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LeBoiteux

White paint on Swedish ships in winters ?

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Admin asked a good question I haven' seen any answer yet, so I open a quick thread to enable any naval expert / historian / etc. to see it.

Interesting from an historical standpoint and for the content in game :

12 hours ago, admin said:

Is it true that Swedish shipbuilders used white paint in winter on ships so it is not not visible from sea when its stationed near the shore (with snow)?

Anybody has an answer ?

Edited by LeBoiteux

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I answered on that thread that I have not heard about it at all. Camouflage was not really a factor in shipconstruction at the time. And at the winter there was absolutely NO need to hide ships. All ships in the Swedish navy was laying idle in the naval base Karlskrona during the winters, just next to the city, VERY visible for all.

I dont know why the swedes used white paint in the end of the 1700s on some ships. I will ask around a bit and see if I can find out why.

(Frigate Bellona 40 guns)



 

Fartygsmodell-BELLONA_-_Sjöhistoriska_museet_-_O_00022.tif.jpg

Edited by Ligatorswe
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@Ligatorswe Thx for your answer. Very interesting !

So you confirm that some ships but not all had white paint in the end of the 1700s, right ?

So, those ships were white all year, not only in winter ?

The pic you posted shows a black and white paint (with red or brown inside). Do you have pictures, maybe paintings, showing all white Sweden hulls ? Was the upper deck also white sometimes ?

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Not all. If you look at the ships of the swedish navy at the time you will most often see this paint. (See below). As far as i understand the white paint was mainly used in the early 1800s on some of the ships.

The af Chapman ships normally looked like this in the 1780s and 90s.

 

Fartygsmodell-FÖRSIKTIGHETEN._1790_-_Sjöhistoriska_museet_-_O_00016.tif.jpg

 

 

0331yxseuVNG.jpg

f8176c8087b6f681008f31d858769315--nautical-art-yates.jpg

Edited by Ligatorswe
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Ok I got one explaination now @admin. From one military historian.

At around 1800 the navies started to paint their sides in black and yellow or white. The Nelson stripes. The reason they did so was to frighten the enemy, to show how many guns they have "so the enemy would pee in their pants" (his quote, not mine). 

The swedes used this first on frigates. But with a somewhat "broader" white stripe. 

Then they repainted some of the few remaining ships of the line the Swedish navy had in the first years of the 1800s. THEY PAINTED IT TO LOOK LIKE A FRIGATE with one gun deck. Look at the model below and you notice that only one gun deck is visible.

HMS Nelson below. below it a 62 gun ship of the line and then a 40 gun frigate. The frigate and the ship of the line looks the same.

il_570xN.1452164487_1pwd.jpg

964d4f14ba36684d_org.jpg

Fartygsmodell-BELLONA_-_Sjöhistoriska_museet_-_O_00022.tif.jpg

Edited by Ligatorswe
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And apparently it was painted like that when doing escort services. The Vasa escorted swedish trading vessels on the North Sea during the swedish war against France when Sweden was allied to Great Britain. So i guess it was kind of a trap.

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Makes sense. Although the only contemporary evidence for the black and white colour scheme are the two models.

There are a couple of water colours by Antoine Roux of swedish vessels which suggest that the standard colour scheme was yellow ocre/ black with a thin stripe across the gunports.

By the way, some of the figureheads of Bellona - and Gustav Adolph-class survived until this day and a couple of them are painted red (but white below).

Edited by Malachi
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Another version. One person agrees that the reason probably was  some kind of camouflage when escorting convoys. But the reason why white was used was also that the swedish ships were kind of old. With white paint it looked frech and new. "A classical case of covering the old bride with make up to make her look young".

"Den svenska flotten målade skeppen vita, för att dölja hur gamla de var. Alla skepp åldrades med åren, och blev mörkbruna av årlig olja, vax och tjära. Men med vit färg, såg även en gammal fregatt toppmodern och farlig ut. 
Ett klassiskt fall av att "pynta bruden", således! :D"

 

Edited by Ligatorswe

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I still think its more for fog camo.  Its the Baltic after all.  Our ships were practically invisible when we were there.

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I would say camouflage wasn't much of a concern at a time when soldiers marched into battle with the largest hat possible?

Maybe they tried to make the ships look more like their uniforms so their officers wouldn't have to worry about matching clothes in the morning 😉?

ca991a46e2dc73b4bf025006c900c1c7.jpg

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On 3/26/2019 at 4:18 PM, Angus MacDuff said:

I still think its more for fog camo.  Its the Baltic after all.  Our ships were practically invisible when we were there.

Strangely the Royal Navy tended to do the reverse, when Grey's were introduced, and, even as late as WWII, Light Admiralty grey was used in the Mediterranean Sea and Dark Admiralty grey in the North Atlantic Ocean, there was also a Buff/White scheme in the Pacific  Ocean and South China Sea for a while which may of had more to do with reflecting heat than camouflage, Grey was adopted in times of war, the Camouflage Schemes for WWI and WWII were more to break up outlines than for concealment, however, neither Prince of Wales's nor Repulse's camouflage prevented their sinking by Japanese Navy/Army Air Forces. Certainly visually spotting a Light Grey ship in fog is very difficult unless at very short ranges, it is probable  that the RN now use a Light to Medium grey rather than the older Dark Grey, as the Dark grey may have been easier to see in fog due to tonal contrast. 

It is certain though that ship colours, especially in the RN were more to do with expense in the 18th century, dull colours like Black and dark blue were cheaper than White or Yellow, Nelson's choice of a Light Pink for his original checkerboard pattern may very well have been due to the expense of Yellow paint in that period and the fact that Captain's paid for the upkeep of their commands, they would generally purchase whatever colour was cheapest in a given location, (although Pellew could definitely afford more elaborate paints having earned in excess of £2 million in prize money)  it may also be likely that the pigments for Blues Reds and Yellows may have been cheaper and more readily available in Continental Europe and the Continental Americas than in Great Britain, which, may also explain why Trincomalee and other Indian built ships were Black and White.

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