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Aircraft Marking of All Nations
November 1934 Flying Aces

November 1934 Flying Aces

Flying Aces November 1934 - Airplanes and Rockets Table of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like Flying Aces, Air Trails, American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, Young Men, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, R/C Modeler, captured the era. All copyrights acknowledged.

I was surprised to find in this 1934 issue of Flying Aces magazine that the European countries of Finland and Latvia used Swastika insignia. The Germans were not the only country that used a Swastika for military markings. According to Wikipedia, many Asian nations and religions used the swastika (pointing clockwise) or the sauwastika (pointing left) long before the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party) decided to adopt it as their organizational symbol. It would have been nice if Flying Aces had supplied the chart of early 20th Century aircraft country insignia in color, but back in the day color on anything other than the cover was very rare. Fortunately, they labeled many areas with what their color should be. I was going to colorize the symbols, but without knowing the true shades, doing so might do more harm than good if someone were to search for a color scheme for a model and mistakenly assume my chart was accurate.

Aircraft Marking of All Nations - Interesting Fact Article

By Willis L. Nye

Back in war days, it was pretty important to know and recognize the markings of other planes in the air. Today, too, it is important, for different reasons. We therefore present some authentic dope on how to tell the planes of all nations from each other - facts that should interest model builders and all others with an eye for aircraft.

The World War necessitated a specific marking of all aircraft used either by the Central Powers or by the Allies. As a result, no military aircraft of any recognized government today is without a marking device carried on the lower wings at the wing tips and on both sides of the rudder surface. The war had not progressed many days before aircraft became engaged in actual combat. Immediately the need to distinguish friend from foe became of first importance. The Central Powers adapted the Iron Cross, perhaps for no other reason than that it was a foregone conclusion that an aviator in their military service sooner or later deserved to wear the coveted order as a citation of bravery. The French adapted the tri-color in concentric rings mainly because it was very easy to see at great heights and under poor visibility conditions. The colors were for patriotic reasons. These markings have passed down, till today they are official.

As a general summary of the various devices and markings, the circle is the favorite, with its concentric ring patterns in the national colors of the country it represents.

Argentina employs circle marks of blue, white and blue. The navy has the same mark except that the anchor is superimposed on the mark. The rudders for aircraft of each service are the same. Belgium employs the circular red, black, and gold, with the rudder the same. Bolivia uses the national colors, red, yellow, and red. Brazil, likewise, uses green, yellow, and blue. The rudders are the same colors. Chile employs a mark similar to that of the United States, with a red outer ring, blue field, and white star. The rudder is blue, white and red, in the order named.

China also employs a white star on a blue field. The same device is used with a white rudder. Czecho-Slovakia divides the circle into three parts, blue, red, and white, with the same on the rudder. Denmark uses a red and white concentric circle. The army uses the same on a white rudder. The navy insignia has a red pennant pattern on a white rudder, similar to the Danish national colors. Mexico and Estonia employ triangles concentrically arranged in national colors.

Finland and Latvia use the swastika colored differently, as shown in the diagram. France and Paraguay use the tri-colored red, white, and blue circle. Paraguay uses, no rudder markings. France uses the same national colors on the rudder. England has her circle mark, blue, white, and red, as used in the World War, with a red, white, and blue rudder. Greece has four marks. The army uses the circle mark, with light blue border, white concentric ring, and light blue center. The rudder is striped the same way. The, navy uses the same, except that the tone of the blue is changed to dark blue.

Holland uses practically the same marking as Czecho-Slovakia, save for an orange center ring. The rudder is striped red, white, and blue. Italy uses a square system of three stripes, red, white, and green, and the same for the rudder. Japan employs one big red circle, with the same on a white rudder, both for army and navy planes. Little Lithuania employs a white cross pattern on colored, background for wings and rudder. Norway employs the square design illustrated and colored as shown, and the same pattern for the rudder.

Persia employs the same colors, as Italy - red, white, and green, in concentric circles, and the rudder arrangement given. Poland employs a checkered pattern in white and red. Portugal employs a red cross with a white cross concentric with a red and green rudder. Roumania uses the circle mark - red, yellow, and blue, concentrically arranged, with a rudder striped the same. Siam employs the circle divided five times with red on the outside, then white, blue, white, red center, in the order named. The rudder is the same way, striped horizontally.

Sweden uses her symbolic three black crows on a white circular background, while the rudder is striped yellow and light blue. Spain uses the imperial colors of Aragon in circular pattern of red, orange, and purple. The naval planes have a large "M" alongside the ring design, and the rudder is striped red, orange, and purple.

Switzerland follows her national emblem of the stubby white cross on a red square background for the wings and a white cross on a red rudder. The Union of the Socialistic Republics plants the red five pointed star on the wing tips and the same on a white rudder. Turkey uses her national emblem of the crescent and the star for the rudder, and a red square on a white square background for the wings. Uruguay employs a blue circle crossed by a red stripe, and a white stripe eccentrically arranged.

The United States has the insignia mark familiar to all of us. The U.S. Navy rudder marks are the same as employed during the World War, while the Army rudder marks were adapted in later years and resemble our ensign.

Jugo-Slavia has, without doubt, the most elaborate mark of all nations. It comprises a St. George Cross outlined in dark blue with a white center, superimposed on a concentric ring pattern of red, white, and light blue, in the order named. The rudder is simple with a horizontal arrangement of a light blue stripe, white, and red stripe.

Aircraft Radio Call Letters November 1934 Flying Aces - Airplanes and Rockets

Aircraft Radio Call Letters

Although Germany is prohibited by the Versailles Treaty from possessing military aircraft, most civil aircraft under the Hitler regime employs the Nazi swastika in brown on a white background in a circular pattern. This is entirely unofficial. During the war, the German aircraft employed crosses of varying patterns of black and silver. The cross herein shown is the most commonly employed toward the end of the war, and probably the official governmental marking. If the treaty is revised to allow military planes, undoubtedly this is probably the insignia mark that will be employed.

According to the dictates of the International Radio Telegraph Conference, the signal letters, radio call letters, and aircraft registration letters, have been assigned to the leading countries of the world as follows: (see table to right)

All aircraft markings for registration carry the above letters as a preamble. For example, NC-9006 on an American civil aircraft. Mexican aircraft might have XA-1234 or any preamble between XA and XF series of letters - as XB-1234. In this country, only N is assigned to prefix airplane registration. In England, the registration is a letter combination, as G-EAXP. Other countries have their own particular ways, but regardless of whether they are numerals or letters, the registration must have the preamble letter assigned by international agreement before the registration.

Incidentally, at first the cocarde and the black cross were adapted by the warring powers in the Great War as primarily a distinguishing and patriotic marking. It has now been recognized by international agreement to be as necessary as the code and ensign flags and pennants are to the merchant marine. And, as commercial aircraft grows to sizeable proportions, the "house" flags of the various airlines and the national registration will be as well known as the same corresponding marks on the merchant marine. And thus do we progress.



Posted August 2, 2021

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