Help support TMP

"Caunter Camo Errors" Topic

40 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please don't make fun of others' membernames.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the WWII Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest

World War Two on the Land

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Ruleset

Bayonet and Ideology

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 

Featured Showcase Article

Victory as a Campaign System

Can a WWII blockgame find happiness as a miniatures campaign system?

Featured Workbench Article

Featured Profile Article

Editor Julia's 2015 Christmas Project

Editor Julia would like your support for a special project.

Current Poll

8,559 hits since 17 Oct 2008
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

redironbark18 Oct 2008 11:32 a.m. PST

On reading this forum I note there are a lot of errors circulating concerning the Caunter camouflage applied to British tanks in the desert. The facts are that the Caunter scheme lasted until the end of 1941 when it was replaced with Light Stone only without a pattern. This is proven beyond doubt by documents from The National Archives and the Australian War Memorial, which I have copies of. There was no such thing as a two-colour scheme resembling Caunter, there never was. I have photos of Stuart Tanks and Valentines where you can quite clearly see the three colours of the Caunter scheme.

Mark Mackenzie

aecurtis Fezian18 Oct 2008 11:55 a.m. PST

No-one who has relied on Mike Starmer's excellent research on the subject:



…need be terribly confused about Western Desert colors--for example, these TMPers:

TMP link

A good summary is at:


…which helps clarify one aspect the two-color issue in Middle East Command.

See also (I believe this is the most current version of Mike's article):


"There was no such thing as a two-colour scheme resembling Caunter, there never was."

As one becomes older and wiser in the ways of the wicked, one learns the unwisdom of making bold blanket pronouncements.


Garand18 Oct 2008 12:50 p.m. PST

I agree with Allen. I got burned by declaring there were NO wet stowage M4A1 (75)s ever employed…until I found out perhaps 100 made it onto the lines with photos of them tooling around Europe…


redironbark18 Oct 2008 1:17 p.m. PST


There is nothing bold at all about my statement, which is no more bold than those statements made by Mike Starmer. The statement I made is based on fact from archive documents and if you like I can post you copies of these documents.

The early 1941 date was guessed by Mike because he didn't have a copy of the original order. What annoys me intensely is that I posted a copy of the original order to him more than three years ago, and I also made it available on several of the forums, yet we still have this nonsense about two colour schemes on Stuarts resembling Caunter. To repeat these facts, the date of the official order cancelling the Caunter Scheme was December 1941 not early 1941. Unofficially it was cancelled from mid-October 1941 when it was first proposed to do so by memo. (again I have a copy of the memo to prove this). The colour scheme after Caunter was Light Stone only as given in Australian documents and 8th Army Orders … do I need to post you copies of these or is that another bold statement?

I find it incredibe that a single person has such a hold on this subject with no one bothering to question his source. Your post is doing nothing to help the matter either.
Why not try asking Mike Starmer where some of his bold statements come from instead of asking me?

Unless you failed to notice I am the author of the summary link you quoted and I notice the so-called Sudan scheme is now being quoted as the camouflage scheme for Greece at Mafva, which it was not.

Next time you question my statements, please make sure you have the facts to prove otherwise. You are not helping just confusing those that were not already confused.

Mark Mackenzie

aecurtis Fezian18 Oct 2008 2:09 p.m. PST

"Unless you failed to notice I am the author of the summary link you quoted…"

Sorry. My irony is too subtle, I suspect.

"…and I notice the so-called Sudan scheme is now being quoted as the camouflage scheme for Greece at Mafva, which it was not.

Your article:

'Due to the different terrain of each region, each command adopted its own set of camouflage colours. Geoffrey describes these colours, which are applicable from at least mid-1940 onwards, as:
"In January of 1941 a number of quite distinct schemes for painting vehicles were in force. There was a beige and red-brown scheme for the Sudan; a slate grey, silver grey and birch scheme for Western Desert, and another scheme for Palestine."'

Mr. Starmer's MAFVA article:

"A scheme for use in the Sudan specified Light Stone No.61 with Light Purple Brown No.49 in patches or stripes. A variation of Caunter was applied for use in Greece during 1941. This has the areas normally painted Silver Grey 28 to be either Light Purple Brown or Slate 34 and the remainder Light Stone No.61. The actual pattern deviated in detail from an exact replication of the drawings so perusal of photographs is recommended here."

Not quite the same as what you're claiming the error to be. I wonder who's confused.

Look, I understand that people get upset when recognized experts don't suddenly take on board their wonderful "new" research. Coming to TMP and shaking a fist impotently is one way of dealing with it.

But since you've just become a member of TMP today, may I recommend the Napoleonic boards for this sort of thing? They're much better at it. Check first to see what the Australian archives have to say about bricoles…


archstanton7318 Oct 2008 3:45 p.m. PST

Australian archives about Bricoles???Are you sure cobber????!!!
I hate sweeping statements about any sort of camo scheme or uniform--From time immemorial soldiers have exasperated their NCO's and officers--(As well as office wallahs in the pentagon/whithall /stavka) by adapting their dress or vehicles how they want to…

jimborex18 Oct 2008 4:38 p.m. PST

As a former soldier, I can attest that a memo does not a immediate change make. Soldiers will paint all kinds of things and use all kinds of schemes that are not approved of or suggested by memos, and that the timeliness of such changes might make for good history, but that the policy, organization, and equipment in histories and in documents are not necessarily true and accurate representations.

Your camo remarks and research might be (and if your force of conviction is any indication, Mark, probably are) well documented. I think, though, you need to consider that it doesn't necessarily mean that alternate patterns were not improvised or simply changed by lower level commanders or users.

All that said, if I were painting up my 1941 brits, I'd probably follow your recommendations.

redironbark18 Oct 2008 4:42 p.m. PST


Of course I am annoyed when I see the context of documents distorted. I am trying to correct an error that has been made by Mike Starmer and so far you have contributed nothing "new" other than to attack my credibility. By stating my "new" research you are implying that I have copied, which I can assure you I have not. Would you mind apologizing please on this forum? If I am too fierce for you then I suggest you go back and hide under you desk.

Mark Mackenzie

aecurtis Fezian18 Oct 2008 5:23 p.m. PST

I have come to save you from your ignorance!

You have been wandering in darkness!

The true revelation has been granted to me, and me alooooooone!

Yep, that alwasy makes a good first impression.


fitterpete18 Oct 2008 6:23 p.m. PST

rivet counters..sheesh

archstanton7318 Oct 2008 6:45 p.m. PST

now now boys, play nicely……… ;)

redironbark18 Oct 2008 8:03 p.m. PST


Your response is why I have with held from posting on forums like this. I can see you clearly worship Mike Starmer and Mike Cooper as Gods as do many others.

I posted today in the hope of clearing up the confusion regarding Caunter. I can see many following the same path I did seven years ago and I wish then there had been someone willing enough to make the same "bold" statements I had. There wasn't and I usually got a quoted response identical to yours, or some similar angry response.

To set the record straight, I queried the January 1941 date of the General Order, GO1272, cancelling the Caunter scheme. The reason being, that it didn't make sense that in Operation Cruasader we were still seeing tanks painted in Caunter. Not satisfied with the response that I got, I then tracked down the original documents from National Archives for myself. It turns out that the date on GO1272 was December 1941 and not January 1941.

Do yourself a favour Charlie, and wander over to the IWM online photos type in "Tank" and restrict your search to the archive "E*", which are those photos from North Africa. You will notice that there is a direct correlation between the December 1941 date and the disappearance of the striped Caunter scheme. You will also notice that from December 1941 on-wards until mid 1942, tanks are without any pattern whatsoever, again consistent with orders. Ask yourself where are the photos backing up this statement:

"At first this may have been Slate in patterns similar to Caunter but later possibly Slate No. 34, Silver Grey No. 28 and Black have been noted in apparently random patterns."

That's right there arn't any. Original input from you Allen would be welcome other than the same old links to Mike Starmer's work.

Mark Mackenzie

Connard Sage19 Oct 2008 2:39 a.m. PST

I wandered in here by accident, WWII isn't really a field of interest to me

Still, it's refreshing to see that it isn't only we Nap-nuts who can start an acrimonious argument over trivialities grin

fitterpete19 Oct 2008 4:50 a.m. PST

When you joined TMP did you pay attention to what it stands for .This is a miniatures page,for playing games with toy soldiers,ya know.
If you want to disprove a historical authors authenticity aren't there better places to do it than a toy soldier forum?The worse that can happen on here if someone gets it wrong is that little Billy's Flames of war tanks are in the wrong camo scheme.
I appreciate that some guys on here want to "get it right",whatever that means in a toy soldier game.So say your piece, post your proof, and get on with your self.I f your proof is good enough then you will be believed,if not then you won't.Be prepared to have people,no matter how glaring your proof is to you,who won't beleive you.
After seven years of this why don't you write your own book?

Klebert L Hall19 Oct 2008 4:56 a.m. PST

Wow, someone should consider cutting back on the coffee.

Black Bull19 Oct 2008 6:04 a.m. PST

Some people like to get things correct if you don't fair enough just don't have a go at those who do.

miniatures doesn't mean just 'toy soldiers'

Mark, Allen sometimes just likes to wind people up

Hastati19 Oct 2008 6:08 a.m. PST

Hmmmm, how to win friend and influence people. Not. I'm actually interested in the idea that Caunter was not officially cancelled until late in 1941. Like you, most photos from Crusader that I've seen show most vehicles in plain sand, not Caunter. However, I wonder if it is a case of officialdom catching up to what was happening in the field, especially as new vehicles were rushed to the front ASAP, and Caunter is much more difficult to render than a quick spray of one colour.

kevanG19 Oct 2008 6:22 a.m. PST

Hastati, if you read what the man has written in the link Allen provided, you will see what he has said. It looks like Mike has revised his own web based info too, but not his books….which are accepted as being correct. As far as I can see, it all resolves down to what you consider caunter to be……but that was an arbitory name attached after the war.

I for one consider the 3 tone to be caunter and the 2 tone as disruptive. If someone else wants to call the disruptive a 2 tone caunter, and someone else say there was never a 2 tone caunter…..Well, I see both sides, but don't really care if its named wrong, just what the timescale was for whatever pattern existed.

fitterpete19 Oct 2008 6:48 a.m. PST

Hey BlackBull
I'm not "having a go" at anybody,it's just not a life ending topic.
Miniatures doesn't mean toy soldiers.OK you can also use them for a diorama or display,also not life threatening.
This dude acts like the world is going to end or this Starmer guy should be drawn and quartered because he chose to interpet his research in a different way than the OP.If the OP had come on here and stated that Starmers books might be suspect and posted his proof with a warning to use caution when using these books as a reference ,fine.
I paint Napoleonics also, and most of the time I "get it right" as far as I'm concerned.But for every button counter,color shade Nazi,I'm sure my stuff is garbage.Tough,it's the way I interpeted my research if they don't like it oh well.

aecurtis Fezian19 Oct 2008 7:58 a.m. PST

I'm posting this to ask that we stop the nastiness--for which I am responsible.

I've heard back from Mike Starmer, and would like to apologize to Mr. MacKenzie. Details to follow, if Mr. Starmer doesn't mind it I post them here. But the gist of it is that Mr. MacKenzie is quite correct, and his information *has* been taken on board.

Yes, I do like to wind people up. In this case, a more gentle introduction might have served better. But ultimately, it's the information that's important, and Mr. Starmer credits Mr. MacLenzie and others with providing the photos and information which have recently changed his conclusions.

Again, my apologies for *my* tone.


jimborex19 Oct 2008 2:03 p.m. PST


A worthy fellow once posted on one of these TMP forums something to this end. "fellows. This is a hobby. This is an unpopular hobby. Relax."

Mark, I commend you for doing the research and for sharing. I would encourage you to offer it and let those who wish to benefit from it do so.

Kind regards,


GeoffQRF19 Oct 2008 2:04 p.m. PST

However there always remains the fact that, whatever the date on an official order, it can take some time for the instruction to filter down to those at the sharp end, and even longer for it to actually be implemented.

So, ultimately we have, it was cancelled some time in 1941, and probably phased out of actual use somewhere towards the end of '41, or early '42, depending on when they got hold of more paint.

Martin Rapier20 Oct 2008 12:14 a.m. PST

"it can take some time for the instruction to filter down to those at the sharp end, and even longer for it to actually be implemented."

As Patton observed, giving orders is easy, getting them obeyed is the hard part.

Anyway, more info on the chaos of British colour schemes in WW2 is always welcome. I think presenting them in a slightly less confrontational manner might help with getting the message across though.

redironbark20 Oct 2008 1:16 a.m. PST

My posts in this thread have got out of hand and appear to denigrate the work of Mike Starmer, which was not its intention. In this regard an apology is due. I am very grateful to Mike Starmer for making the results of his research public and for the honesty and accuracy of his work, which remain ground-breaking.

Mark Mackenzie

Cardinal Hawkwood20 Oct 2008 2:28 a.m. PST

can we have synopsis of the results?

Ditto Tango 2 120 Oct 2008 3:00 a.m. PST

I would like to apologize, just because everyone else is doing it.

Hastati20 Oct 2008 4:23 a.m. PST

I'm not going to apologise, just because everyone else is doing it.

By John 5420 Oct 2008 6:52 a.m. PST

I'm going to paint my Crusaders up in 'Ultra Marine Blue' just because I disapprove of nappy style rantings telling me what to do!

Yes BLUE! or maybe………………PURPLE!!!!!

Shout, and cry all you want, its gonna happen, then I'll post the pictures on here!

I commend you on your research, but, as Martin put it, a little less vitrole, ole chum.


Pizzagrenadier20 Oct 2008 7:02 a.m. PST

I was told there would be pie.

By John 5420 Oct 2008 8:42 a.m. PST

mmmmmmmmmmmmm. pie.

aecurtis Fezian20 Oct 2008 10:45 a.m. PST

I used to like pie. Now… meh.

No word back from Mr. Starmer as to whether he would mind my posting what he wrote to me, so I'll just stipulate again that Mr. MacKenzie is correct on all points.


aecurtis Fezian20 Oct 2008 11:07 a.m. PST

A few minutes too quick, that was. Mike Starmer had e-mailed me (reproduced here with his permission):

Um, quite some rancour there on TMP. However Mark is correct on all counts. I updated the Caunter book in January 2008 so no changes since then. The root of the problem arises because some members are basing auguments based on older editions where some inaccurate statements were made by me based on the assessment of the photographs and material available to me at the time, please note, at the time. Mark and others kindly sent photographs and comments which clearly demonstrated that I had been misled about just two colours on Stuarts and some Matildas.

The January 1941 date was a typo error in the document that I had when I wrote that particular edition. Only afterwards did I realise that this was an error but I had no corrected date to use. Over this last two years or so photographs from German sources clearly show that Crusaders were painted in Caunter and so too were some Valentines. In this last case I do not have any photographs that clearly show three tones on Valentines, just a few pictures that show a straight edged design with dark areas where there should be if these conformed to the pattern.

Photographs of the Stuarts of 4th A.B. vary a great deal in clarity, in many cases only two tones can be discerned whilst others clearly show three. Another problem with the Stuarts is that there is a wide range of variations in the appliction of the pattern. This factor is an aspect that I am working on at present. So far I have identified three fundamental versions and I am trying to work out a set of drawings to illustrate those for the future.

Perhaps I should rephrase part of the section about the A10s in Greece. The pattern on these tanks was not intended for use in Greece but happened by circumstance to be used there. The pattern was devised for use in the Sudan but the tanks carrying this design were never sent there. The colours are only 'probably used' based on subjective descriptions by Robert Crisp who served there and the GO for the period. The pattern in my book has been based on numerous photographs taken of Greek based A10s, Mark has copies. I am working on two photographed variants which are 'one offs' and not likely to be publlshed.

Photographs of vehicles taken in early 1942 do demonstrate that only a single basic colour was applied, probably much to the relief of the workshop painters. However by mid-1942 brigades were adding one and in some cases two disruptive colours to this basic coat. Many were ineffective and compromised security so GHQ had stepped in by Ocober 1942 and issued further regulations about disruptive painting, colours and patterns.

Mike also indicated that he was forwarding a copy of the e-mail to Mr. MacKenzie.

So that's the update as I understand it.

I think that for therapy, I'll dig out the box of spare Valentines and paint them in nice shades of fuchsia, using a Caunter-esque non-Caunter pattern, to match my SS Kavallerie-Division "Anne Frank's Little Pony". I can use them in "Ostfront", no?


Ditto Tango 2 127 Oct 2008 7:49 a.m. PST

Interesting stuff. Allen, I wonder if Mike has played around with scans of those photos where only two colours can be seen? Messing with gamma and other passes can often bring out amazing detail that simply cannot be seen on original photos.

Maha Bandula15 May 2020 1:56 a.m. PST

Oh my god, this is epic. Certainly made my lockdown a lot more entertaining while the paint on my Matildas dries.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2020 4:29 a.m. PST

I think this is a great find after an interval of over a decade.

The "debate" is likened to the Napoleonic Forum, but is nothing like as acrimonious. It is trying to be evidence based (there is more likely to be such for 1940s than for 1815) and there are even apologies and retractions!

Wonder if any of these contributors have any updates

Mark 115 May 2020 9:34 a.m. PST

I'm going to paint my Crusaders up in 'Ultra Marine Blue' just because I disapprove of nappy style…

I too disapprove of the nappy style. So my Crusaders have been painted up in desert stone…

(I make it up with the detailing….)

(aka: Crusader Mk 1)

Lee49415 May 2020 3:01 p.m. PST

Anyone who thinks that in a conflict as wide ranging as the Western Desert and beset by the logistics of tremendously long supply lines not to mention some very cranky and aggressive Germans, that the Front Line soldiers are going to call off the war to drop everything to REPAINT THEIR TANKS within 24 hours after some headquarters memo being issued better think again. The Germans were much more fastidious than the Brits about Following Orders and sometimes it took their tanks MONTHS to reflect new camo schemes. I sincerely doubt that the color on every UK Tank in the theater changed overnight! Cheers!

Askari Minis Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Jul 2023 9:35 a.m. PST

I'm afraid this discussion does nothing to tell me--the newbie here-what the official colors (or colours, since they're British) really were. Certainly they faded quickly in the desert sun (as the LRDG attest) but it would be really nice to know where to start…

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2023 12:06 p.m. PST

The three colors, as I have them, for the Caunter scheme are:
BSC #64 Portland Stone
BSC #28 Silver Grey
BSC #34 Slate

Several companies make these. AK Interactive, for example, has these three paints boxed with 3 other colors for North Africa and Mediterranean in their set #AK 4030

wtjcom05 Aug 2023 5:30 p.m. PST

Shouting Into the Void has a Painting Caunter with Vallejo Colours guide that is good. I used it to paint a couple of Matilda tanks and it came out nicely, pics are posted on our Twitter feed for those interested in seeing how it looks on 12mm.

Article link: link

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.