Churchills in North Africa

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Churchills in North Africa

Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 1:14 pm

February 22nd, 2012, 1:31 am #1

Hi Everyone,

I'm a little confused when it comes to the proper colour of 1st army Churchill tanks in Tunisia. All my references show illustrations of, say, North Irish Horse Churchills as being painted in a green shade. Should this be British Khaki Green SCC15? This is confusing to me, because shouldn't they be painted SCC 2 Khaki Brown for this period? I'd really like to paint them brown! Does anybody know what colour they were and if they were a darker green, what's the story behind that?

Thanks,

Ryan
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Joined: April 28th, 2005, 2:06 pm

February 22nd, 2012, 9:06 am #2

Khaki Green and SCC.15 are two different colours. Khaki Green No.3 was introduced in mid 1939 as a new basic colour. Phased out during 1941-42 and replaced by SCC.2 (brown). SCC.15 is named Olive Drab and came into use circa March/April 1944. The 1st Army Churchills may have been either Khaki Green No.3 or SCC 2 brown. The problem with artwork is that it is often very old or is based on the general belief that all British vehicles were either 'green' or 'sand' of some sort.
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Joined: July 16th, 2009, 11:00 pm

February 22nd, 2012, 12:39 pm #3

I don't know about the colours, that's Mike's forte, but judging by the features of tanks seen in Tunisia the majority are post rework Scheme manufactured (with the possible exception of the MkIs present, which are probably pre-rework manufactured but reworked specification)

I would make an educated guess that they are of 1942/43 manufacture. Which may or may not help you with the colour in conjunction with Mike's post above

Chris

Inside the Armour
www.insidethearmour.com
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Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 1:14 pm

February 22nd, 2012, 3:56 pm #4

Your input is helpful. From every book and source I've read on the topic of British camouflage colours they likely should be the khaki brown. On the other hand, every book I have on Churchill tanks has them illustrated in green. The only brown Churchills depicted are those serving with training units in the UK. I was wondring if there was some special rule for Churchills even though it doesn't make sense. Now that I think of it, 1st army Crusaders are always shown as being painted in some shade of green, but should likely be brown. Perhaps there was an order to repaint equipment heading to Tunisia green? That would seem like a lot of extra effort to throw into an already complex operation.

To add to my confusion is a series of colour shots that I've seen labelled as Churchills in Tunisia, but the same shots are also labelled in other sources as being in Italy. Ahhhhh! OR, there are colour pictures, but the colour is so old and crappy it's too hard to make a definitive call. I have seen a colour photo of a green Crusader III which is labelled as being in Tunisia, but who knows where it was really shot? This guy's definitely a darker green colour:



I still think I'm going to go with Khaki Brown unless someone has some kind of contrary proof.

Thanks again!

Ryan


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Joined: July 16th, 2009, 11:00 pm

February 22nd, 2012, 4:54 pm #5

and probably Tunisia Ryan, The MkIII Crusader entered servie as a gun tank during the campaign in North Africa, and did not survive in service into Italy or NWE. The only other place that could be is the UK. And that doesn't look like anywhere in the UK I've been lol

Inside the Armour
www.insidethearmour.com
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Joined: April 18th, 2005, 11:39 am

February 22nd, 2012, 6:23 pm #6

Your input is helpful. From every book and source I've read on the topic of British camouflage colours they likely should be the khaki brown. On the other hand, every book I have on Churchill tanks has them illustrated in green. The only brown Churchills depicted are those serving with training units in the UK. I was wondring if there was some special rule for Churchills even though it doesn't make sense. Now that I think of it, 1st army Crusaders are always shown as being painted in some shade of green, but should likely be brown. Perhaps there was an order to repaint equipment heading to Tunisia green? That would seem like a lot of extra effort to throw into an already complex operation.

To add to my confusion is a series of colour shots that I've seen labelled as Churchills in Tunisia, but the same shots are also labelled in other sources as being in Italy. Ahhhhh! OR, there are colour pictures, but the colour is so old and crappy it's too hard to make a definitive call. I have seen a colour photo of a green Crusader III which is labelled as being in Tunisia, but who knows where it was really shot? This guy's definitely a darker green colour:



I still think I'm going to go with Khaki Brown unless someone has some kind of contrary proof.

Thanks again!

Ryan

Ryan,

The colour Churchill photos are at IWM:

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/searc ... =1&submit=

One of these, in UK, is in Brown/Black. This type of disruptive pattern would be hard to spot in B/W photo:







Cheers,
Mark
Last edited by redironbark on February 22nd, 2012, 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 1:14 pm

February 22nd, 2012, 8:39 pm #7

and probably Tunisia Ryan, The MkIII Crusader entered servie as a gun tank during the campaign in North Africa, and did not survive in service into Italy or NWE. The only other place that could be is the UK. And that doesn't look like anywhere in the UK I've been lol

Inside the Armour
www.insidethearmour.com
Ya, I know they weren't in Italy, but I was wondering if Crusaders made it to Syria or North Africa for training purposes after the close of the North African Campaign.
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Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 1:14 pm

February 22nd, 2012, 8:45 pm #8

Ryan,

The colour Churchill photos are at IWM:

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/searc ... =1&submit=

One of these, in UK, is in Brown/Black. This type of disruptive pattern would be hard to spot in B/W photo:







Cheers,
Mark
That might be the route I go. I know black was added as a disruptive pattern to the brown in 43. If it's possible, that's good enough for me!

Thanks again,

Ryan
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vqp
Joined: April 24th, 2005, 8:55 pm

February 23rd, 2012, 11:36 pm #9

Hi Everyone,

I'm a little confused when it comes to the proper colour of 1st army Churchill tanks in Tunisia. All my references show illustrations of, say, North Irish Horse Churchills as being painted in a green shade. Should this be British Khaki Green SCC15? This is confusing to me, because shouldn't they be painted SCC 2 Khaki Brown for this period? I'd really like to paint them brown! Does anybody know what colour they were and if they were a darker green, what's the story behind that?

Thanks,

Ryan
Hi Ryan,

You are correct. Our tanks and soft vehicles were repainted in was was called Tunisian Green prior to shipping to North Africa as were those of the other 25th Tank Brigade units. None were camouflaged except, for some unknown reason, a few of 21st Tank Brigade's Churchills arrived in Tunisia camflouged - they were quickly repainted however.

By coincidence Tigers and Panzer IIIs of Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 were painted in West European Green, not much different that the British Green.
2 Kompanie that had been stationed in Vichy France were already painted. Those of 1 Kompanie, which arrived in Italy in desert cammo, were either repainted in Reggio or on arrival in Tunisia.

Cheers,

Gerry
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Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 1:14 pm

February 24th, 2012, 3:27 am #10

Hi Gerry,

What was this Tunisian Green like? Was it an olive green or dark green? Those old coloured photos make it too hard to tell.

Thanks,

Ryan
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