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"North Africa Tank camo schemes, pre-1942?" Topic


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DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian18 Jun 2019 11:00 a.m. PST

I am about to commission some painting of North Africa paining through the end of Crusader. I've read up a lot on TMP post about this, but wanted to confirm some things. Last I check I get the following as a safe consensus -


GERMAN

Found this online
"After 12 June 1940, units stopped buying paint directly from the suppliers. Instead, paint was issued directly to the units, with Dunkelgrau being the only issued color. On 31 July 1940, to save paint, it was ordered that armor should only be painted Dunkelgrau. On 10 February 1941, the RAL colors were re-numbered, with Dunkelgrau Nr. 46 becoming Dunkelgrau RAL 7021.
"On 17 March 1941, it was ordered to paint all vehicles in North Africa a base color of Gelbbraun RAL 8000 (yellow-brown), with one-third of the vehicle covered by Graugrün RAL 7008 (gray-green), with feathered edges. To save paint, the areas covered by Graugrün were not to be covered with the Gelbbraun base color. Small items should only be painted in one color. On 25 March 1942, Gelbbraun and Graugrün were replaced by Braun RAL 8020 (brown) and Grau RAL 7027 (gray), once existing paint stocks were depleted, with no change in pattern.
"There are examples of vehicles in Europe in 1941 and 1942 with a two-tone pattern. The most likely explanation is that vehicles intended for North Africa, and painted at the factories, were re-routed to European units."

So Dunkelgeld with some mud as camo with moderate weathering? Maybe add a few with 1/3 with some Graugrun (but if so, what type of pattern?


BRITISH
Caunter Scheme


ITALIAN
I'm not seeing much indicating any specific camo pattern prior to 1942 in North Africa. So similar to Germans in a base color and maybe some mud and moderate weathering? Thoughts?

Blutarski18 Jun 2019 12:01 p.m. PST

Hi DW,
Trying snagging a copy of "Armor Camouflage & Markings: North Africa 1940-1943", Volume 1, by George R Bradford.

link

It's not the Encyclopedia Britannica of Western Desert armor paint schemes, but it is a pretty damned outstanding value for the money. Includes comparative color swatches for reference, as well!

B

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP18 Jun 2019 12:10 p.m. PST

That's the way I've painted my 1:285 microarmor.

link

link

Unfortunately I've done no more painting on these since then. One of these days I'll get back to them.

Since I use primarily craft paints, here is my color scheme:

German: Base of Folk Art Camel and 1/3 coverage with Craft Smart dark gray

British: Base of Americana bleached sand or Apple Barrel sandstone and "caunter" with Americana grey sky or Americana slate green.

Hope this helps,

Jim

Garand18 Jun 2019 1:01 p.m. PST

Very early on German tanks were shipped to N Africa in their base Panzergrau scheme, & camoflaged using local resources. Often this was simply mud mixed with gasoline & spread across the vehicle. This tended to weather very badly. later on vehicles might be repainted in Italian or (allegedly) captured British paints.

Damon.

olicana19 Jun 2019 2:30 a.m. PST

I only game November 41 to January 42. My research for Crusader has turned up the following:

22nd Armoured Brigade's A15s came straight from the shop in a hurry and were painted sand only – NO caunter.

The pics I have of 4th Armoured Brigade's Honeys mostly have a two colour caunter scheme of sand and a bluish (?) grey. I have no pics of Honeys in tri colour caunter for Crusader – again they were delivered in a hurry – and some may have been monotone sand colour.

7th Armoured Brigade were using old cruiser tanks in caunter, and their A15s were probably in caunter too.

Matildas for the infantry support brigades were in caunter of various shades. I have a picture of the 8th (Valentines) in plain sand colour.

All British vehicles seem to have adopted the red and white Crusader Stripes – which the Germans particularly liked shooting at! They were generally removed by crews ASAP after Crusader.

Note that all internal plate surfaces (e.g. inside the turret) of British tanks were often bare metal, possibly including hatches. The crews (the veteran ones at least) often removed the paint with sand paper to stop flaking when the tank was hit. Crisp ordered this done to all of the Honeys on their arrival from the shop to his Company (see Brazen Chariots).

The Germans had stopped the oil and sand over field grey and were painting their tanks with proper paint by November 41 – much of it captured British stock. You can over do the 'undercoat' coming through – see pics of German tanks at Crusader – as most looked completely momotone from more than a few yards.

4th Cuirassier19 Jun 2019 5:02 a.m. PST

I'd question whether "mud" is the right term for what built up on tanks in the desert.

link

link

These depict an M3 Lee in Kentucky and you can see it's dust rather than mud that accumulates. Even more so in the desert I'd guess.

Legion 419 Jun 2019 7:59 a.m. PST

Very early on German tanks were shipped to N Africa in their base Panzergrau scheme, & camoflaged using local resources. Often this was simply mud mixed with gasoline & spread across the vehicle. This tended to weather very badly. later on vehicles might be repainted in Italian or (allegedly) captured British paints.
That is the way I understood it. You can see photos of the Panzergrau paint with the DAK, etc., insignia on the vehicle surrounded by the mud and other "paints". You can clearly see the Panzergrau and insignia with mud or paint around it.


and you can see it's dust rather than mud that accumulates. Even more so in the desert I'd guess.
Yes, it does not take long for the soft gritty dust that is desert sand to cover the vehicles, etc. Desert sand is not like beach sand. And anytime in the desert is Not "a day at the beach" !

olicana19 Jun 2019 9:21 a.m. PST

And mud was a problem in the early days of Crusader. It rained heavily turning the 'sand' which was more like a fine dust to sticky mud that got everywhere. Likewise, if you mix the desert sand (found in North Africa) with oil to make paint, you get a muddy, paint like mixture – which is probably why they were able to use that mix.

Don't think that it never rains in this region. In the summer it is as dry as anything and very hot but, in the winter it can rain and snow and temperatures can make wearing great coats and gloves essential, even in daytime.

Blutarski19 Jun 2019 9:47 a.m. PST

I recall reading accounts of units sheltering in wadis (nominally speaking – deeply cut dry stream beds) on occasion being swept away by sudden unexpected flash floods.

B

Andy ONeill19 Jun 2019 12:54 p.m. PST

Caunter scheme has been subjected to extensive interpretation, misunderstanding and discussion over the years. It's now mostly agreed that the "blue" wasn't very blue.

link

Martin Rapier19 Jun 2019 11:23 p.m. PST

My 6mm is aimed mainly at Crusader and Gazala, and although I've got the odd bit of camo on some of older vehicles, pretty much everything is just various shades of sand.

As noted above, the North African desert is very dusty, and a combination of dust and sun bleaching means everything ends up pretty much the same colour fairly quickly.

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