I am doing research for an article about the order and application of the black and white D-Day invasion stripes. I am reserching the following:
1. Whose ideal was it?
2. When did the order come through?
3. How much advance warning did crews have?
4. How did the order read?
5. Order chain of command.
6. When and where did the paint come from?
7. Personal stories of applying the stripes.
8. How long did it take to paint a P-51?
9. Decision to remove the stripes.
10. Why some pilots kept some of the stripes on their plane long after D-Day?
11. Does anyone have pictures of crews painting on the stripes?
12. Any other interesting facts, stories or other research sources to check about the invasion stripes.
Thanks so much for your help,
I thought I would post this short excert from the groups historical report for the month of June 1944.
D-day and 29 others:
: It happened on 6 June. The first real clue was the re-painting of the planes ordered late in the afternoon of the day before. Enlisted men were told to report after supper to alter the insignia; they were given until 0200 to zebra-stripe all aircraft. Shortly before 1900 on the 5th, Colonel Christian walked into Group S-2 smiling like the cat that ate the canary.
"This is IT". he said, "How soon can you get your men together? They will be working all night". The liberty run had already left- to contact them would mean tipping off civilians but the MPs were ordered to close the Officers Club at once, allow no one off the base until 0900 next day.
Thus the invasion came to Bottisham.
Hope this helps a little.
Thank you so much for you valuable input. Every bit is helping me construct the story.
Jeff, I was a crew chief in the 374th and can fill you in on some of your queries. Craig's history is pretty correct. However, I recall that it was something like the middle of the afternoon on June 5th we were told about the stripes and to get started immediately but given no deadline except that they all had to be done ASAP. All of us worked together painting one and then another and about 1900 Major Webb came cruising by and inquired how we were doing. It was then that we were informed that they had to be completed by midnight! Misssion accomplished! A friend that worked in Supply had been told several months before to aquire all the black & white paint he could either through regular channels or on the open local market. He was not told and had no knowledge of 'why'. We were given measurements to follow which we did early on, but with the midnite deadline - ??? I can't give you a clue as the length of time. The purpose was for ID during the invasion. Sometime after (?) the stripes on top of wings and fuselage were removed. No reason for them but the bottoms were left for the ID for ack-ack ground troops which remained for the rest of the war. Hope this helps.