I like my jeep to have the correct wartime markings. Don’t you?

AR 850-5 is the governing regulation for the marking of vehicles (and other equipment).  When the war started the basic regulation was dated AR 850-5, September 25, 1936.  In this regulation, it specifies the markings required on Army vehicles.

Section III, paragraph 6d. Marking. (1)U.S. registration symbols and numbers.
(a) When marked. — Motor vehicles will be marked with the U.S. registration symbols and numbers prescribed in AR 850-10.
(b) How marked. — The marking will be conspicously done on the vehicle with white paint by means of a stencil and on U.S. registration plates by a metal stamping device and white painted figures as indicated in (c) below.
(c) Height of letters.– The height of the letters and figures will be two inches on trailers, and on U.S. registration plates, and four inches on all other types of motor vehicles. The character and style of marking will be as follows:

Example of the registration plate from a Ford sedan:

Example of the white USA and registration numbers on an early Dodge truck:

AR 850-5, Change 2, April 22, 1942

Section III, paragraph 6d. Marking. (1)U.S. registration symbols and numbers.
(a) When marked. — Motor vehicles will be marked with the U.S. registration symbols and numbers prescribed in AR 850-10.
(b) How marked. — The marking on the vehicle will be with blue-drab lusterless enamel by means of a stencil, and on U.S. registration plates by a metal stamping device and blue painted figures as indicated in (c) below.
(c) Height of letters.– The height of the letters and figures will be two inches on trailers, and on U.S. registration plates, and four inches on all other types of motor vehicles. The character and style of marking will be as follows:

C2 appears to have been carried forward as far as character and style of marking in AR 850-5, August 5, 1942. However, the height was now, “…2 inches on trailers and on all other types of motor vehicles.” Also, when the marking was to be done was addressed as well, the original numbers were to be affixed by the manufacturer.

Sort of neat. I hope to be able to find Change 1, January 40, 1939 and Circular 136, 207, and 248 (1941) to complete this discussion.

I believe that this brief glimpse at registration numbers helps to explain the ‘square’ periods in U.S.A and when they should be applied. Certainly, the regulation change them by April 22, 1942. This doesn’t mean that contracts specifying markings would have been changed by this date. Quite the contrary you will find a number of factory photos that show jeeps with the square dots.

An example of a MA jeep with the square registration “USA”:

and what appears to be blue drab paint at least as opposed to white.

Square periods and blue drab at least as opposed to white in appearance.

I’m not sure that this really proves anything conclusive but I saw it and thought I would report what I observed in the regulations and some pictures.

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