German Tank Colours: Afrika

North Africa

German Tank Camouflage in North Afrika

During the North African campaigns the German supplies of paint were often interrupted and sporadic which led to many  varied schemes and shades of camouflage.

The initial camouflage colour for the desert was African brown (1941-1943 ~ VP879), though later there was introduced a lighter sand shade (1942-1943 ~ VP819). Of course many of the tanks were originally Panzer Grey (VP995) and were over painted with either desert colour.

Over painting could vary from a good covering where only the hardest wear would show the grey paint underneath, to very thinned down coats where large patches of grey were visible. Thinned down camouflage coats were quite common as limited stocks of paint were stretched to cover as many vehicles as possible. In 1941 mud was also used to cover earlier grey vehicles. 

Right: Evan has painted this Diana in the light sand colour (VP819), but first he put a darker coat on (VP914). The Grey (VP995) was roughly added on the areas to see the most wear

On occasion grey areas were left unpainted on purpose to create disruptive camouflage schemes, or on the whim of the crew. These could vary from simple patches or lines of grey to complex crosshatching over the original grey with the sand/brown colour.

Diana
Dion’s Lorraine Schlepper Left: Dion’s Lorraine Schlepper was painted with the African brown shade (VP879) and dry-brushed with lighter shades. He has also left the underside of the vehicle grey to show wear as well as the patch around the Balkenkreuz.
   
A colour known as Grey-green (though it was much greyer than green) was also issued early on as a camouflage colour and is probably best represented by VP866 (this also makes a great highlight colour over Panzer Grey incidentally, or as a base colour on more faded grey tanks).

Right: This Marder painted by Evan in VP819 his had plenty of wear added to the edges to show the paint rubbing off in the harsh desert conditions.

In Tunisia a number of Tigers and supporting Panzer IIIs (SchwerePanzer Abteilung 501) were painted Olive Green (VP924) acquired from the Italian air force in an attempt to blend in with the more temperate Tunisian terrain.

Evan's Marder III
Evan's Tunisian Tiger

Right: Evan’s Tunisian Tiger in Olive Green
   
In General a wide variety of effects were achieved using the same basic paint set, so feel free to experiment with lightening and darkening the basic colours to get the effect you’re happy with. So take a look at the samples, the captions cover the paints that were used.

Wayne

Below: An example of the cross hatch effect applied by some crews. 

Kubewagen original dark grey with sand over paint wearing off Cross hatch effect
Painted in VP879 by Dion Painted in VP819 by Kelly