Chinese Sd.kfz 221/222/223 - Buntfarbenanstrich or Dunkelgrau?

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Blorange
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Chinese Sd.kfz 221/222/223 - Buntfarbenanstrich or Dunkelgrau?

Post by Blorange » 27 Jan 2022 09:26

Perhaps someone here could give me some insight into a matter. The article on Tank Encyclopaedia covering Panzer Is in China mentions that Sd.kfz 221, 222, & 223 were delivered as part of the same order in 1936 (delivered june 1937). The article has a segment on the paint scheme of the Panzer Is - stating that was of the pre-war Buntfarbenanstrich pattern. However, what colour were the armoured cars?

The Sd.kfz 222s that were ordered were of the 1st series (before changers were made to some details like the vision hatches, etc). It wouldn't be till June 1937 that Germany would switch to Dunkelgrau for its production tanks (and the rollout wasn't immediate), so around the time China received their order that had been placed a year earlier.

The article on the Panzer I makes a point of saying that the tanks were painted in the 3 tone Buntfarbenanstrich camo scheme. That would be period correct for the Sd.kfz 222s, etc. However the photographs of these armoured cars in China appear to be painted in a single colour.

China had requested some changes to the Sd.kfz 222 - mainly changing the orientation of the Machine Gun and sights. How likely is it that the Chinese could have ordered their vehicles in Dunkelgrau rather than Buntfarbenanstrich? Or perhaps they were delivered in the green basecoat that Buntfarbenanstrich used, its difficult to tell with these black and white photographs.

The Nationalists at least don't seem to have repainted any of the vehicles they purchased from other Countries, so it seems likely to me the colour's they're photographed in are their originals. Is it possible that the Chinese bought an order of these armoured cars then in the more "modern" dunkelgrau, and the Panzer Is were in Buntfarbenanstrich due to them being second hand?
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Re: Chinese Sd.kfz 221/222/223 - Buntfarbenanstrich or Dunkelgrau?

Post by Blorange » 27 Jan 2022 09:32

And attachments showing Panzer I painted in Buntfarbenanstrich. The first image is of German vehicles, where a different in tone can be seen on the upper areas of the vehicle - indicating the presence of this camouflage.

The second is of a Chinese Panzer I having been captured by the Japanese. On that one any contrast is washed out - perhaps due to the poor condition the vehicles were delivered in. With all of the photographs of Chinese Panzer Is having a similar appearance where it would be difficult to know any camouflage had been applied unless that article made a point of mentioning it.

Compared against these the Sd.kfz 221, etc, photographs to my eye look to have a more consistent tone - indicating a single colour. Whether that could was gray, or green is speculative I suppose. However whilst every photograph and model out there of these Chinese vehicles has them painted in Dunkelgrau, there seems to be arguments that they were in the same Pre-War scheme as the Panzer Is were (apparently) delivered in. :|
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Re: Chinese Sd.kfz 221/222/223 - Buntfarbenanstrich or Dunkelgrau?

Post by AnchorSteam » 28 Jan 2022 03:27

Blorange wrote:
27 Jan 2022 09:26
Perhaps someone here could give me some insight into a matter. ---
What a great set of pics! You sure deserve a good answer for all that, but I really don't have much for you.

https://i.imgur.com/wG1zboc.jpg

This shows that there was a color-scheme visible on the lower hull, but in other pics it seems as if it faded somehow... maybe it was just poor paint?

https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/wp-conte ... tang-1.jpg

If the images don't work here, this is the link to the site they come from;

https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/chin ... e-service/


Regarding the Cars- the only color pic I have ever seen of a 221 in China had the Panzer Grey finish. I didn't even know there were 222s there until I saw your info.

Good luck with your searches!

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Re: Chinese Sd.kfz 221/222/223 - Buntfarbenanstrich or Dunkelgrau?

Post by AnchorSteam » 28 Jan 2022 03:32

a cleaner rendering of the cammo painting -

https://www.deviantart.com/claveworks/a ... -610607569

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Re: Chinese Sd.kfz 221/222/223 - Buntfarbenanstrich or Dunkelgrau?

Post by Blorange » 28 Jan 2022 07:58

Aye, at least with the Panzer Is there seems to be more debate on how they were painted. If the colours did fade then I'd assume that they faded down to a green, rather than a gray - as that's the base colour of that camouflage pattern. Unless Dunkelgrau was applied as a base, which green then was then oversprayed to begin the camouflage scheme? That may be a question that folk on this site have knowledge of?

I have to wonder what the background on those Panzer Is pre-Chinese service was. As if the Chinese were claiming that they were used prior to delivery then that must have been just through training. The Spanish Civil War may not even have started when the shipment had been dispatched. In which case they must have seen some serious wear from the German Army, considering that at their earliest those tanks would have been at most two years old.

It seems more likely that they were improperly handled during shipping. Though I have no idea if the paint would have faded as much as seen on period photographs of Chinese Panzer Is (that link that AnchorSteam posted to Tank Encyclopaedia's article has many images), or that I'm misjudging how old photographs depict camouflage.

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Re: Chinese Sd.kfz 221/222/223 - Buntfarbenanstrich or Dunkelgrau?

Post by AnchorSteam » 29 Jan 2022 02:03

The nationalists sure didn't get their money's worth, and that's probably why they didn't go shopping there again.

But you are right, the tanks were too new to be that messed up, they must have been just sent from some training unit without the proper packing for months at sea. Also, the "A" model was always prone to over-heating.
The Armored cars appear to have been factory-new. Some of them were still in service in 1940.

So, if you are going to make some models I might start with those, and the tanks only existed for a short time. You could paint them almost any way you like at it will probably match up with how they looked at some point.

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Re: Chinese Sd.kfz 221/222/223 - Buntfarbenanstrich or Dunkelgrau?

Post by Blorange » 30 Jan 2022 03:09

The consensus does seem to be that the Germans were at least in part scamming the Nationalists into buying as much European gear as possible to make a modern army. Though there does seem to be some practicality in all that spending, so maybe there was sincerity.

Heh, there's a video out there of a bunch of cars being transported at sea. They weren't in containers, but instead just left exposed on the ship's deck to roll about and get covered in salt water. The video timelapses to show the cars getting knocked about and eventually a fire starting from all that sea water corroding the vehicle's electronics I guess ...till all the cars are burnt out.

How the Panzer Is managed to be in such a poor state (Tank Encyclopaedia's article to me infers sea water damage), but the other equipment isn't reported as having so many issues seems a bit off. Like, were the Panzer Is in a bad part of the hold, or did some accident happen? As the Chinese bought artillery too - and I assume there was other gear on the ship than those tanks and armoured cars.

Hmn, I guess without any evidence its going to be impossible to know what colour the Sd.kfz 222s were. I'd assume they were grey, just as the Germans painted other vehicles through the 30s in that scheme, but not so much vehicles in green. As will I imagine that they didn't go onto repaint the vehicles - for the sake that it doesn't seem like that happened with much gear in Chinese service.

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Re: Chinese Sd.kfz 221/222/223 - Buntfarbenanstrich or Dunkelgrau?

Post by gebhk » 15 Sep 2022 12:57

Alas, in my experience, B/W photographs are nigh-on useless as evidence for or against the presence of camo on tanks etc. Which is not much use to you, of course. And I would suggest that since these vehicles were used in training and they then look very dapper on parades, some repainting was done locally - and I suspect the colour then is anyone's guess without some documentation formal or informal. Sorry, not very useful either, but as the many debates about all sorts of colours attest, colour is somewhat ephemeral and ever-changing....
Like, were the Panzer Is in a bad part of the hold, or did some accident happen?
Not so much which part of the hold but the impact of salty damp environment overall. Things like guns are a lot less vulnerable because the body - if properly painted and greased - is fairly immune while the delicate bits, like optics and ammunition, are stored separately in well-sealed boxes. Vehicle engines are another kettle of fish and the Chinese Pz1s was a not an isolated incident. The engines on the Vickers tanks that arrived in Poland in 1934 were well knackered as a result of exposure to sea air and that, of course, was a very short journey compared to the one undergone by the Chinese panzers.

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