Markings kept pilots from firing

Two of the three German aircraft slated to fly on Luftwaffe Day, Aug. 17, served in Russia during World War II. Before heading into the Soviet Union, they received identification markings. In order to keep the planes from being attacked by German ground forces, the planes flew with blocks of yellow on the tail, nose, the bottom of the outer wings, and a band around the fuselage. The yellow meant “Don’t shoot,” to German soldiers and anti-aircraft gunners. Some argue that the yellow was more reassurance for the pilot than actual protection. They argue that a plane had to be very, very close before the markings became clearly visible. But for a plane like the Storch, the markings might be a lifesaver.

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