Me 163B 'White 13'

This page shows all known pictures and profile drawings of Komet 'White 13', possibly the Komet with the strangest camouflage ever. It has been featured on many decal sheets, although almost zero photographic proof exists. I tried to trace back its origins in books and magazines.


As shown on the White 14 page, Komet 'White 14' is towed behind a Scheuch-Schlepper past a hangar at Brandis, that contains a bunch of other and interesting Komets. On the right we see 'White 11' with its typical tail camouflage pattern. And on the left, if you stare long enough, 'White 13' with a hard-edged splinter camouflage on its vertical tail. It's been my own experience that the computer screen can determine whether you can 'see' the number 13 on the rear fuselage.

Source: "Rocket Fighter - The story of the Messerschmitt Me 163" by Mano Ziegler (1963 Doubleday & Co issue). Scan courtesy of Bob Chubb.
Next is a much darker version of the previous still, as shown on the White 14 page, that shows some different details. The brightness and contrast of Komet 'White 13' on the left now allows us to see the Balkenkreuz and the figure '3'.

Source: "German Warplanes of WW II" by Mason (Temple Press 1983). Scan courtesy of Reinhold Stadler.

For a long time I thought that there was a strong glare / reflection on the fuselage of 'White 13'. In 2022, when watched the film that yielded the still, I realised that the scene was shot with lighting conditions that suggest a heavy overcast, or were made in the shadow of the hangar. Now that we know it, you can easily see it: there are hardly any shadows from the Komet nor the Scheuch-Schlepper. Therefore it is highly unlikely that we see a glare on 'White 13'. Also, a glare would be on specific parts of the upper fuselage, that would have the right angle to reflect into the camera. A glare on the full upper fuselage is highly unlikely I would say.

If we conclude it is not a glare, what do we see? It leads to the idea that we're seeing a very, very strange camouflage. It seems only the nose and the vertical tail were camouflaged in dark colors, and the remainder of the fuselage remained in a light color, say RLM76-ish. The strangest Komet camouflage ever I would dare to say!


Here's how I interpret the above photo, and it's a very strange camouflage scheme. As if they are still busy applying a camouflage, doing the work in stages.
If I include the vague patterns visible in the second photo, this is roughly what I think that I see. Colors are just a guess.

Profile drawings

'White 13' in a full spliter camouflage turns up in many Me 163B references. Yet we only have this mysterious single photo of the aircraft, that was very likely misinterpreted too. Therefore I tried to compile a time-line of these profile drawings, to see how the profile drawings intepreted the photo, or evolved over time. This is the result so far, and it seems the 'White 13' mystery started in 1968 with artist Ronald Percy. But maybe an older drawing will surface.

'German Air Force Fighters of World War Two - Volume One' by Martin Windrow (published by Hilton Lacey). The artist shown on the drawing is Ronald Percy; the artwork in the book was done jointly by Keith Broomfield and Ronald Percy.

Photo from the 1971 issue courtesy of Ruud Tusveld.
1975 'Messerschmitt' by Anthony Pritchard (published by Putnam). Strangely this profile leaves out the right side view, which is the only partially confirmed side. The artist is not mentioned.

The camouflage pattern of this drawing is 95% identical to the Ronald Percy drawing shown above.

Scan courtesy of Dick Boogaard.
1990 'Samolot mysliwski Messerschmitt Me 163B Komet' by Bartlomiej Belcarz (published by Wydawnictwo Bellona). The artist is not mentioned.

The camouflage pattern of this drawing is completely different to the Ronald Percy drawing shown first; only the left side view has some similarities. However, the pattern on the vertical tail largely agrees with my own sketch.

This profile shows a large unit badge on either side of the nose.
1997 'Me 163 Komet' by Bartlomiej Belcarz & Robert Peczkowski (published by AJ Press). The artist is not mentioned.

The camouflage pattern of this drawing is completely different to all previous drawings.
2010 'Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet' by Bartlomiej Belcarz & Robert Peczkowski (published by Mushroom Model Publications).

The camouflage pattern of this drawing has similarities with the 1990 drawing shown above.
2013 Meng 1/32 Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet painting instructions. Colors are modified to make the pattern better visible. The top camouflage consists of Vallejo Model Air 71.013 (Yellow Olive, RAL 6015, FS 34052) and 71.022 (Hellgrün RLM 82, FS 34095). 71.013 is listed in a seperate table to represent RLM 83, 71.022 as RLM 82. The bottom side not shown here, it is to be painted 71.046 (RLM 76 Lichtblau, FS36375).

The camouflage pattern is 99% identical to the 1997 drawing.

Courtesy of Edu de Roos.

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