Section of lozenge camouflage fabric : Albatros D.V, Fliegerabteilung 300 'Pascha', Imperial German Air Service

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Palestine
Accession Number REL/01354
Collection type Technology
Object type Aircraft component
Physical description Ink, Linen
Maker Unknown
Place made Germany
Date made c. 1916-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Piece of five colour German lozenge fabric from Albatros D.V shot down on 2 August 1918, at 12.10pm (z) two miles (3.2 kilometers) north east of Ez Duba BY AFC, No.1 Squadron aircraft piloted by Lt McGinnes with LT Fysh as observer. The destruction of this aircraft was shared with Lieutenant Kenny and Lieutenant Sutherland.

This piece is 770 to 860 mm long and 214 to 240 wide. Dark upper surface fabric with three rib tapes attached at 345 mm centres. Stitching present on rear of fabric. What appears to be the marks of leading edge riblets are present, if so then this fabric is not from an Albatros D.Va. The dope has discoloured and is flaking off in part. This allows the underlying unfaded colours to be seen, and enables the following colour match to be made:
Methuen Blue: 21F8
Dark green: 28E6
Violet: 17E6

A mustard yellow coloured losenge has not been exposed by the flaking dope, and an accurate colour comparison could not be made.

History / Summary

Towards the middle 1916, Germany started to adopt pre-printed colour fabric for their aircraft, making use of repeating patterns of coloured polygons. Modern researchers have termed the material 'lozenge fabric'. By April 1917 the new fabric was in general use and the Siemens Schuckert Werke was instructed in its use.

Two main schemes schemes appear to have been adopted: a daylight and a night scheme. The daylight scheme made use of a dark cloour pattern for upper surfaces and the sides of fuselages, and a light pattern, to be used on the lower surfaces of wings and the bottom of fuselages. Despite this, there were deviations. The Albatros D.Va in the AWM collection, for instance, had the lower wings covered with plain and lozenge fabric, the wings being then painted in the previous camouflage pattern for plain covered aircraft, while the under surface of the upper wing was covered in light coloured five colour lozenge fabric. The AWM’s Pfalz D.XII had the light coloured pattern fabric on both the top and bottom surfaces of the lower wings. Other captured aircraft are reported having similar use of the fabric.

Within the daylight scheme, there are two lozenge patterns known for pre-printed colour cloth: a four colour and a five colour pattern of polygons. Both patterns appear on the two original German aircraft in the AWM’s collection.

The five colour system contained 27 polygons that repeated laterally along the bolt of fabric. The four colour system used 21 polygons. Most of the polygons are hexagonal in shape but each pattern contains a four sided polygon and the edges of the bolt have small cut-off polygons.

The use of pre-printed fabric was introduced to reduce the use of dopes, both as a means of circumventing restrictions imposed by the Allied blockade, and to reduce the weight of doped wings.