Painting the Past – Historic Picture Colourisation

Painting the Past – Historic Picture Colourisation

I recently came across a site in my FB feed that is absolutely astounding, for those of us at least who grew up thinking WW2 was fought in Black & White.  I then scrolled through the work and it is very impressive.

Joshua’s work can be found at this link.

I am very grateful that he supplied a clean shot of my favourite picture on his FB Wall for this post. He can be contacted directly for a commission to deal with your pictures, should you have any.

There are a few photos linked to North Africa as well, which made it even more interesting to me. An example below. I think the picture is quite stunning, Joshua has really managed to bring out a lot of detail of the tank and equipment, and it is of course nice to see the Italian side being given its due!


An Italian Fiat-Ansaldo M13/40 of XX Armored Corps advances during the Western Desert Campaign, North Africa, 1st January, 1942

Some observations on the picture. The containers strapped to the side are German ‘Jerrycans’, 20l liquid containers, a design still in use. They contained either fuel, or water (in which case the stamped lines would be coloured white). There are at least five of these on the tank.

Of note is the added armour in the form of tracklinks. Not exactly a vote of confidence by the crew. The problem with adding such protection was that the Italian tanks were under-engined as they came off the production line. Adding weight in this way would not have helped in any way. On the engine roof it appears to carry some bedding, or a tent. The antenna to the left of the seated crew member indicates that this was one of the tanks equipped with a radio, which was not standard issue in the Italian tank forces.

The war diaries of Ariete notes nothing specific for the day.

132nd Armoured Regiment:

1 January 1942, Tuesday
Sirtic Front – Area El Bidan
The new positions assigned were reached at 12.00 hours. The area was hit by enemy artillery fire.
No damage.
Weather: fine.

Divisional HQ, Ariete Armoured Division

At 09.00 hours the division moved to take up position in the area Chor el Bidan (circa 20 km east-borth-east of Agedabia). At 14.00 hours the all units have occupied the position. Notable reaction by the opponent’s artillery, without damage. To the left of the divisional front is the German Gruppe Michel, to the right the Trieste Division. At 16.00 hours an enemy column of unclear strength is advised from the south. Our artillery was active. Morale of the troops: optimal. Temperature in the area Chor el Bidan: 07.00 hours – 8 degrees C; 15.00 hours – 15 degrees C; 21.00 hours – 5 degrees C.