Home Forums WWII Using aerial recognition symbols on vehicules

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  • #173396
    Stug
    Participant

    Hi everyone! While painting my german army for my future wargame, I have learned that Germany and maybe other countries were using their nation’s flag on the top of some of their vehicules to make them more recognizable to their bombers.

    I have just created my first german flag. I would like to know if it looks realistic and on which kinds of vehicules should I add such a flag? Most of them or just a few? Were there any other countries that used flag as aerial recognition symbols from the sky?

    #173426
    deephorse
    Participant

    A good effort, but I think that the red needs to be brighter.

    As to when & where you would see these …..  I haven’t made a study of their use, but from my memory of looking at gazillions of photos, you tend to see them mostly on AFVs in the early to mid war period, particularly on the Russian front.  Probably North Africa too, but I don’t take much notice of that theatre.

    Once the Allies get air superiority, carrying a massive, brightly coloured swastika on your tank becomes somewhat counter-productive.  Hence I wouldn’t expect to see them displayed on vehicles such as your Sturmtiger.  When you apply them, remember not to cover up vital areas such as turret hatches etc.  Engine decks and turret bins were common places to drape them.  Spend a little time in Google and you’ll get plenty of suitable images to work from.

    The Western Allies used large brightly coloured panels rather than flags as their recognition device.  I don’t recall the Soviets using either flags or panels.  Hopefully someone with greater knowledge will add to this, or correct me 🙂

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #173427
    John D Salt
    Participant

    As far as I’m aware, this is much more of an early war practice for the Germans. By the time the Sturmtiger was produced, Luftwaffe air superiority was a long-vanished memory, and wearing such a prominent symbol would have been saying “Here’s your target” to marauding Typhoons, Thunderbolts or Sturmoviks.

    Rather than flags, the allies tended to use air force symbols, so RAF-style roundels for the Brits early on and the ubiquitous white star for both UK and US later. This has unfortunately led many (especially US) wargame designers to misuse the RAF roundel as a general nationality marker for British forces.

    There were also flourescent air recognition panels, in a variety of colours so one could show the “colour of the day”, which might add a dash of colour to otherwise dull Allied vehicles. I don’t know if the Germans or Russians ever issued an equivalent.

    All the best,

    John.

    #173430
    Stug
    Participant

    A good effort, but I think that the red needs to be brighter. As to when & where you would see these ….. I haven’t made a study of their use, but from my memory of looking at gazillions of photos, you tend to see them mostly on AFVs in the early to mid war period, particularly on the Russian front. Probably North Africa too, but I don’t take much notice of that theatre. Once the Allies get air superiority, carrying a massive, brightly coloured swastika on your tank becomes somewhat counter-productive. Hence I wouldn’t expect to see them displayed on vehicles such as your Sturmtiger. When you apply them, remember not to cover up vital areas such as turret hatches etc. Engine decks and turret bins were common places to drape them.

    Thanks for the info. I have just brighten the red a little bit.

    What do you mean exactly by AFV?

    I have been careful to not apply it on turret hatches.

    As far as I’m aware, this is much more of an early war practice for the Germans. By the time the Sturmtiger was produced, Luftwaffe air superiority was a long-vanished memory, and wearing such a prominent symbol would have been saying “Here’s your target” to marauding Typhoons, Thunderbolts or Sturmoviks.

    Thanks for the info. I didn’t know that. I will try not to put to many flags on my german vehicules.

    #173435
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    Was ‘popular’ in France 1940, also a dark yellow almost orange. All the size of a flag though I think so covers the rear deck. Wonder if the grilles were as effective with cloth over them?

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
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    #173436
    madman
    Participant

    AFV=Armoured Fighting Vehicle. Any armoured vehicle, such as tanks, APCs, armoured cars, etc..

    #173458
    deephorse
    Participant

    Some useful photos here.

    http://histomil.com/viewtopic.php?f=345&t=14304

     

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #173460
    fairoaks024
    Participant

    As others have said, only when the Germans had air superiority, so it’s pretty much confined to early war and was going out of use completely by mid war, but it dies add an eye catching splash of colour to otherwise dull panzer grey vehicles

    #173464
    Stug
    Participant

    As others have said, only when the Germans had air superiority, so it’s pretty much confined to early war and was going out of use completely by mid war, but it dies add an eye catching splash of colour to otherwise dull panzer grey vehicles

    By early war, you are talking about which year precisely?

    #173465
    deephorse
    Participant

    it’s pretty much confined to early war and was going out of use completely by mid war

    This depends upon your definition of ‘mid-war’, but photographs would suggest otherwise.  I’ve seen several photos of the flags in use during the Kursk battles.  There’s even one photo of a Panther carrying one.  Nothing unusual about that you might say.  But this Panther is whitewashed, the adjacent troops are in their snow suits, and there’s snow on the ground.  So unless Photoshop is in use, this must be the winter of 43/44 I’d say.

    I’d suggest that if the Germans planned an offensive, large or small, and almost certainly only in the East, and the Luftwaffe could achieve some local air superiority, then there could be a case for dragging those old flags out again.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #173536
    MartinR
    Participant

    As noted, the Germans only really used the flags early in the war and not that much after 1942. The Allies would often put markings on the top of their vehicles (stars or whatever) and the Russians occasionally used operation specific markings. Geometric shapes, Crosses etc. The WW2 equivalent of the white Z painted on Russian tanks in Ukraine.

     

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #173603
    deephorse
    Participant

    A quick flick through one of the volumes of ‘Operation Citadel’ by Restayn & Moller shows tanks from Panzer Regiments 15 and 25, as well as Das Reich’s Tiger Company, displaying the swastika flag at Kursk.  I haven’t gone through every page of both volumes, but I thought that finding them in use by three units was enough to show their continued use into 1943.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

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