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Color of USS Arizona - Revisited

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Color of USS Arizona - Revisited
Posted by tucchase on Thursday, November 22, 2012 1:45 AM

I know many of you are tired of this discussion, but in light of the interview with Lauren Bruner a while back, some of the post-attack photos now seem to make more sense.  I recently went back to Navsource and looked more closely at the post-attack photos.  It struck me that there appeared to be too many shades of grey in them for them to be a two-color scheme.  There are several photos that seem to support the story by Mr. Bruner that the Arizona was in the middle of being repainted at the time of the attack.  This photo is the best of the bunch, with it being in overcast daylight, but most of the visible verticle surfaces at essentially the same angle to said sunlight.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/01/013916b.jpg

It has been said that the Main Mast and rear of Turret #3 were engulfed in flames, and if you zoom in on this, and the other photos, you will see discoloration and bare metal in these locations.  But the Turret is only damaged on the rear 1/3 with the rest showing no damage at all.  In fact, the front 1/3 of Turret #3 looks exactly identical in color to the front of Turret #4, which by all accounts had no damage at all. 

On the Main Mast, the damage appears to extend only about 20 feet of so up each of the tripod poles and the boat cranes.  At the demarcation line for the 5-L paint above the Searchlight platform, visible almost perfectly right down to the platform, the 5-L paint appears to be completely undamaged, with virtually no soot from smoke.  One thing I noticed in all the pictures of the attack, both during and after, was that the wind was consistently blowing all smoke and flames toward the bow of the ship.  I attribute this apparent fact to why the Main Fighting Top is so clean.  Which leads to the obvious conclusion that the searchlight platform, and the Tripod poles immediately under it were also undamaged.  By no stretch of the imagination can I see any way for the SLP to have been damaged without charring the Tripods immediately above it.  Therefore, given how dark this area appears, it is to me reasonable that this area is indeed 5-D.  We know the area above this platform is 5-L.  Now, we look at the turrets and see that they are a third shade of grey.  Somewhere in between the other two shades.  This third shade of grey cannot be accounted for by shade from the sun, or any other way, because all the surfaces in question are obviously getting the same amount of sun.  You may say that the tripod poles under the platform are in shade, and I would agree with you.  But the edges of the platform are in the same sunlight as the Fighting Top and the turrets, and those edges are much darker than either of the other two surfaces.  Since there were only three actual probabilities for paint on these areas, it seems rather obvious that all three were in use at this time, including 5-S. 

Can anyone else come up with an explaination for three distinct shades in this photo, given the facts that this photo is showing?  Correct me if I am wrong, but any arguments about filters, film speed, developing processes, etc... would only be valid if this picture was being directly compared with another picture.  Since it is by itself, and it is B&W (no color shift), then these various arguments would not apply, right?

Is this a smoking gun?  Hiding under our noses all these years?  I will leave that for each of you to decide for your self.  For me, it definitely supports Mr. Bruner's interview.  What it doesn't tell us is whether the shields on the boat deck had been painted, or any of the superstructure and stack.  He said they weren't, and he didn't know about the shields because he was on the party scheduled to do the superstructure area.  Over on Ship Forums, ArizonaBB39 worked up a drawing of what this scheme might have looked like.  It is on, I think, page 68 or 69 of "At 'Em Arizona", Drawing #5.  It makes for an interesting look!  And it looks a lot like the photo above!

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Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, November 22, 2012 8:25 AM

I remember an article in the Journal of the Ship Modeler's Guild about a year or so back on the Arizona.  I remember it discussed red paint on tops of turrets. I can't seem to find my issue at the moment, but it appeared to be a well-researched article.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

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Posted by tucchase on Thursday, November 22, 2012 2:20 PM

Yes, it was determined several years ago that all the BBs, and cruisers, had colored turret tops to match their own scout plane squadron.  This has been comfirmed by memos and pictures.  The picture above shows just the port edge of the top, and that only because the top was curved.  It does appear to be a fourth shade of grey which would be the red top.  It cannot be a shadow from the barrel above it because the angle of the sun is wrong for the barrel to cast a shadow on this part of Turret #4.  Note the shadow of the port range finder on both turrets.  Since the side of the turret below the range finder is vertical, and not slanted, for the barrel to make a shadow where this grey line is located, the shadow of the range finder would go all the way to the water.  This photo appears to be the only post-attack pic that shows any of the top of Turret #4 that is not washed out by glare, or of the turret after the top was removed to salvage the interior components.  There may be other better pics out there, but not on Navsource.  I keep hoping Steve Wiper will release his new book on the Arizona, but the other new book a year or so ago beat him to the punch and he is waiting for a better time to release his.  He told me at IPMS Nationals in Phoenix that he knows what color the Arizona was.  I hope that means it will be in his book.

I think it is interesting in this photo that the gun shields on the boat deck, while twisted somewhat, mostly appear to be the same shade of grey as the rear turrets.  Maybe they had been already painted 5-S?

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  • From: EG48
Posted by Tracy White on Thursday, November 22, 2012 3:13 PM

As I've said here and on other boards, Ron Smith found a document that he read to me over the phone, but then when he turned copies of his research over to myself and John Snyder, neither of us could find it, so it remains in "hearsay" status.

This document, authored by CINCPAC Admiral Kimmel  referenced a shortage of paints and as a measure of stretching out stocks, sought to use a transitional measure. Battleships were to retain enough 5-D for one repaint of the hull (waterline up to the deck) and turn the rest in. Then *as needed* and *without need to report* they were to repaint areas of the superstructure in the new 5-S Sea Blue or 5-O Ocean Gray. This means that JUST a barbette could be repainted, or one side or bulkhead of a superstructure level.

My last two trips to NARA II in DC have set aside some time to try and relocate this document, but thus far I haven't been able to.

If this document exists it would essentially give modelers a lot more latitude to paint the ships, as one would need photos on any specific day to dispute accuracy. I have photos of the ships from different angles and different days, and what looks lighter in one photo doesn't in another. Photographic interpretation is going to remain a matter of opinion and fraught with misinterpretation. 

Tracy White Researcher@Large

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Posted by tucchase on Thursday, November 22, 2012 6:34 PM

From Tracy White - "I have photos of the ships from different angles and different days, and what looks lighter in one photo doesn't in another. Photographic interpretation is going to remain a matter of opinion and fraught with misinterpretation."

That is why this particular photo may be so important.  It is a single picture with direct sunlight highlighting vertical surfaces that are showing as three distinct shades of grey.  And as such it is not subject to comparison with any other picture.  Plus, there are vertical surfaces in said sunlight, in each of the seperate shades of grey, that appear to be at, or very close to, the same angle to the sun.  There is very little that needs to be interpreted, and only three colors for vertical sufaces above the hull that were in actual use at this time.  Kind of narrows the possibilities a little.  Unless you consider that 5-O may have been in actual use prior to the attack.  I believe you have documentation that 5-O had already been authorized about a month before the attack for some uses, but is there any evidence that Pearl had any to use?  Wasn't 5-O to replace 5-L, and 5-N would be to replace 5-S?

I don't believe there is any other explanation for the variation of the three shades of grey in this photo.  But I am open to ideas if anyone has one that will not contradict the known, and deduced, facts of this photo.  Such as the angle of the sun as defined by the shadows.  Or that the Searchlight platform seems to be undamaged because the tripod poles immediately above it seem to be undamaged.  Also, this is not a color photo subject to any color shift, blue or otherwise, since there is no color in it.  Can B&W photos have "shade shift"?

As someone once said, "Sometimes a duck is just a duck!"

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Posted by TomZ2 on Thursday, November 22, 2012 7:05 PM

This forum seems to breathes and eats controversy.

Tags: USS Arizona

Occasional factual, grammatical, or spelling variations are inherent to this thesis and should not be considered as defects, as they enhance the individuality and character of this document.

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Posted by JGraham50 on Thursday, November 22, 2012 7:21 PM

hi...i'm new here and haven't read all the posts yet, but has anyone asked any of the Arizona survivors what color the ship was on Dec 7?  It could solve the question at last.

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Posted by tucchase on Thursday, November 22, 2012 7:51 PM

Welcome aboard!

Yes, and no it would not solve the question.  First, there are only 18 survivors remaining alive, according to the website dedicated to the memory of the Arizona.  Second, a lot of their memories contradict each other.  Even memories from the same person.  After all, they are all over 90 now.  Third, their survival experience was so horrific that many of the mundane details of their shipboard lives was forgotten, such as colors that they saw, and ignored, everyday.  There is one account given a couple of years ago now, from a Mister Lauren Bruner (as I mentioned above) who recalled that he was on the pianting crew that was in the middle of repainting the Arizona to the newly designated 5-S Sea Blue.  He stated that he knew for sure the hull and Turrets/barbettes had been done, but they had not started the superstructure yet.  He knew this because he was on the superstructure painting crew.  He said they had not done the Main Mast either, but he didn't know if the gun shields on the boat deck had been done or not.  He also said they disliked the new paint because everything took two coats to cover the 5-D Dark Grey, which may be why he can remember it so well after cursing it so much!

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Posted by TomZ2 on Thursday, November 22, 2012 9:19 PM

From Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Thursday, December 7, 2006:


New USS Arizona model shows blue paint scheme

The name of the American war plan in 1941 was "Rainbow Five," but it's unlikely this referred to the battleships at Pearl Harbor. Or did it?

According to a discovery by historians, the ships of Battleship Row were a bright kaleidoscope of colors, not the dull gray camouflage they were thought to have been for the last 65 years.

The information was announced last evening at an unveiling of a new model of the USS Arizona in the battleship Visitor Center at Pearl Harbor. Security was tight for the last week as the model was placed in location, and it was covered in shrouds before being dramatically unveiled by a group of USS Arizona survivors.

"Every battleship sailor in the world wants a peek at this," remarked retired Adm. Thomas Fargo to the crowd of several hundred historians, veterans and news media.


The model replaces an older, inaccurate model built in the 1960s. Craftsman Don Preul, determined to create the world's most accurate representation of the warship, conferred with Park Service historian Dan Martinez on the proper colors. Research was difficult because most of the ship's records had been destroyed in 1944.

Preul hit the jackpot in the National Archives when he uncovered an order from Pearl Harbor commander Husband Kimmel directing that the ships under his command be painted a shade referred to as Mediterranean Blue.

"Suddenly, here was a link to something that had troubled us for years," said Martinez. "Then we had it confirmed by USS Arizona aviator Glenn Lane, who was keeper of the paint locker in the aviation section. Not only was the ship blue, but the tops of the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 turrets were red."

Kimmel's orders specify a rainbow of five colors to represent the different battleship divisions, painted atop the two front turrets of battleships. The aftermost turret top was to be painted in a color representing which aircraft division the ship belonged to. In the case of the USS Arizona, both colors were a bright red.

Cruisers had their turret tops painted in similar colors, but in stripes instead of solid panels.

The idea, explained Preul, was so aircraft could identify their own ships, and also see which ships were firing their cannon: "These battleships could throw shells 18 miles. The planes couldn't get close enough to read their names, so the bright colors helped."

Preul, Martinez and associates including naval artist Tom Freeman met a few months ago to go over the orders and compare them to black and white pictures of the period. Their consensus was that the ships at Pearl Harbor were indeed painted in this manner.

"It certainly raised questions about coloration of all the ships at Pearl," said Preul. "This is a topic that has raised a lot of controversy among historians over the years. It also reveals what an interesting time of transition the Navy was in at the time."

"We had it wrong for 65 years," said Martinez. "Today, we have made it right."

© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://archives.starbulletin.com

Occasional factual, grammatical, or spelling variations are inherent to this thesis and should not be considered as defects, as they enhance the individuality and character of this document.

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  • From: EG48
Posted by Tracy White on Thursday, November 22, 2012 11:54 PM

tucchase
Which leads to the obvious conclusion that the searchlight platform, and the Tripod poles immediately under it were also undamaged.

Sorry, I've got a high-resolution copy of that scan, and the platform edge and structure underneath show signs of heat damage. Coming from a May1942 salvage report I scanned in is this tidbit about the catapult as well:

Catapult, Mk. 4, Mod. 1, Type P, has been put in a state of preservation and stored at Waipio Point.  The forward end of this catapult, for approximately 12 feet, was subjected to intense heat causing the structure to droop and some of the bottom plates to buckle. There is other structural damage to this catapult.  It is be­lieved that this catapult can be made service­able with the necessary structural repairs and overhaul of all working parts.    Some replacement parts would be required, such as "Insurok" oar slippers, launching cable, etc.    Launching car and catapult gun and breech mechanism are in good condltion.

That's a lot of heat for a structure that high off the deck.

Now, I happen to agree that the barbette looks suspiciously light. The turret I always ignore; the angled sides reflect more light and make them look lighter in almost all cases. It might be lighter, but it's a bad structure to try and use. The fact is that photographic interpretation is not going to sufficiently answer this question. Anyone can believe what they want to, but I'm after something that will stand up to a scientific-type review. I have now literally spent thousands of dollars on research trips to try and answer this question (I will be up-front and say that not all of the time on these trips has been researching this color issue, but it's a big driver) and I just can't look at a picture and proclaim we know what happened. There is far more to this story.

Tracy White Researcher@Large

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Posted by Tracy White on Friday, November 23, 2012 12:03 AM

TomZ2
directing that the ships under his command be painted a shade referred to as Mediterranean Blue.

One other thing that has to be mentioned as well was that this article has used an incorrect term. "Mediterranean blue" was not a US Navy color and its mention in this piece has caused much confusion. That description was used by Glenn Lane, an aviator attached to Arizona that Don interviewed a few times. The shade he was referring to is 5-S Sea Blue (US Navy ship paints during the war  started with 5- for vertical paint and 20- for deck paint and then had a leter designating the color. 5-S was Sea Blue, 5-N was Navy blue. and 20-B was Deck Blue). Don sent him paint chips without names to avoid "tainting" the test and asked him which color most closely  matched the ship - he chose Sea Blue. That and a piece of metal painted in 5-D (Dark Gray) lead to the conclusion that Arizona was painted in 5-S (fresh 5-D was darker than some black paints) and not 5-D. I was part of the research team that supported Don, but I haven't been entirely happy with the results and have continued the research when funds permit.

But the executive summary is that the term "Mediterranean blue" should not be used.

Tracy White Researcher@Large

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Posted by tucchase on Friday, November 23, 2012 4:14 AM

Tracy White

tucchase
Which leads to the obvious conclusion that the searchlight platform, and the Tripod poles immediately under it were also undamaged.

Sorry, I've got a high-resolution copy of that scan, and the platform edge and structure underneath show signs of heat damage. Coming from a May1942 salvage report I scanned in is this tidbit about the catapult as well:

I acknowledge your advantage of having a much higher resolution copy.  This pic on Navsource can only be magnified about 600X (I was looking at it at 400X) before it starts distorting.  I can just barely make out that the tripods and platform have "some damage".  It shows much heavier below the platform under the Searchlights.  This platform is more than half again the height of the catapult.  The catapult looks to be about 40% of the height of the Searchlight Platform.  But how much damage is shown on the tripod poles immediately above the SP?  At 600X there still doesn't appear to be much, if any.

Catapult, Mk. 4, Mod. 1, Type P, has been put in a state of preservation and stored at Waipio Point.  The forward end of this catapult, for approximately 12 feet, was subjected to intense heat causing the structure to droop and some of the bottom plates to buckle. There is other structural damage to this catapult.  It is be­lieved that this catapult can be made service­able with the necessary structural repairs and overhaul of all working parts.    Some replacement parts would be required, such as "Insurok" oar slippers, launching cable, etc.    Launching car and catapult gun and breech mechanism are in good condltion.

That's a lot of heat for a structure that high off the deck.

This damage report seems to reiterate what I said about the damage to Turret #3.  The front end of the catapult is over the rear of the turret, correct?  And how long is this catapult?  It appears to be longer than the barrels and they are over 50 feet long.  Fifteen feet isn't very much compared to 60 or 70 feet.  This report also points out that the "Launching car and catapult gun and breech mechanism are in good condltion."  I believe these parts are above the Glacis Plate at the front of the turret.  The part of the catapult above the barrels, in sunlight, is vertical, and appears to be the same shade of grey as the front half of the barbette of Turret #3.  I looked at the turret and barbette area again at 600X and the discoloration appears to stop before it reaches the halfway point of this turret.  Yes, this area was very hot.  To the point that bare metal seems to be showing on the rear of the turret under the range finder.  This is better seen in the picture on page 253 of Stillwell's book.  The tripod and port boat crane also look to have extensive paint damage up to the first platform.  The starboard crane is harder to tell, but comparing what you can see of it to the exact same part of the port crane, both appearing to be in the same sunlight, same angle, the starboard crane appears nearly undamaged.  Since there were two bomb hits near the port crane, it is understandable why this entire area got fried. 

Now, I happen to agree that the barbette looks suspiciously light. The turret I always ignore; the angled sides reflect more light and make them look lighter in almost all cases. It might be lighter, but it's a bad structure to try and use. The fact is that photographic interpretation is not going to sufficiently answer this question. Anyone can believe what they want to, but I'm after something that will stand up to a scientific-type review. I have now literally spent thousands of dollars on research trips to try and answer this question (I will be up-front and say that not all of the time on these trips has been researching this color issue, but it's a big driver) and I just can't look at a picture and proclaim we know what happened. There is far more to this story.

I agree with you that there is much we do not know for sure, and will probably never know.  The fire in the records at Pearl probably took care of that for us.  But some scientific methods can be used to make comparisons in a single B&W picture.  And it is my contention that there are some facts revealed in this picture that are not as readily evident in any other picture in Navsource of the Arizona post-attack.  This is the only one showing this area, including part of Turret #4, that gives such a near perfect broadside view, with even, diffused sunlight (enough to make shadows showing the angle of the sun).  It is showing three distinct groups of shades of grey.  We will call them Light, Medium, and Dark for now.  All of the vertical, and near vertical surfaces have various subshades that are similar to each group of shades.  Each group of shades is different enough from each of the other two as to be obvious there is a difference.  Do you agree so far?  You point out that there is some damage to the SP.  Yet it remains very dark.  This is fact, not interpretation, right?  It is also fact that there were 3 colors of #5 Paint in use at this time prior to the attack.  They were also Light, Medium, and Dark.  Is this not so?  Even if the Navy had started using 5-O and 5-N, that does not change the fact that there are three distinct shade groups in this photo.  But the Navy had not yet started distribution of these latter colors just yet, had they?  Even though there are areas in the Medium and Dark sections that were obvoiusly damaged (observed fact, not interpretation), the areas around these damaged portions remained the same basic shade group for that section.  The fourth turret is important in this photo because by all accounts it was undamaged by fire.  Yet it is the same apparent group of shades as at least the front half, and barrels, of #3.  Again, this is not interpretation. This is fact as shown in this B&W photo.  Can you, or anyone else, dispute this particular fact? 

Again, I agree that this pic does not answer every question about the Arizona.  But it does give us some basic facts that cannot be explained away by any interpretation.  Mine, or anyone else's.  B&W photos are known for their better detail and consistency.  It is why many professionals still use it today for certain shots that need that detail.  The only other way we will know for sure is if someone goes back in time and takes new pictures and brings them back.  But then someone will say they used the wrong film, or the wrong digital imaging chip.........

Tracy, on your copy can you determine how much damage may have been done to the starboard crane and the starboard tripod leg?  Or do you have any of the other pics of this area that might give a better view?  They seem to have less damage than the rest of this area.  Yes, in this case, that is my interpretation of how these look.  Less damage means more original paint.  So if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck!  That is scientific analysis at its most basic level.

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Posted by subfixer on Friday, November 23, 2012 7:30 AM

This subject just will not die. A few years ago, a dive team was allowed to photograph certain sections of the interior. Perhaps a forensic expedition to obtain forensic samples of exterior paint remnants could be allowed to finally put this question to rest once and for all. Because I don't see any other way it will be resolved. Black and white photos just don't show color. Red and green in the proper shades, can look identical in a B/W picture.  

I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

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  • From: EG48
Posted by Tracy White on Friday, November 23, 2012 10:36 AM

Even a paint sample won't help, because we have the possibility of different areas being painted in different colors - it would just show *that* area. The National Parks Service did look to find usable paint samples on the portions of the wreckage that were moved to Waipio peninsula when the memorial was being constructed when we were doing our research, but it was too badly burned and rusted.

Tracy White Researcher@Large

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  • From: EG48
Posted by Tracy White on Friday, November 23, 2012 11:42 AM

tucchase
The starboard crane is harder to tell, but comparing what you can see of it to the exact same part of the port crane, both appearing to be in the same sunlight, same angle, the starboard crane appears nearly undamaged.  Since there were two bomb hits near the port crane, it is understandable why this entire area got fried.


Two hits on Arizona period - the earlier count has been demonstrated to be wrong. She was hit first on #4 turret on the starboad side - the side away from the photo in question. The bomb glanced off the turret  side and went through the deck, doing no great damage above the deck.

tucchase
It is also fact that there were 3 colors of #5 Paint in use at this time prior to the attack.  They were also Light, Medium, and Dark.

This is incorrect. The original camouflage instructions, released in January of 1941 defined three colors, 5-D Dark Gray, 5-O Ocean Gray, and 5-L Light Gray. 5-D was a special paint and was issued in pre-mixed cans, whereas the later two were issued as a white base and separate tinting paint that was mixed in - different ratios made different colors. One of the "problems" with determining who was painted what was that the later paints, 5-S Sea Blue, 5-N Navy Blue, and 5-H Haze Gray, were made from the same base and tint, just using different ratios:

Original Formulas:
5-L Light Gray: 9 oz. mixed with 5 gal of 5-U Un-tinted White Base Paint
5-O Ocean Gray: 60 oz mixed with 5 gal of 5-U Un-tinted White Base Paint
Source

Revised & expanded formulas defined in July 1941:
5-H Haze Gray: 2 pints mixed with 5 gal of 5-U Un-tinted White Base Paint
5-O Ocean Gray: 5 pints mixed with 5 gal of 5-U Un-tinted White Base Paint
5-S Sea Blue: 10 pints mixed with 5 gal of 5-U Un-tinted White Base Paint
Source

Navy Blue's formula was 15 pints to 5 gallons - while I haven't found the early/first correspondence to the Pacific fleet about its use yet, the Atlantic fleet was ordered to use it instead of 5-S Sea Blue in early November, 1941.

This may seem a bit tangential, but the problem I mentioned above is that the Navy units and forces already had the ingredients in place - they just needed the new ratios in order to make it. So theoretically they could "instantly" change formulas as there's no supply chain lag. This isn't entirely true, though, because we know that ships had requested the amounts they needed based on those earlier formulas - if a ship is going to start switching from 5-L to 5-S they suddenly need 50 times as much tinting paste!

So, we have at least four paints in use at the time of the attack (5-L, 5-O, 5-S, and 5-D) and possibly 5-N.

As an aside, I never REALLY had an interest in camouflage until I started the research on Arizona, and even now it bugs me some times that I know as much as I do (I could write a paper on the use of 5-D alone, and that "scared" me the first time I realized that!). So, I'm not trying to come off as a paint academic, it's just a topic I've had to research a lot to even get to where we are today.  If anyone wants to read the source documents that I've found I've posted them to my site here, they start about 2/3 of the way down.

Tracy White Researcher@Large

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Posted by tucchase on Friday, November 23, 2012 12:29 PM

subfixer

This subject just will not die. A few years ago, a dive team was allowed to photograph certain sections of the interior. Perhaps a forensic expedition to obtain forensic samples of exterior paint remnants could be allowed to finally put this question to rest once and for all. Because I don't see any other way it will be resolved. Black and white photos just don't show color. Red and green in the proper shades, can look identical in a B/W picture.  

Yes, they can.  But that does NOT apply to this photo.  There was no green paint in use by the Navy for the outside vertical surfaces of a Battleship at this time.  They were only using different shades of grey.  This is fact, not interpretation.  The only red used above the hull was the turret tops and maybe the fire hose locations or valves.  Since they were only using grey paints on the areas in question, what better way to see the difference in shades than a B&W photo?  This is what B&W photos do best, isn't it?  Show different shades of grey?  There were only three probable shades of grey in actual use that we know for sure.  These were, from Dark to Light, 5-D, 5-S, and 5-L.  There were also two, and maybe three versions of grey about to be in use that were to replace the three existing shades.  These new shades were, from Dark to Light, 5-N Navy Blue, 5-O Ocean Blue, and 5-H? Haze Grey.  Even if the Navy had already started using the 5-O, the 5-N and 5-H didn't start until early 1942.  Is this correct Tracy?  From what you have already found in the archives?  So what we are seeing in this photo is three distinct shades of grey on the areas in question, and we have only three probable choices to match those three shades in this photo, plus ONE possible variation of the Medium shade, 5-O instead of 5-S.  Some will argue that the Main Mast was burnt and that is why it looks black.  Can they explain how the Mast tripod legs could be burnt black up to and including the Searchlight platform, yet the tripod legs that are visible just above (only one or two feet above) show little if any damage?  They are still obviously 5-L given the known facts about the ship.  Does anyone argue that the Fighting Tops and the tripod legs between the FT and the Searchlight Platform were anything but 5-L?  This has been one of the given known facts about the Arizona all along.  The other area that refutes any contention that the Main Mast was burnt black is the rear portion of the #3 Turret.  This area was hot enought to deform the front end of the catapult (as specified in the damage report of said catapult), yet none of the turret is anywhere near as dark as the Main Mast.  This is photographic fact, not interpretation. 

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Posted by tucchase on Friday, November 23, 2012 2:34 PM

OK, you were posting this when I started my last post.

Tracy White

tucchase
The starboard crane is harder to tell, but comparing what you can see of it to the exact same part of the port crane, both appearing to be in the same sunlight, same angle, the starboard crane appears nearly undamaged.  Since there were two bomb hits near the port crane, it is understandable why this entire area got fried.


Two hits on Arizona period - the earlier count has been demonstrated to be wrong. She was hit first on #4 turret on the starboad side - the side away from the photo in question. The bomb glanced off the turret  side and went through the deck, doing no great damage above the deck.

So if there were no hits on the port side near the crane (as shown on page 265 of Stillwells book), what caused this area to burn so well?  Maybe flame traveling under the boat deck causing the vegetable bin to ignite?  The photo does show the vegetable bin as heavily damaged.  But the cause of that damage is now pure speculation without the nearby bomb hits.

Tracy White

tucchase
It is also fact that there were 3 colors of #5 Paint in use at this time prior to the attack.  They were also Light, Medium, and Dark.

This is incorrect. The original camouflage instructions, released in January of 1941 defined three colors, 5-D Dark Gray, 5-O Ocean Gray, and 5-L Light Gray. 5-D was a special paint and was issued in pre-mixed cans, whereas the later two were issued as a white base and separate tinting paint that was mixed in - different ratios made different colors. One of the "problems" with determining who was painted what was that the later paints, 5-S Sea Blue, 5-N Navy Blue, and 5-H Haze Gray, were made from the same base and tint, just using different ratios:

Original Formulas:
5-L Light Gray: 9 oz. mixed with 5 gal of 5-U Un-tinted White Base Paint
5-O Ocean Gray: 60 oz mixed with 5 gal of 5-U Un-tinted White Base Paint
Source

Revised & expanded formulas defined in July 1941:
5-H Haze Gray: 2 pints mixed with 5 gal of 5-U Un-tinted White Base Paint
5-O Ocean Gray: 5 pints mixed with 5 gal of 5-U Un-tinted White Base Paint
5-S Sea Blue: 10 pints mixed with 5 gal of 5-U Un-tinted White Base Paint
Source

Navy Blue's formula was 15 pints to 5 gallons - while I haven't found the early/first correspondence to the Pacific fleet about its use yet, the Atlantic fleet was ordered to use it instead of 5-S Sea Blue in early November, 1941.

This may seem a bit tangential, but the problem I mentioned above is that the Navy units and forces already had the ingredients in place - they just needed the new ratios in order to make it. So theoretically they could "instantly" change formulas as there's no supply chain lag. This isn't entirely true, though, because we know that ships had requested the amounts they needed based on those earlier formulas - if a ship is going to start switching from 5-L to 5-S they suddenly need 50 times as much tinting paste!

So, we have at least four paints in use at the time of the attack (5-L, 5-O, 5-S, and 5-D) and possibly 5-N.

As an aside, I never REALLY had an interest in camouflage until I started the research on Arizona, and even now it bugs me some times that I know as much as I do (I could write a paper on the use of 5-D alone, and that "scared" me the first time I realized that!). So, I'm not trying to come off as a paint academic, it's just a topic I've had to research a lot to even get to where we are today.  If anyone wants to read the source documents that I've found I've posted them to my site here, they start about 2/3 of the way down.

OK, I went back and read all your memos listed under 1941, and nowhere can I see any listing where 5-O New formula is to be substituted for 5-D in the Atlantic or the Pacific.  There are several that reference 5-O to be used in some measures in the Atlantic, but not as a replacement for 5-D.  And there are a few that specifically state that 5-S is to be used in place of 5-D in the Pacific.  Weren't the Battleships designated to use Measure 1 before the Attack?  I can't find that reference in your lists.  But if so, Measure 1 only designates two colors for vertical surfaces above the boottop, 5-D or its direct replacement 5-S, and 5-L or its direct replacement 5-H. Is this correct?  Wasn't 5-H pretty close in shade to 5-L?  5-O was for use on Measures that required a third shade between the light and dark shades.  Since it is known that 5-D was quite a bit darker than 5-S, this would make any photo of a BB with three distinct shades for a Measure 1 system fairly obvious that it was in the midst of being repainted.

Have I misstated any of these facts?  I have tried to keep them consistent with what is said in the memos you have for 1941. 

  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by tucchase on Friday, November 23, 2012 3:46 PM

Tracy White

Navy Blue's formula was 15 pints to 5 gallons - while I haven't found the early/first correspondence to the Pacific fleet about its use yet, the Atlantic fleet was ordered to use it instead of 5-S Sea Blue in early November, 1941.

 

Yes, this memo was Atlantic Fleet only, and it references the new Ships 2.  But even if a similar copy had been sent to the Pacific, I don't believe it would have mattered in the Arizona's case.  The new Ships 2 mandates that Measures 1 thru 8 are no longer valid, and are replaced with Measures 11, 12, 13, & 14.  But as near as anyone has been able to tell from any pictures of the Arizona, she was still in Measure 1 at the time of the attack.  All the new measures are very noticably different from Measure 1.  The only possible new Measure that could be accepted in this picture is #12, and only if it is presumed that all use of 5-S was skipped and the ship's crew started repainting her with 5-O above the Main Deck.  The only 5-N on Measure 12 was the hull between the boottop and the Main Deck or highest sheer line, for the length of the ship (now under water).  Measure 11 did not use 5-H at all.  Only 5-S, replaced by 5-N.  What Measure is showing on the Pennsylvania in drydock at the time of the attack?  Navsource seems to be unresponsive at the moment.

Anyway, I agree it is possible the medium grey shade in this photo may be 5-O, and the Fighting Top might be 5-H.  It may even be so because this was Isaac Hull's Flagship for his Bat Division and he might have wanted to set a good example.  But that is speculation, too.  It might save on the Tinting Material, though.  Depending how much more surface area there was to cover with 5-O under Measure 12 than there was for 5-N.  By my calculations, if it took 300 gals to paint the ship between the boottopping and the top of the funnel, and this was split 2/3 for above the Main Deck and 1/3 below, then it would save about 100 pints of 5-TM. 

200 gals of 5-O would use 200 pints  +

100 gals of 5-N would use 300 pints  or

300 gals of 5-S would use 600 pints 

If the hull took much more than 1/3, there might be little or no savings at all.  It reaches zero savings at a 50/50 split.

  • Member since
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Posted by tankerbuilder on Saturday, November 24, 2012 6:43 AM

I am fascinated that the color issue on the ARIZONA has raised it,s irritating head again. The MODEL by DON PRUEL was done from archival information and that is what I,ll do. My customers are in agreement.Any ARIZONA that I do from here on out will match DON,S model as to color.

  All this talk of 5-d,5-s etc.has my head spinning.Question,there are computers that can interpret colors from shades of grey.Why hasn,t this been done? This technique would certainly put this question to rest ,wouldn,t it?

I spent quite a few years in the good old U.S.N. and I can tell you ,from experience,that five ships painted (supposedly) the same shade of "HAZE GREY "  looked as different as night and day.You could see the differences in daylight very well.

This was even evident at yards where I was with my ship.The ship next to us was supposedly painted the same color as we were.If the color thing is so official then why did she (the other ship) appear darker in the sunlight?There,s one to think about.  TANKER-builder

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: EG48
Posted by Tracy White on Saturday, November 24, 2012 11:45 AM

tucchase
All the new measures are very noticably different from Measure 1.  The only possible new Measure that could be accepted in this picture is #12, and only if it is presumed that all use of 5-S was skipped and the ship's crew started repainting her with 5-O above the Main Deck.

So you start with the interview of Lauren Bruner as providing proof of one and now say the only possible measure is another? I know that's not literally what you're saying here, but please go back to my original post in this thread - there is another document that could possibly explain a difference in appearance.

P.S. black & white isn't necessarily "mo' bettah" at showing the differences in colors.

Also, 5-O was already in use with the Pacific fleet, just not ordered for battleships (see my first post for caveat). Measure 2 had been applied to Chester and a couple of other cruisers, for example.

tucchase
It may even be so because this was Isaac Hull's Flagship for his Bat Division

Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, for what it's worth.

tankerbuilder
Question,there are computers that can interpret colors from shades of grey.Why hasn,t this been done? This technique would certainly put this question to rest ,wouldn,t it?

No, and no. With regards to Don's model - yes we researched it, but I've continued researching since then and have found more information to muddy the waters.  We're at the point where there is no definitive answer to the question. I know that most of us are Americans and Americans hate a story without a conclusion, but that's just where we're at right now.

Tracy White Researcher@Large

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Posted by tucchase on Saturday, November 24, 2012 4:06 PM

Tracy White

tucchase
All the new measures are very noticably different from Measure 1.  The only possible new Measure that could be accepted in this picture is #12, and only if it is presumed that all use of 5-S was skipped and the ship's crew started repainting her with 5-O above the Main Deck.

So you start with the interview of Lauren Bruner as providing proof of one and now say the only possible measure is another? I know that's not literally what you're saying here, but please go back to my original post in this thread - there is another document that could possibly explain a difference in appearance.

P.S. black & white isn't necessarily "mo' bettah" at showing the differences in colors.

Also, 5-O was already in use with the Pacific fleet, just not ordered for battleships (see my first post for caveat). Measure 2 had been applied to Chester and a couple of other cruisers, for example.

What I was actually trying to say was that this photo supports Mr. Bruner's recollection of what he and his shipmates were doing before the attack.  Not the other way around.  There is no way to tell if his memory is accurate.  But this photo matches what statements he made.  Yes, it may be just coincidence.

That other document would be nice to find again.  Wouldn't the ship's Captains still follow the regs on how to repaint according to what measure they were assigned to use?  If so, and they were in Measure 1, then the only alternative for 5-D was 5-S  Am I correct?  If the ship had been assigned Measure 12, then 5-O would have been the appropriate replacement for 5-D above the hull, and 5-N below the main deck.  I seriously doubt that any Captain would have been so bold as to use 5-O on a Measure 1 scheme.  Or am I mistaken and each Captain really had that kind of latitude? 

Tracy White

tucchase
It may even be so because this was Isaac Hull's Flagship for his Bat Division

Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, for what it's worth.?

DOH!!! Brain-strain... I knew that....Whistling

Tracy White

tankerbuilder
Question,there are computers that can interpret colors from shades of grey.Why hasn,t this been done? This technique would certainly put this question to rest ,wouldn,t it?

No, and no. With regards to Don's model - yes we researched it, but I've continued researching since then and have found more information to muddy the waters.  We're at the point where there is no definitive answer to the question. I know that most of us are Americans and Americans hate a story without a conclusion, but that's just where we're at right now.

Tankerbuilder, wouldn't any computer scan comparison depend on all the pictures scanned to have been on the same type of film, with the same amount of light on the subject?  Your third paragraph points to the difficulty that may entail.  We can limit the number of possible colors that each shade might be to 1, or 2 at the most, because there is a very limited pool from which to choose.  We don't need a computer for that.  Just common sense.  After all, I think we can all agree that they were not using modern Haze Grey prior to WWII.

After reviewing again all of Tracy's memos for 1941 regarding paint and camouflage Measures, it appears to me that only two scenarios fit the evidence in this photo on my OP.  Either it is still Measure 1 and the three distinct shades of grey are, from dark to light, 5-D, 5-S, and 5-L, or it is Measure 12 and these three shades of grey are from dark to light, still 5-D, 5-O, and either 5-L or 5-H.  Unless Tracy, or one of the other researchers, can come up with a memo ordering the Arizona to convert to Measure 12, or a letter from Admiral Kidd saying he is going to convert to measure 12, or any other memo or letter saying that this is so, we must conclude that Arizona was still in Measure 1, which was known.  I have to say that Measure 12 in combination with what was left of Measure 1 would be an interesting paint scheme with the addition of 5-N from the boot-top to the sheer line.  Very busy paint job but not nearly as busy as some of the other camo Measures.  But I don't believe that is what happened.  I don't believe the BatDivs could have responded that fast to the changes made to Ships 2.  Wasn't the Pennsylvania still in Measure 1 in drydock?

Anyway, can anyone else come up with a possible reason explaining the evidence in this photo and consistent with the known memos from this period of time?  Without assuming any other facts not given by the known memos, or this photo?

  • Member since
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Posted by tucchase on Saturday, November 24, 2012 6:45 PM

By the way, those of you who are not interested in the Arizona, and/or are tired of this controversy, but might be interested in one or more of the other Battleships at Pearl at this time (like the new Maryland?); these same arguments, memos, etc... apply to those ships, too.  All these ships were under similar orders.  How many of these other ships had already started to repaint?  Close examination of available photos may reveal much.  Was the Arizona the only one?  Possible.  But these orders had been out for many months.  Each of you will have to decide for yourself how much you want to believe, or how deep you want to dig.  Of course, if you just build it to 1940 or earlier, then there isn't much choice of color, so no controversy.  Your covered.

  • Member since
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  • From: EG48
Posted by Tracy White on Saturday, November 24, 2012 7:46 PM

tucchase
Anyway, can anyone else come up with a possible reason explaining the evidence in this photo and consistent with the known memos from this period of time?  Without assuming any other facts not given by the known memos, or this photo?

5-D chalked badly, which did lighten its appearance. There's a shot of WeeVee's #3 barbette & turret with her Kingfisher inverted, leaning against the barbette... which looks REALLY light, but examination shows that it's reflection of light from the water and bright deck shining on things. These are possibilities we must keep in mind so as to not taint the research by looking for "proof" to fit an agenda, as so many do.

With regards to orders and captains' latitude... it was a complex chain. The Bureau of Ships in Washington created the paints and paint measures, but left the actual decision as to what to use was left up to theater (Commander-In-Chief Pacific, Commander-In-Chief Atlantic)  and force (Commander, Battleships, Commander, Destroyers for example).  Hence, we have "Commander Cruisers, Battle Force" ordering USS Helena to paint in 5-S (what would later become Measure 11) and CINCPAC ordering camouflage experiments via the Commander of Destroyers, Battle Force.

So, my last trip to NARA I hit the 1940-41 records for the Commander of Battleships, Battle Force (essentially the Pacific Fleet) in the hopes of finding records. Unfortunately I only found records for 1935 and 1943.... I busted. I tried to look through the CINCLANT files, but they were unavailable due to reprocessing. Such is the life of a researcher.....

Tracy White Researcher@Large

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Posted by tucchase on Saturday, November 24, 2012 9:25 PM

I agree with you Tracy.  If you want to make any comparison in a single photo, then the surfaces being compared must be a similar angle to the light source, and without any glare or reflections from other surfaces.  Otherwise you are trying to compare apples with oranges.  But any single photo CAN give you facts once you have eliminated the chaff.  Such as on the photo I referenced on my OP.  The main fact that stands out is that there are three distinct shades of grey on the vertical, and near vertical surfaces above the hull.  It does not tell what these colors are.  Just that there are three completely different shades of grey.  It is up to each person viewing this photo to decide what colors he/she may be looking at, given the limited number of choices available.

As for the Captain's latitude, do you really think any Captain (prior to WWII) would defy the Force Commander (much less anyone higher) by painting his ship a different Measure?  I could see Admiral Kidd asking his superior if he could try something different for his Division, or ship, but a mere Captain?  No..... can't picture that.  Yes, the Captains were next to God on their ships.  But not to the Commodores and Admirals above them.   By all accounts, the Navy was fairly rigid about things like that.  Am I wrong?

I can sympathize somewhat with you about researching.  I have done quite a bit of reseach with Genealogy and sometimes you just can't find what you are looking for, only to have it turn up someplace totally unexpected.  You just have to keep digging.  I am glad, and grateful, that you and others are able to do so.  Government files can be particularly stressful with all their sections and sub-sections, and sub-sub-sections, etc.  It doesn't help any that they change the nomenclature now and then.  You could probably write a book about How To Reseach Government Files And Archives.  

  • Member since
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  • From: EG48
Posted by Tracy White on Saturday, November 24, 2012 10:26 PM

My specialty is Navy WWII, so I couldn't write about other agencies. Hardly stressful, just a grind; you have to remain alert and yet skim for hours on end.

Tracy White Researcher@Large

  • Member since
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  • From: Washington, DC
Posted by TomZ2 on Sunday, November 25, 2012 11:08 PM

Color me ambivalent as well.

Cogito ergo sum. Sum certus ergo
sum falsus. “I think, therefore I am.
I am certain, therefore I am wrong.”

Occasional factual, grammatical, or spelling variations are inherent to this thesis and should not be considered as defects, as they enhance the individuality and character of this document.

  • Member since
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  • From: EG48
Posted by Tracy White on Sunday, November 25, 2012 11:48 PM

I like "Cogito ergo boom!" (I think, therefore I explode).

Another favorite I hold close is (Charles) Kettering's Law: "Logic is an organised way of going wrong with confidence."

Logically, we know Arizona MUST have been......

Tracy White Researcher@Large

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Posted by tucchase on Monday, November 26, 2012 3:17 AM

Tracy White

I like "Cogito ergo boom!" (I think, therefore I explode).

Another favorite I hold close is (Charles) Kettering's Law: "Logic is an organised way of going wrong with confidence."

Logically, we know Arizona MUST have been......

 
ToastCool I like that first one!  Makes me think about putting cherry bombs in bad models!
  • Member since
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Posted by GMorrison on Monday, November 26, 2012 4:26 PM

Two things, one serious and the other a little more tongue-in-cheek.

First- Along the lines of what was suggested, what if accurate paint samples were taken to Pearl Harbor and were positioned on or near BB-39 on the morning of December 7th? The angle from which a given photo is taken is certainly known. And what if the same film was used? Would it be that hard to figure out what that was? Wouldn't that yield some basis of comparison?

Second- I spent a lot of time obtaining the oral history of my father-in-laws service in WW2. Among other things, he flew USAAF Bristol Beaufighters in North Africa. I have a lot of black and white prints of photos he took. So I was very curious to know what the camouflage scheme was. I had a pretty good idea but was not certain.

"How the hell would I know? I was too busy climbing in and out of the damn thing!". Point being we all have our focuses on certain life experiences, so I wouldn't necessarily put a lot of stock in what folks remember.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Washington, DC
Posted by TomZ2 on Monday, November 26, 2012 6:00 PM

“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” — Oliver Cromwell, Letter to the general assembly of the Church of Scotland (August 3, 1650)

Occasional factual, grammatical, or spelling variations are inherent to this thesis and should not be considered as defects, as they enhance the individuality and character of this document.

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