M11/39 AS Camouflage


New Member
Those familiar with the Carro armato M11/39 probably know about the camouflage scheme it used in the opening stages of the desert war: a sand coloured base with green angular, geometric patterns, somewhat similar to the better known Caunter pattern used by the British.

Over the past couple years, it has come to my attention that another colour was used in this scheme, and some has been written about it on another forum, here: https://www.modellismopiu.it/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic_id=119766&forum=4&start=30&viewmode=flat&order=0, and a tiny bit here: https://www.modellismopiu.it/modules/newbb_plus/print.php?forum=103&topic_id=116789&fbclid=IwAR0XkcnlSAgk2KckrXQ1aM3gxba8UejG9pFSmnl1HXnQBHypB58H9b_r3Wk

And I recently came across some photos of it on the Australian War Museum website, which show a scheme of two colours and a base colour on the turret of an M11/39 captured at Nibeiwa.

Also on the AWM is a photo of another M11/39, but showing a scheme of only one colour and a base colour, more in line with artist’s illustration I posted above.

From the photos above, as well as many others, here are some things I have noticed:

  • There does not appear to be a set pattern, and each scheme is unique to each tank.
  • Dust and poor quality photographs can obscure colours -where one colour stops and another begins- and this could explain why previously a third colour had not been noticed in the scheme. However, there are some clear photographs that appear to only show two colours.

I would like to devote this thread to nailing down the facts about this camouflage scheme.

What M11/39 units in AS used it? (Both battalions? Just one? Just one company of one battalion?)

What colours were used? (Much of this has been covered in one of the Modellismo Più forum link posted above.)

Did different units use different variations of it? (One unit with two colours, another with three colours.)

Where and who did it originate from? (This one will probably be trickier.)

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New Member
Here's an interesting photo of how they appeared before receiving a more theater-appropriate paint scheme: in grigioverde, with the sides and back of the turret in a tricolour. The lines look uneven, and the white band extends onto the front of the turret, so I believe this was applied by hand. I would like to know if there was any aerial recognition marking on the top of the turret.

A thin tricolour strip was retained on the rear of the turret after they were repainted, as can be made out in this photo.
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New Member
Although not entirely related to the goal of this thread, I thought I'd share another photo I found of the pre-camo turret tricolour. This one appears to have the white band, and probably the rest of the tricolour, extended onto the front of the turret, unlike the example above.
Looking for air recognition markings, I found this:

It's probably just the same tone as the hull & turret.

This one doesn't look like it has the air recognition disk:

I can't remember if the 2nd photo is from N or E Africa.