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US Navy & USMC aircraft colours around WW2

The following has been compiled from researches carried out and published by William Reece, Dana Bell, John Snyder et al. It is stated by all who carry out this research that nothing is certain and reference to photographs is always advised. Nevertheless, from pouring through documents, inspecting photographs, viewing recovered wrecks and unrestored examples where these exist the following is offered as a good guide for the colours used in different US Navy and US Marine Corps aircraft during the Second World War and shortly after. Readers will note that colour use tends towards uniformity later in the war and with later types.

N.B. Early Grumman aircraft had extensive use of "Grumman Gray", a light gray primer of their own formula. Where used, we have recommended the use of Light Gull Gray as a close-enough substitute.



Douglas TBD Devastator

                Cockpit Interior – Pre-war up to Battle of Coral Sea - Lacquered Aluminium

                Cockpit Interior – Battle of Coral Sea to Midway -  Bronze Green #9 (ACUS30)


Douglas SBD Dauntless

               Cockpit – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

               Stainless Steel Firewall – Unpainted, often bright

               Outer Flaps / Divebrakes Interior – Insignia Red (ACUS26)

Central Flap / Divebrake Interior - Lower Exterior Colour

               Wing Structure & Divebrake linkage – Lower exterior Colour


Grumman TBF Avenger

                Forward from bulkhead with the window – ACUS30 Bronze Green #9 (ACUS30)

                Rear Crew areas – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

                Inside Engine Cowling & Accessories area – Light Gull Gray (ACUS01)

                Stainless steel firewall – Unpainted, often bright

                Torpedo Bay – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)


General Motors TBM Avenger

                Cockpit including crew areas & fuselage interior– Interior Green ANA611(ACUS09)

                Early TBM1’s & 1cs Cowling Interiors – Light Gull Gray (ACUS01)

                Later TBM1 Cowling Interior – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)


Grumman F4F-3/4 Wildcat

                Cockpit – Bronze Green #9 (ACUS30)

Structure under floor – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

Fuel tank under floor – Light Gray (ACUS01) or Black (C02)

                Inside engine cowling & wheel bay (for 2 colour aircraft) – Light Gray (ACUS01)

                Wheel bay (tri-colour aircraft) – ANA601 Insignia White (ACUS37)

                Fuselage behind cockpit all the way to tail – Light Gray (ACUS01)


 General Motors FM-1/2 Wildcat

                 Cockpit Interior – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

                Wheel bay cut out – exterior colour

                Engine Accessory area behind firewall – Light Gull Gray (ACUS01)

                Inside engine cowling & rear fuselage (for tri-colour aircraft) – Light Gray (ACUS01)


Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat

               Cockpit (First 100 aircraft) back to armour bulkhead behind seat – Bronze Green #9 (ACUS30)

Cockpit (rest of production) back to armour bulkhead behind seat – Interior Green ANA611  (ACUS09)

Engine Cowling, Fuselage Interior behind cockpit – Light Gray (ACUS01)

Wheel Bays ahead of rear spar – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09) with exterior colour overspray


Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat

                Cockpit – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

                Later aircraft with BuNo’s higher than around 80000 interior above consoles – Black (C02)

                Rear Fuselage with rear windows – Light Gray (ACUS01)

                Rear fuselage without rear windows – Usually Zinc Chromate Yellow (ACUS23)

                Fuselage Interior (very late build numbers over 94000) – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

Inside of engine cowling – Possibly light gray (ACUS01) interior green ANA611 (ACUS09) or Zine Chromate Yellow (ACUS23)


Grumman F7F Tigercat

                Cockpit – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

                Both cockpits upper areas above consoles – Black (C02)

                All other interior areas including rear cockpit – Zinc Chromate Yellow (ACUS23)

                Engine Cowlings – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09) or Zinc Chromate Yellow (ACUS23)

                Wheel Bays – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

                Landing Gear, Struts & Wheels – Glossy Sea Blue ANA623 (ACUS34)


Grumman F8F Bearcat

               Cockpit – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

               Cockpit upper area above consoles & Seat – Black (C02)

Inside of Engine Cowling – Zinc Chromate Yellow (ACUS23) or Interior Green (ACUS09) or Black (C02)


Curtiss SB2C Helldiver

Cockpit, wheel bays & landing gear struts – Curtiss cockpit Green (ACLW12 RLM Grau RLM02 may be close)


Vought SB2U Vindicator

                Cockpit – Dull Dark Green (ACUS24)


Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage

Cockpit – Very dark colour possibly Black (C02). The F4U-1 E & M manual calls for Dull Dark Green (ACUS24). Photos & some wrecks show flat black.

All other interior areas – normally salmon – pale pinkish brown primer made by mixing red with zinc chromate yellow. This was applied overall before the final camouflage finish.

Inside of main gear doors – Light Gray (ACUS01)


Vought F4U-1A Corsair

                Cockpit – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

                All other interior areas – Zinc Chromate Yellow (ACUS23)

Landing Gear – Light Gray (ACUS01) or Aluminium Lacquer (possibly insignia white after overhaul or repaint)


Vought F4U-1D Corsair

                Cockpit – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

                All other interior areas – Zinc Chromate Yellow (ACUS23)

                Cockpit upper area above consoles – Black (C02)

                Inside of Wheel bays & engine cowling – may have been Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

Landing Gear – Light Gray (ACUS01) or Aluminium Lacquer (possibly Glossy Sea Blue ANA623 (ACUS34) after overhaul or repaint)


Vought F4U-4 Corsair

                Cockpit – Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09)

                Area above consoles – Black (C02)

Inside of engine cowling – Zinc Chromate Yellow (ACUS23) or Interior Green ANA611 (ACUS09) or Black (C02)

All other visable areas – Glossy Sea Blue ANA623 (ACUS34)

Landing Gear – Light Gray (ACUS01) or Aluminium Lacquer (possibly Glossy Sea Blue ANA623 (ACUS34) after overhaul or repaint)






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