Italian Tank Markings

M14/41 tank

Italian Tank Markings

By Wayne Turner

Inspired by Evan’s excellent article on German panzer markings I thought I would give the same treatment to the humble Italian tanks.

One of the great things about painting Italian armour is the tactical marking system. As well as looking good it is also a good aid in keeping track of your different tanks and platoons during a game, especially if you are fielding a whole Compagnia Carri.

Tactical Markings

The Italians use coloured rectangles to identify the different companies within a battalion, so in Flames of War you will have tanks with the same coloured rectangle (but that 2nd M14/41 company is looking tempting). Rectangle colours as follows:

1st Company ~ Red
2nd Company ~ Sky Blue
3rd Company ~ Yellow
4th Company ~ Green (not used during WWII)

To differentiate the Platoons vertical bars were use to indicate the Platoon number, these were in white:

Tactical Markings
Battalion command tank Tactical Markings

1st Platoon ~ 1 bar
2nd Platoon ~ 2 bars
3rd Platoon ~ 3 bars

The number of the tank in the platoon was shown by a number above the rectangle, it was in the company colour.

Battalion and Regimental HQ companies were also marked in this way, the Battalion rectangles were black with white bars while the Regimental rectangles were White with black bars.

A battalion commander used a rectangle divided into three vertical bands of Red, Sky Blue and Yellow instead of the black rectangle and white bars. Above the rectangle was the battalion number in roman numerals. 

Position of markings

The rectangles were usually placed on the turret sides and back, occasionally they were placed on the hull sides and rear instead. 

Other markings

Sometimes the battalions and regiments were marked on Italian tanks. The regiment numbers were usually found on the rear corners of the hull superstructure.

Right: Clearly seen on this tank is the tactical marking on the turret rear (4th Tank, 2nd Platoon), the regimental number in the left rear superstructure (132) and the registration Plate on the hull left rear
In the Balkans and early on in North Africa the Battalion number in roman numerals can be found under the rectangle, quite often these tanks have no tank number and their markings are on the side and rear of the hull.

Clearly seen on this tank is the tactical marking on the turret rear
M14/41 in the balkans Tactical Markings, Battalion number in Roman Numerals
Number plates Registration Plates

To avoid the over vigorous wheel clampers found in Roma you may like to paint the vehicle registration plates on your tanks, these are white and are found on the front an rear of the hull. These have ROETO (Regio Eserito; Royal Army) and a flaming grenade in red followed by a 4-digit number in black (see illustration).

These registration plates were used on all Italian Army vehicles, so feel free to paint them on your trucks and cars as well.

Tank Colours

The Italians used three different colours to camouflage their tanks. The base colours used were Sabbia (Sicily Yellow (FWP362)) used in the desert and Italy in 1943, or Grigio Verde (Heer Green (FWP340)) in the Balkans and Russia. Grigio Verde and Terracotta (Devil Red (FWP381)) were used as disruptive colours over Sabbia in Italy, Grigio Verde over Sabbia in North Africa.

I use FWP colours and I found using the equivalent colour as the base coat before highlighting left my tank looking too light.

M14/41 tank
FWP colours
Sicily Yellow (FWP362)
Grigio Verde
Heer Green (FWP340)
Devil Red (FWP381)
So for my desert Italians I used Dry Dust (FWP364) as the base coat before highlighting in two stages with a mix of Sicily Yellow (FWP362) and Army Green (FWP342) , then just Sicily Yellow.
Recommended reading

Italian Medium tanks in Action, by Nicola Pignato, Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton Texas, 2001

Well, I hope this helps those of you with Italian forces for Flames Of War.


Italian Medium Tanks in action