Canadian Armoured Regiment/Tank Battalion Tactical Markings: WWII

Each squadron of a Canadian armoured regiment or tank battalion had a geometric tactical symbol to display on their respective tanks. This followed the British pattern of armour vehicle markings, as did other markings displayed by Canadian armour.

The following series of charts illustrates the colour pattern for these tactical markings. For example, an 'A' Squadron tank of the 21st Armoured Regiment (The Governor General's Foot Guards), as the senior regiment in 4th Armoured Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, would display a red triangle geometric symbol. 'B' Squadron tanks of the second senior armoured regiment in the brigade, the 22nd Armoured Regiment (The Canadian Grenadier Guards) would have displayed a yellow square. 'C' Squadron tanks of the junior regiment, the 28th Armoured Regiment (The British Columbia Regiment) would have displayed a blue circle tactical marking.

The tactical markings as described above were for brigaded armoured units. Unbrigaded armoured regiments such as armoured reconnaissance regiments displayed white tactical markings.

While the colour codings described above are "officially" correct, it should be noted that under combat conditions it was not unusual to see the tactical markings painted in black paint, or in the vehicle's base colour, to reduce the potential of the brightly coloured markings being used as aiming points by enemy gunners.

In many instances the markings were displayed on the sides of the tank turrets but there are numerous photos that show them, in a much reduced size, painted on the sides or rear of the hull or turret of the tank. That was also in an effort to reduce their visibility, yet retain the identification of the vehicle.

There is photographic evidence that demonstrates that "A" Squadron tanks of armoured regiments in 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade used inverted triangle tac signs painted on their turrets; rather than the standard triangle with the point facing up. The inverted tac sign appeared on their tanks both in the UK and in the Mediterranean theatre of operations, in all three regiments.

Ontario Regiment Churchills in the UK displaying the inverted "A" Sqn tactical sign on the turret. The red/white/red RAC recognition flash is just visible above the tow hook on the glacis plate of the first tank. The maple leaf formation sign of 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade is visible, as is the the tank's name "AJAX".

Tactical Marking Charts

Senior Armoured Regiment

Second Senior Armoured Regiment

Junior Armoured Regiment

Unbrigaded Armoured Regiments

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Chris Johnson, 1997