Berlin Camouflage on Tanks 1980s


Camouflage on armoured vehicles has been used since their first dawn on the Somme in WW1. In urban environments like Berlin, camouflage was more challenging and most vehicles were painted in their own country’s version of green or olive drab. The British Army of the Rhine who supplied units in the British Sector in Berlin by the 1980s adopted a unique system which they called ‘Berlin Camo‘. It consisted of blocks of pastel colours, colours commonly seen on Berlin buildings and structures, to help break up the outline of the vehicle in the urban jungle that was Cold War Berlin.

This image is tucked away in one of the Flickr Berlin groups and shows a Chieftain tank of the Royal Tank Regiment near their headquarters at Ruhleben. The owner of the photo states that it was taken in October 1988 and shows one of his friends talking to the tank crew. The style and pattern of the camouflage is clear on this image, a pattern no longer in use anywhere in the world but examples of vehicles painted in it are in private collections or museums.

~ by sommecourt on 21/01/2013.

6 Responses to “Berlin Camouflage on Tanks 1980s”

  1. […] via Berlin Camouflage on Tanks 1980s. […]

  2. Totally incorrect, not RTR at all, the Berlin Armoured Squadron in 1988 were ‘C’ Squadron, 14th/20th King’s Hussars who were based in Smuts Barracks in Spandau. The tank is the 2nd Troop leader’s vehicle.

    • Thanks for that information – always good to receive corrections. Am presuming you served with this unit? Anything else you can add about the camouflage?

      • Yes mate, I was a member of the most elite armoured unit in the British Army, totally surrounded and cut off by Russian and East German forces I was there for for 2 and a half years, there before during and after the wall dropped. What would you like to know? As already mentioned by Bobby below, we just hand painted it on with brushes and masking tape, it was a pain to do instead of the traditional black and green but it was highly effective, the idea was that if necessary you could just reverse into a building, collapse it around you and blend in with the rubble.

  3. We used masking tape and paint brushes!!

  4. Just to set the record straight the urban camouflage was first used and designed by Sgt Alan Ryan of the 4th/7th RDG during our 1981 to 1983 tour. We brought a standard paint compressor and it took several days to get it right. After Major Corbin accepted the design we hijacked Sgt Ryans wifes car and painted that (VW bettle) this did not go down well and we were lucky to survive. The Warsal pack would not have stood a chance against her.

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