Equipment Symbols

By Christian Ankerstjerne

Equipment symbols could be used both to identify equipment pieces and to identify units using that equipment. Details such as weapon caliber would be added to the symbol. Early in the war, this was done by adding one or more parallel lines, arrows or concentric circles to the symbol.

In 1943, several weapon symbols were changed, and the caliber in centimeters was in stead written at the bottom left of the symbol, the country of origin (in the case of foreign equipment) at the bottom right, and the number of guns in a unit below the symbol. The range in kilometers could also be written above the symbol, though this was rarely done in practise.

For the purpose of reporting gun strengths, calibers were divided in up to four classes: le (leicht; light), m (mittel; medium), s (schwer; heavy), or sw (schwerste; very heavy). The calibers associated with the different weight classes were:

Class Anti-tank Rifle Infantry Gun Infantry Mortar Anti-tank Gun Rocket Launcher Field Gun Howitzer Heavy Mortar Anti-aircraft Gun
Light Up to 7.92 mm Up to 75 mm Up to 79 mm Up to 39 mm Up to 109 mm Up to 99 mm Up to 129 mm - Up to 36 mm
Medium - - 80-119 mm 40-59 mm 110-159 mm - - - 37-59 mm
Heavy 8 mm and above 76 mm and above 120 mm and above 60-89 mm 160-219 mm 100-209 mm 130-209 mm 210-249 mm 60-159 mm
Very heavy - - - 90 mm and above 220 mm and above 210 mm and above 210 mm and above 250 mm and above 160 mm and above

Infantry Weapons

Tactical Symbol German Designation English Translation
Machinengewehr Machine gun
Leichtes Machinengewehr Light machine gun
Schweres Machinengewehr Heavy machine gun (early)
Schweres Machinengewehr Heavy machine gun (late)

Anti-tank Artillery

Tactical Symbol German Designation English Translation
Panzerjägerkanone Anti-tank gun (early)
Panzerjägerkanone Anti-tank gun (late)

Anti-aircraft Artillery

Tactical Symbol German Designation English Translation
Fliegerabwehrgeschütz Anti-aircraft gun (early)
Fliegerabwehrgeschütz Anti-aircraft gun (late)
2 cm Fliegerabwehrgeschütz 20 mm anti-aircraft gun (early)
2 cm Fliegerabwehrgeschütz 20 mm anti-aircraft gun (late)
2 cm Flakdrilling 20 mm tripple anti-aircraft gun
2 cm Flakvierling 20 mm quad anti-aircraft gun (early)
2 cm Flakvierling 20 mm quad anti-aircraft gun (late)
3,7 cm Fliegerabwehrgeschütz 37 mm anti-aircraft gun (early)
5 cm Fliegerabwehrgeschütz 50 mm anti-aircraft gun (early)
8,8 cm Fliegerabwehrgeschütz 88 mm anti-aircraft gun (early)

Artillery

Tactical Symbol German Designation English Translation
Granatwerfer Mortar (early)
Granatwerfer Mortar (late)
Leichter Granatwerfer Light mortar (early)
Schwerer Granatwerfer Heavy mortar (early)
Infanteriegeschütz Infantry gun (early)
Infanteriegeschütz Infantry gun (late)
Leichter Infanteriegeschütz Light infantry gun (early)
Schwerer Infanteriegeschütz Heavy infantry gun (early)
Feldkanone Field gun
Feldhaubitze Field howitzer (early)
Feldhaubitze Field howitzer (late)

Vehicles

Tactical Symbol German Designation English Translation
Panzerkampfwagen Tank (early)
Pz Kpfw I Pz Kpfw I (early)
Pz Kpfw II Pz Kpfw II (early)
Pz Kpfw III Pz Kpfw III (early)
Pz Kpfw IV Pz Kpfw IV (early)
Panzerkampfwagen Tank (late)
Panzerkampfwagen Tank (late)
Sturmgeschütz Assault gun
Sturmpanzer Assault tank
Panzerjäger Tank destroyer

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Sources

  1. Gliederung der Hauptarten der fechtenden Heerestruppen (nur Anhalt). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1945. 15 p. Generalstab des Heeres/Org. Abt. Nr. I/100/45 g.Kdos..
  2. Gültigkeitsliste der Kriegsstärke- und Ausrüstungsnachweisungen. Berlin, 1939. 62 p. Besonderen Anlage 8 zum Mob. Man (Heer).
  3. H. Dv. 272 : Muster für taktische Zeichen des Heeres. Berlin : Reichdruckerei, 1941. 176 p. H. Dv. 272.
  4. Merktafel über abgeänderte taktische Zeichen. Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 2 p. Anlage 2 zu OKH/Gen St d H/Ausb. Abt. (II) Nr. 100/43.
  5. Taktische-Zeichen. 4 p.