. The Battle of Midway Roundtable .
U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT ROUNDELS
1917-MAY 1942 MAY 1942-JUNE 1943
The first U.S. roundel was a variation of the British symbol, which was three concentric circles of blue, red, and white. On U.S. planes, a white star replaced the white circle, although a 3-circle version persisted during the last year of World War I. As World War II began, it quickly became evident that the red spot in the middle of the U.S. roundel was frequently mistaken for the red circle on enemy aircraft, drawing friendly fire. It was dropped before the Battle of Midway.
OPERATION TORCH 1942 JULY-AUGUST 1943
A yellow background was added to the roundels on Operation Torch aircraft in late '42. Then, white wings were added to U.S. roundels to make them more distinctive from others. But mysteriously, this change included the addition of a bright red background...someone apparently forgot the reason for dropping the red circle in the previous year.
SEP 1943-JAN 1947 JAN 1947-PRESENT
The red background was exchanged for blue after more friendly fire. Red highlights appeared again in 1947, after Japanese markings were no longer a concern.
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