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  • Unit Numbering

    Referencing The U.S. Army Order of Battle 1919-1941 by LTC. Steven E. Clay, I am trying to figure out some system for numbering of noncombat arms units when they were mobilized as assigned to commands. The combat arms are well documented with the system for divisions and regiments (as it was) primarily for infantry and armor but what about other branches and units. I am seeing a pattern although not always followed of support units independent of the divisions being numbered with three or four digits. My current assumption is that indicates the unit likely is an asset at the numbered Army level but which may be attached/assigned to lower level commands as needed. This rule is not always true across the board but seems fairly standard. An example would be a quartermaster unit such as the 619th QM Bn being a 1st Army unit. There are several exceptions where some three digit units are assigned to a division which I would interpret to using what was available to build units during mobilization. My assumption is that single digit and double digit units were reserved for assignment to divisions. An example would be the 103rd Division which had several support units designated as the 103rd QM Company etc. but then had the 328th Combat Engineer Bn and the 328th Med Bn assigned.

    A second part to this is what would be the difference between a 100 and a 300 series units. With the MP Battalions the 14-17th seemed to have been reserved for the regular army and then the 101-112th are National Guard with the 200's being skipped and then the 301-some units begins with 301-325th being for the Organized Reserves but designated to be assigned to an Army or Corps. This may be the part of the answer to my question but why are some numbers skipped and even a whole series such as the 200's?

    I have also looked through the World War II Order of Battle by Shelby Stanton for understanding. Any help or references would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Hospitals units were numbered the same but designated as Field or Station, so the 225th Station Hospital would be paired with the 225th Field Hospital and would receive combat casualties from their sister unit sent back to England.

    This led to some confusion at times. My father's Station Hospital was mistakenly sent at the last minute to OMAHA Beach in place of the Field Hospital that was supposed to go. He ended up on the Beach in the third wave with the quartering party.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Major Mike View Post
      Referencing The U.S. Army Order of Battle 1919-1941 by LTC. Steven E. Clay, I am trying to figure out some system for numbering of noncombat arms units when they were mobilized as assigned to commands. The combat arms are well documented with the system for divisions and regiments (as it was) primarily for infantry and armor but what about other branches and units. I am seeing a pattern although not always followed of support units independent of the divisions being numbered with three or four digits. My current assumption is that indicates the unit likely is an asset at the numbered Army level but which may be attached/assigned to lower level commands as needed. This rule is not always true across the board but seems fairly standard. An example would be a quartermaster unit such as the 619th QM Bn being a 1st Army unit. There are several exceptions where some three digit units are assigned to a division which I would interpret to using what was available to build units during mobilization. My assumption is that single digit and double digit units were reserved for assignment to divisions. An example would be the 103rd Division which had several support units designated as the 103rd QM Company etc. but then had the 328th Combat Engineer Bn and the 328th Med Bn assigned.

      A second part to this is what would be the difference between a 100 and a 300 series units. With the MP Battalions the 14-17th seemed to have been reserved for the regular army and then the 101-112th are National Guard with the 200's being skipped and then the 301-some units begins with 301-325th being for the Organized Reserves but designated to be assigned to an Army or Corps. This may be the part of the answer to my question but why are some numbers skipped and even a whole series such as the 200's?

      I have also looked through the World War II Order of Battle by Shelby Stanton for understanding. Any help or references would be appreciated.
      It goes back to WW1. Regular Army units were numbered 1-100, National Guard 101-299, and National Army 301+.
      For divisions R.A. 1-25, NG 26-75, and N.A. 76+.

      Post WW1 the National Army designation was assigned to the Army Reserve.


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      • #4
        The combat divisions and regiments makes sense and I have seen that documented. Clay shows the post WW I assignments of support units to corps and armies where some of the original numbering to the rule you sighted as true. What appears to have happened was that during several reorganizations the pattern was corrupted. Do you have a reference to the rule you cited? Everything I find is focused on the combat arms. Also. why were there units using four digits when three digits were not exhausted for use?

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