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Author Topic: When did the British started to use the white star marking?  (Read 1043 times)

Offline Wellington

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 268
When did the British started to use the white star marking?
« on: October 07, 2020, 11:26:57 AM »
In WWII pictures taken in Normandy the British vehicle very often have the white start marking.

When did the British troops started to use the star? Did they use it in Italy too?

Cheers

Wellington 
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Offline Jemima Fawr

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Re: When did the British started to use the white star marking?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2020, 12:27:53 PM »
I can't find the British order, but the Canadian Army first ordered it to be painted on 11th April 1944.  Something worth noting is that the Canadian Army ordered it to be painted with one point of the star to be pointing toward the front of the vehicle, so it looks 'wonky' in photos.  The British almost always painted it the traditional way, 'resting' on two points, though there are examples of it being painted in the Canadian manner.

I've seen it mentioned in forums that it was introduced in 1943 for the invasion of Sicily, but not seen anything concrete.

Stars certainly were painted in Italy, but don't seem to be anywhere near as common as in NW Europe and there are photos of vehicles all the way up on the Austrian border in 1945 still painted with the RAF-style roundel.

In Burma some stars appeared on upper surfaces in 1944, but by 1945 they were universally applied and were LARGE.
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Offline joroas

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Re: When did the British started to use the white star marking?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2020, 11:14:40 PM »
Mid-1943.
'So do all who see such times. But that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that we are given.'

Offline Wellington

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 268
Re: When did the British started to use the white star marking?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2020, 09:44:23 PM »
Thanks a lot!

Offline Jemima Fawr

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Re: When did the British started to use the white star marking?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2020, 12:15:23 AM »
Mid-1943.
Do you have any references for that?  I've not seen any evidence that Commonwealth tanks carried star markings prior to the preparation phase for Normandy.  Almost every photo I can find of a Commonwealth tank in Sicily and the early part of the Italian Campaign shows the red/white/red flash marking, with the roundel used on upper surfaces (or no national marking at all).

Unfortunately I can't find the British Army order to paint stars on vehicles, but the Canadian order was issued no earlier than 11th April 1944.  I would fully expect the British order to be simultaneous, give or take a few days.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 12:27:27 AM by Jemima Fawr »

Offline Etranger

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 899
Re: When did the British started to use the white star marking?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2020, 08:17:32 AM »
My somewhat elderly copy of Mike Starmer's Sicily and Italy 1943-1945 has the following (page 16):

Quote
Northern Italy: From the War Diary of the 2nd Canadian ID, 16th April 1944 Recognition Markings; White stars, five pointed . [T]o be carried on all 'A', 'B' vehicles and Sp gus excepting RAF and vehicles marked with the Geneva cross. All armoured and the above vehicles will carry the star as large as possible on the top horizontal surface with a circular surround ... All vehicles and equipment other than armoured vehicles will carry the star on both sides on a vertical surface ... aligned with a point forwards  [ie as described by Jemima above]. [N]ot to be painted on canopies, canvas or tarps... The RWR flash and RAF roundel [actually in different proportions to actual RAF markings] were discontinued

and

Quote
6th SAAD 30th June 1944: one large five pointed star ...painted on a horizontal surface will be accepted as the standard marking...

From  Mike's British Army Colours and Disruptive Camouflage .... 1936-45

48 RTR appeared to have used the 'roof star' from arrival in  Algeria in February 1943 but it was much later when this marking was generally introduced on British vehicles since by 20th January 1944 no decision ... had been taken (page 36)

Orders for the roof star exist for 8AB (in the UK, prior to the Normandy invasion) from 30th March 1944, along with for the removal of the RWR flash. (Page 37).

So in summary - the stars were generally applied on on vehicles in NW Europe from spring 1944 onwards and at the same time or a little later in the Mediterranean.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 08:28:28 AM by Etranger »
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Offline Jemima Fawr

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Re: When did the British started to use the white star marking?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2020, 11:59:06 AM »
Cheers Etranger. 

One also appeared on the top of a 149th RAC Sherman turret in Burma in April 1944, but that appears to have been an aberration and stars didn't generally appear in 14th Army until the end of 1944. 

Offline joroas

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 7802
Re: When did the British started to use the white star marking?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2020, 05:37:16 PM »
British Tank Markings and Names, BT White, Page 71.

Offline Jemima Fawr

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Re: When did the British started to use the white star marking?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2020, 05:48:51 PM »
British Tank Markings and Names, BT White, Page 71.
Cheers!  Was that a particular unit or general order?

Offline Jemima Fawr

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Re: When did the British started to use the white star marking?
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2020, 04:57:22 AM »
I had a look at BT White's book.  It says that the stars began to appear 'in late 1943, in preparation for Normandy'.  No references or examples given, sadly.

 

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