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AEF Vehicle insignia


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#1 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:43 AM

I thought it might be useful to start a thread showing the various insignia as painted onto AEF vehicles. I’ll start things off with the photos that I have access to, some of which feature insignia that needs to be identified.

 

If any forum member or visitor knows of, or is in possession of a period photo or photos showing AEF vehicles, motorized or otherwise, with any type of insignia please post it or them along with a brief description …

 

Let’s see how many AEF Division, Corps, Army and other smaller unit insignia we can gather here in one spot.

 

It would also be nice to add some official information about the evolution and use of AEF vehicle insignia. The topic of which seems to remain an unexplored area of AEF research. Collectively we can change that.

 

Also if you run across any mention of division or regimental insignia as used on vehicles in period diaries, letters, unit histories or other published works please post whatever information may come to hand.

 

Finally if you can identify any of the unknown insignia posted below or care to take a shot in the dark as to what it represents, feel free to post actual information or your best guess.

 

Thanks for looking … World War I Nerd

 

A.E.F. Vehicle Insignia

 

In 1916, prior to the Punitive Expedition, scattered all across America, the U.S. Army had approximately 100 motorized vehicles of all types at its disposal. For the most part, the Army relied on horse and mule drawn transport, along with the railroad, to accomplish the majority of its transportation needs.

 

Due to a dispute over the use of Mexico’s Northwestern Railway system, the Army was forced to employ motor trucks to convey supplies to the troops of the Punitive Expedition in the deserts and mountain of Chihuahua, Mexico. As it turned out, compared to traditional general service wagons and pack mules, motor vehicles were found to be a more efficient means of transportation. By the time General Pershing and his troops were withdrawn from Mexico in January of 1917, the Expeditions motor transport had expanded from two motor truck companies to 22 motor truck companies. The reliance on motorized transport during the Punitive Expedition also heralded the beginning of a love affair between the Army and motorized vehicles that continues to this day.

 

Photo No. 01: This photo captioned, “Going on patrol”, depicts either National Guardsmen on the border or Army regulars on the move in a new motor truck somewhere in Mexico circa 1916.

 

Photo courtesy of the John Adams-Graf collection

Attached Images

  • 01 Going On Patrol 1916.jpg


#2 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:44 AM

Photo No. 02: This early example of a U.S. Army vehicle marking identifies Signal Corps Radio Truck No. 3, which contains an early wireless radio set. Note the telescopic antenna mast next to the left of the driver.

 

Photo courtesy of the John Adams-Graf collection

Attached Images

  • 02 Signal Corps Radio Truck Insignia.jpg


#3 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:49 AM

Photo No. 03: It is believed that heavy road traffic was responsible for the advent of the colorful shoulder insignia that blossomed on the left hand shoulder of practically every service coat worn by American Doughboys late in 1918 and early in 1919. When America entered the war in 1917, it was a fact of life that any army moving up to the line would have to contend with the uncompromising snarls of heavy traffic that choked virtually every French road that led to the mud filled trenches.

Attached Images

  • 03 AEF Road Traffic.jpg


#4 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:50 AM

Photo No. 04: In the winter of 1917 AEF organizations were first subjected to the crawling chaos created by thousands of marching and mounted men and the innumerable vehicles of every conceivable description. While navigating the narrow thoroughfares crowded with men, machines and animals, the newly minted Doughboys of the AEF couldn’t help but notice the unit specific emblems that were employed by the French and British Armies with whom they shared the dusty limestone roads.

It was markings such as the letter “A” within a circle painted on the rear, side panel of a French camion that inspired the men and boys of the AEF to mark their divisional transport in a similar fashion.

 

Photo courtesy of the John Adams-Graf collection

Attached Images

  • 04 French Camion Insignia.jpg


#5 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:51 AM

Photo No. 05: Left, a wartime artist’s depiction of a French unit insignia painted on the tailgate of truck hauling weary French soldiers to an unknown destination. Right, a 2nd Division sign painter paints the then star and Indian head insignia of the 2nd Supply Train onto Combat Wagon No. 3.

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  • 05 French Camion & 2nd Division Combat Cart Insignia.jpg


#6 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:55 AM

Photo No. 06: The “Yankee Division” as the 26th Infantry Division was called is said to have been the first AEF division to adopt the French and British habit of painting a unit logo onto their vehicles so that regimental transport could easily be identified at a glance.

 

Here a mobile disinfection plant, aka delouser, of the 26th Division bears that division’s official insignia, a monogram composed of the initials “Y” & “D”. In Doughboy slang these contraptions were known as “Cootie Mills”. The inscription, “140th Cootie Killer” is likely in error and was probably meant to read “104th Cootie Killer”.

 

Photo courtesy of the John Adams-Graf collection

Attached Images

  • 06 26th Division Delouser Insignia.jpg


#7 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:56 AM

Photo No. 07: To further identify each vehicle the New Englanders of the 26th Division developed a series of sub-unit insignia to indicate which regiment, battalion or train a vehicle belonged to. The exact date on which the 26th Division transportation was so marked is not known. It is likely that the event took place during the first quarter of 1918, or possibly earlier as sightings of Yankee Division vehicles bearing a “YD” monogram were noted as early as March of 1918.

 

This Yankee cootie killer bears a sub-unit insignia, comprised of a red Greek cross, the insignia of the 101st Sanitary Train. The 26th was the only AEF division to mark its vehicles with a divisional and a separate regiment, battalion or train insignia. The lower, right inset shows the insignia of the 101st Sanitary Train as painted on a steel helmet.

Attached Images

  • 07 26th Div-101 Sanitary Train Insignia.jpg


#8 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:59 AM

Photo No. 08: The tailgates of these trucks belonging to the 26th Division have been painted with the emblem for the 101st Ammunition Train. The left hand inset shows the insignia of the 101st Ammunition Train, a woman riding a large artillery shell, as painted on a steel helmet.

 

This photo was likely taken after January 1918, which was when the 26th Division was first issued overseas caps and before May of 1918, which was when GHQ had banned carrying the French M2 Gasmask at the front. Note the half-moon shaped French gasmask carrier resting on the right hip of the officer with his back towards the camera.

Attached Images

  • 08 101st Ammunition Train Insignia.jpg


#9 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:00 AM

Photo No. 09: The caption for this photo stated that this truck bearing the insignia of the Quartermaster Corps belonged to the 101st Infantry Regiment, 26th Division.

Attached Images

  • 09 26th Div 101st Inf Supply Truck Insignia.jpg


#10 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:01 AM

Photo No. 10: From left to right, a sketch, borrowed from a 1919 dated Yankee Division welcome home pamphlet of the 26th Division’s, sub-unit insignia for division Quartermaster vehicles – the Quartermaster insignia as painted onto the truck in the above photo – the Quartermaster insignia as painted on a steel helmet – and an alternate insignia for the 26th Division Quartermaster Detachment, also painted on a steel helmet.

 

Right hand photo courtesy of Bay State Militaria.com

Attached Images

  • 10 26th Div QTMC & QTMC Detachment Insignia.jpg


#11 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:01 AM

Soon other AEF divisions mimicked the 26th. For example the 5th Division issued a General Order in January of 1918 calling for all division equipment (including vehicles) to be marked with the Red Diamond insignia prior to shipment overseas. The 2nd Division painted the soon to be division’s iconic star and Indian head insignia onto its transport in March 1918. The 77th Division arrived overseas with the Statue of Liberty already stenciled onto its baggage, equipment and vehicles in April 1918. The 89th Division adopted its “Rolling “W” insignia while in the Reynel training area of France in July of 1918. And so it went for the majority of the other AEF organizations, both large and small. By the summer of 1918, it would probably be safe to assume that every organization within the AEF had an insignia of its own with which to identify its vehicles. At the time, no one had any idea that the vehicular insignia used by the AEF in the World War would play such an important role in the future of U.S. Army heraldry.

 

Photo No. 11: A heavy truck bearing the insignia of the 2nd Division.

Attached Images

  • 11 2nd Division Truck Insignia.jpg


#12 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:03 AM

Photo No. 12: Motorcycle sidecars displaying 2nd Division, 3rd Division and 4th Division insignia. The 3rd Division sidecar has also been adorned with two additional markings, the meanings of which are both unknown. Can anybody ID the additional 3rd Division insignia?

 

Left hand photo courtesy of Bay State Militaria.com

Center photo courtesy of the John Adams-Graf collection

Right hand photo courtesy of the Rogier Van de Hoeff collection

Attached Images

  • 12 2nd-3rd & 4rd Division Sidecar Insignia  (1).jpg


#13 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:04 AM

Photo No. 13: Another example of 2nd and 4th Division markings on a sidecar and a motorcycle gas tank. The 2nd Division insignia has been painted on a shield shaped background. Depending on the color of the shield it could represent 2nd Division HQ (black) – 2nd Division HQ Troop (yellow) – 2nd Division HQ Train & MP Company (blue) – 1st Field Signals Battalion (red) – 4th Machine gun battalion (purple).

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  • 13 2nd & 4th Division Motorcycle Insignia.jpg


#14 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:04 AM

Photo No. 14: 4th Division insignia on a Cadillac touring car.

 

Photo courtesy of the John Adams-Graf collection

Attached Images

  • 14 4th Division Cadilac Touring Car Insignia.jpg


#15 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:05 AM

Photo No. 15: The bucking bronco insignia of the 41st division’s, 148th Field Artillery Regiment as painted on a Mack truck and the 155mm gun in tow. The inset shows an example of that insignia which adorned the cover of a post war unit history.

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  • 15 41st Division-148th Field Artillery Insignia.jpg


#16 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:06 AM

Photo No. 16: Left, the 148th Field Artillery Regiment’s bucking bronco insignia on the door of a Dodge touring car.

 

Right, a sidecar emblazoned with the winged prop insignia of the Air Service. The wing prop emblem is situated between, what looks like a pair of fire extinguishers. Could this be the WW I equivalent of a modern emergency fire response vehicle?

 

Left hand photo courtesy of bay State Militaria.com

Attached Images

  • 16 41st Div-148th Field Artillery & Air Service Insignia.jpg


#17 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:07 AM

Photo No. 17: At the time of writing I’m not entirely sure if the initials ‘A’ & ‘S’ on the cab of this heavy truck signify that it belongs to the U.S. Army or AEF “Air Service” or if the initials represent something entirely different. Does anybody know?

Photo courtesy of the John Adams-Graf collection

Attached Images

  • 17 Air Service Initials Truck Insignia.jpg


#18 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:07 AM

Photo No. 18: The door of this heavy truck has been stenciled “Aviation Section Signal Corps”. In addition, the forward panel of the truck bed has been painted with the roundel insignia of the U.S. Army Air Service. The men posing for the camera all appear to be wearing VI Army Corps shoulder patches.

 

Photo courtesy of the John Adams-Graf collection

Attached Images

  • 18 Aviation Section SC Truck Insignia.jpg


#19 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:08 AM

Photo No. 19: Another heavy truck, this one bearing the insignia of the 5th Photo Section, Air Service.

 

Photo courtesy of the John Adams-Graf collection

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  • 19 Air service 5th photo Section truck Insignia.jpg


#20 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:09 AM

Photo No. 20: An Air Service Cadillac touring car whose windshield bears an Air Service roundel and aviator’s wings.

Photo courtesy of the John Adams-Graf collection

Attached Images

  • 20 Air Service Windscreen Insignia.jpg


#21 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:10 AM

Photo No. 21: Photographed during the summer of 1918, this mobile blacksmith’s forge, rather curiously, relies on a placard, as opposed to a permanently painted insignia to identify it as belonging to the 78th infantry Division.

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  • 21 78th Division Blacksmiths Forge.jpg


#22 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:11 AM

Photo No. 22: This 125 gallon water cart has been prominently marked with the “Rolling “W” insignia of the 89th Infantry Division.

 

Photo courtesy of the National WW I Museum

Attached Images

  • 22 80th Division Water Cart Insignia.jpg


#23 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:11 AM

Photo No. 23: It also looks like the 89th Division insignia has been painted on the side of this ambulance directly behind the soldier’s helmeted head.

 

Photo courtesy of the National WW I Museum

Attached Images

  • 23 89th Division Ambulance Insignia.jpg


#24 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:12 AM

Photo No. 24: Left, a sidecar marked with the insignia of an unknown artillery regiment. The letters “D” above, and “HQ”, below the crossed cannon barrels inform any informed observer that the vehicle hails from the HQ Company of Battery “D”.

 

Right, a Nash Quad Truck whose side panel has been painted with the insignia of the 89th Infantry Division.

 

Right hand photo courtesy of the National WW I Museum

Attached Images

  • 24 Field Artillery & 89th Division Insignia.jpg


#25 world war I nerd

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:13 AM

Photo No. 25: A Dodge touring car bearing the insignia of the 89th Infantry division.

 

Photo courtesy of the National WW I Museum

Attached Images

  • 25 89th Division Motor Car Insignia.jpg



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