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Finnish Hurricane Conundrum

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One of the 12 Hurricane Mk.I's that Finland received in 1940 was HU452. She is well documented as carrying the "B" scheme as illustrated here, before her 1943 repaint. All of the Finnish birds left the UK with Night/White wings, and silver lower noses and aft fuselages (again, well documented). She wasn't repainted until 1943.


This photo is from March 1942. My question is, what is the lighter area on the lower aft fuselage? It's a lot lighter than the Dark Earth camouflage in that area, and the silver underside followed the straight line back from the wing trailing edge. Mud? Seems to tidy to be mud, and even if it were, where did it come from? Mud splattered up from the main wheels would be much further outboard. I'm also curious about the lighter patch under/behind the cockpit. You should be able to see the DG/DE demarcation at that area. I'm stumped!


Edited by Jennings
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According to Suomen Ilmavoimien Histora #25, Hurricane and Gladiator, that photo of HC-452 was taken in June 1942 when it was being transferred to 2/LeLv 26. This was after May 7, when the undersides of Hurricanes began to receive DN Blue. The change in serial designation from HU-452 to HC-452 occurred sometime before September 1941, when the yellow nose band was applied. The serial was in small letters behind the yellow fuselage band.

So, probably looking at DG/DE/DN Blue.

Edited by bigjugs
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Received the Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia book today and I'm even more confused than before. Where did you read that the lower surfaces (only) were repainted? The way I read it, aircraft that were completely repainted during major overhaul, receiving the Finnish green & black (introduced in Sep 1940) received silver undersides until May 42, when the light blue was mandated. That squares with what I've been told about other aircraft types, but it doesn't help with what I'm seeing in the photo of HC452. It is still clearly in RAF camouflage colors.

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Warpaint, the black and green, was applied when there were major repairs. Many types went for long periods in original camouflage before being repainted. I think the underside became more of an issue for some aircraft than others. B&W was probably more an issue then the DG/DE of the top surface. On the other hand, all the Buffaloes were quickly repainted in warpaint, as they were over-all aluminum.

Given the nature of the war, an aircraft was taken out of operation as littler as possible.

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Here's what Kari Stenman (who literally wrote the book) was kind enough to reply...

Hi Jennings,

The green/black paintwork, officially called SOTAMALAUS, translating literally to WARPAINT, issued on 30 September 1940, was to be applied in the NEXT major overhaul or repair. In the case of HC452 it was done on 16 February 1943. So this plane flew with the British colours dark green/dark earth tops and black/white/silver bottoms, until a belly landing on 25 September 1942.

My best guess is that the light area on the lower rear fuselage (between rudder and yellow band) is touching up with aluminum lacquer, possibly repairing a damaged fabric after wheels/prop threw up sand and small stones (typical to Finnish airfields).

Again my best guess concerning the lighter area beneath and behind the canopy is overpainting caused by covering the large civil registration OH-IPB (required for transit over Sweden in 1940). Yes, it could extend this far forward and you can see a similar patch on other aircraft, too. Don't ask me about the colour, but it certainly is a local mix (olive green with some yellow ???), since the Finnish paint inventory did not have anything near the dark earth.

The WARPAINT stipulation of 30.9.40 did not discuss the underside colour, but since the introduction of the single colour upper side in 1934, the underside was silver or more precisely aluminium lacquer. However. since the major painter State Aircraft Factory doing the licence production of the Fokker C.X and D.XXI (both mostly covered with plywood or fabric), chose to use a glossy light grey underside paint (similar to much later British light aircraft grey). Standard practice became that the wooden/fabric planes got the light grey bottoms and metal covered got the aluminium lacquer. Until after 7 May 1942, when all combat planes were to be painted DN-colour (RLM 65) on the undersides, this again in the next major overhaul or repair.

The message is that no aircraft were painted in the field, when new instructions were issued. The State Aircraft Factory was the only unit capable of major repairs including paintwork, but late in 1941 the field air depots (servicing the front-line planes) also began doing major painting jobs. The painting in the squadrons had been limited to patchworks and tactical markings.

So, HC452 (in this form) in standard late 1939 British factory camo, with some patchwork, full yellow markings (fuselage band and wing tip undersides in orange yellow and nose in lemon yellow, which was a substitute to cover the shortage of standard orange yellow.) Standard fuselage insignia and mis-proportioned wing insignias. This is as close as I c an get it.

Good luck


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