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Armor/AFV: Allied - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Allied forces during World War II.
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Help with LCM3 Color in this image
JLModels
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Manitoba, Canada
Joined: February 15, 2014
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Armorama: 117 posts
Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 04:35 AM UTC
Hey everyone,

I could use a bit of help figuring out what colour to paint my LCM3. I plan on recreating the image below, with the crane loading the LCM3 onto the Dragon Wagon. The Dragon Wagon itself is almost finished, and I've gotten to the point of the LCM3 build where I need to figure what colour to paint it.



the image above is from the Ampersand publishing Dragon Wagon book, and the caption states that the LCM3s are being loading onto Dragon Wagons in Maastricht, Holland for transport to the Rhine.




At some point the LCMs were painted olive drab and were definitely olive drab when they reached and crossed the Rhine. Here's an image of one in transit that I'm fairly sure has already been painted overall olive drab.





My question is what colour is the LCM in the image with it being loaded by the crane? Has it already been painted, or is it a navy grey colour? Is the area below the waterline red, or still grey, or something else?

Any help would be appreciated, as I'm terrible at determining colours from black and white photos.
thebear
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Quebec, Canada
Joined: November 15, 2002
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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 04:57 AM UTC
Hi Jason .. I have dreamed of doing that ,but I'll leave it up to you .. I'll go with an LVT instead .. I don't see a demarcation line for a red lower hull .. My guess would be Grey but I must admit the color looks a lot like that of the Dragon Wagon ..

Good luck with your project

Rick
JLModels
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Manitoba, Canada
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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 05:06 AM UTC
Rick,

Thanks! Next up after the LCM3 is the Accurate Armour RB 17/19 crawler crane which I'm going to try to modify a bit to match the crane in the image.

I'm also thinking grey, if only because it doesn't look as dark and new as the LCMs painted overall olive drab in the other images, but honestly I could go either way because of how close it looks to the dragon wagons in the image.

I also don't think there's a red waterline boundary, as you pointed out, but maybe the darkening around that area is from scum and other such stuff built-up along the waterline of the hull?

Good luck on the LVT!
Paulinsibculo
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Overijssel, Netherlands
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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 05:24 AM UTC
Hi Richard,
As Jason already stated, it is most likely that the complete craft has already been repainted into OD long before the pictures were taken, but due to the stay in the water (sea water?) the color has faded.
This is a rather normal process, seen on many painted boats and ships, which forces boat owners to spend hours every year repainting the hull.
Highly interested in your crawler crane.
JLModels
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Manitoba, Canada
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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 05:29 AM UTC
Paul,

So you think the LCM3 being loaded by the crane is already OD but just weathered? Just want to clarify.

As for the crawler crane, I hope to start on it by the end of the month.
jimbrae
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Provincia de Lugo, Spain / Espaņa
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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 05:35 AM UTC
As Paul noted, this LCM is undoubtedly in OD. This photo, was taken prior to the Rhine crossing when ALL the LCMs used were sprayed OD....
JLModels
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Manitoba, Canada
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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 05:46 AM UTC
Jim,

Out of curiosity, do you know when they were sprayed OD? I know they arrived at the Rhine in OD, but no idea where they were painted that colour. If what you say is true then they were painted OD before being loaded up in Holland?

In the images above, LCM 321 and 318 are definitely in OD and it looks like a fresh coat of it. But the other LCMS show a much more weathered paint job. I just can't tell if its because they are OD and weathered on the way to being loaded, or if they are grey and weathered, and will be painted OD on-route to the Rhine.
TAFFY3
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New York, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 08:06 AM UTC
If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that the LCM's in the bottom two photos have been repainted. Those in the first three have not. I'm basing this on the discoloration shown around the waterline of the LCM's in the first three shots. Whereas, in the last two, the craft are one color with little or no variation. Normally you pull a boat out of the water before painting it. So, I think they were painted after being hoisted aboard the trailers. Just my two cents worth. Al
JLModels
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Manitoba, Canada
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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 08:14 AM UTC
AL,

Those are my thoughts too. But do you think that the LCM3 being loaded is OD or grey? I assume it must be standard navy grey, but maybe it was painted OD previously and has just faded and weathered? they look so similar to the Dragon Wagon's OD in black and white that I can't tell.
RLlockie
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United Kingdom
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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 09:54 AM UTC
My guess is that the ones with white stars are already OD, as the white star was not used on USN vessels as far as I recall.

Before they were painted OD, my guess would be that rather than one of the greys, they might well have been 5N Navy Blue (i.e. Measure 21). Distinguishing between OD and 5N in a monochrome photo would be very challenging.
JLModels
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Manitoba, Canada
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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 11:01 AM UTC
Robert,

Hmm, good point about the stars. I'm now leaning towards it being OD, if only because as far as I can tell the LCMs were loaded differently in different locations.

The ones with smaller timbers laying cross-wise on the trailers are all clearly OD and in brand new paint. The ones on the larger timbers that go along the Dragon Wagon trailer with no cross-beams are all weathered and likely part of the same series of craft loaded from Maastricht, Holland. And if one of those is OD with white stars, its more likely the others are OD as well, no?

That, of course, raises the question of when these LCMs were painted OD, if they were painted before arriving in Maastricht to be loaded.
JLModels
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Manitoba, Canada
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Posted: Friday, March 14, 2014 - 08:52 AM UTC
lets add some confusion to the mix!

I just came across this image in Axis-Allies 15 showing M24 Chaffees being transported across the Rhine in LCM3s. They are clearly OD on the upper hull, but the lower hull is a different colour. Gray? Red? No idea, but I can't imagine OD fading in a perfectly straight line like that.



Perhaps the moral here is anything goes within reason?
SdAufKla
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South Carolina, United States
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Posted: Friday, March 14, 2014 - 10:21 AM UTC
FWIW, Steve Zaloga modeled the photo of the M24's unloading after crossing the Rhine on page 156 of his Osprey book, "Modeling US Armor of World War 2."

His LCM-3 is painted OD above the waterline and primer red below the waterline with white stars and numbers.

As to your original question, I would tend to come down on the side of a naval gray color (specific scheme dependent on the naval unit that owned them) prior to the transport to the Rhine. I don't believe that the landing craft used in the Channel and North Sea would have been OD but rather would have been operated in their standard naval colors. All of the color photos that I've seen published of LCM's just prior to D-Day have been of gray or naval camouflaged boats.

Once transported to inland riverine areas, repainting in OD would have made some sense, especially if repainting was called for anyways.

My chaff from the peanut gallery...
JLModels
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Manitoba, Canada
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Posted: Friday, March 14, 2014 - 10:41 AM UTC
Mike,

Thanks! It was killing me trying to figure out what colour the lower hull would be.

Given that the second image has white stars on it, and I can't see those being painted on while the LCM was still in naval grey or measure 21 blue, I'm pretty confident now that the image of the dragon wagon being loaded is also OD on the upper hull.

The lower hull being primer red makes sense given how straight the demarkation is in all three of the first images, as well as in that Zaloga image.

Given that these were loaded on in Holland for the trip to the Rhine, after D-day, and they have white stars and crude numbering already, they must be upper hull OD and lower hull primer red then, no?

Or has anyone ever heard of white army stars painted on a navy grey/measure 21 blue before?
SdAufKla
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South Carolina, United States
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Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 02:45 AM UTC
Jason,

You might find the following first-hand narratives by a couple of the USN officers involved in the Rhine River crossings interesting:

NHHC::Oral History::Rhine River Crossing::LtCDR Leide

NHHC::Oral History::Rhine River Crossing::Lt Wenker

Lt Wenker recalls that the LCVP's of his unit (Unit 1) were beached in mid-October, 1944, and repainted OD for camouflage purposes.

The USN unit that your subject LCM-3's were in was probably Unit 3 (attached to the US 9th Army). It would seem, though, that the USN support craft and units were moved in place some months before their actual use on the Rhine, so maybe it stands to reason that your USN Unit 3 boats were camouflaged OD weeks before the photos of them being loaded in Maastrict for actual use on the Rhine.

(BTW: The 3XX numbers on all of the boats in your photos would seen to support their assignment to Unit 3.)

LtCDR Leide describes at the end of his oral history how the USN personnel wore US Army issue uniforms and helmets with regular infantry weapons (with the officers wearing USN rank devices).

My assumption when making my first reply, above, was that the boats were simply sailed from the North Sea, up the Scheldt estuary to Antwerp, and then up the Albert Canal to Maastricht where they were photographed being loaded. (This would have supported the theory that the boats were still in USN camouflage grays or blues.)

However, this might not have been the case at all, and the Unit 3 boats may have been enroute over land and along canals for weeks if not a couple of months (since Oct-Nov, 44?) prior to the photos. They may have been floated in the canal and staged for some time in the Maastricht area while waiting for the actual Rhine crossing operations. This seems the most likely case and supports an OD camouflage initially applied weeks earlier (and perhaps refreshed enroute to the Rhine?).

FWIW, I'd say OD green in all of your photos is the most likely case.

HTH,
Frenchy
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Rhone, France
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Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 04:17 AM UTC
Some earlier threads that may be worth a look...

http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=45678&page=1

http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/modeling_subjects/f/3/t/67849.aspx?sort=DESC
JohnTapsell
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United Kingdom
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Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 10:38 AM UTC
I was going to post a link to Lt Wenker's story - but I see that Mike has already done so.

Couple of related comments on LCVPs.

The LCVPs used on the Rhine were considered to be excellent work boats by the units maintaining the treadway and pontoon bridges, better than the available army equipment. They were also used at times to power the heavy pontoon ferries. In fact the only they apparently weren't suited for was towing the large anti-mine nets across the river in the swift current.

Regards,
John
JLModels
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Manitoba, Canada
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Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 01:39 PM UTC
Mike,

Thanks! I'm now pretty convinced that the LCM3s in the first image being loaded onto the Dragon Wagons are OD. I think the lower hulls are a different colour, based on the M24 Chaffees being offloaded in the later image (I can't see OD fading that much in that perfect a line along the lower hull, however anything is possible). I'm going to assume its a primer red/hull red colour as Steve Zaloga did.

I may never get a 100% conclusive answer on the lower hull but frankly at this point I'm fine with that.
TracyWhite
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Washington, United States
Joined: January 18, 2005
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Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2016 - 12:16 AM UTC
Nearly a three-year bump but a friend posted a picture that may be of aid to others in the future:

http://s131.photobucket.com/user/TincanREDavis/media/zLCVP-RhineCrossingx1-Mar45.lr_zpsmffkyxxo.jpg.html

Caption: "Operating 200 miles from the sea, LCVP's and LCM's provided a quick build up to reinforce assault troops spanning the last barrier to the heart of the Reich. In order to make all boats as inconspicuous as possible their blue sides and red bottoms are painted a uniform olive drab. Even the USN has to go."
JohnTapsell
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United Kingdom
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Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2016 - 02:01 AM UTC
Not directly related to your enquiry, but this might prove an interesting read for you.

Engineer Operations in the Rhine Crossing - Ninth US Army

http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p4013coll8/id/3194

Regards,
John
seabee1526
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Michigan, United States
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Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2016 - 02:40 AM UTC
Is it true that GEN Patton required the Navy Seabees to dress in Army uniforms?