Painting German figures in WW2

by Rob Haelterman

Commonly known as Waffenfarbe, these colors indicated to which branch an individual belonged. This color manifested itself in the piping found on the uniform.
Unfortunately these colors changed during the war and can become very confusing, most of all for recce troops.
The most common colors were:

Jäger (light infantry)
light green
Mountain troops
light green
Panzer Grenadiers
grass green
Cavalry golden yellow



pink (actually it should be called rose), except:

- Pz Reg 24 of 24PzDiv: Golden Yellow
- 2/(gp) Führer Begleit (GD) White


Antitank in Pz or PzGren Div. pink
Armored reconnaissance

1939: golden yellow for most, except

- 1,2,4,5 PD: pink
- newly formed units : copper brown

1942: pink, golden yellow and copper brown seen
March 1943: pink (official), golden yellow (unofficial)
November 1944: pink (unofficial), golden yellow (official)

(At least that's the best I could make of it.)

Motorized reconnaissance copper brown
Recce in infantry & mountain div 1939: golden yellow
September 1943: white


alternating black/white on black uniform, black on Feldgrau uniform


bright red

Observation in Artillery

pink or red
Smoke units (Nebelwerfer) bordeaux, sometimes bright red
lemon yellow


1939: bright red
March 1943: bright red, unless in infantry unit (white) or panzer-grenadier unit (grass green)


bright blue


"Doppellitzen" were worn on the collar of all Wehrmacht units (except those wearing "Panzer Skulls") . The colors changed during the war, the Litzen themselves varying between silver, aluminum, white or gray. It is my belief that in this scale the difference is rather academical.
The model for officers always had a centerline in Waffenfarbe (difficult to see in this scale), while the other ranks only had this stripe until 1940. On the parade uniform it was worn on a background in Waffenfarbe (more noticeable). On this uniform, the collar was also piped in Waffenfarbe.



  • Generals had gold piping, and bright red for the underlay of the shoulder boards, collar patches and for the trouser stripes.
  • Staff officers had crimson WF, and crimson trouser stripes.
  • Exceptions existed, due to historical affiliations of some units, especially in the reconnaissance units. A well known example is the Panzer regiment of 24 PzDiv who used golden yellow due to its cavalry traditions (also reflected in the unit emblem). Another one is the use of pink by I./Panzer-Artillerie Regiment 73 of 1 Pz.Div.
  • Waffen SS generally used the same colors, except for their Panzer Grenadiers who used white WF.
  • All subunits of Grossdeutschland used white until GD was expanded to divisional status. Grenadiers in GD continued to prefer white, even when expanded to a Panzer Division.


I am sure this article can be vastly improved upon, so I would invite anyone with superior knowledge to contact me.

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Article Last Updated:
09 July 2013
29 December 2019