Schémas de Camouflage Britanniques de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, 1930–1945

Schémas de Camouflage Britanniques de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, 1930–1945

Char d'Assaut Mk.III Matilda britannique in diagonal stripe disruptive pattern used en Afrique du Nord en 1940. Joueurs de Guerre may deploy the Airfix model of the Matilda Tank in the early campaigns in France et Afrique du Nord. The painting instruction supplied avec the kit were incorrect, the light blue stripes du camouflage de désert should actually be light grey (Humbrol No. 64). Chars Matilda capturés were converted en canons automoteurs par la Wehrmacht allemande, who used them for training purposes.

Schemas de Véhicule

  • U.K. 1930
  • France (BEF) 1939
  • Afrique du Nord 1937, 1939 & 1940
  • U.K. 1941, 1942 & 1943
  • Afrique du Nord 1942 & 12/1942
  • Afrique du Nord 1943
  • Sicily 1943
  • Italie 1943
  • Syrie/Persia/Iraq 1943
  • Far East 1942 & 1945
  • NW Europe 1944 & 1945

How many olives are in dark green?

There is some controversy among manufacturers of plastic model kits regarding the correct colour used for the basic dark green camouflage pattern des véhicules britanniques de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. The old Airfix 25-pounder field gun et Quad tractor kit nicely illustrates the kind of confusion which has persisted for more than 20 years.

  • Airfix 25 pdr et Quad ca. 1976: "LIGHT BROWN M5 overall, avec irregular patches of OLIVE GREEN M3 on tractor only". This editor still owns a section of 25 pdrs painted light brown according to these faulty instructions.
  • Airfix 25 pdr et Quad 1993 re-release: "30 DARK GREEN overall, avec irregular patches of 29 DARK EARTH on tractor only". Not correct either, the Quad should be Dark Brown avec Patches of Dark Green as before, but the 25 pdr et the ammo trailer need to be painted Dark Green instead of Dark Brown. The text in the instructions is ok, the drawing is incorrect.

Apparently, someone noticed the obviously mistaken painting instructions of the 25 pdr et trailer. Simply reversing the colours in the original instructions is a workable solution, even if it isn't completely accurate for the Quad. More importantly, notice how colour designations can change from LIGHT BROWN to DARK EARTH et OLIVE GREEN to DARK GREEN. How can there be such confusion about colour? Did l'Armée Britannique not issue precise specifications regarding the colour schemes to be used on véhicules? Apparently, manufacturers are in doubt et hobbyists are easily frustrated by the problem.

Maquettes Couleur de Base Taches de Camouflage
Airfix Quad M3, later 30 Dark Green 29 Dark Earth
Airfix AEC Matador 30 Dark Green
Airfix Bren Carrier M3 Light Olive
Airfix DUKW 86 Light Olive
Airfix Churchill Tank 86 Light Olive
Airfix Sherman Tank 86 Light Olive
Hasegawa Daimler, 7th Armd. Div. 54 Khaki Green
Matchbox Jeep, 7th Armd. Division 75 Bronze Green
Matchbox Jeep, 11th Armd. Div. 86 Lt. Olive, 72 Khaki Drill 33 Matt Black
Matchbox 17 pdr, 11th Armd. Div. 75 Bronze Green
Revell Desert War M5 Stuart Sand 48 Sea Green/Light Blue
Airfix Desert War Matilda M14 Sand M3 Lt. Olive/M25 Lt. Blue

In the case de la Jeep et tracteur Morris du canon antichar 17 pdr de la 11e Division Blindée de chez Matchbox it is not clear if the two colours are to be mixed in order to produce the basic colour ou if either colour can be used interchangeably. In any case, the table above clearly shows that five manufacturers recommend no less than six different shades of green to be used on véhicules britanniques.

Until recently, the author had assumed that Airfix M3 LIGHT OLIVE really is the same as Humbrol 30 DARK GREEN, because the Airfix M3 codes disappeared in the late 1970's ou early 1980's, et Humbrol No. 30 replaced them. The 1993 Airfix re-releases are split on the issue, translating the original M3 code into 30 DARK GREEN et 86 LIGHT OLIVE, the former being used on some tractors et the latter on chars et the US built DUKW amphibian. Francis Liew, historien et contributing writer for this camouflage article, points out that Humbrol No. 86 Light Olive is actually the matching colour used for véhicules britanniques modernes (Olive Green). Revell recommends 48 SEA GREEN to be used in the camouflage de trois couleurs de la Guerre du Désert, the same pattern that Airfix would have had you paint in M3 LIGHT OLIVE, M14 SAND et M25 LIGHT BLUE.

Couleur Standard Britannique

The table below lists information des Couleurs Standard Britannique extracted from documents which were de-classified et released to the public en 1984. Field orders issued par le War Office et any documents classified as "secret" were kept secret for 30 years. Couleurs Standard Britannique et matching codes de couleurs Humbrol were compiled et edited by contributing writer Francis Liew.

Home Forces: 1939 Three Colour Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Light Green No.22 B.S.381-1930 dessin de camouflage plus claire 80
Middle Bronze Green No.23 B.S.381-1930 couleur de base 30
Dark Green No.24 B.S.381-1930 dessin de camouflage plus sombre 75
Most vehicles were in the three colour disruptive pattern or in a two colour disruptive pattern using only dark green patches over the bronze green base colour. Photographic evidence suggests that some light tanks in the cavalry/recce regiments were painted in a two colour pattern using light green disruptive patches on the bronze green base colour.

France (BEF): 1939 Three Colour Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Khaki Green No.3 B.S.381-1939 anciennement No.23 30
Dark Green No.4 B.S.381-1939 anciennement No.24 75
Light Green No.5 B.S.381-1939 anciennement No.22 80
The only difference between the 1939 and 1940 vehicle patterns is that the B.S. shade numbers were changed. Vehicles without disruptive patters would be painted in the base colour only. Three colour and two colour patterns existed, as noted above.

U.K.: 1941 Two Colour Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Khaki Brown No.2 B.S.987C-1942 couleur de base 26
Dark Earth No.1A B.S.987C-1942 dessin de camouflage 29
Khaki Brown was used as a base colour from 1941 to 1943.

U.K.: 1942 & 1943 patterns

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
1942 Khaki Green No.7 B.S.381-1939 couleur de base 151
1943 Khaki Brown No.2 B.S.987c-1942 couleur de base 26
Khaki Brown continued to be used as a base colour even when Khaki Green was temporarily introduced as an alternate base colour in 1942.

NW Europe: 1944 Two Colour Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Khaki Green No.15 B.S.987C-1942 Olive/Khaki Drab 159
Black dessin de camouflage 33
The Mickey Mouse Pattern was introduced in early 1944. It consisted of large intersecting circular areas of matt black, applied freehand with a brush at army depots, either by soldiers or civilian employees. Please note that it was mainly used on "softskins" – tractors, trucks, etc and armoured/scout cars. The pattern was to be "applied to all top surfaces, with extensions down onto the vehicle sides, and along the bottom edges of the vehicle"; "the underside of the chassis was also painted black".
Variations of this pattern included random black disruptive patterns, used on self-propelled howitzers, and "black wavy pattern", used on Universal/Bren Carriers only. Please note that the only photographic evidence of tanks using black disruptive pattern was the 4th/7th Dragon Guards (8th Armd Bde), where bold black curves were painted on the sides of the hull. Black disruptive pattern was not normally used on tanks, because British tank crews made extensive use of hessian tapes and foliage for breaking up the vehicle's silhoutte

NW Europe: 1945 Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Deep Bronze Green No.24 B.S.381-1942 75

North Africa: 1937 Two Colour Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Light Stone No.61 B.S.381-1930 couleur de base 121
Terra Cotta No.44 B.S.381-1930 dessin de camouflage 70
This particular desert scheme of terra cotta disruptive lines on a light stone base colour could be painted to resemble stone walls, but it was not in widespread use. Because of the unique appearance of the surrounding terrain, local camouflage schemes had to be devised in the field.

North Africa: 1939 Two Colour Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Light Stone No.61 B.S.381-1930 couleur de base 121
Slate Grey No.34 B.S.381-1930 dessin de camouflage 31
Shades No.52 B.S.381-1939 (Pale Cream) and No.53 B.S.381-1939 (Deep Cream) were also used as base colours, particularly in the campaign against the Italians in North Africa. They were never in widespread use and the light stone basic overall colour quickly replaced them.

North Africa: 1940 Three Colour Diagonal Bands Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Light Stone No.61 B.S.381-1930 couleur de base 121
Light Grey No.28 B.S.381-1930 dessin de camouflage 64
Slate Grey No.34 B.S.381-1930 dessin de camouflage 31

North Africa: 1942 Two Colour Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Light Stone No.61 B.S.381-1930 couleur de base 121
Dark Green No.4 B.S.381-1939 dessin de camouflage 75
Apparently, Crusader tanks serving in North Africa were also camouflaged in a Light Stone and Black disruptive pattern. An exception to the rule, but not too far off from the guidelines laid down by the War Office.

North Africa: Diciembre 1942 Two Colour Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Light Stone No.61 B.S.381-1930 couleur de base 121
Terra Cotta No.11A B.S.987C-1942 dessin de camouflage 70
Terra cotta is a red earth tone, described by veterans of the campaign as a deep red. After wear and tear in operational use, it turned to a dull pinkish colour, similar to the shade of light coloured bricks. This pattern was used in the Tunisian and Middle Eastern theaters of operation. The city of Petra in Jordan is named "Red Rose City" after the vicinity's red desert sand.

North Africa (Tunisia): 1943 Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Middle Bronze Green No.23(G3) B.S.381-1930 couleur de base 30
A two colour disruptive pattern was used on Universal/Bren Carriers. This pattern was different from the black wavy pattern applied to carriers in NW Europe in 1944, it consisted of black flames, or teeth along the upper and lower edge of the carrier's superstructure.

Sicily: 1943 Two Colour Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Light Mud (Mid. Stone) couleur de base 84
Blue-Black dessin de camouflage 67

Italy: 1943 Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Khaki Green No.7 B.S.381-1930 a.k.a. Bronze Green 151

Syria/Persia/Iraq: 1943 Two Colour Disruptive Pattern

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
Light Stone No.61 B.S.381-1930 couleur de base 121
Terra Cotta No.11A B.S.987C-1942 dessin de camouflage 70

Far East: 1942–1945 (British and Indian armour fighting in Burma)

B.S. Désignation Ton Officiel Note Humbrol No.
1942 Jungle Green No.13 B.S.987C-1942 couleur de base 116
1945 Deep Bronze Green No.16 B.S.381-1930 couleur de base 75

It is apparent, that couleurs de véhicules de combat britanniques changed frequently, adapting to diverse terrain conditions encountered in the theater of operation. Using the above table, joueurs de guerre et collectionistes will be able to select the correct colour schemes for véhicules participating in the campaigns in France 1940 et 1944, Italie 1943-45, Allemagne 1945 et la Guerre du Désert.

Snow Camouflage

In Janvier 1945, 21st Army Group issued a "Snow Camouflage Booklet" avec the following guidelines for snow camouflage:

Section 34. "Use of Whitening Agents. En Allemagne ouest et in the Low Countries snow conditions are seldom constant. Rapid thaws may be expected et snow cover will not necessarily be continuous over a wide area. Morever, even in deep snow, buildings, woods et other features still provide dark backgrounds. White paint ou other whitening agents should not, therefore, be used directly on véhicules et weapons, but only as a means of whitening materials to be put on them."

Section 35. "White paint may be used, when practicable, on the underside of any tarpauline which can be reversed ..." and, as an alternative, "... to provide a temporary effective camouflage material, garnished nets can be dragged in the snow."

Appendix A:
"Calico: supplied in rolls of three foot width. Suitable application, making into patches avec strings attached, to be used on artillery ou other nets, or for attachment to tank turrets, guns, recce véhicules et for general improvisation.
White Scrim: supplied in rolls of 100 yards length, three inches wide. For garnishing nets, wire netting, helmet covers, wrapping of gun barrels, small arms et for sniper aides."

Appendix C listed methods of preparing limewash from rock lime (24 hours) et slaked lime, using salt ou powdered glue to obtain a more permanent type of paint. Please note that, using only limewash, this snow camouflage was not very durable et soon revealed patches of the darker paintwork colours underneath.

Scale Colour

A paint chip taken from an historic armoured véhicule may very well be the same olive drab ou panzer grey colour which the hobbyist can purchase from Revell et Humbrol today, but it would be a mistake to paint 1/72 scale models in this way. When viewed from a distance, the actual véhicule exposed to sunlight will appear much lighter than a small model painted in the same colour. Dust settling on the véhicule can highlight the overall colour even further, sometimes completely obliterating the camouflage effect et making it impossible to hide the véhicule against the dark background of a treeline ou forest.

The scale colour concept allows the model builder to simulate this effect. The authentic base colour is used as an undercoat, preferably sprayed on, to speed up the painting process. The undercoat should be left to dry before additional paint is applied. Mix the base colour avec white to highlight it et then drybrush it onto the véhicule. The raised surfaces of the model will pick up the highlight just like the real véhicule picks up sunlight. Viewed next to eachother, at the appropriate scale distance, of course, both véhicules will appear to be the same size et their overall colour should be similar, depending on the intensity of natural lighting the modéliste wishes to recreate. Drybrushing can be done in several layers, using more white each time. A final layer of dust grey can be applied to simulate the cumulative effect which a dusty road march would have on the véhicule et its crew.

Francis Liew

Questions Fréquents

Pour plus d'informations, veuillez contacter les éditeurs de la revue Military Miniatures Magazine au Miniatures Forum.

Figurines Britanniques de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale