Preparation for Overseas Movement Markings
In the build-up to Operation Neptune and other large-scale military operations during WW2, the United States Army introduced a system by which all items that were to accompany a unit on an overseas voyage could be correctly identified to their respective units. These items included large personal equipment to vehicles and tentage of the unit. The system which was devised can be likened to the modern day bar code system. By assigning each unit a 5-digit serial number all items could be easily identified. To expedite the process of identifying the numerous pieces in the system, a colour code was also devised, with specific colours relating to the final two digits of the 5-digit code.Unfortunately, since the information that was relevant to this particular system was highly confidential (most documents referring to it were rated as “BIGOT” – the highest security type used for the invasion of Europe), very little evidence or documentation exists to document the process and system used. Attempts have previouslt been made by researchers and historians to gather a list of these POM markings (or more accurately, Unit Serial Numbers), but most have failed to produce a definitive list due to the lack of evidence or official history.
All the Unit Serial Nubers and Bar Codes for the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion Companies.
(Source: the book “Unit Serial Numbers from the “First U.S. Army Build-Up Priority Tables, List A, D+1 through D+14″ D-Day (Normandy) – Top Secret – BIGOT NEPTUNE”)
Flail Sherman tank, named “Hiwassee” – POM number 44557 on the turret makes it HQ & HQ Company, 17th Armored Engineer Battalion
Harley WLA Motorcycle, POM Unit Serial number on the front fender 44558 makes it D Company 17th Armored Engineer Battalion
Original Dodge with an reproduction POM number on the bumper
Research © by: Martijn Brandjes & Moos Raaijmakers
Text © by: Martijn Brandjes & Moos Raaijmakers
Photos © by: see subscriptions