Luft '46 Colours Pt. 8 - Night fighters & Zerstörers
by: Peter Allen

Night fighters
Unlike most other air forces, the Luftwaffe tended to use the normal underside colour RLM 76 as the top shade with various patches and/or squiggles of usually RLM 75 and black under surfaces. RLM 76 would, initially at least, seem very light for a night camouflage scheme, but on second thoughts this shade may well have looked like reflections of moonlight when viewed from above in the hours of darkness. Of course this only a personal guess without substantiation.

Applying the experiment results of mixing various standard or official RLM colours can result in some interesting schemes.

For example if there was insufficient quantities of RLM black for undersurfaces, what might have been substituted? Dark greys and greens come to mind or even very dark blue. Or any mix that would assimilate night sky, presumably dark shades. Of course lighter shades could have been added in the form of patches, waves or mottling to help break up the general shape of the aircraft.

It may be also worth noting that dead black may not have been quite as good as very dark grey for example as sometimes a night sky can take on slight variations other than black. For instance if there was a bright moon. As for top shades I’ve tried to adapt other colours but retaining the tonal values of RLM 76.
Zerstörers Here the role of these aircraft would have meant they would have been asked to fly in any weather or light conditions. Therefore schemes may have taken cues from their theatres of operation together with the availability of any required RLM shades. Some may have been based on day fighter schemes while others may have been painted more akin to night fighter schemes.

But again due to the unreliable supply of required RLM shades and the interpretation of the official guidelines by ground crews responsible for applying camouflage in the field many unusual schemes may have resulted. For example if the rules said RLM 81, but no paint of this shade was available what could they have done? If by luck, the armour red-brown was available; this mixed with dark grey or black may have allowed a reasonable substitute considering the circumstances.

Again I have included some of the extreme splinter schemes for examples of both night fighters and Zerstörers.

This article comes from AeroScale