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Armor/AFV: Axis - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Axis forces during World War II.
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german hatch interior color
blaster76
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Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 09:28 AM UTC
Can anyone give me a VERIFIABLE source on the subject of the color of the interior hatches of ALL types of german tanks throughout the ENTIRE war. I've scouted through a book on the Pazer IV and the Tiger 1. It is difficult to tell, but it appears some of the early combat photos of both types of vehicles have the whitish interior color. Did the change occur when the panzer yellow base took effect from the old gray. Was this done at factory or did crew did it as a field modification?

Opinions are great and we all have them, but I'm wondering if this was a policy and if so when did it take effect. I've seen lots of artist renderings of interor colored hatches as well, but are they authoratative?
graeme
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Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 12:16 PM UTC
hi there if the hatches are supposed to be open i am assuming that they would have top be painted in an axceptible paint sheme. this would mean if the tank you are building is painted in panzer grey that the hatch should be at least on shade of grey. so that if hatches do go up there is still a bit of camoflauge and not some big target.

hope it helps

Graeme
Henk
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Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 12:27 PM UTC
Hi Steve,

Well, The book I have here that shows plenty of pictures of interior shots of Pzr IV's, is the one from the Panzer in detail series. And there the problem both starts and ends.. some of the (verified original interior shots) photo's show the hatches painted the same white type colour as the rest of the interior (including wear and tear) , but then on the next page there is a photo showing the inside of a hatch in a dark colour.. i think that the factory would have painted the hatches as per the interior, and that the crews would have changed it as and when required.

Cheers
Henk
blaster76
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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2005 - 04:02 AM UTC
Thanks Henk.. All the stuff I've built so far has been depicted mid to late war using the Armor yellow as a base. I have some of the early versions now which I plan on doing gray and Afrika Korp. So it appears either way would be correct.
Byrden
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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2005 - 06:47 PM UTC
It seems that the official rule was to paint crew hatch insides with the external base colour, at the factory. But there are a few photos where this clearly hasn't happened.

David
CDNTanker25
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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 03:13 PM UTC
Henk, From what I've read your assumption seems right. The hatch did match the intrior... however, don't forget that the cammo scheme was sprayed on in the field with the hatches being left open by the crew. The white hatches were perfect "bullseye" targets for the enemy. This being said, they would paint them in the field to cammoflauge the hatch aswell, incase they needed the hatches open. Less of a signal to the other guys!
Byrden
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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 05:37 PM UTC
James:

Could you tell me what you've read that says the hatch matched the interior?

David
REMEARMR
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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 06:37 PM UTC
I saw an article on this the other dayand it said,
at the beginning of the war the interiors were painted in a light grey colour to help lighten the interior of the tank through light reflection. As the war went on and paint became limited the interior was coloured the same as the exterior.
So in my opinion early anks light grey late tanks base colour and anything in between you pick.
Cheers
Robbo
Hohenstaufen
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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 08:15 PM UTC
Just my 2 penn'orth. I've seen internal photos of German tanks, the factory fresh ones tend to show all hatches painted interior colour early in the war. However I would expect them to have been repainted at unit level fairly quickly. They must have had stocks of Panzer Grey for touching up damage, so I'd bet they repainted them. Like all soldiers, the Germans were quite capable of "organising" things they needed, e.g. the large white crosses in Poland, which the Poles used as aiming marks, were repainted in a less obtrusive yellow, the paint was originally issued to apply unit signs & codes.
Later on there seems to be some confusion over whether hatches (& interiors generally) were painted hull colour, off-white, or left in red primer. This may have been down to manufacturer.
What I'm getting at is that I think either could be correct, but if you like your vehicles well-used, rather than factory fresh, I'd paint the hatches hull colour.
Hohenstaufen
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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 08:25 PM UTC
Just as an example of trends in German AFV painting, Bruce Culver's Panzer Colours has a picture of Sdkfz 250s painted in Dark Yellow with green overspray. But around the open visors, the original Panzer Grey is still visible. If they couldn't be bothered to paint round these, they probably didn't bother with the interior! There are some interior shots in Encyclodedia of German Tanks of WW2 (£3.99 from cheap book shops). They show the usual variety as discussed above.
I think from photographic evidence I could be reasonably safe in saying hatch interiors were painted in hull colour after the change to 3 colour scheme, but as with all things WW2 German, you can almost certainly dig up a photo somewhere that is an exception.
I think with the early war vehicles we are looking at a learning curve, i.e. what was Ok in peacetime didn't work in war conditions. I remember reading in one source that the crews scraped the interior paint off to avoid flying paint splinters! Go figure!
Byrden
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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 09:41 PM UTC
Can you remember where these photos are?
I've noticed only photos of dark hatch interiors on early-war tanks. The Spielberger book on the Pz 4 shows a very dark turret side hatch on a Pz 4. And the Pz 4E in Bovington had its original panzer grey on the hatch insides when I visited.

David
Hohenstaufen
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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 11:12 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Can you remember where these photos are?


David, if this is aimed @ me, you don't know what you're asking (not just because of loss of memory due to advancing age, you at the back!)! Here's some of the resources:

Panzer Colours - Bruce Culver
Wenn Alle Bruder Schweigen - (can't remember)
Waffen SS in Action - Squadron (esp. inside views of Tiger).
German Tanks of WW2 - FM v Senger
Encyclodedia of German Tanks of WW2
Various profiles, including one on German Radio equipment, which has lots of interior views.
Basically what they show is everything, so you take your pick!
I'm wary of following colours on restored vehicles, you are relying on someone to get the colours right! If you look @ the vehicles in the Russian museums on www.jagdtiger.de there are some very strange schemes there!
Grumpyoldman
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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 11:41 PM UTC
Just my .00002 cents, and a little common sense thrown in....
I'm sure as soon as they figured out what a nice target they made with their nice dark uniform against a light light background, they probably wised up, and repainted ASAP..... I know I would, and the hell with what the book said, or Berlin wanted.
Byrden
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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 11:51 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I'm wary of following colours on restored vehicles, you are relying on someone to get the colours right! If you look @ the vehicles in the Russian museums on www.jagdtiger.de there are some very strange schemes there!




Yes, agreed, but I did say "original" paint. In fact practically the whole inside of that Pz4 was in its wartime paint when I saw it.

David
colo_artist
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Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 05:59 AM UTC
Hi Steve,

Well that's kind of a tall order...with the ALL and ENTIRE in there, not to mention the VERIFIABLE. But what the heck, I'm game.

Here it is...2 rules:
1. All hatch interiors were painted to match the outside color, except when they weren't.
2. When they didn't match the exterior color, they were painted to match the interior color which was always, either ivory, gray, or red primer, except when it wasn't and they weren't.

Seriously though, that actually is about as close to a rule as you'll get. As you've seen in your reference materials, it varied.

Anyway, it's an interesting question which needs to be answered when you pick up the brush or spraygun...unless of course you avoid the issue entirely and simply glue all hatches tightly shut.

I did some searching and this is the best I've found on the net. Panzerworld, German Tank Colors by Christian Ankerstjerne...
http://www.panzerworld.net/colours.html

It contains a good summary of what should have been used and when. It includes the RAL identification numbers. Here's the RAL site, in English...
http://www.ral.de/farben/en/index.html

Here is what Christian says about the interior...
"There were two interior colours in use. The first, and most videly used, was Elfenbein RAL 1001. This was by far the most suitable of the two, because of the light colour. The other was Graugrün RAL 7008, which gave a rather dark interior light. Some equipment was left in the black colour they received at the factory. During 1944, an oder was given to leave the intorior with the primer."

"The inside of hatches and other interior that would be visible from the outside of the tank was usually painted in the exterior colour, however there are plenty of photographs that show the interior colour."


Another excellent page is Panzer Colours - Inside by David Byrden. He uses the research of Hilary Doyle and Tom Jentz...
http://miniatures.de/html/esp/camouflage-german-panzer-interior.html

Lots of great information about the colors used for the interiors. Here's his take on the hatches...

"The crew hatches of a tank are frequently left open in the field, and the last thing you want your enemy to see is a large ivory circle in the midst of shrubbery. So, the insides of crew hatches were painted in the base exterior colour during manufacture. However, they rarely LOOKED like the exterior - the outside would be dusty and faded, or repainted or camouflaged, and the inside of the hatch would retain factory-fresh paint."

There's also a extensive page for RAL colors and their equivalent, or closest match, in modeling paints. Great for when it comes time to make the hard choices in color and lay down some cash...
http://miniatures.de/html/esp/colour-ral-farben.html

Another site worth visiting is COLOURS on Tiger-1.info...
http://tiger1.info/saumur/english/couleurs.html

It explores the various colors and uses color war photos and photos of the tank at Saumur for examples. For instance, here's a pic showing the primer red at the factory...



...and an interesting pic of a hatch...



Okay, what about war photos? Black and whites can be good, but what about color? Well, they're rare and especially rare on the net, but, here's a great site for color war photos...
http://www.ww2incolor.com/

Here's one pic from there I noticed which sure looks like a Tiger with a white hatch interior....



...it's from this page. Check it out, there's 263 more color photos of the German military...
http://www.ww2incolor.com/gallery/germans/amq

Okay, let's take that Tiger and narrow things down to just the Tiger. It's funny people mention an interior colored, i.e. ivory, open hatch would make it a target. Many of the Tiger hatches I've seen in war photos are two toned looking like a target with a giant bulls-eye, like these on the Bovington Tiger rebuild site...


http://www.tiger-tank.com/secure/history12.htm


http://www.tiger-tank.com/secure/history13.htm

But then, here's one that is clearly one color, possibly gray, looking like it matches the outside anyway...



It's from this Tiger information packed page...
http://www.tiger-tank.com/secure/history13.htm

I have some Tiger books, and two of them in particular have lots of open hatches, some even showing the interior. Most of them are two-toned. Some examples...

Ground Power Special Issue, January 2003, Tiger (1), pages 106 and 107 are WWII photos which are exceptionally large and clear and show a light tank with a light hatch interior...it could be ivory or it could match the outside color, but it had a very dark center. Page 13 has two photos showing the same type of two-tone paint on darker tanks. Heck one of them show Himmler visiting the front, standing in a Tiger turret with a "bulls-eye" hatch behind him. The center of which looks to be about heart level.

Tiger 1, On the Eastern Front by Jean Restayn also has some photos capturing the hatch interior. Page 98 has an excellent one showing a one, medium colored hatch interior.

How about some surviving Tigers? Well here's some great pictures from the one in Munster in this thread on Armorama. Maybe the interior was repainted, but the paint does look old. It shows a gray interior, with the MG hatch and turret escape hatches both painted gray on the inside...


http://www.finescale.com/fsm/community/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=31276

Let's go back to the Bovington Tiger. They spent big bucks and considerable effort over a number of years to rebuild their Tiger. Here's the starting page...
http://www.tiger-tank.com/index.html

One of their problems was determining the original colors. Here's a quote...

"Working from original Tank Museum photos such as this one two leading experts, Thomas L. Jentz and Hilary L. Doyle observed traces of a camouflage pattern on the tank. Look at the turret side, particularly around the pistol port. Traces of two original shades had been discovered during the restoration process."

http://www.tiger-tank.com/secure/journal27.htm

They brought in the experts and proceeded accordingly. Sounds like a tough bunch to second guess. Here's how the loader's hatch started out...


http://www.tiger-tank.com/secure/journal4.htm

Here's how it ended up...


http://www.tiger-tank.com/secure/journal38.htm

The loader's hatch...


http://www.tiger-tank.com/secure/journal18.htm

The radio operator's hatch...


http://www.tiger-tank.com/secure/journal31.htm

And the turret escape hatch...


http://www.tiger-tank.com/secure/journal30.htm

So, they went with the outside base color for all of them but the escape hatch which has the interior, ivory, color.

All in all, I'd say if you're doing a particular vehicle and have a photo reference, you're lucky and can paint it to match. Otherwise, you could paint it either to match the interior, exterior, or even red primer if you wanted. All could be justifiable. Hey, it could even be a hatch from another tank...who knows?

Well actually there's a picture of the one guy who would know on the last page of "Germany's Tiger Tanks" by Thomas Jentz & Hilary Doyle. It's a war pic and he's in front of a Tiger using a spray gun. The caption reads...

"Units created their own camouflage patterns by spray painting Olivgruen (RAL 6003) and Rotbraun (RAL 8017) in irregular shapes onto the base coat of Dunkelgeib (RAL 7028) paint."

Oh yeah, I bet Thomas and Hilary have a pretty good idea of the color of German tanks too.

Take care and please forgive any misspellings and other erroneous bits.

Karl

CDNTanker25
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Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 07:28 AM UTC
there ya go man... I think that shuts the case completely! LOL thanks for sharing that!
Byrden
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Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 09:08 AM UTC
This photo


shows Tiger 251114, kept for a long time at Saumur, and it has its own site created by Jean-Charles Breucque:

http://tiger1.info/saumur/

Somebody has sprayed the inside of this tank with green paint. It is a very crude job and it was probably done by the museum when the German paint was rusting off.. The underlying German paint appears to be ivory or white depending on your camera. (The lower hull is primer.)

This escape hatch was clearly painted with the inside colour. The same is true for a few other Tigers where we can see the inside of this hatch. But since the escape hatch was not supposed to be used in the normal course of events, we can't extrapolate this rule to crew hatches.

David