AUSTRALIAN TACTICAL SIGNS
Australian Vehicle Markings Part 1.
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For some time I had been toying with the idea of doing up some signs used on Australian Vehicles during the WW2 period, as I intend to finish my '44 GPW as used by the 2nd. Australian Imperial Forces (2nd A.I.F.). There seems to be a plethora of information about U.S vehicles and Markings, yet very little to do with Australian jeeps, tanks, trucks, gun carriages etc. If here's a Tac. sign here you'd like to affix to your vehicle, email me, and I'll send you the larger version suitable for cutting a stencil. There's several books that have been published on these signs, the worst being done by a British author, all vary in some degree to the actual graphic used, which isn't surprising , as there were differences in service as well. The most obvious is the 4th Armoured Brigade with the Croc and Palm tree. In the Australian War Memorial photo archives the Official Tac.Sign was used on tanks, but on other vehicles the Aussie sense of humour (some say distain for authority) seems to have taken the sign and altered it to suit the occasion. After the War the official sign was made into a four colour patch for use with 1st. Armoured Brigade, Citizens Military Forces. Other Armoured Divisional signs were shown differently, like the 3rd. Armoured Division, a mounted Knight on horseback, in some books there's no lance, yet the horse and rider remain relatively the same. Another thing you'll notice with the graphics is the primitive art work used, the main purpose being the ease of cutting a paper stencil that could be applied in the field. On the 3rd. Armoured Brigade sign, the knight and horse are detailed, yet the horses tail is left as a mangle of lines. Some Armoured Divisions after the War changed names and became Brigades, like the 1st. Armoured Division became the 2nd. Armoured Brigade( CMF) and the sign was changed from the plain white on a black ground to a Black on a Golden yellow ground. Other Armoured Division, the 2nd., was disbanded and the men and equipment dispersed to bring up to strength other Armoured divisions and brigades.
Several months ago I received an email from Ian Fawbert in New South Wales, knowing I had an interest in vehicle signs pertaining to WW2, he forwarded me a rubbing he had done of a marking he had found on the side of his '42 "script" MB, when I received it I immediately recognized it as belonging to the Australian 5th. Division A.I.F., but the boars head was different to what I had seen before, The 5th. Division saw heavy action in New Guinea before moving to Rabaul, where a photo was taken in 1946 and the boars head is different again from the "official" image. It would appear that as the War progressed the head was made more fearsome, and a red tongue was added to enhance the plain white on a black ground, even the tongue became longer, initially as a red patch inside the mouth. Another thing noticed is that instead of the usual 5" x 5" square sign, this later ones had no limit to the width, only the area available, shown in this photo (31k) as fitted to the windshield sheeting of an unknown model jeep in Rabaul in 1946.
For a brief history of the Wide Bay Regiment, the 47th Battalion, Click Here
History of the 42nd Battalion - Ted Harris Site , Click Here
-The History of these Divisions and Brigades - from the top -
4th Australian Armoured Brigade, formed in 1943, they saw action in New Guinea at Buna, Finschafen, Torokina and Wewak, later in New Brittan and Borneo.
3rd Australian Armoured Division, formed in 1942, they did not see action outside the Commonwealth of Australia, this Division included the 2nd. Armoured Brigade and the 1st.Motor Brigade.
1st.Australian Armoured Division, raised in early 1941 as a fifth division of the 2nd.A.I.F. It was made up of the 5th.,6th.,7th.,8th.,9th and 10th. Armoured Regiments. It saw action in New Guinea in the Buna, Port Moresby and Milne Bay areas.
2nd Australian Armoured Division, formed in 1942 from the 2nd.Australian Cavalry Division, for a short period it was designated the 2nd. Australian Motor Division, disbanded to bring up the strength of the 1st. and 3rd. Armoured Divisions and the 4th. Australian Brigade. Disbanded in April ,1943.
5th Australian Infantry Division, raised in Queensland in 1942, from the 7th, 11th., and 29th Brigades. Actively involved in New Guinea around Kouriatum, Bobdubi, Salamaua, Alexishafen, Hansa and Sepik Rivers. Later removed to New Brittan, (See the Rabaul photo).