Operation Rutter – first invasion markings…



White marking of the quick identification for

the operation Rutter applied to Spitfire Mk.Vb

AA853 WX-C from No. 302 Sqaudron „City

of Poznan“

There is a rather mistaken general opinion that the white invasion stripes sported on the engine cowlings of the Fighter

Command airplanes were applied for the operation Jubilee,

landing at Dieppe on August 19, 1942. In reality they were

chosen for the operation Rutter, the original plan of Dieppe

invasion scheduled for June 4–8, 1942.

Operation Rutter was conceived as an amphibious and combined operation requiring the

close cooperation between naval, air and land

forces. It served as a test of the tactics and

strategy which could be applied in the future

during the main invasion of the European continent including the capture of the large and fortified ports during the initial stage of the attack.

It also should serve as certain demonstration of

support for the Soviet Union whose leadership

insisted on the increased Allied activity.

Shortly before the scheduled invasion, Luftwaffe detected and bombed the invasion forces

build up in Solento. Thus the operation Rutter

lost its element of surprise and also due to the

inclement weather during the given period of

time, was cancelled only to be „resurrected“

shortly afterwards in the form of the operation

Jubilee. In order to identify friend and foe aircraft, on June 5, 1942, white quick recognition

markings were applied on Fighter Command

aircraft participating in the operation Rutter.

Besides white stripes over the engine cowlings

the propeller spinner was also painted white

(instead of the usual Sky color). It’s often forgotten that two white stripes were painted on

the horizontal tail surfaces as well. On June

17, by the order of Fighter Command, the markings were removed. No quick indentification

markings were applied for the following Dieppe

operation, assigned a new name Operation Jubilee.



The location of white stripes on the upper horizontal tail surfaces varied among the squadrons (for comparison see Berg’s Spitfire BM579

and Duperier’s BM324). On some Spitfires, such

as BM324, the stripes were painted on the horizontal stabilizers only and did not extend to

the elevators.

Czech involvement

Two squadrons of the Czechoslovak Fighter

Wing (Nos. 310 and 312) took part in the Operation Rutter flying Spitfires Mk.Vb. They relocated

to Redhill airport in the beginning of June, led

by W/Cdr Karel Mrazek. Here, the Czechoslovak Wing, facing the inclement weather, flew

several non-operational sorties only to return to its permanent bases Castletown and

Harrowbeer, home to Exeter Wing on June 7.

Typically, these smaller and special operations

are rather poorly documented in photographs.

Regardless, several pictures from this period

survived so we can get an idea about white stripes application on the Czechoslovak Spitfires.

White markings for the operation Rutter applied to Spitfire Mk. Vb BM579 FN-B from No. 331 (Norwegian) Squadron at Manston

airport in the beginning of June 1942. Spitfire BM579 was a personal mount of the Norwegian ace Lt. Rolfe Arne Berg.

INFO Eduard - November 2021