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Capital Ship Paint Schemes of the Imperial German Navy ,riegsmarine World War I by Tom Tanner One of the more difficult aspects of building models of German ships, especially those from World War I, is the lack of authoritative English language documentation on their outfit and color, and the difficulty finding foreign language books that may fill the gap.
Luckily some e-mail inquiries of mine were answered by a model builder and historian in Germany named Peter Lienau, who suggested I get a copy of “German Warships Volume I: In a very methodical manner the book details the history and fates of all major German Navy combatants up to World War II and provides detailed, albeit small, drawings of most major vessels.
But it more than makes up for that with detailed photos, some in color, of various WWII German ships, both combatant and merchant.
Used by most ships in home waters, it was based on the use of increasingly lighter shades of grey as you climbed from the waterline to the superstructure, with the hull below the waterline red-brown referred to as Lfd.
The waterline on these capital ships was painted Anthracite Grey Lfd. This dark grey was also used for the inside areas of the Admiral’s Bridge, Conning Tower, the Compass Platform, and on the decks of the superstructure if that area was covered by wooden gratings, while sheets of Linoleum covered various areas of other decks.
The colour of the Linoleum was a reddish brown.
Capital Ship Paint Schemes of the Imperial German Navy in World War I
Single “sheets” of Linoleum were fixed on the deck with 2″ broad stripes of brass. The use onboard depends on the time of construction and the type. Every horizontal area above the boatdeck if not covered by gratings and the platforms if not perforated or covered by gratings. The vertical hull area was painted Squirrel Grey Lfd. For example, SMS Von der Tann, with it’s raised forecastle, would have the superstructure aft of the break in the hull below the bridge painted this same grey if it stretched to the outer edge of the hull, up to the height of the forecastle.
If the superstructure was recessed from the edge, then it was painted Silver Grey Lfd. Silver Grey was used on the vertical surfaces of the superstructure and funnels from the weather deck up into the mast-tops.
As trim, a brown-beige Lfd.
Imperial German Navy in World War I – Paint Schemes Overview
Funnel caps if present and parts of the masts were painted Jet Black Lfd. Before the war, the Germans needed a kriegemarine to distinguish specific vessels in the battle line.
Since there might be two, three, four, or even five ships of the same class in the line, lack of a visual reference could become a problem during maneuvers. Thus the German Navy, like others, tarnanstricche to paint horizontal stripes of either red or yellow on one or more funnels to distinguish individual ships, their squadron, and their place within the squadron. The designations and number of stripes a ship may wear changed as new ships were krieggsmarine and roles changed, but the use was continued during the drutschen more on that later.
After Jutlandthe aft mast was painted completely Black, with the foremast painted Black from the level of the funnel cap up to a point 1. During the war, it would appear from the photographs available of German ships that the practice of painting identifying stripes on the ships funnels had been abandoned.
But appearances can be deceiving. In order to make life difficult for any Allied spies that may have worked out of the German fleet yarnanstriche, the Germans forbid the use of identifying mark while within the sight of land – these marks were only applied after sailing and repainted over in grey before returning to port, and they were used only during major operations that may have resulted in engagements with the enemy, about 13 instances in all according to an essay by Dr.
Anstriche und Tarnanstriche der Deutschen Kriegsmarine
The most common identifier used was to paint the aftermost funnel either an almost pastel red anstriceh yellow-ochre, depending on the operation. For example, at Dogger Bank the battlecruisers kept their funnels grey while the escorting torpedo boats and cruisers painted their aft funnels red, while at Jutland all participating ships sported red on their aft funnels.
Notice also the grey foremast while the mainmast is only grey to the level of the funnel cap. Following Jutland, a test was performed with three ships of the Kaiser-class to see if, instead of the thin-skinned and kriegsmarne funnels, another part of the ship should be painted for identification purposes.
The turrets were chosen because they were expected to survive more battle damage than the funnels. While these tests confirmed that Yellow and Red were the best choices for identification purposed, it was decided to continue painting the funnels instead of the turrets. To allow German ships to be identified from the air, the tops of the main turrets and ansrriche conning tower were painted Jet Black.
I hope some of you have found this material useful.