The WWII U.S. Navy developed numerous camouflage measures. These were numbered 1 to 33.
These measures were contained in a manual known as SHIPS-2, distributed by the Bureau of
Construction and Repair (BuC&R), USN.
1. SHIPS-2 was first distributed
in January 1941 and it contained Measures 1 through 9. The colors used for these measures
are as follows:
Light Grey 5-L (replaced Standard Navy Grey of the prewar period)
Ocean Grey 5-O
Dark Grey 5-D
All of these colors were mixed from base colors of white and black to generate greys of
varying hues. The following paint schemes used these colors:
Measure (Ms) 1: Dark Grey System. All
vertical surfaces Dark Grey
5-D below the funnel tops, Light Grey 5-L above the funnel tops.
Ms 2: Graded System. All superstructure
parts 5-L, hull graded with 5-L the top band, 5-O the middle band, and 5-d on the bottom
band. Each band is to be of equal width.
Ms 3: Light Grey System. All vertical
surfaces Light Grey 5-L.
Ms 4: Black System. All vertical surfaces
Ms 5: Painted Bow Wave. To be used with
Ms. 1, 2 or 3, but not Ms. 4. Upper edge of the wave is to be painted in 5-U, and the body
of the wave in either dark blue or 5-D
Ms. 6 through 8 were intended to make the
ship look like that of another class(i.e. an Omaha-class CL resemble a four stack DD) with
the color of the deception the opposite of the general color of the ship (i.e. the ship
painted in 5-D would use 5-L for the deception).
Ms 9: Black System for Subs. Paint the
entire area above the waterline black.
2. SHIPS-2 was revised in September 1941 after testing found that blues were more
effective camoflauge than the greys of the Jan. 1941 edition. The new colors were as
Haze Grey 5-H
Ocean Grey 5-O (not the same as above)
Sea Blue 5-S
Deck Blue 20-B
The colors were mixed from 5-U and tinting material known as 5-TM
(Author's note: I am unaware of any references available to the modeler of the
actual tint of either 5-TM or 20-TM, which was used for making Deck Blue). The following
measures were authorized in the Sept. 1941 edition:
Ms 1 through 8: Discontinued
Ms 9: Same as above
Ms 11: Sea Blue System. All verticle
surfaces Sea Blue 5-S
Ms 12: Graded System. Paint hull 5-S to
the level of main deck (Carriers to the level of the hangar deck). Paint
superstructure to the tops of the funnels Ocean Grey 5-O. Above the funnels Haze Grey 5-H.
Ms 13: Haze Grey System. All verticle
surfaces Haze Grey 5-H.
Ms 14: Ocean Grey System. All verticle
surfaces Ocean Grey 5-O.
In all but Ms. 9, the decks were to be painted Deck
3. In June, 1942, SHIPS-2 was again revised, and new colors introduced, using the same
ingredients as the Sept 1941 edition. The colors authorized were:
Thayer Blue 5-B
Haze Grey 5-H (not the same tint as above)
Ocean Grey 5-O (not the same tint as above)
Navy Blue 5-N
Deck Blue 20-B
Authorized measures in the June 1942 were:
Ms 9: Black System for Subs. Same as
Ms 10: Gray System for Subs. Paint all
surfaces above waterline 5-O
Ms 11 and 12: Discontinued
Ms 13: Haze Grey System. Same as above
Ms 14: Ocean Grey System. Same as above
Ms 16: Thayer System. For use in arctic
regions. All vertical surfaces White 5-U with patterns of Thayer Blue 5-B.
Ms 21: Navy Blue System. Paint all
vertical surfaces Navy Blue 5-N.
Ms 22: Graded System. 5-N from the
waterline to an imaginary line parallel to the waterline running through the deepest part
of the main deck, 5-O from this point up.
4. In March, 1943, SHIPS-2 was again revised, and new colors introduced:
Pale Gray 5-PFS 35526
Light Gray 5-LFS 36320
Haze Gray 5-HFS 35237
Ocean Gray 5-OFS 35164
Navy Blue 5-NFS 35044
Deck Blue 20-BFS 35042
Dull Black BKFS 37040
(The FS numbers are estimates based on the author's comparison of color chips to FS chips.
The new White Ensign Colourcoats and Testors Acryl colors provide the builder with
accurate representations of these colors.)
The following measures used the aforementioned colors:
Ms 21: Navy Blue System. Same as above
Ms 22: Graded System. Same as discussed
under June 1942 schemes
Ms 23: Light Grey System. Paint all
vertical surfaces light grey, paint undersides of all overhangs White 5-U
Ms 31: Dark Pattern System. All vertical surfaces
with patterns of 5-H, 5-O, and BK.
Ms 31a: Dark Pattern System. Same as Ms.
31, except 5-N replaces BK. 2 color schemes used 5-H and 5-N. 3 color
schemes used 5-H, 5-O, and 5-N
Ms 32: Medium Pattern System.
Paint all vertical surfaces with
patterns of either 5-L and BK (for 2-color schemes) or 5-L, 5-O, and BK ( 3 color
Ms 33: Light Pattern System. Paint all
vertical surfaces with patterns of; 2 color schemes used 5-L and 5-O 3 color schemes used
5-P, 5-H, and 5-N
Measures 31, 31a, 32, and 33 were used
with various geometric patterns assigned design numbers reflecting the pattern and type of
ship for which they were created. Thus "Measure 32/18d" used the Measure 32
colors and was applied using geometric design number 18, appropriate for a destroyer
("d"). Decks were to be painted 20-B, but many Ms. 31 and 32 designs also had
patterns of 20-B and 5-O on the decks.
This edition also authorized green colors for use on ships. These colors corresponded with
the blue colors and were:
Pale Green 5-PG
Light Green 5-LG
Haze Green 5-HG
Ocean Green 5-OG
Navy Green 5-NG
Deck Green 20-G
The greens were interchangable with the blues in the measures, but
were mostly used on amphibious force units and coastal forces.