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"British Crusader Tanks - North Africa" Topic

22 Posts

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Comments or corrections?

Oddball03 Sep 2013 12:16 p.m. PST

Did the British use this 3 tone pattern on Crusaders in North Africa? The tan, green and blue usually seen on Matilda tanks.



Thanks in advance.

olicana03 Sep 2013 12:54 p.m. PST

22nd Armoured Brigade's Crusaders fought in a plain sand colour for Operation Crusader (Nov. 1941) as they were 'fresh off the boat'. The Crusaders with 2nd Btn RTR and 7th QOH of 7th Armoured Brigade had been there longer; the other tanks of 7th Armoured Brig. (older cruisers: A9s, A10s, A13s) all had Caunter (3 tone) pattern, so the Crusaders may have done aswell.

After Operation Crusader I'm fairly sure that they all fought painted plain sand or with that wavy black edge to the hull sides (though I'm not sure what formations adopted this pattern as it is later than I game).

BTW. Did you know that caunter is not a random pattern. It was a series of prescribed straight lines largely copied on every tank of a particular design.

Here are my A13s of 6th Btn RTR of 7th Armoured Brigade in their caunter pattern and Crusader stripes, Nov 1941. Colourful, are they not I bet the Germans enjoyed using the red and white Crusader stripes as targets.

Hope that helps.


Some Chicken03 Sep 2013 12:58 p.m. PST

Starmer's "The Caunter Scheme" refers to a photo of 6 RTR's Crusader Mk. Is painted in Caunter in December 1941 but this was probably short-lived as the scheme was officially superceded just at that time. Most photos of Crusaders taking part in Op. Crusader show a single colour, light stone.

Note though that the three colours used weren't tan, green and blue. They should be light stone, silver grey and slate grey.

olicana03 Sep 2013 1:09 p.m. PST

Some Chicken,

Agreed, however:

The slate grey was almost black in some cases but it had a habit of turning dark olive green, then to mid olive green, very quickly. Presumably, the paint was not chemically stable or weathered badly.

The silver grey had a bluish hue, but as you say, it was not blue. The boys at Bovington are probably a bit off the mark with their rendition. My first try copied this too blue trend my Marmon Herringtons are too blue and, unfortunately, I did not fully understand the scheme.

There are also some cases of a wine red brown being used:

Kaoschallenged03 Sep 2013 1:17 p.m. PST


"Thursday, 1 January 1942"


"Crusader Mk III tank in North Africa, 1 Jan 1943"





Some Chicken03 Sep 2013 1:22 p.m. PST

Here are my A13s of 6th Btn RTR of 7th Armoured Brigade in their caunter pattern and Crudader stripes, Nov 1941.

Olicana – I am 99% certain that 6RTR didn't use A-13s in Op Crusader. Mark Bevis' "British and Commonwealth Armies 1939 – 43" vol 1 shows them with Crusader Mk 1s between June – August 1941 and a mix of Mk I and Mk II from September – December 1941 covering the winter battle. "Benghazi Handicap" sayss the same.

You would be OK with 2RTR though, as both sources list them with A-13s at that time.

Your brushwork is excellent by the way, but unless the photo has distorted the true colours, the green you have used should be slate (dark) grey according to Starmer.

olicana03 Sep 2013 1:23 p.m. PST

Some Chicken,

presumably the Crusaders of 6th RTR were replacements for the A13s they lost on 21st / 22nd Nov 41. I have 6th RTR as A13s for the start of Crusader and 2nd RTR as Crusader Is.

Please advise if you can.


olicana03 Sep 2013 1:25 p.m. PST

You have already, thanks.

Some Chicken03 Sep 2013 1:34 p.m. PST

I'm not sure that the green is weathered slate grey. I've seen references to using "new service colour" (basically a khaki green) instead of slate grey and Portland stone instead of light stone so it could be that. However Egypt Command chose light stone/silver grey/slate as far as I am aware.

account cancelled03 Sep 2013 2:45 p.m. PST

Caunter is definitely not blue.
Check out link for Caunter. I did an A9 in Caunter here link

Crusaders were not really used in Caunter – plain desert sand or with the waves.

Hope this helps.

combatpainter Fezian03 Sep 2013 2:53 p.m. PST

Seems a bit conflicting.

account cancelled03 Sep 2013 3:11 p.m. PST

Caunter runs counter to all contra something or other. Ran out of puns there.

Tarty2Ts03 Sep 2013 3:57 p.m. PST

Interesting discussion chaps…..great stuff. I must say James I've been inspired by your Caunter scheme from day one when you first painted them on your blog. I may go for somewhere in the middle then.

Bandolier03 Sep 2013 4:19 p.m. PST

And people think Western Desert tanks are boring! Great painting and info from all you gents.

jgibbons03 Sep 2013 5:21 p.m. PST

Olicana – your stuff is amazing (i kno i have said it before but it deserves it again)!

Kaoschallenged03 Sep 2013 7:51 p.m. PST

Here are a few more shots of Crusaders in camouflage. Robert






olicana04 Sep 2013 2:05 a.m. PST

Thank you for your kind words (about my painting).

Some Chicken, I've checked (Chadwick) and you are right about 6th and 2nd RTR tanks. I have somehow got them confused when transcribing them into my own organisational diagrams must do a quick cut and paste swap around which I find easier and quicker to use, example with mistake below. Thanks.

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2013 4:12 a.m. PST

@ Olicana. I also think your models look superb . Luv the bases as well .

I wouldn't be too hung up on exact shades of colour either . As an ExRailway modeller , I learned that sun, weather conditions and general grime can distort colours to a very large degree. On my last Railway Project the Yellow on my Sante Fe diesels was nearly white due to operational use through Arizona etc.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2013 5:07 a.m. PST

Excellent work!

olicana04 Sep 2013 6:20 a.m. PST

I've double checked the possibility of 3.7cm armed Pz III.

"Actual delivery of the earlier models PzKpfw III Ausf. E/F is not certain; but what is known however, is that every PzKpfw IIIsent to North Africa was retrofitted and armed with the 50mm KwK L/42 gun."

This is a passage from Rommel's Afrika Korps by Pier Paolo Battistelli, talking about the tanks sent out at the start. The first Pz IIIJ (50mm KwK 39 L60)started to arrive in January 1942 (I have December 41 somewhere) in very small numbers: From memory, the first delivery was only 6 tanks. It was first used in the Gazala battles but was not generally / commonly available until August.

The Pz IV was mainly the D and E model, but all the latter had a turret stowage bin fitted – I used F1 models because of this. The F1 officially appeared at roughly the same time as the Pz IIIJ.

olicana04 Sep 2013 7:25 a.m. PST

wrong topic, sorry.

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