If you can see this text here you should update to a newer web browser

Normal | Highlight & Comment Highlighted Text will be in Yellow

No. C-S19-1(1-28)(DYr)

31 January, 1941


From:   Bureau of Ships.
To: Commander-in-Chief, U.S.Fleet.
Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet.
Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet.
Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet.
All Force and Type Commanders.
All Yards and Stations.
Commanding Officers all Ships in Commission.
All Naval Supply Depots.

Subject: Outside Gray Paint.

References :
    (a) Cincus Conf.2d end.to Comdesbatfor No.S19/(5165), of Nov.14,1940,dated Dec,6,1940. Confidential Publication.
    (b) Confidential Publication - "Ship Camouflage Instructions (Short Title - SHIPS 2)".

     1.   Reference (a) recommended that a satisfactory paint, similar in color and finish to a given sample, be developed and issued for painting all types of ships, except submarines, operating with the Fleet. Reference (b) is being forwarded in the near future to the addressees of this letter. The dark gray system, measure #1 of reference (b), fulfills the recommendation of reference (a). The light gray system, measure #3 of reference (b) comprises the same color as the present standard gray, but with a lower gloss and reflectance. It will be noted that horizontal surfaces are painted dark gray in all systems but that for the present wood decks will not be darkened. In all systems the vertical surfaces above the top of the smokestacks are to be painted light gray.

     2.   Instructions are being issued to the Paint Manufacturing Yards to discontinue the manufacture of the present light gray paint Formula No. 5, because the gloss and reflectance values are too high and because a more durable and satisfactory basic formula, using a synthetic resin vehicle and improved pigmentation has been developed. In order to convert the existing stocks of this paint to the new dark gray color with reduced gloss and reflectance a black paste will be supplied. The Paint Manufacturing Yards are to manufacture this black paste and to place it in suitable containers, properly labeled, so that the exact quantity of paste in any one container will convert 5—gallons of light gray paint, Formula No. 5, into dark gray paint. In making the conversion from light gray to dark gray with present stocks of light gray paint, Formula No. 5, it is essential that the manipulation of materials be confined strictly to 5-gallon units of the light gray paint so as to avoid any possible


No. C-S19-1(1-28)(DYr)


variation in shade through error in handling amounts of black paste less than the total in each container. Prior to adding the black paste to each 5—gallons of light gray paint, the contents should be thoroughly stirred.

     3.   Accordingly, it is requested that the Commandants of all Navy Yards and Stations, and the Officers in Charge Naval Supply Depots, notify the Paint Manufacturing Yard from which each activity normally recives paint, the amount of light gray paint, Formula No. 5 now on hand. This information shall be converted by the Paint Manufacturing Yards into estimates of the quantity of black paste required for each activity, and these quantities shall be supplied without further instructions from the Bureau. When the units of black paste are received by the Shore Activities, every issue of light gray paint, Formula No. 5, shall be accompanied, by sufficient containers of the black paste to make the required conversion, until stocks of the light gray paint are exhausted.

     4.   Similarly, all Force Commanders and Commanding Officers of ships operating independently shall notify the shore activity where the black paste can most conveniently be obtained, of the quantity of light gray paint on hand so that black paste may be provided, as soon as possible.

     5.   The Paint Manufacturing Yards will be instructed in the near future to proceed with the manufacture of new formulas in order to provide paint for carrying out the measures of reference (b). Reference (a) implies that dark gray is to be considered the standard color for surface ships operating with the Fleet. This paint will be prepared ready for use as it will be used in large quantities. In order to provide the maximum flexibility in the use of a given stock of paint of the other less used colors, they will be prepared just prior to use by adding to 5—gallon units of a basic paint to be known as untinted gray (formula 5-U), the contents of a suitably labeled container. One of these will contain the proper coloring paste to tint this basic paint to the new light gray to be known as Formula 5-L. The other will similarly tint the untinted base to ocean-gray, Formula 5—O.

     6.   When specifically directed by the Fleet, Force, or Unit Commander all surface ships in commission are to be painted in accordonce with an appropriate measure of reference (b).


No. C-S19-1(1-28)(DYr)


Vessels operating under the Chief of Naval Operations shall apply measure #1 as soon as practicable after paint is available. From inquiries which have been made by the Bureau, it is believed that the manufacturing Yards will be able to commence making deliveries of the black paste about 15 March 1941. Mare Island later estimated delivery starting April 23, 1941

Assistant Chief.

Copy to:
 Capt.Burrough (CNO War Plans)
 Buaer (Paint Section)
 DYr-1 (5 copies)











National Archives & Records Administration, San Francisco Branch
Record Group 181, Navy Shipyard General Corespondence Files, 1941-45

Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.

Naval Camouflage Home | Ships Home | Researcher@Large Home