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View Full Version : What does the upside-down V mean on the sides of military vehicles


sweeteviljesus
08-13-2006, 10:22 AM
Actually sometimes it's upside-down and sometimes it's sideways.

Thanks,
Rob

Ale
08-13-2006, 10:55 AM
Actually sometimes it's upside-down and sometimes it's sideways.

Thanks,
Rob

Im not sure what time period youre refering to, but Ive seen it used on WWII german planes to indicate the units leader plane.

Like this one (http://rlm.at/start.htm?cont/gal03.htm&1)

Ale
08-13-2006, 10:58 AM
By the way, its called a chevron...

Balthisar
08-13-2006, 11:42 AM
Its recent appearance was during Desert Storm -- it was a simple way to avoid friendly fire. All of the allies put the Chevron on their vehicles to facilitate identification. Why, then, didn't the enemy do so to confuse matters? I don't know; it seems obvious.

I spraypaint or duct tape the symbol on all my luggage to make identification easy whenever I travel. It seems that others have picked up on my discovery, too, though, so I may have to think of another symbol at some point. It's too bad, because the chevron is so simple and very, very easily identifiable because it stands out.

DrCube
08-13-2006, 12:39 PM
My two cents:

When I was in the Army (2001-2005), we had to spraypaint "S12" on the sides of our trucks to indicate we were in B co. 101st support battalion. The other companies had S10, S11, etc. The infantry battalion just had numbers (62, 63, IIRC) on the sides of their Bradleys and humvees. The armor battalions had the chevron that you describe in front of the numbers on their tanks, and since we had two armor battalions in our brigade, one had the sideways chevron.

So, while I can't speak for all time, in my little military stint these were used to identify the unit the vehicle belonged to (company, battalion). Other brigades that I saw had a similar scheme with different numbers, and maybe different symbols, too, so it varies.

RickJay
08-13-2006, 01:26 PM
Its recent appearance was during Desert Storm -- it was a simple way to avoid friendly fire. All of the allies put the Chevron on their vehicles to facilitate identification. Why, then, didn't the enemy do so to confuse matters? I don't know; it seems obvious.
Because they they'd shoot at themselves, too. Confusion works both ways.

Balthisar
08-13-2006, 01:37 PM
Because they they'd shoot at themselves, too. Confusion works both ways.
I almost had a "d'oh" moment there, but I what I meant was if the enemy had the same chevrons, it would negate the benefit of the marking to the allies. That is, no one would be able to make their targeting decisions based on the symbol.

boytyperanma
08-13-2006, 02:13 PM
Its recent appearance was during Desert Storm -- it was a simple way to avoid friendly fire. All of the allies put the Chevron on their vehicles to facilitate identification. Why, then, didn't the enemy do so to confuse matters? I don't know; it seems obvious.

I spraypaint or duct tape the symbol on all my luggage to make identification easy whenever I travel. It seems that others have picked up on my discovery, too, though, so I may have to think of another symbol at some point. It's too bad, because the chevron is so simple and very, very easily identifiable because it stands out.

My family used to put a V on our lugauge to identify it. Our last name starts with a V. People like you have ruined the idea adding your chevron's into the mix. Now nothing will make up for being called last during attendance.

Balthisar
08-13-2006, 04:06 PM
My family used to put a V on our lugauge to identify it. Our last name starts with a V. People like you have ruined the idea adding your chevron's into the mix. Now nothing will make up for being called last during attendance.
Well, you and I should both lobby the government to impose regulations on the airline industry whereby luggage handlers be obligated to place luggage upon the belt in the proper upright position. Then I can recognize my chevrons, and you can recognize your V's.

Rigamarole
08-13-2006, 05:29 PM
According to The DaVinci Code, it's a phallic symbol.

Mk VII
08-13-2006, 07:40 PM
I can recall seeing it on Israeli vehicles in the 1973 war

tomndebb
08-14-2006, 12:42 AM
The last time this question was asked (about six weeks ago, in the > symbol on sides of tanks. (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=378022) thread), the first respondent provided a link to an official answer. (The short answer being the one provided, here, it is an IFF mark and its orientation is connected to the unit using it. The linked site is pretty arcane and the info has to be pried out of a second link.)

ouryL
08-14-2006, 05:56 AM
V - this side down :p

Paul in Qatar
08-14-2006, 06:46 AM
The marking of combat vehicles is a minor art form. I am perhaps the only person who cares about it.

The chevron is no in fact the number '7' in Arabic, as I have to tell my students all the time. Its origin lies with the Israelis, a fact I often omit. The Israelis use (or used to use) a chevron with different orientations for differing units.

A chevron up might be 1st Battalion. Point down 2nd Battalion, point left Third Battalion and so on. Then a number of lines would be attached to the chevron (think of an arrow attached to the arrowhead) to indicate subunits. One line was 1st Company, two for Second Company and so on.

It its full glory this system included 'D on its back' for Air Defense units, "E on its face" for engineers and so on.

If course a system of battlefield markings need to be simple. These elaborate systems defeated that purpose.

For Gulf War I, the US adopted a chevron for all its units as a recognition measure. We never went much beyond that.

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