Dead On Arrival

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The End of "1948 Chip" Dogma In Our Time


I have spent more than the last 30 years writing, voluminously, on the topic of VVS colouration in the 1930-50 period. And I must admit, nearly every day I wonder why this matter is still being debated? On what basis? Over my historical career, I have collected many hundreds of paint samples from these aircraft and their remains, apparently the only person on this planet to ever have systematically done so. I read that again myself with utter disbelief. Not only that no one else seems to be bothered to do any real work on a topic which is so hotly and widely debated, but moreover that anyone has the hubris to subsequently "disagree" with what I write. How? Again, on what basis? Obviously not on the merit of their own work on this matter, so why therefore? Over this time, more than 100 airframes and many more partial bits of them have been retrieved from various parts of Russia. Perhaps 50+ (or so) have been acquired by Western collectors and collections, the rest remain in the country in various hands. Of all this physical material-- archaeological material-- not one single flake or scrap of paint has ever been found which does not agree with what I have written. Not one. If there is any other scientific person working in any field anywhere with this kind of track record, I would very much like to have that situation brought to my attention.

Think about that again. More than thirty years; more than one hundred airframes; many hundreds of physical samples. Not one single discrepancy. I don't feel like I even need to add to this mountain of evidence many other supporting factors, such as professionally demonstrated competence and working experience with aviation lacquers, their associated chemistry, colour and pigment analysis, photographic analysis, period photographic chemistry and function, archival work and archaeological work. But, if it helps, there you go. Can anyone point out, please, any other individual who has done more work over the entire field of study? And yet, after all of that, I am routinely told that I "am wrong". Oh really? And by whom? Another globally recognised expert on the matter? Didn't think so...

Science, Evidence and the Nature of Modern Thinking

Those who suffer through my work will know that I spend lots of time writing about the quite serious failures of modern society. It is now beyond debate that most modern education is of a dismally poor standard, resulting in persons who are completely ignorant of virtually any scientific process, method or fact. Pupils are no longer taught how to analyse anything scientifically, let alone are they required to practice such techniques (which is required, as in all things, to do it correctly). We are living, ironically, in Churchill's "...New Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science..." As a result of this tragedy, and many factors besides it [3], the world has collapsed into rank, brainless popularism. Everything, every idea, is now interpreted from a vehemently tribalistic outlook, 'what they think' vs 'what we think' (which of course is the CORRECT version]. I do not recall ever having seen any debate nor discussion about period VVS colouration on any web site or forum where the participants demonstrate anything remotely resembling a rational argument: where evidence is collected, presented, evaluated and analysed. Every time it is a case of either a) the colours specified by the Evil Swine (that's me, if you didn't guess) "are ugly, I don't like them, and they cannot be right", or, alternately, (b) "..according to this jpg of some paint chips [not the actual chips, of course, but digital scans allegedly showing them] in this colour book [not the actual book, of course, which they have never seen and could not even prove which exists] which have Russian language notations typed under them [which they cannot read, in the main, so are at the mercy of hearsay] look like something else, so he (Swine) is wrong"! For those not familiar with the Albom Nakrasok, here is my own original article dealing with it.

Is there anyone anywhere who is convinced by this line of behaviour? A dozen little chips in a corroded book published years after the war is superior evidence to all of the above!? Honestly? And moreover, where is the critical analysis of these chips? I see no case (besides myself!) where these chips have been logically analysed. That is to say, compared to any genuine evidence. They are simply True, correct, there can be no debate which is heresy! This line of thinking is well known, of course-- we call it dogma.

I have lost count of the number of times I have replicated such anti-dogmatic demonstrations of real evidence, and here again for the very last time (enough is enough). There is no legitimate explanation as to why this kind of analysis has not been done by other persons interested in this topic-- or indeed even by most persons interested in this topic!-- save for comprehensive ignorance on the subject, neither knowing that such exists or failing to examine such in person, or by the fear of being easily found out (as a dogmatist-populist) and exposed as a numpty.




Il-2 recovered near Krim, Russia
LaGG-3 fragment in Finnish museum
Colour chips corresponding to camouflage, left



Yak-3 in France, 1945, partly re-painted
Yak-3 in France, 1945, partly re-painted Colour chips corresponding to camouflage, left

Is there anyone, anyone at all, prepared to defend the 1948 Albom Nakrasok's relevance to wartime camouflage here? Please step forward...

I must point out that it was easy for a number of historians to recognise that these chips were not related to wartime camouflage simply by employing proper logic and analytical technique. It is true, by all means, that these chips represent evidence. Certainly. But, evidence of what? As such, they must be considered in relation to all of the other evidence, not in isolation and absolutist fog like some kind of holy scripture. Therefore, a proper and logical set of questions about these chips must contain the following:


    1. What is the state of preservation of the artefact?
    2. What impact will the state of preservation have upon the colour chips?
    3. Why was this book published? What was the purpose of the document?
    4. Was the date of publication relevant? Why the year 1948?
    5. How do the chips in the book compare to other surviving evidence?

The simple act of asking relevant and rational questions would reveal a lot about said book. Their condition is poor, all three known copies having been printed on highly acidic paper and demonstrate severe corrosion and oxidation. In turn, the acids in the paper will oxidise the paint chips and darken them. They might very well also change their respective hues, as evidenced by the fact that the corresponding chips in the three copies do not agree with each other. Nothing was known at the time as to why the book was published, nor what the timing might reveal, but it was clear immediately that the chips inside did not resemble any form of known evidence, physical nor photographic. On this basis, the evidence under review was judged to be exceedingly inferior to the mountainous piles of other data, and therefore the appearance as suggested by them was not-- and could not be-- relevant to GPW colouration. A very easy and straightforward conclusion.

I have submitted exactly the same for years, but to no avail. I forecast the exact reason (as will be seen) why this book was published based on years of work with the subject matter, having thus gained a working understanding of the period Government and the situation. I proved via preponderance of evidence that the chips were not relevant to the time in question. I delivered reasonable warnings about their state of preservation and what that could entail. And yet, for some-- too many-- this was not enough, and dogma prevailed. I find it, therefore, to be very irritating and unfair that several professional researchers were required to waste their time and effort on tracking down some ridiculous scrap of paper just to confirm what had already been determined to completely logical satisfaction by proper analytical methods. There is no reason nor excuse for anyone to have ignored this analytical work; the entire affair has been an utterly preposterous situation.

Why Is There a 1948 Al'bom Nakrasok?

Following the end of the Great Patriotic War, there were many and dramatic changes within the Soviet government, bureaucracy and military-industrial complex structures. A 'revamp', if one wishes. The vast majority of these changes related in whole or in major part to realising budgetary economies. Such a thing should come as no surprise, surely-- the Fascists had devastated the entire western portion of the country and murdered millions of its inhabitants. The economy was in ruins. The government insisted that costs must be cut. I have written voluminously on this site and elsewhere about the impact that these policies had on the Air Force (VVS) in the post-war era. However, by way of example it is thereby necessary to consider what effect these policies had across the entire nation in all sectors, civil, military and industrial. Surely these changes would have been significant? Indeed they were.

As with so many government ministries, the newly formed MKhP
(Ministry for the Chemical Industry) replaced the NKKhimProm (People's Commissariat for the Chemical Industry) in 1948 when it was merged also with the People's Commissariat for the Rubber Industry [4]. By itself, the merger of the two organisations does not necessarily suggest the need for the publication of new documentation, such as a comprehensive chip/usage manual. However, it was the underlying reasons for this reorganisation-- and also the way in which this was actually carried out-- that explains the timing of this book. During the period 1946-48 many thousands of factories and facilities were disbanded and reformulated, shifted in location physically, and as well assigned and re-assigned in authority to various government responsibilities as Ministries were reorganised or replaced altogether. Many, many learned volumes would be required even to approach an understanding of these undertakings, but one can say that the clear primary motive in this activity was the desire to rationalise and economise.

During the war there had many many fears on the part of the Government regarding potential shortages of various strategic resources. In the aviation industry the potential shortages of bauxite, chromium and trimethylpentane (for high-octane fuels) have been well discussed. Shortages of chromium oxide did actually materialise and disrupt production, in fact, causing the NKAP to twice (1943, 1944) request that factories temporarily refrain from using primers ALG-1 and ALG-5. After the war this experience caused
NKKhimProm to experiment heavily with new primers and other lacquers which made no use of this ingredient. By the start of 1947 they had developed lacquer DK-23 Grey (internal) and VK-23 Grey (external) which bore an identical appearance to ALG-5, and under testing which proved to be very suitable and competent aviation finishes.

This success was tied to a host of changes within Soviet aviation, and thereafter to the chemical industry. Starting in May 1947, newly appointed Chief of the Air Force Gen-Lt. Vershinin issued a series of orders regarding copious technical changes within the VVS. There were many, and these instructions covered a wide array of topics, from procedures to equipment and to training. Relevant for our discussion here was the matter of aircraft camouflage for which Vershinin tore up the existing manual entirely. His orders discontinued the use of three-colour (AMT-11/-12/-7) disruptive schemes on fighter and fighter-trainer aircraft and replaced these with a single-colour livery making use of the new finishes AMT/AGT-16 (matte/gloss) Blue-Grey for any surface, and A-36m/g Grey (matte/gloss) specifically for all-metal surfaces. All other aircraft were to receive the peacetime livery of green over blue. As was often the case, the order allowed for existing aircraft to retain their camouflage, this to be replaced only with repair or re-finishing. All new production, of course, was to be finished according to the new instructions. These various changes were followed up by MAP (Ministry of the Aviation Industry) Order No 549 in August 1947 terminating the use of lacquers AMT/AGT-1, -6, -7, -11 and -12, and A-23m/g, -26, -28 and -32, and also primers ALG-1 and -5 within the aviation industry. The Yakovlev OKB, in particular, was subjected to very strong pressures to complete their current Yak-9P and Yak-11 machines with the new finishes at once, and this they did manage to do before the end of the year.

Since the aviation industry was no longer using the majority of the old AMT/G and Am/g paints, and thus their demand would be greatly diminished, during September of 1948
the MKhP ordered Glavkraska (Chief Directorate of Lacquers and Paints) to REFORMULATE these lacquers [1] to adhere to the new non-strategic materials policy and production economies goals. The initial details for this work were contained in MKhP Order No 106s, but this was expanded upon by several other instruments, and it appears to have developed into a general review of paints and varnishes across the entire industry. Be that as it may, Goskhimizdat (the official publishing house of the MKhP) was subsequently ordered to produce an instructional manual on paints across the industries, to include chip samples, technical details and utilisation instructions. The result, of course, was the 1948 colour chip book which we are analysing here. These circumstances also explain why the 1948 book did not contain many recently introduced lacquers (in the aviation industry we know of AMT-16, AGT-16, A-36m, A-36g, A-23, DK-23, VK-23, VK-23g and AIIN-s just for starters; there must have been innumerable such paints across the entire USSR), as the purpose of the book was to explain the changes made with respect to the new formulations of the existing finishes.

I believe the translation should be (and I am certain I'll be corrected if wrong!): "...according (to) the resolution of the VKP(b) to reduce the production costs of the chemical industry and reduce the need for scarce materials, Glavkraska of the MKhP USSR will follow the programme of the Ministry of the Chemical Industry USSR Comrade Perevukhin to reformulate the industrial paint materials."

Thus we can see the absolute fallacy of accepting-- or indeed claiming-- that this colour chip book was related in any way to wartime camouflage. That fallacy is made perfectly clear thus:
What more can anyone say about this topic?

Conclusions

The unquestioning acceptance of these 1948 chips was predictable in today's ultra-populist society, and is highly regrettable. The failure to understand their origins and relevance, along with a strictly literal interpretation of their appearance, has led to an unnecessary state of confusion and error. Worse still, once enshrined in the popular mind, a clear and inevitable momentum builds up in which-- for many-- it becomes impossible not to believe in this fallacy. You can be certain when I say that I understand well financial difficulties, and for a person who has invested a fair amount of their hard earned and precious resources into products based upon this spurious material-- model paints, model kits, books, guides, social and forum contacts, and so forth-- the sudden realisation that it is worthless will hurt. A lot. For many such affected persons, the easier and more desirable option will simply be to continue to believe it in, as an unquestioned dogma. "Problem solved".

The same will apply to various companies and craft industries whose livelihood (sales) will be affected. On purely financial grounds they will resist any such acceptance of the factual evidence. I feel sorry for them. This unfortunate state of affairs will of course play into the hands of those persons who support this dogma solely on the basis that it contradicts my work. Many detractors and 'hate-ists' revel in the condition whereby they think they can use this material as a stick with which to beat me. I know that will sound paranoid to some readers; I invite anyone to search the internet on this topic and read for yourself. There are even some extremely despicable actors who know that this material is misleading-- I can think of a specific Russian language model forum, for example-- yet they deliberately support this nonsense notwithstanding as it disagrees with my writings. You couldn't make it up...

I can only conclude by mocking such pathetic, low-life "persons". You've been found out yet again, and have failed yet again (as always); better luck next time.

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1. This correspondence made it perfectly clear that these paints were being used for other purposes outside of aviation. I am utterly curious to know what other types of vehicles, objects or machinery used these finishes.
2.   It is just possible that some quantities of reformulated AGT-4 or A-24g were either manufactured or used in the period 1949-50. I must stress most urgently, however, that there exists no--NO-- evidence that this ever occurred, but it is at least technically possible. The huge quantities of existing lacquers AMT/AGT-4 and A-24 still in the VVS inventory in 1948 would have almost certainly mitigated this eventuality, however.
3.   For example, I have tried to convince ModGen persons that the loss of their personal privacy is a catastrophic event and forfeiture of basic Human Rights to be avoided at any cost. They, on the other hand, cannot fathom what is wrong with Orwellianism, cannot find anything objectionable in the book 1984 and stare blankly at me with absolute incredulity as I condemn these things. Their inevitable observation is that "they have nothing to hide". What can anyone say to this mentality? It's too late, that ship has sailed, Big Brother has prevailed.
4.   For those who are interested, a copy of the ukaz is here.