does any one have the real story about when the factories changed from panzer grey to ordnance tan as the base colour for vehicles out of the factory?? i thought it was feb to april 1943 but there seems to be tan paint on late 1942 vehicles.
A very good point to raise - my understanding is that the order recinding Dunkelgrau was made in March 43, so we can surmise that this order was issued sometime in early 43. My Kubel is Jan 44 and I can say that in working on it there was Dunkelgrau on the front slope which I have replaced, and the entire engine bay is also Dunkelgrau! I believe that the Germans were great experimenters and also spent as much time customising their vehicles as they did their uniforms!!! One should also bear in mind that in late 44 there was an order to paint only Dunkelgreb in patches on to the outshopped red oxide of all vehicles which was clearly not adhered to across the board.
the story why the basic color was changed from Dunkelgrau ("Panzergrau") to Dunkelgelb would fill a book.
War experiece showed that dark grey vehicles and equipment could easy be recognized and good camouflage was difficult. Another reason was shortage of pigmentary needed for this color.
After some trials a new color pattern was introduced: dark yellow as basic color with red and green for applying a suitable camouflage pattern. The pigementary used for green and red was on short supply too while the pigments for dark yellow were smoothly available. This was the reason why dark yellow was selected as basic color. Red and green was only supplied in limited amount to frontline units.
In 1944 there was a little change in the pigmentary of dark yellow and it became a little bit darker. The reason: A allied reconnaissance aircraft was shot down by the Germans. After the film were developed it was obviously that the dark yellow color made to a good contrast. This problem was solved with a changed mixture.
In 1945 there was another change from dark yellow to green als basic color to improve the camouflage once more. But the war was over before this new regulations were commonly implemented. Quite contrary to this in last weeks of the war all available colors were used.
The camouflage in North Africa, the Mediterranean, Norway and wintertime is another story.
Introduction of dark grey ("Panzergrau") as standard color HM1940, Nr. 864; OKH, 31.07.1940
Introduction of dark yellow as standard color: HM1943, Nr. 181, OKH, 18.02.1943