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Insignia of the 752nd Tank Battalion

Armored Forces Insignia (Plain)
752nd tankers most commonly wore the plain armored forces insignia during the war years. The equilateral triangle is divided into yellow, blue, and red sections to represent the three branches from which the armored forces were formed. The tank tread, gun, and lightning flash symbolize mobility, power, and speed. The patch measures 4 inches across the base and 3 inches high. Only 8 independent tank battalions were initially authorized to display their unit number on the insignia (70th, 191st, 741st, 742nd, 743rd, 744th, 746th and 751st).
752nd Insignia (Hand-Written)
The men of the remaining independent tank battalions became unhappy that they were not authorized to display their unit number. Though against regulations, the men of the 752nd began to display their battalion numbers on their patches in a variety of ways. The owner of this patch, Sgt. Ray Holt of B Company, expressed his pride in the outfit by writing the numbers "752" in pencil on his dress uniform's standard armored insignia. The writing on this patch is known to pre-date the end of the war.
752nd Insignia (Hand-Stitched)
The 752nd tankers quickly became bolder in displaying their battalion identification. The owner of this patch had very carefully hand-stitched the numbers "752" in black thread. Such infractions by combat vets were seldom enforced in-theater. It is believed that this patch was hand-sewn during the combat period.
752nd Insignia (Machine-Embroidered)
Toward the end of the war, the regulations were finally changed to allow all independent tankers to display their battalion numbers. Soon, a variety of machine-embroidered patches such as the one shown here became available. There is no evidence to date of a machine-embroidered patch being worn in the 752nd prior to the end of the war, but they became very popular shortly after the war ended. The patch shown here is believed to have been produced in 1945.
752nd Gold Bullion Scroll (Black)
After the war ended, a few enterprising manufacturers in Italy began to add items of interest in the insignia they produced. The gold bullion embroidered unit scroll was very popular, but a bit hard to get. Shown here is a bullion scroll worn over an armored forces patch with hand-stitched numbers. More often, it was worn above a patch with machine embroidered numbers. Of all the different countries occupied by U.S. troops, Italy was by far the most prolific manufacturer of scrolls. Collectors beware, there's a lot of fake bullion coming out of India lately, including 752nd scrolls.
752nd Gold Bullion Scroll (Navy Blue)
In addition to the black background shown above, the bullion scrolls were also made in navy blue, as shown on this uniform. Note that this particular bullion scroll was worn above a plain armored patch without battalion numbers, suggesting that it was one of the earlier applications of the scroll. Also note the subtle difference in lettering styles between the two bullion scrolls on this page. Collectors beware, there's a lot of fake bullion coming out of India lately, including 752nd scrolls.
752nd Blue & White Scroll
This somewhat less decorative scroll is the one that was most commonly in use in the postwar period, and is therefore the style of 752nd scroll that is easiest to find today. This scroll had simple white letters and numbers embroidered on a blue background. Blue was now becoming a more symbolic color in the 752nd, likely due to the azure background of the distinctive insignia (DI) that was also coming into vogue (see below). Note the fancy cross-stitching on both the scroll and the armored forces insignia. This stitching was quite popular with 752nd postwar tankers as a way of individualizing their uniforms.
752nd Blue, Silver, & Gold Bullion Scroll
Another version of the blue scroll, featuring what are now tarnished silver letters and a tarnished gold bullion border. Similar to the scroll shown above, the blue background relates to the azure heraldic color of the official 752nd DI. The silver lettering is in keeping with the 752nd's second heraldic color, officially known as argent. Again, note the decorative cross-stitching on the edges of the armored forces insignia. Collectors beware, there's a lot of fake bullion coming out of India lately, including 752nd scrolls.
752nd Silver Bullion Scroll
A very rare theater-made 752nd scroll. The bullion is tarnished silver, sewn onto blue wool with a tan cloth backing. Note the squared edges. Measures 3 3/4" long and 1 3/8" high. Collectors beware, there's a lot of fake bullion coming out of India lately, including 752nd scrolls.
752nd Yellow & Black Recon Scroll
A "crude and unusual" 752nd Tank Battalion scroll in yellow and black. It is believed that this scroll was unique to the 752nd's Recon Platoon, since recon units often adapted the yellow and black colors that were favored by the Cavalry branch of the Army. There is currently some debate as to whether or not yellow and black are in fact the official heraldic colors of the Cavalry.
752nd Gold Bullion Collector's Patch
This exquisite-looking 752nd gold bullion patch with scroll is beautiful to look at, but it could never have been worn by a 752nd tanker. Fancy gold bullion patches such as these were produced well after the war ended, and well after the 752nd had been deactivated. This rubber-backed patch was originally sold as part of a series of similar armored bullion patches which were marketed strictly as commemorative collector items.
TRUST 15th Tank Company Scroll
A very rare scroll from the TRUST (TRieste US Troops) 15th Tank Company, which performed peacekeeping duties on the Italy-Yugoslavia border after the war. The design of the scroll reflects the heritage of the 752nd Tank Battalion, since the TRUST Tank Company was formed from elements of the 752nd in 1947. The 15th Tank Company was redesignated as Tank Company, 351st Infantry Regiment in December 1949, and continued its peacekeeping mission in the Trieste area until 1954. Tank Company/351 was deactivated in the States in 1955.
Garrison Cap Insignia
A studio photo of an unidentified 752nd B Company tanker, showing both the standard armored shoulder patch and a slightly smaller version sewn onto the garrison cap. The insignia in this photo almost certainly pre-dates November 1945, since the photo was sourced from a 752nd combat vet who left Italy in the middle of that month. Only one other photo of a 752nd tanker with a garrison cap insignia has been found to date, and it was sourced from the same vet as the photo shown here. Scroll down further on this page for a description and color photo of the standard armored garrison cap.
752nd Tank Battalion Distinctive Insignia (Postwar Italy, Worn 1946-1947)
The 752nd, like all other units, had its own Distinctive Insignia (also called a DI). A DI was a decorative emblematic pin intended to build esprit de corps. The official colors of the 752 DI are azure blue and argent. Three spiked arms and fists symbolizing striking power emerge from a spur gear symbolizing mechanization. The word Fortis is Latin for Powerful.   The 752nd DI was authorized in 1942, but did not come into use until well after the war ended. In fact, of all the photos of 752nd tankers that have surfaced as of 2016, very few show a tanker wearing a DI of any type. The only 752nd photo clear enough to identify the specific design of the DI was an officer's studio portrait photo taken in December 1946 in Italy, and it shows the DI depicted here with the pointed bottom and open scroll.  
The 752nd Tank Battalion DI shown to the left was produced by Dondero in Washington DC, although a few Italian manufacturers are said  to have produced versions in the postwar period.
29th Tank Battalion Distinctive Insignia (Germany, 1950's) The insignia experts Sawicki and Capistrano both independently state that the 1950's 29th Tank Battalion, which was very indirectly descended from the 752nd, used a somewhat different DI design than the 752nd. The 29th design featured a more rounded bottom, a closed scroll, and a wider field around the fisted arms. The change in design was likely a "tweak" to provide a slightly unique identity for the 29th, while still reflecting its "paper" lineage to the 752nd.  The DI depicted here was produced by the German company Poellath in the early 50's, which makes sense given that the 29th was stationed in Germany during that time frame. There are claims of Italian manufacturers producing the rounded bottom DI in the postwar period, but to date there is no evidence of the rounded design ever being worn by a 752nd tanker. In contrast, the few DI photos that have surfaced from the 29th Tank Battalion in Germany do in fact show this more rounded design, and not the more pointed design that was worn by the 752nd. The more rounded design also appears on a cigarette lighter inscribed with the 29th Tank Bn name, and also on a pocket patch that was sourced from a 29th Tank Bn vet.
29th Tank Battalion Sweetheart Bracelet Charm (Germany, 1950's) A rare 29th Tank Battalion sweetheart bracelet charm, shown in correct proportion to the DI's above. Note the fastening hole at the top. This particular sweetheart charm was crudely turned into a pin by someone who glued a common carpet tack to the back, and attached a clutchback fastener to the tack.
29th Tank Battalion Pocket Patch (Germany, 1950's) Patterned after the 29th Tank Battalion Distinctive Insignia (shown above), this patch was quite a bit larger than a typical military shoulder insignia.  This was considered a "pocket patch" or "souvenir patch" and was not worn on the shoulder of the uniform. Instead, it was designed to be worn by returning vets on the front pocket of the field jacket, or it was used for decorative purposes (such as photo album covers, medal displays, etc.). The patch was machine embroidered on sky-blue thin cotton cloth. It is not known when this patch first appeared, or how widespread its use was.  There are a number of modern reproduction pocket patches readily available for sale everyday on eBay from various sellers, but their design, size, and construction are very different from the authentic patch shown here. 



Related Insignia & Uniform Devices Not Specific to the 752nd Tank Battalion
Overseas Service Bars
U.S. Army personnel who served overseas were entitled to wear Overseas Service Bars. Each bar represented a full 6 months of service outside of the U.S. The original members of the 752nd who initially shipped out to England were entitled to wear 5 service bars for service through the end of the war. Few, if any, of the original cadre stayed long enough after the end of the war to earn a 6th bar. The bars were sewn on the left sleeve, a few inches above the jacket cuff. These 5 overseas bars were cross-stitched onto an "Ike" jacket belonging to Sgt. Raymond Holt of B Company.
Service Stripes
Army enlisted men were entitled to wear a Service Stripe, also known as a hash mark, to denote each 3-year period of active service. Service stripes were worn below the overseas stripes, just above the jacket cuff. The service stripe was wider than the overseas bars, and was more subdued in color. Interestingly, very few photos of 752nd tankers show service stripes being worn, even though many of the original men had earned them as early as mid-1944.  The majority of men in postwar service with the 752nd had not accumulated enough time to earn a stripe prior to the 752nd's inactivation.
Ruptured Duck
Honorably discharged servicemen were issued the "Ruptured Duck" insignia to signify to MPs that the soldier was recently discharged. Soldiers were allowed to continue wearing their uniforms for 30 days after discharge, due to the clothing shortage. The original Ruptured Duck was a cloth insignia that was machine-sewn above the right breast pocket by the processing unit. The one depicted was issued in early 1945. The Ruptured Duck was later issued as a pin.
Garrison Cap Piping - Armored
The Armored Corps distinguished itself from other branches through the use of green and white piping on its garrison caps (also known as overseas caps). Green is recognized as the traditional color of the armored corps. Tankers wore their garrison caps with a sharp slant downward toward the left eye (as shown in the B&W photo above).  Some postwar tankers, as shown in the photo above, sewed a small tanker's  patch onto their garrison cap.
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Researched and Written by Robert J. Holt
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