since manually making a counter has proven to be way too much work, because you have to edit the palette of the bmp and not just the bmp itself, I recently decided to make a small tool which does that work for me.
I now created an exe file which is very easy to use. You just create the counter you want as a 24bit color bmp with Photoshop or whatever.
Then you mark that file and a prototype counter bmp (which I included but which came with HoI2 anyway, it is the counter.bmp in [GameDir]\gfx\palette\) and drag and drop BOTH files on the exe. The tool creates a new 8bit counter with correct palette info and ready for ingame use. You just have to copy it to the \gfx\palette folder and you can start use it in the game.
Here a few examples of counters I created with it and which are included
in the package:
Deutsche Demokratische Republik - DDR:
Bundesrepublik Deutschland - DFR:
And here finally the link:
Oh and.. comments are welcome and wanted
PS: The included 'hoi_counter_strip.bmp' can be copied to [GameDir]\gfx\map\ if you want the game
to use the roundel instead of the flag on your counters in the game for air force units.