Landships II

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: What colour were British WW1 tanks painted?


Major

Status: Offline
Posts: 138
Date:
What colour were British WW1 tanks painted?
Permalink   


What colour were British WW1 tanks painted?

The Mark IV in Brussels, still in original paintwork, is a chocolate brown. The Mark IV Female in the Museum of Lincolnshire life in Lincoln is painted a milk chocolate light brown.

The Mark I tanks of C Company had a multicoloured livery.

Were tanks painted olive-green? When did that happen, for the Mark V and V* tanks?

Were Mark IV tanks painted Olive Green? 

Is the dark Yellow paint colour of the Tank Museum, Bovington's Mark V Male correct?



__________________

Craig Moore


Tank Hunter. Looking for the survivors.

www.tanks-encyclopedia.com

www.tank-hunter.com



Lieutenant

Status: Offline
Posts: 70
Date:
Permalink   

A very good question. Recently I had my own problems by coloring my Mk.1, maybe in wrong colors. Until yet I´m not sure about it...

So there were no rules for colors in this time (like RAL), so a green in Manchester should be not the same green in London or Wales...

So I think, all greens you listened are correct...

__________________


Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1301
Date:
Permalink   

The Mark IV Female in Lincoln is not painted in original paint, so don't use it as a guide.

Otherwise I'm out of this thread. It is not a question which interests me since there is so little evidence.

Gwyn

__________________

Britain to Stay in EU. We are the 48%.



Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 40
Date:
Permalink   

Mk IV female at the AWM "Grit" www.ammsbrisbane.com/ajax/reference/Mark_IV.html I understand it has never been repainted

__________________


Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1685
Date:
Permalink   

 

The URL for the AMMS page is incorrect - it should be: http://www.ammsbrisbane.com/home.html?L0=6&L1=0&L2=14

(it's a similar setup to the Landships II pages - you need a special URL to load in the whole page rather than a broken version

of the content only).

The AWM says Grit has been repainted externally but not internally. The green colour in the images could be a lighting/camera effect

it's quite brown "in the flesh". I can check with Brad, who took the images at the AWM, when he did so - I suspect they might be a set

of images which predate the last renovation of Grit. 

Charlie



-- Edited by CharlieC on Monday 10th of July 2017 03:52:26 AM



-- Edited by CharlieC on Monday 10th of July 2017 04:08:22 AM



-- Edited by CharlieC on Monday 10th of July 2017 04:11:59 AM

__________________


Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1301
Date:
Permalink   

Which just goes to demonstrate my point that the question is so subjective, even when you have a tank to look at, it becomes a pointless debate.

Gwyn

__________________

Britain to Stay in EU. We are the 48%.



Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1301
Date:
Permalink   

Been in the archives today and stumbled across something on colours. I haven't sorted out all my notes yet, so from memory, it was decided that tanks should be painted "battleship grey" at the factory. Metropolitan came up with three different battleship greys, and the committee chose the lightest. Also serial numbers were to be painted yellow, though personally I think only Fosters paid heed to this.

Gwyn

__________________

Britain to Stay in EU. We are the 48%.



Hero

Status: Offline
Posts: 782
Date:
Permalink   

Hi Gwyn, that sounds like a great find, keep in touch.

As for Grit, putting aside whether it was repainted or not, I had a play colour correcting the photo and I could not get a brown finish without putting the other colours visible out of a natural range. Although there is no colour chart being held in front of the tank (something I really wish people would do on at least one photo), knowing how rust and old metal should look on these metal beasts, I can be pretty sure the top coat of paint is a green. I've tried the same with a few of the photos and I don't get a brown.

Colour photos are not always perfect but normally it is possible to pull something close to right from them. The human eye on the other hand can have issues with the colour green when it stops being of a bright hue. Having sold paint for many years I never cease to be surprised by the number of people who show a mild form of colour blindness when it comes to the colour green. It's why on the issue of colour I am healthily skeptical of witness accounts and will always go with physical evidence with a provable history.

Grit shows signs of a dark grey base coat matching that of the inside photos, which has then been over coated with a light grey with a top coat of dull green. The green on the underside of the sponson shows it to be painted over a paint that has flaked away. It matches the style of weathering of the dark grey on the sides in this view. I'm not saying the dark grey is original but certainly older than the green.

There are areas of graffiti scratched into the paint, it would be interesting to see if it can be dated by its style and content as it would help determine if all the the tank was repainted.

My 'opinion' on Tank colours are....

MK1 tanks light blue/grey... most but not all then camouflaged.

MKIV tanks a brown of some hue, then later green as things become more standard Army colours.

MKv tanks green

I don't think anything that makes us all look again at the past and what we think we know is ever wasted time.

So what do others think?

Helen x

Original and corrected photo attached

 



-- Edited by MK1 Nut on Wednesday 12th of July 2017 12:34:18 AM

Attachments
__________________


Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1685
Date:
Permalink   

It seems as if Grit has been repainted a number of times. In 1996 it seems to have been green,

the latest paint job, image from 2015, is brown.

Regards,

Charlie



Attachments
__________________


Lieutenant-Colonel

Status: Offline
Posts: 177
Date:
Permalink   

It reminds me of discussions about the russian R-7 rocket. Photos showed it to be green in colour, but it turns out that some shades of grey together with artificial lighting appear greenish on photographs. I wouldn't trust these. Colour correction on the computer can not add the information which was lost in the camera in such cases.

Also, there are photographs of Lodestar III on which it appears greenish, even if it is undoubtedly brown.

I would be rather interested to look at the contemporary evidence like documents, black-and-white photographs, paintings and tellings.

Best, Thorsten

__________________


Captain

Status: Offline
Posts: 75
Date:
Permalink   

Thanks Hellen and Gwyn about your feedback and help
The only " authentic" colors that I saw for british tanks ( MK IV) are the ones from parts of tanks collected on battle fields ( buried and out of UV actions )
For the brown it is between the Humbrol 26 and Humbroll 29 ( for the modelers)
The parts not painted in " finishing color" seems to be a kind of dark primer gray ( The one you coat the ship' s hull prior final coating)
Olivier

__________________


Major

Status: Offline
Posts: 138
Date:
Permalink   

Thanks Mk1 Nut.

It seems unusual that there is no documented source about what paint should be used on the tanks as they come out of the factory.

I have just finished writing a book on German artillery SPGs in WW2. The German high command issued dated orders to all factories telling them what paint to use. You can trace when it changed from Panzer grey to dunkelgelb (dark sandy yellow). 

The British army being hot on paperwork would have had similar instructions you would have thought. 

I have not found any documents at the IWM London so far. 

I was hoping to find the same historical evidence about paint continuity across different production plants in the UK and in expeditionary tank maintenance workshops in France.

How did the repair mechanic or the storesman not what paint to order. What was its central supply number?

We have had over 100 years to find out this sort of information. It must be somewhere.



__________________

Craig Moore


Tank Hunter. Looking for the survivors.

www.tanks-encyclopedia.com

www.tank-hunter.com



Captain

Status: Offline
Posts: 75
Date:
Permalink   

Hello all
For German paints during WW2 ( At the end of war), the difference between instructions and things done were huge...
They used what they had on hands regarding " yellow " paint, the finishing was their last worry. Dilution of the camo paint done on the field was done even using gasoline as thinner and they painted over spare tracks , tools , towing cables , mud ..
Regarding WW1 documents , Tanker posted ( Forum 14 18) an official document related to the paint of the French chars ( 17 Dec 1917 ) and the color description is " evasive ":
" peinture mate a marbrures claires couleur verte " , " marron mi café au lait veinee et stratifiee de noir "
So , the French storekeeper , to make his purchase request , was able to order any light green , light brown...There was no RAL numbers.
Best Regards
Olivier




__________________


Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1685
Date:
Permalink   

There seems to be a bit of confusion about paints back in WW1. There were only limited premixed paints available in WW1. These were

often suspensions of finely ground white lead in linseed oil, pigment was added to produce the desired colour.

Paint was usually made as required by mixing white lead and pigments with linseed oil / white spirit. Linseed oil paints are not long term storable

because the oil polymerises fairly readily. Paints were specified in terms of a recipe which the local people tried to follow as best they could.

The bottom line is that there was a lot of variation in colours even when paints were made up to the recipe.

Regards,

Charlie

 



-- Edited by CharlieC on Thursday 13th of July 2017 01:48:46 AM

__________________


Captain

Status: Offline
Posts: 89
Date:
Permalink   

The English Tanks at Cambrai (... tanks should be painted "battleship grey" at the factory) http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/8666



Attachments
__________________

Кино, танки и хлеб - сим победиши.



Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1301
Date:
Permalink   

Craig, Contrary to the assertion that there is no documented source on what colour tanks should be as they emerge from the factory, there is, and I have given that information in previous posts. It may not be as precise as you would like but that's not to say it doesn't exist. I would also point out that it is notable that the Supply Branch of the Mechanical Warfare Department, even at the end of the war, did not have a section dealing with paint. This suggests to me that firstly there was no real standardisation of paint supply, second that it was not regarded as a matter of any consequence and thirdly that there was no one tasked with producing the records you're looking for. Gwyn

 

[Edited to correct embarrassing error - apologies Craig.]



-- Edited by Gwyn Evans on Sunday 16th of July 2017 12:25:54 AM

__________________

Britain to Stay in EU. We are the 48%.



Major

Status: Offline
Posts: 138
Date:
Permalink   

Thanks Gwyn. Do you have a link to that previous post?



__________________

Craig Moore


Tank Hunter. Looking for the survivors.

www.tanks-encyclopedia.com

www.tank-hunter.com



Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1301
Date:
Permalink   

See my third contribution to this thread. (The second after I said I was out of this discussion...).

Gwyn

__________________

Britain to Stay in EU. We are the 48%.



Commander in Chief

Status: Offline
Posts: 511
Date:
Permalink   

Ah Craig, but what shade of Dunkelgelb? wink 

Was the British army in WW! too bothered about the exact shade of paint that its kit came in?



__________________


Colonel

Status: Offline
Posts: 202
Date:
Permalink   

The British did use a dark brown color for their vehicles in the middle of WW2 when they ran out of the green color, but that was a dark brown which I assume would be too dark for WW1 vehicles.



__________________


Colonel

Status: Offline
Posts: 202
Date:
Permalink   

I patronized a hobby shop earlier today.  I accidentally found a color, Tamiya TS-90, which looks rather like the medium brown I've seen British Mark tanks depicted in.



__________________


Private

Status: Offline
Posts: 1
Date:
Permalink   

I use for WW1 'tank Brown' a roughly 50;50 mix of XF55 and XF52.

__________________
796


Private

Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Date:
Permalink   

although its perhaps risky to extrapolate from track to the complete tank, we found some paint still on the remains of the tank track from the excavations of Bullecourt in June. We PRESUME this was a part of tank 796 (2nd Lt Skinner) - a Mk II Male, as it was found precisely where the maps and WW1 air photos suggested it would be. The track plates had been undercoated in red, with a 'British Racing Green' top coat when the tank was in action on 11 AprilBritish MK2 Tank_Colour Analysis_Harvey Mills Photography 2017.jpg



Attachments
__________________


Major

Status: Offline
Posts: 138
Date:
Permalink   

Oh wow. That has upset the apple cart. The Tank Museum painted their WW2 Covenanter tank light brown khaki. I was part of the team that dug up the Covenanter tank in Dorking in May. It was fantastic to find original olive green paint and regimental markings and serial numbers still on the tank after it had been washed of chalk soil.   What colour Humbrol paint do you think best matches Pantone 560c? 

 



-- Edited by MooreTanks on Thursday 14th of September 2017 10:34:40 AM

__________________

Craig Moore


Tank Hunter. Looking for the survivors.

www.tanks-encyclopedia.com

www.tank-hunter.com



Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1685
Date:
Permalink   

There's no provenance established for the section of buried track and the Mark II tank #796 aside from an inferred location.

I see no microanalysis to show that the paints are in fact consistent with a WW1 origin.

Charlie

 



__________________
796


Private

Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Date:
Permalink   

Report will be out soon Charlie - only excavated in June! The find was at the SE edge of the village - as per the 'x' marks the spot on the mapping in the Australian War Memorial (Battalion diaries), and contemporary air photos from Dr Birger Stichelbaut (uni of Ghent) and other sources. The track and other element including a link of the drive chain and the remains of two German infantrymen were located at the edge of a large crater. The stratigraphic relationships show only WW1 materiel above the track (including much ordnance). Its WW1 paint.

__________________


Lieutenant-Colonel

Status: Offline
Posts: 159
Date:
Permalink   

The "apple cart" does not appear to have been destabilised...at least not yet.

Perhaps someone could explain to me the purpose for painting any part of the track, and the reasons for drawing any inference that that related to any other part of the vehicle tank, preferably citing contemporary precedents?

__________________


Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1301
Date:
Permalink   

I am also puzzled as to the purpose of painting the track, when there are contemporaneous accounts of it being covered in hot oil during maintenance to keep it lubricated. Paint is a strange lubricant.

I agree it's green, but is it paint?

Gwyn



-- Edited by Gwyn Evans on Thursday 14th of September 2017 06:50:27 PM

__________________

Britain to Stay in EU. We are the 48%.

Ned


Major

Status: Offline
Posts: 124
Date:
Permalink   

Or is it "Oxidation" ?



__________________


Captain

Status: Offline
Posts: 75
Date:
Permalink   

Painting the inner part of the track ?
I have a doubt about way it could be achieved ......
Ok for the red oxide primer ( At the manufacture , prior installation ) , But the " final color" in an unreachable part of the tank ....
I have doubts.
No parts of tanks found at Cambrai were with green paint.
Best Regards
Olivier

__________________


Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1685
Date:
Permalink   

Gwyn Evans wrote:

I am also puzzled as to the purpose of painting the track, when there are contemporaneous accounts of it being covered in hot oil during maintenance to keep it lubricated. Paint is a strange lubricant.

I agree it's green, but is it paint?

Gwyn



-- Edited by Gwyn Evans on Thursday 14th of September 2017 06:50:27 PM


 Hot oil - sometimes called slushing oil - would be a good solution to lubricating the track joints and preventing corrosion. The track elements must have been

highly stressed from manufacture - hot riveted forgings and armour plate rectangle. Dipping in hot oil would have been a quick way to stop corrosion. It's going

to be nearly impossible to paint over an oiled surface though.

Charlie

 



__________________


Lieutenant-Colonel

Status: Offline
Posts: 159
Date:
Permalink   

Interesting a new information to me, Charlie.

So allow me to make a suggestion, that any paint applied to the track elements would only adhere after those elements had been separated from the tank and exposed to weather... So if the material is indeed paint, the evidence may only imply that there was an application of paint or spillage at some later date.

I recall that a male sponson door was excavated and had apparently been used at the entrance to a dugout. I do not recall if it retained any of the original paint.

Incidentally, am I alone in finding battlefield archaeology potentially distasteful, particularly when human remains are disturbed?


__________________


Legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 1301
Date:
Permalink   

This is an interesting possibility, i.e. that track was later used for some other purpose, like reinforcing a dugout, and was painted after it became separated from the tank. It would make a good deal more sense than tank tracks painted green.

No, I don't find battlefield archaeology distasteful provided any human remains are treated in a proper manner. (By the way, I have a relative amongst the missing.)

Gwyn



__________________

Britain to Stay in EU. We are the 48%.



Lieutenant-Colonel

Status: Offline
Posts: 167
Date:
Permalink   

I saw many archaeological finds of the Second World War, including the remains of armored vehicles. I can confidently say that paints can vary very much during their stay in the ground, as well as in water or in a swamp. The most striking example is the red inscription on the turret of the T-34 tank, which became light yellow after 70 years of being in the ground. This is due to the fact that the colored pigments are destroyed at different rates. I'm sure that the Mk-2 tank could not be painted completely in such a bright green color.

__________________

Regards

Denis



Hero

Status: Offline
Posts: 782
Date:
Permalink   

Could this turquoise colour be the original blue/grey now oxidized and appearing darker and more green in colour? I'm sure I read somewhere that heat can have the same effect on blue pigments back then... so maybe the hot lubricants.
If someone decided to paint their track then some could easily find its way to the underside of the links. Why would they paint their track.... maybe it was worn and they decided to paint over any bare patches to make it less visible to aircraft.
It's a really interesting artifact but unfortunately provides no answers... so far.
Thanks for showing us.


__________________
Ned


Major

Status: Offline
Posts: 124
Date:
Permalink   

I know we're talking about something that happened 100 years ago. But are there any written records from the various factories of what

paints they obtained for the tanks ? example the primer (red oxide? shown in the picture) .  If there is a record somewhere, it may shed

some light. 

The other possibility (as implausible as it may be) that this tank ran over some vehicle (or part there of) and the green paint stuck to the tracks.

 Would the Tank Museum have any records of the paints that they found on the tanks they have on display / refurbished.



-- Edited by Ned on Sunday 17th of September 2017 02:36:26 AM

__________________


Lieutenant-Colonel

Status: Offline
Posts: 159
Date:
Permalink   

There are various possibilities of increasing implausibility, I suppose.
Ned, this topic has been the subject of debate on this forum, and it would not appear that records have survived from factories or elsewhere. The best information would seem to be from extant material which survives in several museums. There are some records indicating the materials used on artillery equipment and some military vehicles, and inferences may be drawn about pigments and the content of paints, which goes some way towards explaining possible variability. There are also published written descriptions of tanks from those who operated them, or encountered them.





__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us