Initial paint job on 5th Panzer Regiment tanks when they arrived in North Afrika

I have a Panzer II on the bench at the moment, and while I want to do it as a 5th Panzer Regt vehicle, I also want to do something a bit different from the normal Afrika Korps sand yellow color scheme. I recall seeing some of these early vehicles (ex 3rd Panzer Division), being unloaded from ships circa February 1941, and while they were black and white photos, the tanks appear to be grey, in other words not yet in their African camouflage. I also recall seeing photos of the famous staged Panzer Parade in Tripoli, prior to moving forward on that first offensive thrust. Seems to me these tanks were also still in their original gray.

My question then is did these tanks arrive in Africa in their original livery, or are the photos playing tricks on me. In a perfect world color photography should have been invented 75 years earlier. Thanks in advance for your answers.

Yes, the 5th Panzer Regiment did arrive in North Africa in their original Panzer Grey paint.

February 1941 arrival would be Panzer Gray based what I’ve read from various sources. See below.

North Africa German Army Colors

On 17 March 1941, Inspectorate 2 ordered that equipment in North Africa should be painted two-thirds yellow-brown (gelbbraun RAL 8000) and one-third gray-green (graugrün RAL 7008).

On 25 March 1942, Inspectorate 2 ordered that gelbbraun and graugrün were to be replaced by brown (braun RAL 8020) and gray (grau RAL 7027) once existing paint stocks were depleted, using the same pattern.


Much appreciated. Thank you very much


That’s really helpful. I have a few DAK projects in the works and that will be very useful.

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So all the B/W photos of DAK panzers that look overall desert yellow/brown are actually two-tone desert yellow/brown and gray/green? :thinking:

WW2 German AFV’s for DAK - who really knows these days? Those were the guidelines it seems.

It’s been show several times in black and white photos that often demarcation between the two colors doesn’t show up very well that they often appear to be the same color on black & white pictures.

YES. 5678910 characters.


Love your reply Matt lol !

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It is my understanding that this finish is very close to accurate and clearly shows why the difference is hard to see.


Yea. That would disappear in b/w completely!

@CMOT Darren, excellent pictures! Thank you.

Even with just a cellphone edit…those colors almost disappear going to black & white. Just imagine adding a weeks worth of dust out in the field and how little contrast would remain between the two colors.

I think it’s also note worthy how the red 131 looks “black” in the B&W edit.

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Is that Bovingtons Tiger?
They did an interesting video on YouTube about the research that went into getting an accurate colour.

Yes that is 131 at Bovington

Wow very interesting pics!

Ah, I wish I saw this thread earlier. I’ve added some more information in another thread here: Panzer I Ausf A. North Africa Paint? - #6 by Boehml

Still confused on whether or not early vehicles in North Afica, like the Panzer I would have had the tropen scheme.