LRDG Vehicle Markings and Colours

LRDG Chevy truck

LRDG Truck Camouflage, Markings and Names

Vehicle Colours

The LRDG was an organization with an independent nature and the vehicle names and camouflage schemes reflected this. The Patrol commanders were given free reign to name and paint their vehicles. They used whatever paint was available to hand applied in the patrols own camouflage ideas.

G Patrol (The Guards) painted their Chevys in a rather gaudy scheme based on their commanders own theories.

Their trucks were spayed pink, with yellow and green disruptive bands. The pink was quite vibrant when first applied, but quickly faded in the harsh sun to a more subtle shade.

The other patrols are a little harder to pin down to a particular camouflage scheme. In photographs it is often hard to distinguish what particular shades and schemes the vehicles were painted in. The personal recollections of the LRDG members themselves provide our only other source of information. It would seem that not all vehicles were painted in just a basic sand scheme, but many and varied colour combinations were used depending on the terrain.

In sandy regions desert pink was selected to blend in the dazzling light of the sun, with pastel shades of light green, blue and purple used to break up the silhouette of the truck. In the rocky regions of the North Africa middle stone, slate blue, and grey were used to blend in the natural colours of the terrain.

The colours the LRDG had access to included: Crusader Sand (FWP363), Dry Dust (FWP364), Artillery Red (FWP380) + White (FWP301)Infantry Blue (FWP400) + White (FWP301)Jager Green (FWP344) + White (FWP301)Panther Yellow (FWP365)Oxide Red (FWP382) + White (FWP301)Whitewash (FWP307)Military Khaki (FWP327) and Black (FWP300). See samples for FWP colours.

For examples of LRDG colour schemes have a look at:

Dion painted this Chevy with Crusader Sand (FWP363) and camouflaged it with 50/50 Infantry Blue (FWP400) + White (FWP301), Afrika Green (FWP346) and European Skin (FWP385).

Dion painted this Chevy Dion painted this Chevy
Dion painted this Chevy Dion painted this Chevy

The three New Zealand patrols, R, T and W used Maori names for their vehicles starting with the patrols letter.
LRDG colours

R Patrol: Rotoma, Rotowaro, Rotokawa, Rotowhero, Rotoroa
T Patrol: Te Anau, Te Rangi, Taipo, Tutira, Te Aroha, Tirau, Te Paki
W Patrol: Waikaha, Waima, Waitoma, Waiariki

Sometimes when a vehicle was lost on patrol its replacement retained the name and a roman numeral was added after, e.g. Te Anau II.

Y Patrol recruited from the Yeomanry used more classical name such as those from The Three Musketeers (Aramis, D’artagnan…), later race horse names were used (e.g. Cock O’The North).

A partol unbogs a Chevy
LRDG Chevy truck

G Patrol  (Guards) did not name their vehicles, but the patrol commander flew a small flag from his vehicle.

G Patrol Flag

"African-Al" on the Forum has hunted down the names of the Rhodesians of S Patrol’s vehicles:

Salisbury (S1), Simba (S2), Selukwe (S3), Shangani (S4), Sebakwe (S5), Sinoia, Shabani, Shamwa (written Shamva in one photograph), Sabie (written Sabiwa in a couple of photographs) (S10), Selous, and Sipolilo (S11). 

According to LRDG Rhodesia: Rhodesians in the Long Range Desert Group by Jonathan Pittaway and Craig Fourie, pub. Dandy Agencies 2002.

"I managed to get hold of a copy, but the publishers told me they have no copies left themselves. You may be lucky and find one through military bookshops, etc. They said they might do an extended, new printing next year." ~ African-Al.


The Guards of G Patrol markings consisted of red and blue or black and red bars with lettering superimposed in white, G for the Patrol and a number for the vehicle.

The other patrols kept to a single box with the Patrol letter positioned over the vehicle number on the front right guard (from the drivers position) and names were in the front left side of the bonnet (hood).

LRDG G Patrol markings
LRDG R Patrol markings

The colours and style of the markings depended on the patrol and date. Black was a common background colour with white lettering (R, T, S and Y Patrols), but yellow with black lettering (W Patrol, with a circle instead of a square), a slightly darker camouflage colour with black lettering (T and S Patrols) or red with black lettering were also used (R Patrol with the patrol letter next to the vehicle number rather than on top).

The Patrol/Vehicle marking were also found on the tailgate of each vehicle.

Each vehicle also had a British Army registration number usually painted on the front bumper and rear tailgate.

With the New Zealand patrols a national symbol was also added to the right hand (from drivers position) side of the bonnet (hood) front. For T Patrol this was a black kiwi with bar underneath (Green or red, sources seem to conflict). Photographs of R Patrol vehicles seem to show some kind of symbol, but it unclear, it could be a kiwi as well or a silver (white) fern in a black box.

Well I hope that’s of some help in painting you LRDG forces.

If you have any more information to add to this feel free to email me.

~ Wayne.

Vehicles from R Patrol A vehicle from R Patrol
"Rotowaro" from R Patrol A Chevy from an unknown patrol called "Louise"
R Patrol stops for a break