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USS Lexington Flight Deck Color in June 1944


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Dear Fellow Researchers,

I've reached out to the USS Lexington staff in Corpus, but they haven't been able to run this down for me.  I'm trying to make a base for Alex Vraciu's F6F-3 Hellcat on 19 June 1944, during the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot".  Has anybody else asked this question and gotten an answer?  The three schemes I've seen are:

- the light wood of the original CV-2

- a reddish teak

- a dark blue to almost match the ocean

Any ideas are appreciated!  I'm making a going away present for an old USN flier.

Thank you in advance,

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9 hours ago, Rockie Yarwood said:

Call me confused, but wasn't the Lexington sunk in 1942?

 

7 hours ago, LSP_K2 said:

 

Yes. It wasn't around for the Turkey Shoot.

 

CV-2 USSLexington was lost at the Battle of the Coral Sea.

 

But, ummmm, yeah, He is referring to CV-16 USS Lexington, an Essex class carrier renamed in her honor. So "Yes" Lexington was at the Marianas "Turkey Shoot"!

 

Alfonso

 

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7 hours ago, Kaeone57 said:

CV-2 USS Lexington was lost at the Battle of the Coral Sea.

 

Alfonso

 

You're right, I was thinking of the Yorktown, which was lost at Midway.

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19 hours ago, LSP_K2 said:

 

You're right, I was thinking of the Yorktown, which was lost at Midway.

 

My apologies Kevin, but not sure what you were "thinking" at all! Lol

 

 The post is about Flight deck colors on the USS Lexington,CV-16. during The Battle of the Philippine Sea, aka The Marianas, Turkey Shoot. Yes he made a reference to the original USS Lexington, CV-2's deck colors, but still mentioning June of '44 , and Alex Vraciu would already mean the Essex class carrier, Lexington.

 

Also USS Yorktown, CV-5 was also replaced by an Essex class carrier, CV-10 USS Yorktown by this time as well, LoL

 

Alfonso

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Lots of great photos of USS Lexington CV-16 here:

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/16.htm

 

Yes, as correctly pointed out above, USS Lexington CV-16 is an Essex class aircraft carrier, named for the lost Lexington class aircraft carrier USS Lexington CV-2 sunk at the Battle of the Coral Sea in May, 1942.  Essex class Lexington CV-16 survived the war and was extensively modified afterwards, gaining an angled deck, some hull widening, and a heavily modified island.  She is preserved as a museum at Corpus Christy, Texas.

 

"Flight Deck Stain Norfolk 250" was a stain applied to the wooden wearing surface of US Navy aircraft carrier flight decks from 1941 to June, 1943 when it was superseded with "Flight Deck Stain #21".  When new, "Flight Deck Stain #21" was a deep blue-gray color nearly as dark and blue as "Navy Blue 5-N" paint, which is easier to find as a hobby paint.

 

Flight deck stain became faded and worn very quickly by normal flight deck activities, sea, weather, and brutal Pacific sunlight.  Here's how "Flight Deck Stain #21" looked on sistership USS Yorktown CV-10 as seen in 1943:

 

3x6KTiC.jpg

 

In mid 1944, flight decks were ordered to be stained with "Flight Deck Stain #21 Revised", which nearly perfectly matched "Deck Blue 20B" paint, a very deep blue color when new, also easier to find as a hobby paint.  In other words, the 1944 revised paint was darker and bluer than the original stain #21. 

 

But this stain, too, faded and wore quickly leaving the natural wood colors of the planking exposed.  Below is a photo of worn and faded "Flight Deck Stain #21 Revised" on sistership USS Randolph CV-15 in 1945.

 

wYzHgOa.jpg

 

Note that the steel tie down strips were painted "Deck Blue 20-B" (stain doesn't work on metal).  The "Deck Blue 20-B" paint on steel was much more resistant to wear than the stain on wood and retained its blue color far longer.

 

Also note that the wood flight deck planking on Essex class aircraft carriers was pine, not teak.  Most sources of teak were well behind Japanese lines during World War Two making it nearly impossible for US shipyards to obtain.  So plain old, easily sourced and very plentiful American pine became the go-to wood substitute for flight deck surfaces during the war.  Also note that Essex class flight decks were in fact steel with a wood wearing surface.  It is often erroneously reported or implied that Essex class flight decks were completely made of wood which is false.  Only the wearing surface was wood.  A wood wearing surface had three distinct advantages: it was much cooler under a hot sun, it is easily repaired, and it absorbs and retains splinters from shell, bomb and bullet hits rather than allowing them to bounce around causing further harm.

 

You can read more about flight deck colors in an article by noted naval historian and researcher Alan Raven here:

 https://www.shipcamouflage.com/5_4.htm

 

Hope this helps.

 

Cheers!

Edited by Model_Monkey
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On 6/27/2022 at 8:10 AM, Model_Monkey said:

Lots of great photos of USS Lexington CV-16 here:

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/16.htm

 

Yes, as correctly pointed out above, USS Lexington CV-16 is an Essex class aircraft carrier, named for the lost Lexington class aircraft carrier USS Lexington CV-2 sunk at the Battle of the Coral Sea in May, 1942.  Essex class Lexington CV-16 survived the war and was extensively modified afterwards, gaining an angled deck, some hull widening, and a heavily modified island.  She is preserved as a museum at Corpus Christy, Texas.

 

"Flight Deck Stain Norfolk 250" was a stain applied to the wooden wearing surface of US Navy aircraft carrier flight decks from 1941 to June, 1943 when it was superseded with "Flight Deck Stain #21".  When new, "Flight Deck Stain #21" was a deep blue-gray color nearly as dark and blue as "Navy Blue 5-N" paint, which is easier to find as a hobby paint.

 

Flight deck stain became faded and worn very quickly by normal flight deck activities, sea, weather, and brutal Pacific sunlight.  Here's how "Flight Deck Stain #21" looked on sistership USS Yorktown CV-10 as seen in 1943:

 

3x6KTiC.jpg

 

In mid 1944, flight decks were ordered to be stained with "Flight Deck Stain #21 Revised", which nearly perfectly matched "Deck Blue 20B" paint, a very deep blue color when new, also easier to find as a hobby paint.  In other words, the 1944 revised paint was darker and bluer than the original stain #21. 

 

But this stain, too, faded and wore quickly leaving the natural wood colors of the planking exposed.  Below is a photo of worn and faded "Flight Deck Stain #21 Revised" on sistership USS Randolph CV-15 in 1945.

 

wYzHgOa.jpg

 

 

Why do we not have a decent F6F large scale kit out there?    Ok, I'll stop whining.

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Except its availability and low price pine is a very poor substitue for teck wood. It ages badly when used horizontallly and is quite softer. I'm quite surprised and guess the main motive was easiness and speed of production of carriers during wartime.

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Posted (edited)

 

3 hours ago, thierry laurent said:

Except its availability and low price pine is a very poor substitue for teck wood. It ages badly when used horizontallly and is quite softer. I'm quite surprised and guess the main motive was easiness and speed of production of carriers during wartime.

 

Excellent point.  Teak is a tropical hardwood native to Southeast Asia prized for its strength, durability and resistance to rot and water damage.  This makes teak a much better wood than pine for marine purposes.  For these reasons, pre-war-built US Navy ship decks were often planked with teak.  But during World War Two, the most productive teak sources were in Burma, Thailand and Indonesia, which were in Japanese-controlled territory.  That made teak nearly impossible for US shipyards to obtain during the war.  But the need for wood deck planking was intense, so, an easily available and plentiful substitute was chosen: pine.  Not an ideal solution at all, but necessary during the war.

 

Today, unlike the 1940s, large commercially cultivated teak sources include locations in Central America (Costa Rica), South America and Africa.  But even today, most teak still comes from Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma) and India.

 

Freshly cut teak smells like leather.  This is an easy way to identify teak.

Edited by Model_Monkey
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