Camouflage and Markings of the Fw 190 D-9
“Yellow 15” - WNr.500666 - I./JG 301:

An Interpretation

Research by David E. Brown, Experten Inc.
Copyright 1999

This aircraft, a FW 190 D-9, was discovered at Langansalza by US forces in the spring of 1945.  Only one photo of the aircraft has been published to date (Hildebrandt, 1987), but at least one other is known illustrating the same junked fuselage.  The aircraft has been identified as “Blue 15” of II./JG 301 in the past, but a reinterpretation of the original, and other photos reveals that its true identity as “Yellow 15”, WNr.500666, from 3./I./JG 301.

This aircraft has always been attributed to 4./JG 301.  However, it seems that in the two known photos the line observed may just be a shadow.  If so, this aircraft would instead have been from 3./I./JG 301.

An assessment of Yellow 15’s camouflage is limited to its fuselage, as its wings were removed from the aircraft.  However, enough is visible in the photos to indicate that at least this portion of the aircraft was painted very similarly to the well known Dora "Schwarze (black) 12", Werknummer 500570, of II./JG 6.  Indeed, there are numerous photos of this latter aircraft, and most importantly, one in colour.  Regarding Yellow 15's camouflage colours and scheme, there is little to go on as only the fuselage of the aircraft was preserved and photographed (2 known). 

These 500000-series aircraft show some variance in camouflage schemes, likely reflecting their manufacturing process of assembling various components built by widely dispersed subcontractors.  The aircraft appear to have generally followed the Braunviolett 81 / Hellgrün 82 scheme.  It appears that the 81 was applied first, and then the 82 oversprayed on the gun cowling and ahead of the RVD band on the fuselage spine up to near the rear canopy.  Its fuselage pattern follows that of Black 12, though the wing scheme and colours must remain subjective.  We believe that for Black 12, the upperwing colours were Grauviolett 75 and one of the primer grey colours.  Yellow 15’s could have been the same, or, painted with 81 or 82 replacing the 75, and the underside green-blue (grünblau) shade of RLM 76.  More research is required on this question as photos of wing uppersurfaces are extremely rare and/or are only partial views.

Since the engine cowling was a separate component, it is quite likely that it was painted in RLM 83 Dunkelgrün.  The cowling gun cover however should be painted RLM 81 Braunviolett and then overpainted in RLM 82 Hellgrün, similar to the well known Black 12.

The aircraft's underside colour should be painted the green-blue (grünblau) shade of RLM 76, the so-called but incorrectly-termed colour "84".  The fuselage underside is in natural metal ONLY from the wheel wells back to the tail.  I think it very possible that the cowling underside was RLM 76.

This is the area that has caused the most confusion regarding this aircraft.  When the first photo was published in Broken Eagles 1 (Hildebrandt, 1987), this author identified it as having the code “Blue 15”.  Since then, this interpretation has been accepted without question.  A simple study of the photograph would reveal to the observer that the grey tone of the number and known yellow of the JG 301 RVT band match exactly.  If the number were blue as claimed, its grey tone would appear darker than the darker red portion of the RVT band, and almost as dark as the black fuselage cross.  Therefore, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this aircraft’s code number “15” was painted in yellow, not blue.

As noted above, there is no narrow red II. Gruppe bar on the aircraft which seems common to all II. Gruppe’s aircraft regardless of Staffel.  I have access to an unpublished photo of “Yellow 15” and it is evident that the marking on the original aircraft is a shadow.

The solid style of code number “15” marking is seen on most, if not all II./JG 301 Fw 190 A-8s, A-9s and D-9s in the last few months of the war; for example, the well-known Fw 190 A-8 "Red 22" WNr.490044, and the Fw 190 D-9 “White 12”, WNr.500408).  Conversely, I./JG 301 aircraft wore outlined numbers (white for blue and red, black for yellow and white).

The yellow/red JG 301 Reichverteidigung band is painted in 04/23 respectively.  The yellow does appear rather dark and matches the aircraft’s number 15.  Readers should note that there was significant variation in the yellows used by this unit for its RVT band, as well as reversal of the colours by several of its Staffeln, except it seems for the 3. Staffel (yellow numbers) who had their bands painted the "right" way.  Who or what defined "right" at that time is a moot point..

The national markings for “Yellow 15" are common to all other 500000-series Doras.  These are what are known as “simplified markings” that were mandated by the RLM as a paint saving gesture.  The markings include the H3-style Hakenkreuz (430 X 430 mm), black B4 fuselage Balkenkreuz (800 mm), white B6 upperwing cross (910 mm) and black B1B underwing cross (900 mm).

The aircraft’s Werknummer "500666" should be applied to the top of the fin and on both sides.  The stencil style of this marking is very distinctive for the 500000-series, though is also seen on some late production 400000-series aircraft and Ta 152s (150000-series).