The Royal Tank Regiment is having a 1980’s throwback, but it’s not for a parade

The British Army’s RTR is using a series of urban camo-painted Challenger 2 MBT’s in a series of tests to judge their ability to lay low in ruined cities. Of their three Sabre Squadrons (Ajax, Badger, and Cyclops), one has had their 18 tanks given a throwback paint scheme.

From RTR:

AJAX have just taken delivery of their latest tanks. These have been specially painted in the Berlin Brigade urban camouflage scheme and will be used for UK training as part of an ongoing study into proving and improving the utility of Main Battle Tanks in the urban environment.

AJAX are the urban specialists within the Regiment and will be looking to test current doctrine, tactics and procedures whilst experimenting with other techniques from across NATO and the rest of the world.

The brick red, slate gray marine blue and arctic green of the camo hails from the old pattern used on 18 Chieftain Main Battle Tanks assigned to the armored squadron of the British Army’s Berlin Brigade in the 1980s.

British Army Chieftain tanks of the Berlin armored squadron, taking part in the Allied Forces Day parade in June 1989 via Wiki

According to the Tank Museum, the “Berlin” pattern originates back to 1982 when the CO commanding the 4/7 Royal Dragoon Guards tank squadron in Berlin felt that the normal Green paint scheme of the British Army was incompatible with its current urban environment.

The story of how “well” it worked, from the Tank Museum:

[A] senior MOD official was invited to Germany to inspect the new camo, and when he looked out of the window he is said to have remarked: “I can’t see your f*****g tank, must be a good idea” – what he wasn’t told was the Chieftain had typically broken down en route and no tank was there at all.

By the way, if you are curious about the eye painted on the turrets: These were painted on many of the tank corps vehicles and dates back to 1918, when one Eu Tong Sen, a prominent Malayan businessman of Chinese decent, paid £6,000 for a rather expensive Mark V tank via subscription. He insisted that, like Chinese river junks that have eyes to guide them in their travels, it should have eyes painted on it. British regulars familiar with Hamsa evil eye charms from prior Indian service also likely chimed in that they would repel evil.

The eyes seemed like a good idea either way to Tommies in France and was copied on other tanks in the field, a tradition that has endured in 1 RTR today.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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