A comment below the question Did von Braun have “a thing” for fins? Why did Saturn I block 2 get fins because it's a “von Braun” rocket? suggests that Wernher von Braun had the "Saturn V painted as the V2". This is more than a little surprising considering the nature of the V2 program.

Is this just space-lore or is there some substance to the story?

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    $\begingroup$ I can't find the reference at the moment, but I believe the reason for the alternating black and white is so that you can easily visually track the rotation rate of the rocket. $\endgroup$
    – Ingolifs
    Aug 18 '19 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ Related: space.stackexchange.com/questions/6352/… $\endgroup$ Aug 18 '19 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ Related: space.stackexchange.com/q/25314/195 $\endgroup$ Aug 18 '19 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ What exactly does "painted as the V2" mean? Questions on SE sites must stand on their own - they cannot rely on links for critical information. Voting to close as unclear - if you want to know what an individual meant by their statement, ask that person. And if the only similarity turns out to be the use of encoder-like roll markings, that's pretty silly, almost all rockets use those in the testing stage. $\endgroup$ Aug 19 '19 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ The title of your question does not match the comment from which it was taken. "Did Wernher von Braun really have a “Saturn V painted as the V2”?" vs "von Braun btw also had Saturn V painted as the V2.". Your title implies that von Braun had 1 special Saturn V painted to replicate the V2, whereas the actual comment states that Saturn V (collectively) were painted like V2s. $\endgroup$
    – Glen Yates
    Aug 19 '19 at 17:47

The early prototypes of the A4/V2 were painted in the familiar black-and-white roll pattern scheme. This scheme was designed to aid in tracking the rocket after launch. This pattern made it easy to observe any variation or roll of the rocket. The exact pattern was changed many times, and as with the rest of the rocket, the pattern was examined and altered if warranted.

Camouflage colors were introduced to the A4/V2 during the middle of 1943. At the beginning, three different schemes were designated to be tested;

enter image description here

From www.v2rocket.com

But the Saturn V was a very different rocket, three instead of one stage and very huge. The height of a V-2 was 14 m, much shorter than the third stage of Saturn V alone with 18.8 m.

Visual and film camera observation was used too, so a black-and-white roll pattern scheme was used. But only a small lower and upper part of each stage was colored with black and white stripes and the large parts in white only to reduce heating by sunlight.

enter image description here

Image from www.bernd-leitenberger.de.

A similar coloring scheme was used for the Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle and the Gemini-Titan II rocket.

But von Braun was not the only one German rocket scientist working on both V-2 and Saturn V. There were hundreds of scientists working on both rockets, so the design of the color pattern could be done by somebody else. See Operation Paperclip.


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