Tactical Signs - Artillery Units

Tactical signs were introduced in order to help designate special roles, functions or equipment performed/carried by certain vehicles. The signs were to measure 8 by 6 inches, be painted in black with a 5/8 inch yellow border, and have yellow characters measuring 3-1/2 inches by 2-1/2 inches. These signs were generally applied to the right front bumper (or fender) and located on the rear centre of the vehicle's body, though sometimes the signs were located instead on the right rear near the formation sign. The signs were also placed on vehicle sides, either centrally on the leading door, on the turret of armoured vehicles, or on the body of Universal Carriers.

In addition to distinguishing tactical uses of vehicles, listings of tactical sign markings are useful to researchers in establishing scales of issue of numbers and types of vehicles to particular units.

Note that the lists should be taken as a general guide only. Not all units were always up to full establishment of vehicles due to equipment shortages (or, less commonly, may have had surplus equipment on hand extra to establishment). The tables do not provide information on specific vehicle types, which changed during the course of the war for various reasons (tactical requirements changed, as did tables of organization and war establishment; Canadian production vehicles, which were preferred, also became increasingly available overseas as the war progressed).

Artillery Regiments

.The tactical markings for artillery consisted of a coloured flash in red and blue, with a combination of letters and/or numbers in white over top.

Regimental HQ 1st Battery 2nd Battery 3rd Battery 4th Battery
(where present)

At right, a Canadian jeep in 1945; the middle marking is the tactical sign, indicating a vehicle of the 2nd battery of the regiment. The Unit Sign indicates the senior artilery regiment of an infantry division, the division sign indicates 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, making this vehicle from the 4th Field Regiment. The white "J2" indicates a Battery liaison jeep. DND Photo.

Towed Field Regiment

Subunit Flash Marking Vehicle Type Vehicle User
Regimental Headquarters Z Jeep Commanding Officer
Regimental Headquarters Z2 Jeep Second in Command
Regimental Headquarters Admin A1 Jeep Adjutant
Regimental Headquarters Admin A2    
Regimental Headquarters Admin A3    
Regimental Headquarters SUR1 Jeep Survey Officer
Regimental Headquarters SUR2 Jeep Survey
Regimental Headquarters SUR3 Jeep Survey
Regimental Headquarters SUR4 Jeep Survey
Regimental Headquarters Q1   Quartermaster/Mess
Regimental Headquarters Q2   Quartermaster/Mess
Regimental Headquarters Q3   Quartermaster/Mess
Regimental Headquarters Q4   Quartermaster/Mess
Regimental Headquarters Q5   Quartermaster/Mess
Regimental Headquarters Q6   Quartermaster/Mess
Regimental Headquarters S1   Signals
Regimental Headquarters S2   Signals
Regimental Headquarters S3   Signals
Regimental Headquarters S4   Signals
1st Battery X   Battery Commander
1st Battery X2   Battery Headquarters
1st Battery K   Battery Captain
1st Battery K1    
1st Battery K2    
1st Battery H   Battery Command Post Officer
1st Battery Y   Battery Survey Officer
1st Battery J1   Battery Liaison
1st Battery J2   Battery Liaison
1st Battery J3   Battery Liaison
1st Battery J4   Battery Liaison
1st Battery Image:Aos1a.gif J5   Battery Liaison
1st Battery J6   Battery Liaison
1st Battery J7   Battery Liaison
1st Battery J8   Battery Liaison
1st Battery J9   Battery Liaison
1st Battery J10   Battery Liaison
1st Battery J11   Battery Liaison
1st Battery J12   Battery Liaison
1st Battery   MI1   Artillery Signals
1st Battery MI2   Artillery Signals
1st Battery MI3   Artillery Signals
1st Battery MI4   Artillery Signals
1st Battery MI5   Artillery Signals
1st Battery AMN1   Ammunition
1st Battery AMN2   Ammunition
1st Battery AMN3   Ammunition
1st Battery Q1   Quartermaster/Mess
1st Battery Q2   Quartermaster/Mess
1st Battery Q3   Quartermaster/Mess
1st Battery Q4   Quartermaster/Mess
1st Battery Q5   Quartermaster/Mess
1st Battery, 1st Troop RA   Troop Commander
1st Battery, 1st Troop GA   Gun Position Officer (GPO)
1st Battery, 1st Troop TLA   Troop Leader
1st Battery, 1st Troop A   Gun Tractor and Gun/Limber
1st Battery, 1st Troop Image:Aos1a.gif B   Gun Tractor and Gun/Limber
1st Battery, 1st Troop C   Gun Tractor and Gun/Limber
1st Battery, 1st Troop Image:Aos1a.gif D   Gun Tractor and Gun/Limber
1st Battery, 1st Troop AB   Spare Gun Tractor
1st Battery, 1st Troop CD   Spare Gun Tractor
1st Battery, 2nd Troop RB   Troop Commander
1st Battery, 2nd Troop GB   Gun Position Officer (GPO)
1st Battery, 2nd Troop TLB   Troop Leader
1st Battery, 2nd Troop E   Gun Tractor and Gun/Limber
1st Battery, 2nd Troop F   Gun Tractor and Gun/Limber
1st Battery, 2nd Troop G   Gun Tractor and Gun/Limber
1st Battery, 2nd Troop H   Gun Tractor and Gun/Limber
1st Battery, 2nd Troop EF   Spare Gun Tractor
1st Battery, 2nd Troop GH   Spare Gun Tractor
2nd Battery Markings as for 1st Battery
3rd Battery Markings as for 1st Battery


  • See also Dingwall, Don Canadian Vehicle Markings: A Comprehensive Guide to the Colours and Markings of the Canadian Army Overseas During WWII (Canadian Tracks Publishing, Carp, ON)



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