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Colors and Markings


At this moment there are a couple things that are certain, but a lot is just an educated guess. My illustrations are not perfect yet, but the whole setup is modular, so I'll be perfecting the drawing over time. To get some system in it, there seem to be a couple of periods.


Period 1 is the testing. Overal the M39 must have been the warm green that was standard in that day for vehicles and equipment in the Dutch army. there are no other markings known than the civilian licence plate (dark blue with white lettering).


Period 2 is the delivery to the Dutch army and the use of the car's upto the German occupation after May 14 1940. The base color of the outside and inside are described in the order. Overal 2 layer of army green and inside aluminum. As a primer red iron oxide paint is used. The inside of the outward hinged hatches and doors is ordered to be green too. On the movie that showes the testing by one of the vehicle commanders the hatches are a very light. color. The specifications futher describe the reflectors and lights. The left rear fender has a red one, the rest is white. The lights are layed out for front and rear driving. (So there is a red light on the right front fender!) Markings in this stadium is a bit difficult. When assigned to their destinated units their licence plates and car numbers where to be painted on, together with the famous orange with black lining triangles. Because of all the delays in tyres, armamanet and the welding problen most where stil in the department that issued all equipment, that had their own licence plate groups. On the military licence plates of the 12 vehicles we asume that III-2201 til III-2212 where used. The four platoon commanders had a car number of C3 til C6. The rest of the cars 25 and 26 (1st platoon), 27 and 28 (2nd platoon), 29 and 30 (3th platoon) and finnaly 31 and 32 (4th platoon). From one report the abcence of a triangle is sure. A Fokker G1 attacked an M39 mistaking it for a German car. Other reports mention flags placed on M39's to identify them as Dutch and the once on the beach have huge national colors (Red, white, blue) painted front and rear. There is no proof of orange triangles. The licenceplates are the same size as the civilian Dutch licence plates but black lettering on orange.


period 3 is the quick application of the German unit's that are seen with white German crosses, that look hand painted, and scribbled "WH" numbers. There is a good chance the even drove around in Dutch green. Shortly after they were all painted in German grey.


period 4. The 227th infantery division has 4 M39's with turret numbers 1 upto 4. During their time in France and Belgium the unit numbers are often seen, even upto their radio instalment in Eindhoven. They get licenceplate number somewhere in the proces. Identified so far: WH-501249 No.3, WH-501875 No.1, WH-501519 no.2. The German crew and commanders where (obviously) afraid to be mis identified and the German crosses are big. The markings differ over the period, and it seems there are more added over the time.


Period 5. On the eastern front eind of 1941 - early 1942 the overal apperence seems much bleaker. A licence plate (WH-34848) seems to have been used for more than one vehicle. Other markings, on diffrent places. An overspray with a different tone of paint could have been the case. Bleaking out the panzergray paint alone would not explain the markings disapearing. The new crosses are smaller. The chance of being mistaken by their own airforce or groundtroops was less. What color would have been the base? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Main | | last revised: February 18 2022