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How To Apply Tank Markings
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ACTION FIGURES AT WAR

Tank Markings, What do they mean and 'How To' guide 

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TACTICAL SIGNS
 
Prior to 1943 the US Army tactical sign system consisted of painting the number of the tank on the turret sides.  This method used letters and numbers to identify all AFV's.  From 1943 until the mid fifties, the USA adapted a new system.  This new system for the armored division operated from tank level through to division level.
 
These are the more common markings used by armored divisions.
 
X - Used to indicate Armored Division
Y - Used to indicate Armored Battalion
Z - Used to indicate the Tank Number
 
The following symbols are offical Army abbreviations.

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The vehicle marking is built up as follows:

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The old system composed of numbers and geometrical figures was retained by the USMC for all of its vehicles including AFV's.
 
OTHER TACTICAL SYMBOLS
 
The crew sometimes painted a nickname with white paint on the side of their tank.  Usually, the nickname had the first letter of the company as its first letter.  The nickname was used as a "radio call sign".
 
Example:
 
  Tanks of "A" company could carry:
     AMERICAN ACE for A-1; ANGEL for A-2
 
  Tanks of "B" company could carry:
     BONNIE for B-3; BEAR for B-4
 
  Tanks of "C" company could carry:
     CORY for C-5; CONNIE for C-6
 
NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION
 
When the U.S.A. entered World War Two, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, they began using national identification marks.  The mark, usually a white star, was placed on five locations on the AFV's.  During the war years teh star didn't undergo many changes, although it was sometimes omitted.
 
Changes to the National Identification Mark
 
1942 - Operation Torch - landing in North Africa, a white star with a stripe encircling the turret was commonly used on M3 series tanks.
 
1943 - the stripe was deleted and the white star was surrounded in a white circle.
 
1944 - Before the Normandy landings the white star, with either a continuous or broken white circle, was standardized for all of teh Allied forces except USSR.

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QUANTITY, SIZE AND LOCATION OF STARS ON TANKS
 
Qty          Size                  Location
1             20 inches        Front Hull
1(each) 20 inches        Turret Sides
1             16 inches        Turret Top
2             12 inches        Hull Rear (usually on mudguards)
 
REGISTRATION NUMBERS
 
All American vehicles carried a registration number that was painted on both sides of the cowl (hull) and occasionally appeared on the rear.  The letters and numbers were usually 4 inches high and Gothic in style.  The first two digits of the registration number were the identication code for the class of the vehicle.  Before 1943, the number was painted in light blue and was preceded by a "W".  Later the "W" was deleted and the registration number was painted in white (yellow for USMC).
 
Example:
 
Before 1943               U.S.A.  W-300000
After 1943                   U.S.A.  300000
 
The codes were used on armored division AFV's were:
 
30 - tanks and special vehicles based on tank hulls
40 - self-propelled, tracked and half-tracked vehicles
60 - armored cars
 
COLOR SCHEME OF U.S. Army AFV'S DURING WWII
 
During the entire war the US Army AFV's were painted in OLIVE DRAB 319.  The U.S. Marine Corps AFV's were painted in FOREST GREEN.  There was no particular camouflage scheme used except: - during the North African Campaign when AFV's were painted in DESERT PINK and in Europe during the winter months of warfare where a water soluble WHITE PAINT was used.
 
BRIDGE CLASS DISK
 
All American AFV's carried, on the front hull, a bridge class disc which was 9 inches in diameter and painted chrome yellow.  Black numerals were painted in the center of the disc.  The class of the bridge the AFV could pass was expressed in short tons.  The number on the vehicle plate was the AFV's gross weight rounded off to the next highest ton.  Sometimes the bridge class disc was only outlined.

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