In addition to the Arm of Service markings and formation signs, Royal Artillery vehicles carried additional markings to further identify vehicles according to their role within particular batteries or troops. Although similar in appearance to Arm of Service markings, these markings were smaller, and were carried on towed guns, self-propelled guns, gun tractors, and other vehicles.
The pattern of the marking denoted the battery to which a vehicle belonged, with one quarter being coloured, starting with the upper-right for the first battery and rotating clockwise for subsequent batteries in order of seniority.
As shown below, Field, Medium, Heavy, AT and AA regiments all used a red corner, while Survey regiments used yellow, and added a yellow flash to the HQ marking. Please note that Survey vehicles within Field regiments did not use the yellow markings.
The system was augmented with various numeral or letter codes to further identify the specific role of a particular vehicle within the regiment or battery. The position of these alphanumeric codes varied. Initially painted across the centre of the square, they were later modified to appear only in the blue portion, to aid legibility.
A hopefully comprehensive overview of the codes is presented in the tables below:
Common Regimental Codes
Common Battery Codes
Field Battery (Towed)
Field Battery (SP)
Light Anti-Aircraft Battery
Based on the above tables, here are just a few examples of complete tactical signs. Combined with a vehicle’s Arm of Service marking and its formation sign, it would be possible to work out the specific role, unit and formation of any given vehicle.
Tables for Anti-Tank, Heavy, Super-Heavy, and Survey Regiments will follow.
- Bouchery, J (2012) The British Soldier From D-Day to VE-Day
- Taylor, D (2009) Warpaint: Colours and Markings of British Army Vehicles 1903-2003 – Vol. 2
- Bellis, M (1992) 21st Army Group Organisaton & Markings
- Hodges, P (1971) British Military Markings 1939-45
- “Artillery Organisation” – https://nigelef.tripod.com/
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SquireBev – 2021