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"British Vehicle Markings - North Africa" Topic

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07 May 2020 4:26 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "British Vehicle Makings - North Africa" to "British Vehicle Markings - North Africa"

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SquireBev07 May 2020 12:07 a.m. PST

Does anyone know of a comprehensive online source for British vehicle markings in the North African campaign?

I ask because I've bitten the bullet and bought some Flames of War decal sets, but I'm struggling to work out which units are actually represented by the included Arm of Service numbers.

Battlefront have produced some very useful diagrams for the Italian and North-West Europe theatres, but I can't find anything similar for North Africa.

Here are the decal sets in question – there are divisional markings for the 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 10th armoured divisions, and then an assortment of Arm of Service numbers. Can anyone shed any light?


JimDuncanUK07 May 2020 2:31 a.m. PST

Found this


Not relevant to the OP but gives a clue as to where to look next.

AndreasB07 May 2020 2:35 a.m. PST

No idea what the roundels are. The white/red/white stripes were used in Operation CRUSADER, came in early November 1941 and were discontinued by early 1942.

No idea what the big roundels are for.

What's missing is that some tanks had very (and I mean very) large numbers painted on them during CRUSADER at least. This may have been a TobFort thing.

All the best


SquireBev07 May 2020 3:01 a.m. PST

Thanks for the responses so far.

I've seen photos of tanks painted with large RAF roundels on the engine deck, presumably to aid aerial recognition.

John Armatys07 May 2020 3:16 a.m. PST

I don't know of an online source, but the notes below are taken from Peter Hodges and Michael D Taylor's British Military Markings 1939-1945 page 81 (Cannon Publications 1994) Standard Military Markings for an Armoured Division, MEF, from 17 October 1942:
67, 40, 86 = three armoured regiments
60 = motor battalion
24, 25 = not listed
63, 68 (and 83) = three motor or lorried infantry battalions
28, 29 = not listed
Red over blue
77, 55 (and 44) = three field regts RA
Green over blue
76 = Armd Car Regt
14 = not listed

The roundels were used as air recognition marks

SquireBev07 May 2020 3:55 a.m. PST

Very helpful John, thank you! I'll see if I can track down a copy of the book.

It now looks like I won't be getting the second set anyway as they're out of stock, but I believe they're more 1940/41, which may account for the missing numbers.

EDIT: It seems that 24 and 25 were used for armoured regiments in the early days of the 7th Armoured Division – PDF link

Schogun07 May 2020 4:36 a.m. PST

This thread from Track Link has some links and books that may help.


Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2020 5:00 a.m. PST

It really is a bit of a mash up on their sheets.

Armor Camouflage & Markings North Africa 1940-1943 by George R. Bradford lists some of the numbers John didnt have.

For the British 7th Armored Division 1940 he shows the following white on red square:
7th Armored Brigade
24 1st RTR
25 8th Hussars
26 3rd Hussars

The 7th had a second Armored Brigade assigned, the 4th. Here it was white on green square
28 7th Hussars
29 2nd RTR
30 6th RTR

Later the 7th would adopt the white on red of 40, 86, and 67.

Adding to the fun is in 41 and 42 the Armored Divisions commonly had a second attached Armored Brigade. In the case of the 10th Armored Division, for example, the 8th Armored Brigade had its 3 Regiments marked with white on red 40, 86, 67 while the 24th Armored Brigade had its 3 Regiments marked 40, 86, 67 but white on green!

The roundels were commonly seen on the rear deck of Shermans.

SquireBev07 May 2020 6:37 a.m. PST

Very informative, thank you!

SquireBev08 May 2020 7:32 a.m. PST

After a bit of digging I found this page with the following explanation:

Included are 4 different Armoured Division Insignia, representing the 1st Armoured (Rhino), 6th Armoured (mailed fist), 7th Armoured (Desert Rats) and 10th Armoured (fox head).

Regimental Tactical Numbers: 40 for the senior, 86 for the 2nd and 67 for the junior armoured regiments, and 60 for the motor battalion, all in red for the senior Brigade.

You also get the tactical geometric symbols to identify your squadrons in your armoured regiment. Red for the senior regiment, yellow for the 2nd regiment and blue for the junior regiment. The triangles are for A squadron, squares for B Squadron and circles for C squadron.

Shame there was no sign of this information on the actual Flames of War site.

Legion 408 May 2020 7:43 a.m. PST

thumbs up

Col Piron10 May 2020 5:50 a.m. PST

The triangles are for A squadron, squares for B Squadron and circles for C squadron.

They left out diamond for the Regimental HQ Sqn .

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 6:07 a.m. PST

There is little rhyme nor reason. For both the senior and junior regiments they include circle and triangle but no square. For 2nd regiment square and triangle but no circle. And, as you point out, no diamond.

I so miss Dom's decal sheets!

Eclaireur10 May 2020 6:50 a.m. PST

This is an excellent thread – not least for all those people making British AFVs for the desert or Mediterranean theatre – who then but the North West Europe 1944 tactical numbers on their vehicles (eg 51, 52, 53 for tanks) and spoil what in other respects might be an excellent paint job

Starfury Rider11 May 2020 8:01 a.m. PST

This is a list given in the Appendices of "Divisions of the British Army" by Malcolm Bellis.

Armoured Division, Middle East, 1942

Div HQ – 99 black

HQ Armd Bde – 71 red
Armd Regts – 40, 86 and 67 red
Mot Bn – 60 red

HQ Inf Bde – 49 green
Inf Bns – 65, 68 and 83 green

HQ Div Arty – 63 red/blue
Fd Regts – 77, 55 and 44 red/blue
Atk Regt – 50 red/blue

Armd C Regt – 76 green/blue
Div Sigs – 61 white/blue

Fd Sqns RE – 33 and 22 blue
Fd Pk Sqn – 50 blue

HQ RASC – 47 red/green
RASC Coys – 80, 48, 82 and 78 red/green
Fd Amb – 58, 52 and 27 black
Hygiene Sec – 45 black
Wksps – 38 and 42 black

Pro Coy – 79 black
Post – 89 blue

Mostly in sync with John's list above I think.


Windy Miller11 May 2020 9:17 a.m. PST

Very useful Gary! Note for the Div Signals the numerals were usually red.

SquireBev13 May 2020 1:18 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the help – I've managed to get everything decalled up.

Had to fudge it in a couple of cases due to not having the correct numbers, but I've tried to keep it as accurate as possible.






SquireBev30 May 2020 2:35 a.m. PST

Using the information and sources offered in this thread, I've made a hopefully useful guide:


Still a few gaps though – can anyone help fill them?

Legion 430 May 2020 9:03 a.m. PST

Very nice models !! thumbs up

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