Kiwi Vehicle Camouflage during WW2

During WW2 the 2 New Zealand Division adopted British camouflage patterns on their vehicles. This is one of my WW2 Painting Guides. I focus on the Italian Campaign because this is my particular interest. The illustrations are a small selection from Jeffrey Plowman and Malcolm Thomas’s books of the Kiwi Armour series. These are great resources with many more illustrations. I recommend them.


Summary

Dates in use Camouflage base coat Disruptive Pattern Comments
Early War – Dec 1941 For tanks:
Top: Dark Blue-Grey *
Middle: Slate ** or Green
Bottom: light stone ***

For Carriers:
Front: Dark Blue-Grey *
Back: Green or slate **
Bottom: light stone ***

“Caunter” camouflage scheme

* Like the Blue-Black used 1943-44
** Like a mid Blue-Grey
*** Like the Mud-Grey used 1943-44

Early 1941 – Oct 1943 Desert Sand N/A Gradually replaced Caunter scheme
Oct 1943 – Mar 1944 Mud-grey Blue-black Divisional Cavalry stayed in these colours until turned into infantry in Sep/Oct 1944. Many universal carriers also stayed in these colours until the end of the war.
End of Apr 1944 – Dec 1944 Dark Green Brown Only for 18 Armoured Regiment
Apr 1944 – Dec 1944 Green Black Brigade transport.
End of Jun 1944 – end of war Dark Green (Olive drab matt HA/NIV/3235 or 3145) N/A All were repainted in this scheme by Dec 1944.

Early War – Dec 1941: “Caunter” camouflage scheme

The “Caunter” camouflage scheme was a bit complicated.
For tanks:

  • Top: Dark Blue-Grey *
  • Middle: Slate ** or Green
  • Bottom: light stone ***

For Carriers:

  • Front: Dark Blue-Grey *
  • Back: Green or slate **
  • Bottom: light stone ***

* Like the Blue-Black used 1943-44
** Like a mid Blue-Grey
*** Like the Mud-Grey used 1943-44


Early 1941 – Oct 1943: Desert Sand

Desert Sand gradually replaced the Caunter scheme from early 1941. And was the main colour used in North Africa.


Oct 1943 – Mar 1944: Mud-grey with Blue-black disruptive pattern

British vehicles arriving in Italy a variety of schemes. The Kiwi tanks arrived using a new paint scheme introduced by General Order of April 1943 with a mud-grey base and a blue-black disruptive pattern.

Paint recommendations:

  • Vallejo Paints: (115) 70.988 Khaki with disruptive pattern in a mix of (167) 70.995 German Grey / (169) 70.950 Black
  • FoW Paints: FWP327 Military Khaki with disruptive pattern in a mix of FWP303 Panzer Grey / FWP300 Black
  • Tamiya Paints: For Light Mud mix 4 parts XF-55 Deck Tan + 2 parts XF-49 Khaki + 1pt XF-66 Light Gray. It could take up to another 1/2 pt of XF-55. Use XF69 Nato Black as the disrupter over this.

This makes for some fairly unique Sherman tanks.

Kiwi Armour 1 - Rear - Sherman III - A Squadron - 19 Armoured Regiment, Nov-Dec 1943

Kiwi Armour 1 – Rear – Sherman III – A Squadron – 19 Armoured Regiment, Nov-Dec 1943

Kiwi Sherman in Italy - 18th Armoured Regiment - painted in mud-grey with blue-black patches

Kiwi Sherman in Italy – 18th Armoured Regiment – painted in mud-grey with blue-black patches

Kiwi Sherman in Italy - probably from C squadron 19th Armoured Regiment

Kiwi Sherman in Italy – probably from C squadron 19th Armoured Regiment

The Divisional Cavalry stayed in these colours until turned into infantry in Sep/Oct 1944. Many universal carriers also stayed in these colours until the end of the war.

Kiwi Armour 3 - Rear - Staghound I - C Squadron - 2 Div Cav - April 1945

Kiwi Armour 3 – Rear – Staghound I – C Squadron – 2 Div Cav – April 1945


End of Apr 1944 – Dec 1944: Dark Green with Brown disruptive pattern

At the end of April 1944 18 Armoured Regiment repainted their tanks in a dark green with a brown disruptive pattern. Other tank regiments and support vehicles in the earlier mud-grey+blue-black (see above).

Kiwi Armour 1 - Rear - Sherman III - B Squadron - 18 Armoured Regiment - July 1944

Kiwi Armour 1 – Rear – Sherman III – B Squadron – 18 Armoured Regiment – July 1944


Apr 1944 – Dec 1944 Green with Black disruptive pattern

From the end of April 1944 all Brigade transport was instructed to repaint in in green with a black disruptive pattern.


End of Jun 1944 – end of war: Dark Green

From June 1944 the tanks began to be repainted in Dark Green (Olive drab matt HA/NIV/3235 or 3145). All were repainted in this scheme by Dec 1944 with 19 Armoured Regiment being the last. The Sherman VC “Fireflies” started arriving in October 1944 so were probably painted like this. The Sherman IBs with the 105mm howitzer arrived in 1945 and were definitely this scheme.

Painting recommendations:

  • Vallejo Paints: (096) 70.894 Russian Green / Camouflage Olive Green
  • FoW Paints: FWP348 Firefly Green

This makes for a conventional looking Sherman.

Kiwi Armour 1 - Rear - Sherman VC - C Squadron - 20 Armoured Regiment - May 1945

Kiwi Armour 1 – Rear – Sherman VC – C Squadron – 20 Armoured Regiment – May 1945


References

Gallie, A. (n.d.). Kiwis in Armour – New Zealand 4th Armoured Brigade in Italy 1944-45. Flames of War.

Holswich, D. (n.d.). 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade In 1943. Flames of War.

Plowman, J. and Thomas, M. (2002). 2nd New Zealand Divisional Cavalry Regiment in the Mediterranean. Kiwi Armour 3.

Plowman, J. and Thomas, M. (2000). 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade in Italy. Kiwi Armour 1.

Smith, T. (2012, 26 Feb). British WW2 tank colors. Brit Modeller.

Starmer, M. and Cooper, M. (2008, January)British Vehicle Camouflage, 1939-45 (Version 6). Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association (MAFVA).

Tomlinson, A. (2009, 19 Sep).
Compilation of M Starmer’s paint mixes – with thanks
. Missing-Lynx.

2 comments to Kiwi Vehicle Camouflage during WW2

  • david fleck

    Sorry did not have time to chat more today busy helping to run Martins side of the table .I would like sometime in the future to run your Tobruk scenario some time.It wil have to wait until someone does Eigth army to go up against my Italians!.

    • Steven Thomas

      It was nice to meet you David. And good to meet somebody who has obviously picked force – Italian – from interest rather than game advantage.

      I’ve never played western desert war. My Tobruk scenario is the closest to it – but it is un-played. Let me know how you get on. I’m convinced western desert is do-able. The desert is not flat – at least not flat for an infantry man.

      Cheers

      Steven

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