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"Axis Smoke Codes and Signals" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following description of Axis smoke codes and signals in North Africa appeared in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 25, May 20, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


From a South African source comes a memorandum on Italian smoke signals for communication with aircraft, stated as applicable to German troops as well. The main advantages of smoke were given to be:

Safe and easy handling;
With good visibility it can be seen at 2,000 feet;
Produces dense concentrations for at least 30 seconds.

Five basic colors are used; orange, violet, red, green, and white. By using the 5 colors in various pair combinations, a total of 12 distinct and useful signals can be made. These are as follows:

a. Own Troops

Orange    Own troops are here
Orange and redWe are isolated - enemy is behind us
Orange and green Continue your active support
GreenWe are advancing - we are attacking - increase the radius of your action

b. Enemy Troops

Red    Enemy is attacking
Red and green    Enemy attacking our right flank
Red and whiteEnemy attacking our left flank

c. Tanks

Violet    Enemy tanks in front of us
Violet and redEnemy tanks behind us
Violet and greenEnemy tanks on our right
Violet and whiteEnemy tanks on our left
Violet and orangeOwn tanks going into action

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