MERDC red (!) desert camo scheme?

Good afternoon, Gentlemen …

I’m a big fan of MERDC camouflage and I’ve come across a lot of pictures over the years, but as far as I remember, I’ve never seen a single (!) pic of a vehicle in MERDC red desert. There are two or three that could be that ominous RED desert, but they’re not clear enough and could also be GREY desert. Therefore, could someone enlighten me ? Is there any evidence that MERDC red desert really has been used / applied ?

Thanks in advance !


What about these ?



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Looks like grey desert to me

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NZ M113



I need to specify: U.S. American vehicles in MERDC red desert



Thank you gtdeath13. Number two seems to be “grey” again, but the first one is great. Where did you get this from ? Looks like a scan from a magazine or a book ?

You are correct, number 2 is not red desert.

The photo is pretty famous, since it is one of the few photos of USMC M48A3 tanks somewhere else than Vietnam. The year it was taken was 1975 or later.

I also found this photo of a M60 slick, looks like red desert, although it is black and white


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I touch on some of it on my “M60A3” Frankenbuild thread. I’m painting mine in Winter Verdant MERDC, which was standard for USAEUR units.


Red Desert MERDC pattern on an M60A1.

You can check here for further reference on the MERDC camo patterns.

M60 Tank Reference - Reference by Subject - KitMaker Network

Hello Von Haller. I think that you will find that both of those M48’s are in the Gray Desert colors. The first images look like the art work on the back cover from the Squadron book. These Vehicles are shown in natural light in a post below that one.
I have only seen one American vehicle painted Red Desert during my career.

I am thinking that you might find something of interest if you do a search relating to the Arizona National Guard and Fort Bliss during the 70’s-80’s.

My crew and I have painted two M60’s, an M113 and an M151. The unit SOP was for the winter green without sand in Europe. In Texas, we painted our tank in the Summer green using all four colors.

Please, let us know what you learn.



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I was stationed at Fort Bliss '83 and '84 is the 3rd ACR. Everything on post was either desert grey merdc, tan, or OD.


The text for your pic show early M109’s but their caption says M48 A2C Magach 3, which they are not

Thanks a lot ! So (correct me, if I’m wrong) one could, with a certain conviction, say, that MERDC red desert has never (if at all) been in widespread use.

Your second comment (MERDC summer verdant) brings me to my next project: a M2 Bradly in this camo. Not a very common colour for a Bradley, but there are at least a few such pictures around …

Do you remember the type of vehicles painted tan ?

Forgive me the tangent, but is this colour-scheme on the ancient Esci box meant to be the Red desert scheme or the Grey one?

I’m aware of the imperfections of the kit but I bought it just because the box-art colour scheme was interesting.

Base colour is “sand” = MERDC grey desert

Roger that; thanks very much.