How to paint them right?

Whatever  they could  find readily  available to paint them on.

In most cases the stripes were painted on by the ground crews; with only a few hours’ notice, few of the stripes were “masked“.[1] As a result, depending on the abilities of the “erks” (RAF nickname for ground crew), the stripes were often far from neat and tidy.


So it doesn’t  matter if nothing  is straight.





More invasion  stripes painting  on the  way.



Painting the right way?


Confusing to say the least.

No one agrees on how Gabby Gabreski’s P-47D was painted.

The subject of 56th Fighter Group camouflage is one that brings out a lot of opinions and few verifiable facts. Unless you can find an old 56th crew chief with a good memory, your guess is as good as the next guys.

That said, there are a couple of color photos in existence so depending on the printing process used you have a couple of options. When the powers that be in Washington decided to do away with camouflage for single seat fighters in Europe, some units didn’t like the idea and the 56th was one. One camp says that when natural metal P-47s began to arrive they used available R.A.F. colors for their paintwork, since there was limited paint being sent over seas from the U.S. The idea was that if Washington didn’t think camouflage was necessary in the ETO then the priority for paint being shipped across the Atlantic would have been pretty low.

That said, your P-47 could be Extra Dark Sea Gray or Ocean Gray with Dark green patches. The underside is said to be natural metal by one group and a light gray by another. If  U.S. paints were available, 36118 Gray and Olive Drab or Medium Green would be a good guess. Again, the undersurfaces are open to argument.

If you want to pursue this photographically, try to get:
“Fighter Command” by Jeff Ethel and Robert T. Sand. 1991, Motor books Int.

ISBN 0-87938-473-5  “Beware the Thunderbolt” by David McLaren, 1994, Schiffer Military pub
ISBN 0-88740-660-2

 These both contain a number of color photographs of 56th Group P-47s, and you can draw your own conclusions, keeping in mind that old color negatives can look quite different depending on who does the printing. Somewhere, maybe someone else on this news group can point you to them, are a couple of color photos of “Gabby” Gabreski’s last P-47. I forget where they are any more, memory ain’t what it used to be. (Too many fumes??)

Bill Shuey