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Color film: Pearl Harbor, Spring 1942.

uss frolick

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  • 1 year later...

Yep that 5-D Dark Grey on the West Virginia, Tennessee & The Nevada definitely looks faded black..... Compared to a couple of the tugs in 5-S Sea Blue. Not enough of the Arizona shown to see what color she was though. Although it is clear that most of the Pacific Fleet was in Measure 1, 5D Dark Grey at the time of the attack.


The only color evidence I have is from 1949, a Life Magazine color shot of a flag raising on the Arizona. (ordered by Adm. Radford (cincpac) in '48)


She was definitely blue


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  • 6 months later...

Ok, I'm getting ready to do some shipbuilding, namely the USS Arizona.... Now I know the Arizona was in Ms. 1 scheme, Sea Blue 5-S... the research I've been doing says she was painted by the crew just after she left drydock in November from her Collision with the Oklahoma.... But in my travels thru the archives, (mine and others) I've found a number of other color references to the battle line in Pearl on that fateful day.


In the video that USS frolic posted above we have the West Virginia in Sea Blue, and later the USS Nevada in Dark Grey... Now from prior research I know that the USS Oklahoma was also in Dark Grey and the USS Tennessee was in Sea Blue... but what about the others? The USS Maryland, USS Pennsylvania & USS California?


Well I think I've resolved the USS Maryland.... she was in Sea Blue....



Notice the hull behind the capsized USS Oklahoma? that is the USS Maryland.... Sure looks like blue to me... (another pic from a slightly different angle)



Here you can pick out the sharp raked bow of the USS Maryland to the left of the ships stack you can also pick out the sheer of the hull...

(another pic from a different day, dark and overcast and across the bay, I guestimate at least a half a mile away) 



Now the sheer of the hull will naturally appear as black at this distance but with the smoke clearing from the attack you can clearly see her upper works.... Clearly, on a muted gloomy overcast day, the camera from a great distance recorded blue.... The USS Maryland was Blue.... You can clearly see the steam arising from the USS West Virginia as she was cooling down and the Black smoke still arising from the still burning USS Arizona... This has to be the day after the attack....


One more shot of her on the 9th just before they pull her out from behind the USS Oklahoma...



And oblique angle yes, but you can clearly see the hull and parts of the superstructure reflecting blue... I think that settles it for the USS Maryland.....


I also found a couple of shots of the USS Arizona before they started salvaging her...



The Arizona was badly burned and was so hot that she started fires on the USS Tennessee and USS West Virginia, the heat reached back to where it scorched the legs of the main mast and was so hot that the catapult mounted to her turret #3 was warped... Here you can see the level of scorching but her #3 turret still shows blue and the lower main mast and boat crane pedestals still show blue peeking aout from beneath the scorched paint... There is another shot at a slightly different angle....



Just rotated slightly to the right, the change in light angle clearly shows the blue paint on her boat crane pedestals.... One more shot, different day, reverse angle, different light, different camera...



About week after the attack, the forward works, (now bare metal) haven't started rusting yet but the fires are out. Here she is still cooling down you can clearly see the paint scorched off the legs of the mainmast, and the port side boat crane, look at the scorched starboard side boat crane, I"mm be darned if she doesn't present as blue, even from the side that took a massive amount of heat.....


I think that confirms that the AZ was blue....


In fact, despite most of the confusion the official documents show about painting the Pacific Fleet Battleships, in general the battle line was predominantly in Measure 1, given their 5-L light grey tops and 5-S Sea Blue on everything else.... The Pacific Fleet was almost all the way through repainting the battleship line in  5-S Sea Blue at the time of the attack in the same Ms 1 pattern they were in before.... They only had three ships left to go....






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