WWII Distinctive Insignia, Unit Emblems & Crests

Discussion in 'General' started by freebird, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. freebird

    freebird Senior Member

    I'm doing research on insignia & emblems.
    Any info or links would be appreciated.


    From what I understand:

    US units - have both divisional & regimental insignia

    UK units - Divisions had crests, brigades did not, but battalions would have the crest of it's parent regiment

    Canadian - No divisional crest, only formation patches.
    Army & Corps had unique insignia, as did the battalion's parent regiments, just as UK units

    German - All SS divisions had unique unit crests, some Heer divisions, Luftwaffe & KM did not

    Soviet - Did not have divisonal, Corps or Army crests

    Japanese - Did not have divisonal, Corps or Army crests



    Am I correct in this?
    Are there any experts here in military heraldry?
     
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Firebird

    You could do a lot worse than start with Peter G's Formation badges 1939-1945.

    British Formation Signs

    Good luck with your research !

    Ron
     
  3. Doc

    Doc Senior Member

    In the US, there were also insignia for units above Division. Corps, Armies, Army Groups, and various Headquarters units. A few units had battalion level insignia, vice regimental, as well. There are also distinctive crests for other units, such as medical units (e.g. hospitals). Then there are the weird ones-- e.g. the 4th battalion of the 9th infantry regiment, which in the 1920s was authorised a belt buckle as a unit insignia. You might want to join the ASMIC (American Society of Military Insignia Collectors), as they have lots of expertise in this area, and publish a very good quarterly (illustrated) journal, as well as some very good reference books on the unit crests. Doc
     
  4. Combover

    Combover Guest

    Many British Brigades had brigade insignia. It wasn't just the divisions that did.
     
  5. airborne medic

    airborne medic Very Senior Member

    Then in the UK there were district signs, certain infantry, artillery and engineer regiments had their own 'formation signs'.......probably about 600 to 800 at least different badges worn by the British Army....never mind all the shoulder titles......
     
  6. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I dont know if folk are aware? But not only did they have the insignia on their uniforms. But also the flashes that indicated who they were.

    246 Field Company RE, had the Royal Engineers badge across the top of the shoulders.,

    Next a white 49 on blue square background.

    then the Black and red diagonal signs for the Third British Infantry Division

    Then the regimental flash, just short strip of colour. For the RE: Rrd and navy blue

    But here is the oddity ...
    8th brigade that landed first had one flash.
    185 brigade that landed second, had two flashes
    9 brigade the last to land had three flashes..
    I think they are in the right or4der ...Hell of a long time ago,
    sapper
     
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  8. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    What wrong about it Owen?
     
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    What wrong about it Owen?
    8 Bde had 1 bar
    9 Bde had 2
    185 Bde had 3.
     
    Drew5233 likes this.
  10. jainso31

    jainso31 jainso31

    I would recommend "British Army Uniforms and Insignia of World War Two" by Brian L Davis.A pretty comprehensive work.

    Jim
     
  11. freebird

    freebird Senior Member

    You could do a lot worse than start with Peter G's Formation badges 1939-1945.

    British Formation Signs
    Ron

    Thanks Ron! Very good site.
    I did also get a link from the other (Axis history) site for the German units, so I've got most of them now.

    German unit Insignia

    Many British Brigades had brigade insignia. It wasn't just the divisions that did.

    If I understand correctly, it was only the independant brigades that did?
    I didn't find any from the 43rd Wessex's brigades (129, 130, 214) or for the 52nd's brigades (155, 156, 157)

    When the 31st brigade became the 1st Airlanding brigade in the 1st Div, did they still use the brigade symbol, or only the divisional symbol?
     
  12. Combover

    Combover Guest

    Mostly correct although a number of the independent brigades were incorporated into Divisions but were allowed to keep their brigade insignia below the divisional sign.

    Check the 43rd again as the Battalions had some distinctive insgnia. The 4th Battalion Somerset L.I officers wore an oblong with 'XIII' in. The Dorsetshires wore a green regimental flash.
     
  13. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Error
     
  14. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    I dont know if folk are aware? But not only did they have the insignia on their uniforms. But also the flashes that indicated who they were.

    246 Field Company RE, had the Royal Engineers badge across the top of the shoulders.,

    Next a white 49 on blue square background.

    then the Black and red diagonal signs for the Third British Infantry Division

    Then the regimental flash, just short strip of colour. For the RE: Rrd and navy blue

    But here is the oddity ...
    8th brigade that landed first had one flash.
    185 brigade that landed second, had two flashes
    9 brigade the last to land had three flashes..
    I think they are in the right or4der ...Hell of a long time ago,
    sapper

    I agree with the comment on the post above concerning the number of flashes. These would be done in order of seniority, so 8 Bde, 9 Bde, 185 Bde, like the colour and order of AoS numbers..

    However, 3 Div (Triangular signs by the way, not diagonal) had a slightly unusual arrangement in that the formation sign on uniform was triangular (red and black), while on vehicles the sign was normally placed on a red disc. I dare say that other divisions had slightly differing signs on uniform and vehicles. Such arrangements are not always noted in the several books on the subject.

    Chris
     
  15. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Adding an addition to the list of specific Brigade insignia, the 38th (Irish)Infantry Brigade in the British Army would display a large shamrock.
     
  16. Combover

    Combover Guest

    There were a number of these Bexley. When 56th Brigade went to 49th Div for instance, they kept their brigade insignia too.
     
  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I'm doing research on insignia & emblems.
    Any info or links would be appreciated.


    From what I understand:

    US units - have both divisional & regimental insignia


    Smaller units also wore dinstinctive insignia, but not on combat apparel.

    Normally division-sized units wore patches, but they were authorized Distinctive Unit Insignia that could be worn on the lapels of Class A uniforms. It was not common. Patches were authorized for combat clothing, but it was not uncommon for them to be removed, along with rank insignia.

    On Class A uniforms, normally the currently assigned division patch was worn on the L shoulder and the DUI of the regiment, battalion or smaller unit on the jacket lapels. If the unit was not attached to a division or higher command, then all that would be worn was the DUI. If the unit was attached to corps, army or one of the other branches on a somewhat permanent basis, then the patch for that command level would be worn also.

    I have a friend who was in a troop-sized unit (about 150 men) and they had a DUI authorized for them. It originally had been the DUI of one of the brigade HQs from the division. Brigade-level command was discontinued when the divisions were triangualarized, but the army wanted to continue the lineage.
     
  18. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

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