|However no data is provided that confirms inconsistencies found in paints or references that show Italian colors varied any more than the German or French colors had. Photo 2 shows a close-up shot of a crashed CR.42 5-83, 83a Sq., p. 13, Ali DItalia No.1 Fiat CR.42  in late 1939 which clearly shows the three tone color camouflage scheme. The light shade camouflage mottle can not be interpreted as a light shade of green and appears closer in shade to the base color yellow. 5-83 belonged to the 83a Sq. which was later sent to Ursel, Belgium. From 1938 onwards the directive Order Sheet No. 8571 was issued to modify the camouflage schemes of RA aircraft based on experience gained from the Spanish Civil War. This camouflage scheme was applied first to aircraft of the "Aviazione Legionaria" (the Italian Volunteer Air Force in Spain) and then to subsequent production aircraft. The new camouflage scheme the so-called "Honeycomb Camouflage Scheme" used existing colors, however, were now applied in a more complex soft-edged mottle scheme instead of the hard edged semi-gloss finish used on previous aircraft. The basic "Honeycomb Camouflage Scheme" varied with each aircraft manufacturer, the unit and in many cases with the individual aircraft. This scheme used as a base color Giallo (Yellow) or a Verde (Green) over which a contrasting color mottle was applied. The mottle might be applied in various shapes, proportions and size. Examples of these variations were a Giallo mottling painted over a Verde background or Verde Chiaro (Light Green) splotches over a Verde Scuro (Dark Green) or vice versa. A third color, Marrone Mimetico or Bruno Mimetico was often added to the two basic colors. Finally instead of using Marrone as the third color, two Greens and a Yellow were sometimes used.|
|A Re-evaluation of Regia Aeronautica Camouflage 1940
|Certainly enough photographic evidence and documentation exists to support the widespread existence of the three tone camouflage scheme employed by the Regia Aeronautica and in particular the application of this scheme to Fiat CR.42s.
On October 19, 1940 three Squadriglie (Squadrons) of Fiat CR.42s of the 18o Gruppo CT arrived at Ursel, Belgium in preparation for attacks on Britain. The three Squadriglie were the 83a Sq., 85a Sq. and the 95a Sq respectively. The first bombing missions was completed on October 24 over Harwich. On October 29th 36 CR.42s and 22 G.50s escorted 15 BR.20s that bombed Ramsgate. On November 11 a daylight bombing mission was carried out over Harwich when 40 CR.42s and 45 G.50s escorted 10 BR.20s and 5 Cant. Z.1007s on a diversionary attack over Great Yarmouth. During this attack one CR.42 crash landed at Orfordness after becoming disoriented in fog and running out of fuel. More missions were carried out by the CR.42 squadrons until their eventual recall in January 1941 to areas where they were more urgently needed.
During the Italian stay in Belgium two CR.42s are known to have crashed landed in Britain; CR.42 13-95, 95a Sq., 18o Gruppo, 56o Stormo and CR.42 16-85, 85a Sq., 18o Gruppo, 56o Stormo. Two crash reports of these aircraft were taken on the same day 11/11/40 at Orfordness, Suffolk and at Lowestoft, Suffolk at 1345hrs and 1430hrs respectively. The aircraft 13-95 and its color and camouflage scheme are the topic of an article entitled A Re-evaluation of Regia Aeronautica Camouflage 1940 by Steven Eisenman in which the author maintains 13-95 was painted in a two tone camouflage scheme instead of the widely accepted three tone camouflage scheme . The author suggests further the two tone camouflage scheme was more pervasive than once thought and the author cites an additional CR.42 crash landed report concerning aircraft CR.42, 16-85. The author points out that the second crash landed report is identical with respect to the description of the color and camouflage scheme of the CR.42s and also points to Finnish Fiat G.50s indicating that the two tone color camouflage scheme had been applied to these aircraft as well.
The author points out in his artcile that variations existed in colors. But also variations existed in the application of camouflage schemes amongst the different aircraft manufacturers, between factories, subsidiaries and the individual aircraft. It was not uncommon that squadrons could be mixed with aircraft having different color and camouflage schemes. This can seen from Photo 1 of an in-flight photo of five Fiat CR.42s in which two aircraft are painted in the continental scheme and the others painted in desert colors. Eisenman concludes that many of the pictures of CR.42s and Fiat G.50s in allegedly Verde and Marrone blotches may be merely various densities of Verde, giving the impressions of two colors and justifies this statement that Italian colors were inconsistent.
|There were two basic types of the "Honeycomb Camouflage Scheme":
1 - continuos mottling, usually Dark Green over a Yellow
2 - sparse mottling, Yellow or Light Green over a Dark Green base and vice versa with, sometimes, a light mottling of Marrone or Bruno
As the war progressed the camouflage schemes were simplified and the three color camouflage schemes began to disappear in
1941 when another directive was issued attempting to standardize around a simpler system, the Tavola 10.
Fiat CR.42s were known to carry the following color and camouflage schemes 1935-1943 :
C1 Macchie rade verdi e marrone mimetico su fondo giallo mimetico
1 Giallo Mimetico 1 2 3 - 4
2 Verde Mimetico 2 - 3 - 53192
3 Marrone Mimetico 1 2 53193 or Bruno Mimetico
4 Grigio Mimetico **
1 Giallo Mimetico 1 3
2 Marrone Mimetico 1 2
3 Verde Mimetico 3 - 53192
4 Grigio Mimetico or Alluminio
C2 nacchie rade verdi su fondo giallo mimetico
1 Giallo Mimetico 3 - 4
2 Verde Mimetico 1 2 3 53192
3 Grigio Mimetico
C3 reticolo do macchie rade verde mimetico su altro verde mimetico
1 Verde Mimetico 53192
2 Verde Mimetico 2 3
3 Grigio Mimetico
1 Verde Oliva Scuro 2
2 Nocciola Chiaro 4
3 Grigio Azzuro Chiaro 1
D2C Anelli irregolari verdi su fondo Nocciola
1 Nocciola Chiaro 4
2 Verde Oliva Scuro 2
3 Grigio Azzuro Chiaro 1
**Lower surfaces were usually left unpainted Aluminium even until the end of the 1930s when Grigio Mimetico FS 36231 began making its appearance. Grigio Mimetico FS 36231 was the standard underside color at the beginning of the war and up to 1941.
In summary, the British crash report corresponding to the aircraft of Sergente Pietro Salvadori CR.42 13-95 can be considered accurate, the aircaft 13-95 carrying what appears to be the C2 two tone camouflauge scheme. The Waldis and De Bortoli reference  can also be considered a useful reference and illustrates how varied, complex and fascinating Italian color and camouflage schemes can be. Both the two tone and three tone color camouflage schemes are known to have existed and mixed squadrons of aircraft painted in different schemes was not unusual.
1) Waldis, P. and M., De Bortoli, Regia Aeronautica Caccia & Assalto, 1940-1943, Part I, La Bancarella Aeronautica, Torino, 2002.
2) Apostolo, G., Ali D'Italia No. 1, CR.42, La Bancarella Aeronautica, Torino, 1995.
3) Postiglioni, U. and Degl'Innocenti, A., Colori e Schemi Mimetici Della Regia Aeronautica, II Edizione, CMPR, GAVS sez Roma, GMT, 2a Ristampa, 1997.