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
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
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