markings and color combination

Steel Soldiers is supported by:

Robo McDuff

In memorial Ron - 73M819
2,256
2
38
Location
Czech Republic
Read through several of the "which paint number" threads and read part of David Doyle's section on markings and paints. The only thing I now know is that I am not the only one guessing and confused.

:lost:

Our M51A2 was presumably built in 1973, right in the period "early seventies" when some marking systems changed and just before the camo-schemes came into being.

The truck shows the following marking:
  • small black stars on both doors (pics 1 and 2)
  • the number 5D7896 painted in black on the driver side of the hood and the passenger side of the bumper (3 and 4)
  • a white X in a white circle on the side of the hood (pic 3), any idea what this is for?
  • some temporary number on the passenger side, front panel of the fender (5). Round circle plate on top of the fender with attachments for number plates. Above orange letter G, below in black 0 and 1. These numbers are quick removable, so presumably any temporary number for when driving in column???

decal-passenger.jpg decal driver side door.jpg decal driver side hood.jpg decal bumper.jpg decal lights.jpg


The truck was assigned to the 386 Engineers Battalion and transported to Europe, maybe direct, maybe as part of a Reforger exercise in the mid 80s.

My questions about the history of this truck ended in nothing last time (2 years ago) but I am starting up the questions again.

What do these numbers 5D7896 mean? I presume 5D means 5-ton dump.
Are the stars original or latter added; especially the drivers door is not really straight and is the glued on type, not painted?
The lettering is all in black as opposed to white: original or later changed?
What do the removable letters indicate?

Given these numbers, year of built 1973 and stationed in Europe, any educated guess which color this vehicle should have?? The brownish olive drab versions do not seem to fit, but what else?
 
Last edited:

gunboy1656

Active member
3,587
13
38
Location
Beaver Falls, PA
Not sure what the numbers are for, on the 900 series trucks they have the registration numbers painted there, so maybe it was done to keep a standard look.

The stars are the national symbol that should be painted on the front and rear not on the doors.

Once the camo pattern came into to use the white numbers ceased and black was used except in a few locations.

The removable numbers are the bridge plate. To identify the weight of the trucks going over a bridge. If your truck has a 10 on it you must only cross a bridge with a 10 or higher rating.

And for color it would have been the MERDC, and even the 3 color camo.

And the red C (not G) stands for combination, IE truck and trailer weight.
 

Robo McDuff

In memorial Ron - 73M819
2,256
2
38
Location
Czech Republic
We used a power cleaner to clean the truck before painting, and I had a better look at the paint and lettering.

bridge marking_resize.jpg


Correction from first post: All decals are actually painted, no vinyl. The bridge marking reads C 01 (thanks gunboy). Maybe the 0 and the 1 are switched and it should read 10 or does a 01 bridge category exists?

driver hood and door_resize.jpg darker and lighter green_resize.jpg two shades of green dump.jpg

All lettering is painted in black on a greenish underground. As you see on the pics, it seems the truck has been repainted at least once. The cab and front (left and middle) from a darker more glossy green to a somewhat lighter mat shade. The dump body (right) from a more olive drab brownish green to the same mat lighter green. The second layer seems to be army work as well since the numbering on dump body and on the front (cab, hood, bumper) is on top of the lighter green. Some real brownish appears, but not as part of camo, more on top of the dark green in two places, on one door which was rusted (pic middle) and on the front bumper. No signs of any camo painting.


left rear dump body_resize.jpg decals right rear dump body_resize.jpg

The dump body has lettering on the back below the dump gate. On the left side there is the registration number 5D 7896. On the right, three letters, the first one unreadable because of the rust. This is where it gets interesting. On top, in mat black, there is ? 7 R. Underneath that, in greyish (blueish grey?) is mentioned ? 3 E. The dump body has the black star also in the middle of that beam. Star pointing upwards.

right front bumper_resize.jpg front bumper detail.jpg

Above a "better pic" of the right front bumper. In front are three letters or numbers; almost looks if they were once over-painted as well. the middle letter might be an E. Behind that comes again the registration number 5D 7896 (hard to see, but once you know what should be there you can trace it).

Summarizing: greenish 1973 dump truck once belonging to an engineers unit, and stored in a depot in the Netherlands. Black lettering but definitely no sign of original camo painting. Probably painted and numbered in a period when the painting and numbering changed from olive drab to camo and marking from white large to smaller black.


  • Any idea on the meaning of the groups of three letters - numbers on the bumper and the tail?
  • What does the white X in the circle means?
  • If the truck was later reassigned to a different unit, then shipped and stored, would the truck have been repainted?

The dump body has a different first color as the rest of the truck. Also, it has these three letters-numbers on the right side in lighter color below the new numbering. Finally, the front top of the dump bed is seriously bended, which does not fit with the "only depot life". Is it possible that this dump bed came from a different truck and, if so, what could be a reason to switch the beds?

My inquiries with the US Army did not went anywhere, but now the truck is in better shape and in the Czech Republic I will try ask them again as well.
 
Last edited:

Robo McDuff

In memorial Ron - 73M819
2,256
2
38
Location
Czech Republic
The truck is painted, so now I have to get the decals or stencils. Is there a font family that should-can be used so you can make your own markings? Shipping everything from the USA seems a bit overkill and expensive, we have good printers here but I have to provide the font family.
 

Whiterabbit

New member
742
1
0
Location
Erwin Tn.
TB43-0147 dated 1975 is what you need. It should be 34079 forest green from the factory. When they got to the units they were left green or 4 color camo was applied by the unit or their maintenance shop, sometimes very poorly. I think the circle x is a depot storage mark. It's not an engineer mark that I'm aware of. Bumper numbers main command and unit then unit and random number most of the times unless it's a command vehicle.
Bridge plates represent weight of vehicle in tons, rounded up. I highly doubt your dump truck only weighs 1 ton! They were flipped or scrambled up. Don't assume the army or GI's did things correctly. Vinyl stickers were used and so was stencils so both are ok. I think you said it a 1975, so unless you want it to look like it just left the factory, anything goes once it got to the unit.
 

NDT

Active member
7,443
17
38
Location
Camp Wood/LC, TX
M39A1/A2 series 5 tons were built in the 1960's. The 5D7896 is the Army registration number. That is the correct number placement for MERDC 1980's camouflage. The little stars on the doors are incorrectly placed there, should be on the front bumper and tailgate, in the middle. The glossy green is the 1960's factory color, 24087.
 

Whiterabbit

New member
742
1
0
Location
Erwin Tn.
It was built in '73 according to McDuff so thats past the 24087 time period. No idea of the build time line for M39's. I've got a '72 M151A2 and its painted 34079. Pulled the gas tank and the underside of it is 34079.
The little black National Symbols were for use with MERDC camo but that wouldn't stop a unit from using them on a solid green truck. Yep no stars on the doors but I thought the Reg number moved into the cab area when the 4 color camo was applied??
 

Robo McDuff

In memorial Ron - 73M819
2,256
2
38
Location
Czech Republic
This truck is more a mess than I initially thought. However, as lowest layer each time this very darkish green comes up.

darker and lighter green_resize.jpg 2013 cleaning and painting 05c.jpg two shades of green dump.jpg

As to the numbering, this does not fit anything I saw and read till now. Maybe it has something to do with the truck being stored in a POMCUS depot in Europe that these numbers work different. Than again, Carnac found the 5D 7896 number before I found it under the dirt on my truck, so it seems to be original.

As to color, for the moment the truck looks like this, once we have funding we will do it better and in the original colors.

official pics M51A2 01c2_resize.jpg
 
Last edited:

67Beast

Member
819
0
16
Location
Silver Lake Sand Dunes MI.
The registration number of 5D 7896 would indicate that it was built and accepted into the Army any time between 1960 through 1967. The numbering system changed in 1968 to include the year accepted at the very end of the numbers. If the data plate states it is a 1973 then it has either been replaced or went through a major depot rebuild in 73' and was for some reason restamped with an new date. The darker semi-gloss green is OD # 24087 which was the factory original color applied during the years listed above. Also European theater vehicles were the first units to start to use subdued markings in black rather than white starting in the late 60's. And started the use of the smaller national symbol (star) which replaced the excellent aiming point for the enemy.
 

Robo McDuff

In memorial Ron - 73M819
2,256
2
38
Location
Czech Republic
67Beast, I was thinking to reopen a thread on my engine about that because of some further inspection I did after cleaning the engine. It looks that the engine might be from 1965 and that might fit with what you say. Below the ID plate from the dash, left, and one of the ID shields on the engine.

DSC_0188cc_resize.jpg DSC_0005c_resize.jpg

The ID shield on the dash mentions the serial number, but not a date of delivery. The shield on the engine mentions " overhauled at... Date 12.1.1973" Just above that, hard to see maybe on the pics are some words which are part of the casting of the engine block. Something like "..ring order 156..." and below it, just above the ID shield: 1.14.65!

DSC_0005c2_resize.jpg

Below the overhaul shield there was another alu shield, completely unreadable.
The other engine shield mentions that this is an LDS 456 1, not LDS 456 1A as I always thought (what is the difference?)

So if really a 1965 truck (sounds better than 1973), why the paperwork saying that number fits a 1973 truck according carnac? Any way to find this out conclusively?

Edit: I am not doubting carnac, I am wondering about the Army paperwork.
 

Robo McDuff

In memorial Ron - 73M819
2,256
2
38
Location
Czech Republic
Reviving old thread for new evidence

Reviving this old thread on color and marking for new evidence.

It is now completely sure that the truck is from between 1965 and 1967, based on

The Hood Number, which is a registration number which STAYS WITH THE TRUCK THROUGHOUT ITS LIVE CYLCE
That narrows it down to 1960-1967.

Comparing the 9-place serial number, the truck is from 1964-1965.

The engine definitely is from 1965; overhauled in 1973. The Garwood winch also has been overhauled in 1973. So for me, the truck is from 1965.

Unfortunately, the Dutch Department of Transport will not change the dates, so the paper work refers to 1973.

Live history.
1965 - 1973. No idea where the truck was before 19173
1973 - 1986, the truck was in the USA with the Engineers in New Hampshire.
1986: the truck is written out of the Army administration and probably transferred to the POMS deport in Ter Apel, Netherlands.
1999-2000: truck in rusted and damaged state as seen on the pictures bought by first Dutch owner.
2010: truck bought by me, made street-legal and transported to the Czech Republic.

Color: where trucks repainted during overhaul?

Maybe the best would be to restore it to the 386 Engineers Battalion period but with the 1965 colors. Any opinions?
If 1965, the color would be 24087 and the lettering still white?

If overhauled in 1973, would the lettering be changed to black or is that something that was done in the POMS depot after 1986?
 

SCSG-G4

PSVB 3003
4,274
89
48
Location
Lexington, South Carolina
67Beast, I was thinking to reopen a thread on my engine about that because of some further inspection I did after cleaning the engine. It looks that the engine might be from 1965 and that might fit with what you say. Below the ID plate from the dash, left, and one of the ID shields on the engine.

View attachment 460587 View attachment 460586

The ID shield on the dash mentions the serial number, but not a date of delivery. The shield on the engine mentions " overhauled at... Date 12.1.1973" Just above that, hard to see maybe on the pics are some words which are part of the casting of the engine block. Something like "..ring order 156..." and below it, just above the ID shield: 1.14.65!

View attachment 460588

Below the overhaul shield there was another alu shield, completely unreadable.
The other engine shield mentions that this is an LDS 456 1, not LDS 456 1A as I always thought (what is the difference?)

So if really a 1965 truck (sounds better than 1973), why the paperwork saying that number fits a 1973 truck according carnac? Any way to find this out conclusively?

Edit: I am not doubting carnac, I am wondering about the Army paperwork.
Kaiser Jeep ended on or before 1970, then it was "General Products Division of " and later became "AMG" about 1971. I know because I have deuces with all three different 'manufacturer' markings.
 
Top