Camouflage colours of the equipment in Africa and Crete






There were no special camouflage colours for the North African theatre at the time when units of the German Afrika Korps landed in Libya in February 1941. Once again, the troop had to shift for oneself. Usually, a mixture of earth and water was smeared on the vehicles. This resulted in a very effective camouflage finish after this mixture was dry. This camouflage finish was not very durable but it could be renewed, easily.
On 21st March 1941, the colour of the vehicles used in Africa was regulated by A.H.M. 1941, Blatt 7, No. 281 (O.K.H. (Ch H Rüst u. BdE), 17th March 1941 - 72/88/16 - AHA/In 2 (VIII)). The vehicles should be painted with the use of a spray gun to 2/3 in Gelbbraun (yellow-brown) RAL 8000 (today Grünbraun – green-brown – RAL 8000) and to 1/3 in Graugrün (grey-green) RAL 7008 (today Khakigrau – khaki- grey – RAL 7008). Small surfaces like rims could be painted in one colour. The insides of hatch covers of tanks and armoured vehicles were painted in white by the factories.
In A.H.M. 1942, Blatt 10 from 7th. April 1942, No. 315 (O.K.H. (Ch H Rüst u. BdE), 25th March 1942 - 72/88/16 - AHA/in 2 (VIII)), the camouflage coating of the equipment of the Afrika Korps was newly regulated. Now the equipment should be painted to 2/3 in Braun (brown) RAL 8020 and to 1/3 with Grau (grey) RAL 7027. However, old colour stocks should be used up. With the A.H.M. 1942, Blatt 17 from 21st July 1942, No. 600 (O.K.H. (Ch d H Rüst u. BdE), 3rd July 1942 - 72/88/16 - AHA/In 2 (VIII)) it was clarified, that this regulations also applied to the troops stationed on the island Crete. Without doubt, other colours beside the prescribed colours were used, too. Most probably, British as well as Italian colours were used. During the Tunisia campaign, American colours could have been used, too. First in 1941, vehicles in the colours of the Afrika Korps were seen on the eastern front. In summer 1942, an increased number of vehicles in desert colours were used on the southern sector of the eastern front.






s_gl_Einh_PKW_&_2cm_Flak30_DAKThis photo illustrates only one example of the multiplicity of the used colours and camouflage patterns used by the Afrika Korps.






Panzer_4_F_5_PD_PzRgt_31_Russland_41In Summer 1941, the 5. Panzer Division prepared for their fielding in North Africa in the area of Berlin. For this reason, a large part of the vehicles were repainted to the coating Gelbbraun RAL 8000 and Graugrün RAL 7008. Because of the development of the situation on the eastern front, the 5. Panzer Division was sent to the eastern front in short-term in October 1941. Therefore the vehicles could not be repainted to the coating Dunkelgrau RAL 7021 which was usual for Europa at that time. So the first vehicles with the tropical camouflage coating arrived in Russia in 1941.






Panzer_4_F_Kolonne_PzAbtGD_PzGrenDiv_GDThis Panzer 4 F of Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland was photographed on the east front in early summer 1942. The vehicle was painted in colour shades of the Afrika Korps. The first vehicles painted in such shades appeared on the east front in 1941.






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