Colors And Markings Of White Armored Cars And Trains

Few troops in the field religiously followed the handful of official regulations governing the markings of armored units. Great variation occurred, but at the same time patterns that reflected traditions and commonlv held values were maintained.

Base colors

Most White armored trains were painted dark olive, dark green, or gray, although instances of khaki and even black are not unknown. Kalmykov's train, the Kalmykovets, had one camouflaged command wagon as did at least one other photographed White train in the Trans-Caspian region (colors of both are unknown, but were possibly green and khaki). The majority of Russian armored cars had been painted dark olive during World War I, but during the Civil War dark green and gray also appeared. Pragmatically, White units tended to use stocks of paint on hand; thus, naval units

Cossack Ataman Kalmykov's command train, Kalmykovets, in Vladivostok, 1919-20. The center commander's wagon has two observation towers and eight machine-gun ports to a side. The pattern of color for the camouflaging is not known. (National Army Museum)

Improvised Command CarChina Armored Trains

outfitting armored trains and cars tended to use the color gray, while army units normally employed a shade of green or even khaki.


Names on armored cars were in white on the side and additionally, though not always, on the armored plate just above the driver in front. Those of armored trains generally appeared in while, but sometimes in black, on the sides of wagons and/or in the front and rear.

Artillery wagon of Cossack Ataman Kalmykov's command train, Kalmykovets, in Khabarovsk, eastern Siberia, American sector, 1919-20. The two guns with shields are accompanied by a larger gun to the right under tarpaulin covering. The wagon is "No. 1" (color probably black) and bears the Kalmykov emblem on the side, a black letter K against a yellow background. A yellow stripe may appear across the lower portion of the wagon side, or this may be merely an area shaded by the sun. Entry is by ladder and a curved sun-roof offers minor weather protection for crew and sensitive equipment. The Kalmykovets also carried a "Wagon of Death" where some of his more brutal executions took place. (National Archives)

National flag

The Russian tricolor of red, blue and white dated to the time of Tsar Peter the Great (red for the people, blue for the Tsar and white for God). Tricolor flags were flown from the tops of armored car or train turrets, or tied to the front of a car or on the side of the train's command wagon.

National roundel

Three colors in a circle, white, blue and red (from outer ring to inner) were painted on the sides of armored cars and trains.

National chevron

The Volunteer Army used the popular tricolor chevron before Denikin made it official for the AFSR in April 1919. This appeared on the sides of armored cars and command vehicles, armored trains and troop trains. In April 1920 Wrangel made the roundel official and eliminated the chevron in the new Russian Army.


Sometimes those who designed or built armored cars and trains improvised their own markings. White AFSR cavalry veteran Nicholas Volkov-Mouromtsoff witnessed two gray armored cars carrying the inscription Chernomorski Hot ("Black Sea Fleet") in white below the chevron.

The Cossacks

The Kuban Cossacks received nearly all their armored cars and perhaps all but four of their armored trains from the Russians: these were delivered with Volunteer Army and AFSR markings. The Don Cossacks employed a traditional heraldic symbol from May 1918, a black triangle on a yellow disc, itself bordered by a black line. This symbolized the concept of an arrowhead and wounded stag. The roundel appeared on the sides of armored cars and trains and sometimes on the front of cars below the driver's window. Their tricolor llag represented those peoples living within Don territory: scarlet for non-Cossacks, yellow for the Kalmucks and blue for the Don Cossacks. These llags could be seen attached to the right front of their armored cars as well as affixed on ihe wagons of their armored trains. Once the Don entered ihe AFSR, Russian roundels and occasional chevrons were added even as the previous symbols were retained.

The Czechs

The Legion used the white over red flag of Czechoslovakia, born in

October I91N. White over red stripes appeared on the turrets and sides of armored cars as 'A white and A red. The armored car Adski bore a white skull and crossbones on its single turret in 1918, while the Grozny had a base color of dark green, the name in yellow. The sides of Czech trains often displayed colorful representations of fairy tales, floral designs and pastoral scenes reminiscent of the home country.

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  • gabriel
    What colour are vehicles for volunteers?
    8 years ago
  • Bonnie
    What color fr rr armoured car?
    1 year ago

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