|Like every military vehicle jeeps had a couple of different markings. They can generally be classified in nationality-markings, unit-markings and miscellaneous markings, like those indicating special roles or personal things like names or pin-ups etc.|
|Nationality (all Allied forces): white star
The white, 5-pointed star, also known as "Invasion Star", was applied to ALL allied vehicles prior the invasion of Normandy (although it was also used in the Italian theater of operations). They came in a number sizes/variations:
- 15", point 1,5" from dash, so it would be visible with windshield up & down (this was the place according to AR-850-5, although it was rarely applied this way in the field).
- 20", with a 4" band (5:1 ratio). Some had complete circles, others broken ones, and others had no circle at all. These seem to have been applied randomly, but if there was a circle it would probably have been the broken one because it was much easier to apply.
6"; if a circle was applied it would also have been in a 5:1 ratio.
3". A circle would not fit at this place. Rear bumperettes: 2"
The sizes of the stars are not from point to point, but indicate the size of the circle the star will fit within. I have seen plenty original WWII photographs with jeeps that had stars applied up-side-down etc., so they seem to have been applied with no care taken at all, and jeeps with stars according to the book were a rarity. Sometimes the space between the star and a circle was painted a greenish yellow. This was a special paint that would change colour if there was any toxic gas in the air, thus warning the crew it was time to use the gasmask they probably discarded long ago. Templates to make these stars yourself can be requested from Jeepdraw. Info courtesy of Jon Rogers.
|Unit (US Army/AAF only):
Every jeep in US Army/AAF service had a hoodnumber, which it kept it's entire military career. It always had the prefix 20, what stood for Reconnaissance/Command, followed by the vehicle's registrationnumber. For the first 99.999 jeeps this was a 5 digit number; later jeeps had 6 digits. The hoodnumber is NOT the same as the chassis- or bodynumber, but it can be calculated from these numbers with the help of the formula published in "All American Wonder". Applied above the hoodnumber would have been the letters USA/USAAF, and if the vehicle was "suppressed" in order to carry a radio the letter S was applied after the hoodnumber. Early jeeps also had the letter W applied in front of the hoodnumber. The make of a jeep (Willys/Ford) can not be determined from it's hood- number.
Some examples: USA USA USA USA
W-20XXXXX 20XXXXX 20XXXXXX 20XXXXXXS
(VEP jeep) (standard, early) (standard, late) (suppressed)
The markings on the bumper indicate to what unit the vehicle was assigned. Although strange/unusual markings excist, they usually are easy to understand. Standing in front of -and facing the vehicle the left group indicates the Army/Division/Airforce, the middle group indicates the Battalion/Regiment/ Group, and the right group indicates the Company/Squadron and vehicle number. Some examples:
2-I 12E HQ6 (2nd U.S.I.D., 12th Engineer battalion, Headquarters, vehicle 6)
3A/8-I 34-I A11 (3th Army, 8th U.S.I.D., 34th Infantery battalion, A-company, vehicle 11)
8(star) 271BG 16SQ-4 (8th Airforce, 271 Bomb Group, 16th Squadron, vehicle 4)
It goes from large to small. All sorts of variations are possible, but the 3 groups of combined digits and letters indicating the place of the vehicle in the big picture are the base of the system (although other systems were sometimes used). The same markings would appear on the rear bumperettes. Some of the letters used in the codes are:
I (capital i): Infantery (1st & 2nd group)
X : Unit directly assigned to Division instead of regiment (1st group)
A : Army (1st group), Alpha-company (3th group)
E : Engineers (2nd group), Easy-company (3th group)
F : Field Artillery (2nd group), Fox-company (3th group)
Q : Quartermaster (2nd group)
R : Reconnaissance (2nd group)
AB : Airborne (1st group)
HQ : Headquartes (3th group)
(Delta) : Armoured Division (1st group)
BG/FG : Bomb Group/Fighter Group (2nd group)
TRK : Truck (company) (2nd group)
AAA : Anti Aircraft Artillery (3th group)
(star) : small (3") 5-pointed star in first group indicated Army Air Force
Note: according to some only Armoured and Airborne divisions had a delta or "AB" after the divisionnumber (first group). This means the "I" of Infantery in the first group would be incorrect. However, original WW2 pics reveal that this was sometimes done in the field, although probably against regulations. Decide for yourself what you like (most restorations do have the "I" in group 1).