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Markings for U.S. Military Vehicles

#1 User is offline   Rollbar 

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 06:39 PM

Unit Identification Markings for U.S. Military Vehicles

The official regulations for unit identification markings on vehicles and equipment were specified in the publication AR 850-5. The regulations provide the basic structure of unit identification markings, however photographs show many units' vehicles were not strictly marked according to the regulations.

The following excerpt of Section 10 is taken from the August 1942 version of AR 850-5.

10. Unit markings.Gasoline solvent paint or paint as prescribed by the War Department will be used.

a. Unit markings.National symbol.

(1) A white five-pointed star will be the national symbol of all motor vehicles assigned to tactical units. Administrative motor vehicles operating in an active theater of operations will be similarly marked when directed by the theater commander.

(2) The size of the national symbol will be determined for each type of motor vehicle and will be large enough to take advantage of the surface upon which to be painted. See figures 1 to 34.

(3) Whenever requirements for camouflage and concealment outweigh the requirements for recognition, the national symbol may be covered by lusterless olive-drab gasoline solvent paint, camouflage nets, oil and dirt, etc., or will be removed.

b. Unit identification symbols.

(1) Front and rear markings.See figures 1 to 34 for location.

(a) General.Front and rear markings are identical and consist of four groups in consecutive order, from the left to right when facing the vehicle, separated by a dash 1 inch long. Markings may be on a single line or on two lines, but in no case will groups be broken nor order of groupings be changed. If two lines are used, the first and third groups will be on the top row. Composition of groups is indicated below.

(b) First group.The first group will designate the smallest appropriate unit listed below in accordance with the following code:

Unit Designation
Division (infantry) Arabic numeral.
Division (armored) Arabic numeral followed by triangle 3 inches high with -inch stroke.
Division (cavalry) Arabic numeral followed by letter C.
Corps (army) Roman numeral.
Corps (cavalry) Roman numeral followed by letter C.
Corps (armored) Roman numeral followed by triangle 3 inches high with -inch stroke.
Army Arabic numeral followed by letter A.
Air force Arabic numeral followed by a star 3 inches high.
Zone of communications ZC.
Army Ground Forces AGF.
Services of Supply SOS.
General Headquarters GHQ.
Zone of interior ZI.
Reception center RC.
Replacement training center RTC preceded by arm or service symbol.
Training center TC preceded by arm or service symbol.
Firing center FC preceded by arm or service symbol.
All others Nonconflicting letters.

Second group.The second group will designate separate regiment, separate brigades; groups, separate battalions, or separate companies, and similar units by appropriate number or symbol, followed by arm or service in accordance with abbreviations listed below. When indicating headquarters and headquarters companies or special companies of units identified in first group, the second group will consist only of the letter "X." When indicating brigades, the numeral will be underlined.

Arm or service Designation
Airborne AB
Army Air Forces units Star 3 inches high.
Antiaircraft AA
Amphibious AM
Armored regiment Triangle 3 inches high with -inch stroke.
Cavalry C
Chemical Warfare Service G
Coast Artillery Corps CA
Corps of Engineers E
Field Artillery FA
Infantry I (preceded by dash -inch square)
Medical Department M
Military police P
Ordnance Department O (preceded by dash -inch square)
Quartermaster Corps Q
Signal Corps S
Tank Destroyer TD
Tank group TG

(d) Third group.The third group will designate companies and similar organizations by letters in accordance with the following code:

Organization Designation
Headquarters and headquarters company (or headquarters and headquarters and service company) of lowest unit identification in previous groups. HQ
Service company of lowest unit identified in service groups. SV
Headquarters and headquarters company of battalion not previously identified. Numerical designation of battalion followed by letters HQ.
Service company of battalion not previously identified. Battalion number followed by letters SV.
Lettered company Letter designation.
Separate company identified in second group. X or abbreviation of company.
Antitank AT
Maintenance MT
Heavy weapons HW
Cannon CN
Reconnaissance R
Train TN
Weapons W
"Name" company (other than headquarters company, headquarters and service company or service company). Nonconflicting letters assigned for identification purposes, preceded by the battalion number, when necessary.

(e) Fourth group.The fourth group will designate the serial number of the vehicle in normal order of march within the organization to which it is assigned. Vehicles assigned to any headquarters will be combined for purposes of numbering with those of the appropriate headquarters company or similar organization, and will be given the smaller serial numbers used therein.

(2) Examples.

(a) 1XHQ10 10th vehicle, Hq Co, 1st Inf Div.
1X1S10 10th vehicle, 1st Sig Co, 1st Inf Div.
1X1R10 10th vehicle, 1st Rcn Tr, 1st Inf Div.
116-IA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 16th Inf, 1st Inf Div.
1FHQ10 10th vehicle, Hq Btry, Div Arty, 1st Inf Div.
133FD10 10th vehicle, Btry D, 33d FA Bn, 1st Inf Div.
11EA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 1st Engr Bn, 1st Inf Div.
11MA10 10th vehicle, Co A (Coll), 1st Med Bn, 1st Inf Div.
11QA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 1st QM Bn, 1st Inf Div.
(b) 1ΔXSV10 10th vehicle, Serv. Co, 1st Armd Div.
1Δ81RA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 81st Rcn Bn, 1st Armd Div.
1Δ1ΔA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 1st Armd Regt, 1st Armd Div.
1Δ27FA10 10th vehicle, Btry A, 27th FA Bn, 1st Armd Div.
1Δ16EA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 16th Engr Bn, 1st Armd Div.
1Δ6IA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 6th Inf, 1st Armd Div.
1ΔTNHQ10 10th vehicle, Hq Co, Div Tn, 1st Armd Div.
1Δ1-OA10 10th vehicle, Co A, Maint Bn, 1st Armd Div.
1Δ1QA10 10th vehicle, Co A, Sup Bn, 1st Armd Div.
1CXHQ10 10th vehicle, Hq Tr, 1st Cay. Div.
1CX1S10 10th vehicle, 1st Sig Tr, 1st Cav Div.
1C91RA10 10th vehicle, Tr A, 91st Rcn Sq, 1st Cav Div.
1CX27-O10 10th vehicle, 27th Ord Co, 1st Cav Div.
1C1CHQ10 10th vehicle, Hq Tr, let Cav Brig, 1st Cav Div.
1C12CHQ10 10th vehicle, Hq Tr, 12th Cav, 1st Cav Div.
1CFHQ10 10th vehicle, Hq Btry, Div Arty, 1st Cav Div.
1C61FA10 10th vehicle, Btry A, 61st FA Bn, 1st Cav Div.
1C8EA10 10th vehicle, Tr A, 8th Engr Bn, 1st Cav Div.
1C1MA10 10th vehicle, Tr A, let Med Sq, 1st Cav Div.
1C1QA10 10th vehicle, Tr A, 1st QM Sq, 1st Cav Div.
(d) 2A21QA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 21st QM Regt, Second Army.
3A61QA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 61st QM Bn, Third Army.
★1QSVAV10 10th vehicle, 1st QM Co, Serv Gp, (Avn) AAF.
3A21QCAR10 10th vehicle, 21st QM Car Co, Third Army.
3A56QCOM10 10th vehicle, 56th QM Sales Comm Co, Third Army.
3A67QREF10 10th vehicle, 67th QM Ref Co, Third Army.
4A79QDP10 10th vehicle, 79th QM Depot Co, Fourth Army.
1A87QRHD10 10th vehicle, 87th QM Rhd Co, First Army.
1A132QTRK10 10th vehicle, 132d QM Trk Co, First Army.
★862QMT10 10th vehicle, 862d QM L Maint Co, AAF.
(e) GHQ101MA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 101 Med Regt, GHQ.
II40MA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 40th Med Bn, II Army Corps.
3A1MVET10 10th vehicle, 1st Vet Co, Third Army.
II701MSAN10 10th vehicle, 701st Sn Co, II Army Corps.
II3MEV10 10th vehicle, 3d Evac Hosp, II Army Corps.
3A53MGEN10 10th vehicle, 53d Gen Hosp, Third Army.
1A151MSTA10 10th vehicle, 151st Sta Hosp, First Army.
3A63MSUR10 10th vehicle, 63d Surg Hosp, Third Army.
3A16MVET10 10th vehicle, 16th Vet Evac Hosp, Third Army.
1A1MDP10 10th vehicle, 1st Med Sup Dep, First Army.
3A2MLAB10 10th vehicle, 2d Med Lab, Third Army.
(f) 1A101PA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 101st MP Bn, First Army.
ZI704PA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 704th MP Bn, ZI.
IVX44P10 10th vehicle, 44th MP Co, IV Army Corps.
(g) IX18EA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 18th Engr, IX Army Corps.
II62ED10 10th vehicle, Co D, 62d Top Engr, II Army Corps.
(h) 1A-41-OA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 41st Ord Bn, First Army.
I1-OHQ10 10th vehicle, Hq & Hq Det, 1st Ord Bn, I Army Corps.
3AX60-O10 10th vehicle, 60th Ord Co, Third Army.
★714-OAB10 10th vehicle, 714 Ord Co, AB, AAF.
(i) IIΔ1SA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 1st Sig Bn, I Armd Corps.
III26SA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 26th Sig Bn, III Army Corps.
★XS10 10th vehicle, Sig Co, AAF.
IIIX280S10 10th vehicle, 280th Sig Co, III Army Corps.
ZI1SSV10 10th vehicle, 1st Sig Serv Co, ZI.
(j) 1A2GA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 2d Cml Bn, First Army.
3A3GMT10 10th vehicle, 3d Cml Co Maint, Third Army.
3A3GDP10 10th vehicle, 3d Cml Co, Dep, Third Army.
(k) II13FHQ10 10th vehicle, Hq Btry, 13th FA Brig, II Army Corps.
I17FA10 10th vehicle, Btry A, 17th FA, I Army Corps.
1A6FA10 10th vehicle, Btry A, 6th FA Bn, First Army.
GHQ71FA10 10th vehicle, Btry A, 71st FA Bn, GHQ.
I1FOBA10 10th vehicle, Btry A, 1st FA Obsn Bn, I Army Corps.
(l) 3A33CAHQ10 10th vehicle, Hq Btry, 33 CAC Brig, Third Army.
1A2CAA10 10th vehicle, Btry A, 2d CAC, First Army.
AA302CAA10 10th vehicle, Btry A, 302 CAC, AA Comd.
(m) 2A601TDA10 10th vehicle, Co A. 601 TD Bn, Second Army.
TD693TDA10 10th vehicle, Co A, 693 TD Bn, TD Comd.
(n) ★850EA10 10th vehicle, Co A, Engr Bn Avn, AAF.

(3) How marked.Unit identification markings will be painted in white letters on olive-drab background.

(4) Height of letters and figures.Letters and figures will be of a character style and dimensions as designed for use for traffic signs. Where space does not permit this size, letters and figures will conform to space available. See figure 35.

(5) Marking not required.Rear marking only is required on trailers, except on trailer, bomb, M5 and trailer, tractor, crane (see figs. 29 and 30). Unit marking will be placed on motorcycles when practicable.

(6) Removal of unit markings.The first two groups of unit markings will be removed from all motor vehicles when leaving home stations for movement to theaters of operations or ports of embarkation and in the theater of operations when directed by the theater commanders.

(7) Administrative vehicles, motor vehicles assigned to administrative units or functions at posts, camps, and stations or similar activities will substitute abbreviations or words for the first two groups in order to show station and activity represented, Abbreviations will be those commonly used and where practical will conform to those prescribed in these regulations.


7A 995F A17
The bumper markings on this truck follow regulations fairly closely except for the omission of the dash between each group. The "FA" designation has also been shortened to simply "F". On the left of the bumper, an unit identifier of three horizontal colored bars with the letter "S" is seen. Most sources associate the use of these color identifiers with amphibious operations. See also: 995th Field Artillery Bn Photo Album.

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11Δ 42Δ SV-61
Captured German RSO (Raupenschlepper Ost) tractor with markings for vehicle 61 of Service Company, 42nd Tank Battalion, 11th Armored Division. See also: 11th Armored Photo Album.

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3A-34M EV-24
Truck from 34th Evacuation Hospital, Third Army marked according to regulations. (See example in (e) above.)

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Jeep of the Military Police, Theater Service Forces with complete unit markings. This photograph is most likely a post-war photograph taken during occupation duty.

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A GI poses beside General Patton's jeep from Third Army Headquarters. The jeep has unit markings for Third Army HQ along with a three-star flag and plate. The jeep also mounts the trombone airhorns used by General Patton on the hood.

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28-103E HQ-4
A jeep from the 103rd Engineer Combat Battalion, 28th Infantry Division photographed on a bridge somewhere in Europe. The unit bumper markings are applied according to regulations and designate the 4th vehicle of the Headquarters of 103rd Engineers, 28th Infantry Division. The windshield carries the addition marking "T4 Cole" in white.

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3 ★ 411 648
A soldier poses in front of a truck marked with the unit identifier for Third Air Force, 411th Bombardment Group, 648th Squadron. The 411th Bombardment Group was a replacement training unit which was activated July 1943 and disbanded May 1944. The markings are missing the fourth group containing the vehicle number.

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102-406-I MED-4
A jeep and trailer from the Medical Detachment of the 406th Infantry Regiment, 102nd Infantry Division carry regulation markings.

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#2 User is offline   Jim B 

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 09:30 AM

I will have to dig up a pictue of my history markings of the Willys and post it. :cool1:
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