Custom markings for Military Vehicles
Delta Team Decals
From 1944 to 1957, the US Army used Semi Gloss Olive Drab #23070. It was then replaced with Semi Gloss Olive Drab #24087. This was used until the 4 color camo scheme was introduced in the 1975-76 timeframe. The 4 color camo pattern gave way to the present 3 color camo pattern, the NATO pattern, in the mid-80's. The US Marine Corps used a different paint on their vehicles. The correct paint for those is #24052 Forrest Green.
General Markings info:
From the Factory, the markings on the vehicles would be few. Things like the Unit Markings, the bumper numbers, would have not been applied until the truck reached the unit it was intended for. So to make a "Correct Factory" look, one would have no such markings. The hood numbers , stars and some other stenciling would be there.
From about 1943-1975, most of the markings on the vehicles were painted on using Lusterless White #37875.
Pressure Sensitive Markings:
Begining in 1964, permanent pressure sensitive markings were allowed to be applied. Note all markings should be the same type....either painted or pressure sensitive, but not a mixture except for the stars, which are allowed in either style even if that differs from the style of the rest of the markings. For US Army vehicles the pressure sensitive markings are white vinyl. For the US Marine Corps, yellow vinyl is used. For the US Air Force yellow reflectorized markings were used on the blue trucks but not on olive drab trucks.Those trucks used black markings, along with US Navy vehicles.
Stars....correctly called the National Symbol:
The National Symbol, the 5 pointed star, is used on all the trucks except those of the US Marine Corps and are to be applied in the largest area of the:
Top of truck, 20 inch size for the hood
Both sides of truck, 14 inch size for the doors
Front of truck, 5 inch size for the front bumper
Rear of truck, 6 inch size for the tailgate
It is never applied to canvas or vinyl tops or covers. It also is not applied to any area where it could be covered up by canvas, windshields when folded, or where any spares or other items might hide it.
As to the orientation of the National Symbol, on horizontal surfaces, one point should point directly forward toward the front of the truck. For WWII vehicles, the star points the other direction, so one does see the National Symbol pointing toward the rear on the older trucks, but it is not correct for the cold war era and later vehicles. On vertical surfaces, one point always points straight up to the sky. One may see WWII vehicles with the National Symbol in a circle. This is an invasion marking and is never correct for post WWII vehicles. Note that ambulances, like the M725, would never have the National Symbol.
The numbers found on the hood of military vehicles are divided into 2 parts. The letter/number code is referred to as the Registration Number, or sometimes the USA Number, and the Agency ID, which tells the branch of service, for example US Army. The Registration Number is put on the vehicle at the time it is originally built and it stays with the truck for its entire lifespan. Only in very unusual cases is it ever changed. Around 1964, the specification for the markings of the Registration Number and Agency ID was set at 3 inch figures. Only where space did not allow for the use of the 3 inch size was a smaller size allowable. Placement is on the hood, on the sides at the edges and on the tailgate. On the hood, the Agency ID is on top with the Registration Number being applied 2 inches below. On the tailgate, they are in a line, not one atop the other.
What the numbers and letters in the Registration Number indicate is the subject of many inquiries I receive. Here is the information I have on this subject:
Starting in 1960, the hood numbers would look something like this example:
The 3 indicates the vehicles vehicle class. This class runs from 3/4 ton to 1 1/4 ton. Any military vehicles, with a load rating between those weight limits would start with this number. The A and the 0001 work together to show which number of medium weight vehicle built that this one is. A 0001 would be the first, A 9999 would be the 9999th one built. The next one, #10,000, built would be B 0001. Once 9999 were built as B's, the marking would change to C 0001 at number 19,999 and so on.
In 1968, the military changed the Registration Number system again and now included a year in the Registration Number as well. A sample of this style looks like this:
The 03 still refers to the medium weight vehicle class.
The A and the 001 work together just as described for the earlier system, though only accounting for 999 vehicles before changing to the next letter instead of the previous methods 9999 limit. The 68 is the year, 1968, and does not change for any vehicle made that year. In the early 70's the system changed again to the system that is still in use today.
These are the number/letter markings found on the front and rear bumpers of the trucks. The US Marine Corps did not use these markings. For the other branches of the military, these markings were required to be in the largest practical size but not over 4 inches in height. Any symbols used outside the normal letters and numbers were to be as close to the same size as the lettering. Initially these were to be of paint that could be removed with gasoline or removable vinyl letters.
Reading such markings from left to right on a front bumper would tell us a lot about the vehicles assignment, to include:
1. The Major Command it is assigned to
2. The Intermediate Command it is assigned to
3. The Unit or Activity it is assigned to
4. The vehicle number for convoy purposes, aka: Order of March
There are several other markings one may encounter on military trucks. The following are from the military regulations regarding these markings as they apply to our trucks:
Tire Pressure should be marked in 1 inch letters above each wheel, example:
TP Front 25
TP Rear 45
Fuel Tanks that are not readily visible are to be marked as near as possible to the filler neck with 1 inch letters stating the following:
CAUTION DO NOT OVERFILL-ALLOW FOR EXPANSION
It is interesting to note than on vehicles where the tank is easy to see, like a 6X6 with the tank out in the open, the marking is a line placed 2 inches down from the top of the tank and the words:
DO NOT FILL ABOVE THIS LINE
So one could make the assumption that our tanks should not be filled higher than that level as well. This gives an idea what the intent was from the military perspective on "overfilling".