung 1 with the Handbook drawing of the Do 335 obviously reveals the
influence of this information on the aircraft’s camouflage:
81/82 as a substitute for 70/71. The drawing
shows that RLM was simply exchanging 70/71 with the newer RLM 81/82.
The layout of the camouflage scheme doesn't
change in accordance with the Sammelmitteilung 1!
Aircraft plants were required to report the
transaction of the colour change to the RLM. Here, the document dates are
especially important. The Sammelmitteilung 1 dates from July 1944.
Dornier made the required alteration to the Do 335 drawing
accordingly and reported this to the RLM.
Review and approval of the reported alteration took several months
and so consequently only the draft of the revised drawing was included in
It is important to note that there is no mention
of changing underside colours in the Sammelmitteilung 1, and RLM 65 remained
as the required colour for the Do 335 in accordance with the L.Dv. 521/1.
This in turn reveals that the revised Dornier drawing appears only in
the Handbook and that Colour 76 was not included in the change.
So, what did these new colours 81 and 82
actually look like?
The original research on these colours was
conducted in the 1970s by Smith and Gallaspy, Merrick and Merrick and Hitchcock
and were based on analysis of paint samples from surviving aircraft, RLM
document, and, company documents. When
all these data were evaluated, there existed considerable confusion in precisely
identifying these colours. Both
colours 81 and 82 were discovered to have at least three descriptive names:
Braunviolett / Dunkelgrün / Olivbraun and Hellgrün / Dunkelgrün / Lichtgrün
respectively. Pointedly, these
names were all sourced from aircraft manufacturers’ documents and no single
RLM document has yet been discovered that unequivocally assigns an official name
to colours 81 and 82.
Information on colour 83 is equally confusing.
Still, only one RLM-Document exist or better today known that confirms the
existence of 83, this Document is the Sammelmitteilung 2. Again, the colour is
known by two names: Grün and Dunkelgrün, the former officially known as simply
Grün while the latter designation is an interpretive one based on researchers
study of photographs, wreckage fragments, crash reports and the like.
The Dunkelgrün colour description in the Do 335
Handbook for both colours 81and 82 is at variance with the current state of
knowledge on late-war Luftwaffe colours. While
no official RLM documentation has yet been discovered to confirm their
descriptive names, those noted in the Messerschmitt Me 262 OS-Liste of 23
February 1945 best match their appearance as preserved on Me 262s and other
aircraft: Colour 81 Braunviolett and Colour 82 Hellgrün.
The Do 335-drawing fixes RLM 65 as the underside
colour since the Sammelmitteilung 1 makes no statement on changing underside
colours. However, Sammelmitteilung
2 of 15 August 1944 addresses this subject with the following:
of the Re-camouflaging paint 7126.76 instead of 7125.65 (comparable). L.Dv.
521/1 Chapter - G. Page 41/43:
The temporary day finish 7126.76 is introduced
to replace 7125.65.
Application purpose and scope:
The new blue finish will be used to
re-camouflage aircraft in permanent night finish for daylight missions.
Comment: 7126.76 to reach units mainly
concerned with paint application.
This instruction therefore states that instead
RLM 65, RLM 76 was introduced as its replacement. This Sammelmitteilung also includes the reason for this
Camouflage colours and their distribution on
aircraft have been entirely revised.
Companies responsible for the publication of the camouflage
drawings will get a camouflage atlas from the E-Stelle Travemünde, which
includes all necessary information. With
publication of this camouflage atlas, it is prohibited to use colours
other than the stipulated camouflage shades and schemes, including special
requests from operational units, without the express authorisation of the
E-Stelle Travemünde. In the
course of this new order, henceforth the following RLM colours are
deleted: 65, 70, 71 and 74. Colour
70 remains, stipulated only for use on propellers.
The discontinuation of RLM 65 was undoubtedly
due to industry-wide standardisation initiatives, which resulted in fewer paints
to produce, store and ship.
As in the previous sections, the issue date of
the Sammelmitteilung 2 is also important. These
instructions, issued on 15 August 1944, apparently could not be incorporated
into the Do 335 Handbook even though they appeared three months earlier than the
latter’s printing. Still however,
based on inspection of the NASM Do 335 in 1973 prior to its later restoration
and repainting by Dornier, it can be regarded as highly probable that all Do
335s produced from late-autumn 1944 onward had their undersides finished in RLM
76. Finally, the document
reconfirmed the exclusive use of RLM 70 for propellers and is noted in the Do
335 Handbook camouflage drawing. However,
for some reason Dornier identifies colour 70 Schwarzgrün as simply “Grün”.
Do 335 Aircraft and Painting Chronology
From the facts presented in the prior chapters,
documents and other information, a diagram can be created where the temporal
context of the chronology of events related to the Do 335 can be graphically
On the basis of this diagram, it is possible to
determine, with high probability, which colours specific Do 335 aircraft were
painted. However, it is important
to recognize that the time interval from approximately June to October 1944 was
a period of transition, and, some confusion.
There was by necessity a transitional period from the deletion of the
older colours to introduction and full implementation and usage of the new RLM
colours 81 and 82. As confirmed by
official documents, the concurrent use and application of both the new and old
colours together on an aircraft were permissible and indeed encouraged.
Photographs of Do 335 aircraft invariably reveal
variable contrast between the two uppersurface colours.
Early Versuch-series have a low to moderate contrast between the two
uppersurface colours and not the noticeable contrast between Braunviolett and
Hellgrün as seen on late-war fighter aircraft such as the Me 262.
In all probability these aircraft were painted in RLM 70 Schwarzgrün and
RLM 71 Dunkelgrün.
For later A-series aircraft such as the NASM Do
335 A-02 (WNr.240102 / VG+PH) both colour and black/white photos show a somewhat
greater colour contrast. Personal
inspection and sampling of paint by Thomas Hitchcock in October 1973 indicated
that this aircraft was painted in a medium and dark green, definitely not 70/71.
Presuming the colour designations for the two colours in the Dornier Do
335 Handbook was correct (and by implication official RLM designations), these
two greens were labelled Dunkelgrün 81 and Dunkelgrün 82.
However, comparison of the lighter colour with that found on the NASM Me
262 A-1a (WNr.500571) provided a perfect match. On the Me 262 this colour was designated by Messerschmitt in
its 23 February 1945 Oberflächenschutzliste as Hellgrün 82.
The darker green was completely different than the brown shade on the Me
262 yet matched perfectly with the green on the Point Cook, Australia Me 163.
Confusion? No, because what
we have are perfect examples of the different hue’s of 81.
Color Combination 81/82 or What?
As shown above the Do 335 has to be painted in
81/82 accordingly the drawing set and the drawing in their L.Dv.
Perhaps it is hard to believe for someone who is not a German, but this
was an order and an order had to be obeyed.
It is easy to imagine that the paint shop manager ordered the paints for
applying the camouflage pattern accordingly to the drawing set for the Do 335.
He received from Dornier stocks of paint in cans and on the can label was
printed, according to regulations in the L.Dv. 521/1 issue November 1941, the
colour numbers, in this case 81 and 82. But
what was the hue of the paint inside the can?
Different Hues of Colours 81 and 82
The very different hues of colour 81 as
identified from actual preserved aircraft and paint chip samples is a reflection
of German industry’s response to the Allied bombing offensive.
This included various economy measures, substitution of raw materials,
relocation of plants and factories, and the dispersal and subcontracting of war
production facilities. Today, it is
a well known fact that because of the bombing raids on all major industrial
plants in Germany, in late 1943 / early 1944 war production and manufacturing
shifted to smaller companies and firms outside the big cities.
This is important to remember when considering the fates of German paint
manufacturers who produced and delivered paints to the various aircraft plants.
For example, Herberts, the large paint company located in Wuppertal was
completely knocked out during bombing raids in 1944, yet the smaller Wiederhold
company located in Hilden (a small town west of Düsseldorf) was never touched
by bombs and produced paints until the end of the war.
The Do 335 was built either at Friedrichshafen or
Oberpfaffenhofen (today a suburb of Munich) and the Me 163 was built by
Messerschmitt during its production phase at three different locations:
Obertraubling, Böblingen and also at the Junkers factory at Dessau (Junkers was
a subcontractor). It is very
important to realize that Böblingen was only about 100 km northwest of
Friedrichshafen and in September 1944 the complete production plant, including
all spare parts and paint stocks was relocated to Junker at Dessau. It is very probable that these two plants both received
required paints from the same paint manufacturer and this resulted in the Me 163
and the Do 335 being painted with the same paints having the same hues.
Unfortunately, no records exist today that give
us information about the paint manufacturers that supplied camouflage paints to
Messerschmitt and Dornier during the war. But
why was the 81 of the Me 262 so different in their hue that that seen on the Me
163 and other aircraft? First of
all, production of the Me 262 reached its peak late in 1944 / early 1945 and was
produced / completed in various locations scattered over middle and southern
Germany. During the early
introduction phase of colours 81/82 the RLM was unable to provide genuine and
approved paint samples of 81/82 to the contracted paint manufacturers.
This resulted in paint cans that were identified as containing colours 81
or 82 but the actual paint inside had varying hue depending on the manufacturer.
Later, the standard was set and therefore the Me 262 was painted in the
official hue of dark brown (Braunviolett) as determined by the RLM.
With the above information and interpretations,
one might legitimately ask: Was the
Point Cook Me 163 was painted in two shades of 81? Or, was the other colour in fact 82 and the bright green on
the Do 335 colour 81? The evidence
suggests that this may indeed be possible.
While accepting possible slight variations due
to the printing process, colour photos of the Point Cook Me 163 in its original
finish (Smith & Gallaspy and Merrick & Hitchcock) were compared with
colour photos of the fuselage and wing of the Do 335 (Smith, Creek &
Hitchcock) and, reproduced paint chips for the NASM Do 335 (Merrick &
Hitchcock). This writer believes
that these images and paint samples provide evidence that both aircraft received
the same paint colours which are informally termed here as the “early 81/82
scheme”. This scheme was in
existence prior to the setting the standard for 81/82 that was produced in
mid-1944 from a paint company located in the southern part of Germany that
supplied Dornier and Messerschmitt’s co-contractor Klemm in Böblingen with
these “not-standardised” colours 81 and 82.
But some questions remain.
Discussions with Thomas Hitchcock (D.E. Brown) confirmed that the dark
brown from the NASM Me 262 and Point Cook Me 163 were of the same shade, and,
the bright green from the Me 262 and the Do 335 prior to their respective
restorations were of the identical hue. Yet
the bright medium green from the Me 163 and dark green from the Do 335 were
different. Is this the evidence
that the Me 163 was painted in 81/83 and the Do 335 in 81/82, or, 82 and a
darker shade of 83? This writer
cannot answer this question, but based on the evidence to date and previous
discussion believes that the Do 335 A-series aircraft were painted in what I
informally term as the “early 81/82 scheme”.
It is important to note that the NASM Do 335 was built at least several
months earlier than the Point Cook Me 163, and, that colour 83 appeared later
than 81/82 according to the RLM Sammelmitteilungen 1 and 2.
Therefore, it is possible to consider that the Me 163 was painted in two
shades of 81; one being the standardized shade and the other the “early”
shade from the relocated Böblingen-stocks.
for Modelling the Do 335
81/82, 81/83 or 82/83?
A mass of questions remain, but this writer believes that the most
important advice to the modeler is to focus on a particular aircraft’s correct
colour shades and not to be confused by the paints’ RLM number.
Based on this writer’s research as presented here, it is therefore
recommended that modelers paint their Do 335 kit (A-series aircraft) in a Olive
Drab shade of RLM 81 and one of the available bright green shades of RLM 82 that
is often mislabeled by model paint manufacturers as RLM 83.
Paint chips based on samples from the NASM Do 335 presented in Merrick
and Hitchcock’s “Monogram Painting Guide (p.37) closely approximate the
aircraft’s probable colours.
Remaining Questions and Answers
The one of the most important question concerns
Dornier’s single descriptive name of Dunkelgrün for colours 81 and 82 as
appearing in the aircraft Handbook. RLM
never issued color names for hues beyond 73, because a colour name was from the
point of view from RLM no longer necessary.
The reason for this change was due to the use of very simple mechanical
computers (called the “Holerith-Maschine”) for military logistics of the
entire German armed forces. The
“Holerith-Maschine” could only perform operations with numbers and not names
or something similar. The use of
this machine was also the reason for the change of colour denotations for
primers and so on from dashes “- -“ to “99”.
Therefore, in being left with simple numeric designations for the various
paint colours, all aircraft and paint manufacturers were forced to provide their
own names for the colours though were restricted to internal use only.
This, and the variation in paint hues from the respective suppliers are
the main reasons for the existence of different names and hues for colours 81
and 82 during the early phase of their introduction during the second half of
1944. It is probable that
researchers have yet to fully appreciate the difficulties experienced by the
German aviation industry during the last year of the war, and more importantly,
their responses to these conditions.
Regrettably, no documents exist in the Dornier
archives over this critical summer period in 1944 regarding the evolution of
Luftwaffe camouflage and markings. However,
the available evidence indicates that Dornier never used any of the RLM
recommended transitional camouflage schemes during this period.
This writer hopes that someday more official drawing sets and Oberflächenschutzlisten
for late war aircraft will be discovered to shine more light into this darkness,
especially documents that will give us a more detailed understanding of colour
The author wishes to extend his sincere thanks to David
E. Brown for editing, revising and critically reviewing this document as well as
providing input into the evolution of the late-war colours.
David E. Brown in turn expressly thanks Thomas H. Hitchcock for sharing
information on his study of the camouflage colours for the NASM Do335.
Bentley, A.L., 1975: Warbirds Dornier Do335
– The Luftwaffe’s Arrow. Scale
Models, Vol.6, No. 70, July 1975, pp.348-357.
Brown, D.E., 1997: Commentary on the
evolution and usage of Luftwaffe RLM colours 81, 82 & 83.
Experten Historical Aviation Research (Hyperscale website).
Lutz, R.P., 1983: Dornier 335 in detail
and closeup. Airfoil, Vol. 1,
No. 1, Winter 1983, pp.26-39.
Lutz, R.P., 1982: Do-335.
IPMS-USA Quarterly Vol.17, No.4, pp.5-18.
Merrick, K.A., and Hitchcock, T.H., 1980:
The Official Monogram Painting
Guide to German Aircraft 1935-1945. Monogram
Aviation Publications, Boyleston, 144p. (including Addenda, Errata &
Omission Supplements – 5p.).
Smith, J.R. and Creek, E.J., 1983:
Dornier 335 – Monogram Close-Up
21. Monogram Aviation
Publications, Boyleston, 33p.
Smith, J.R., Creek, E.J., and Hitchcock, T.H.,
1997: Dornier 335 Arrow – Monogram Monarch Series Number 2.
Monogram Aviation Publications, Sturbridge, 184p.
Smith, J.R, and Gallaspy, J.D., 1977:
Luftwaffe Camouflage & Markings
1935-1945: Volume 3. Kookaburra Technical Publications, Melbourne, 164p.
Ullmann, M., 2000: Oberflächenschutzverfahren
und Anstrichstoffe der Luftwaffe 1935-1945 (Surface Protection Procedures
and Paint-Materials of the Luftwaffe 1935–1945). Bernard & Graefe, Bonn,
296p. (to be published in English by Hikoki in early 2001 under the title
“Luftwaffe Colours 1935-1945”)
D.(Luft).T., 2335 A-1 (Dornier 335), 22
Luft Dienstvorschiften L.Dv.521/1:
Behandlungs - und Anwendungsvorschrift für Flugzeuglacke" Teil 1,
Motorflugzeuge, November 1941 (Treatment - and Application Order of Aircraft
Paints, Part 1, Powered Aircraft)
Sammelmitteilung Nr.1, 01 July 1944.
Sammelmitteilung Nr.2, 15 August 1944.
Text & Images Copyright ©
2000 by Michael Ullmann
except Title Image Copyright ©
1998 by Charlie Swank
Page Created 18 October, 2000
Last Updated 15 December, 2004
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