of the 752nd Tank Battalion
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 3½ 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
& 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.
Silver, & Gold Bullion Scroll
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.
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.
& 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.
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.
Tank Company Scroll
A very rare scroll from the TRUST (TRieste US
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.
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 Tanker's Triangle Enameled Insignia
The standard tanker's triangle enameled pin with the numerals "752" began appearing late in the postwar period. These were not official DUI's, but were used more for decorative purposes. When sold with a pin fastener, it was sometimes worn on the garrison cap. More commonly, it was manufactured without the pin and glued directly to various souvenir items, such as belt buckles, cigarette lighters, and ash trays. One surviving 752nd ash tray from Cormons, Italy uses three of these enameled insignia -- a standard size glued to a .50 machine gun bullet, and two mini-sized insignia glued to each side of the vet's name plate on the ash tray base.
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
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.
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.
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
in the postwar period.
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.
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.
Battalion Sweetheart Bracelet Charm (Germany, 1950's)
A rare 29th Tank
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.
Battalion Pocket Patch (Germany, 1950's)
after the 29th Tank Battalion Distinctive Insignia (shown above), this
quite a bit larger than a typical military shoulder insignia. This was considered a "pocket patch"
"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
or it was used for decorative purposes (such as photo album covers,
displays, etc.). The patch was machine embroidered on sky-blue thin
It is not known when this patch first appeared, or how widespread its
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
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.
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
service with the 752nd had
not accumulated enough time to earn a stripe prior to the 752nd's
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.
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
tanker's patch onto their garrison cap.
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and Written by Robert J. Holt
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