You can tell quite a bit about a
vehicle by the numbers painted on the front and rears bumpers.
The number on the left side is the unit identifier.
The number on the right side is the vehicle number
From these numbers you can tell what unit the vehicle belongs to and who the occupants
of the vehicle might be. A vehicle with a vehicle number that starts with 6 is a commanders vehicle. The numbers are usually three inches tall, black and are over a background of tan.
The following is an example of the bumper numbers of a typical armor company, Bravo Company, 4/66 Armor. There are five companies in 4/66 Armor Battalion - Headquarters company or HHC, 'A' or Alpha company, 'B' or Bravo company, 'C' or Charlie company and 'D' or Delta company. The same structure applies to the line companies (A,C,D) in the battalion. The Headquartes company is the size of the other companies combined and has a different structure.
This is on all vehicles in a Battalion or Squadron.
4/66AR3ID = 4th Battalion of the 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.
B-4 & B-5 = 2 1/2 ton utility trucks
B-6 = Company Commander's HMMWV
B-7 = 1st Sergeant's HMMWV
B-66 = Company Commander's tank
B-65 = Executive Officer's tank
B-11 = First Platoon tank. Platoon Leader's vehicle. Second or First Leutenant as track commander
B-12 = First Platoon tank. Wing-man to B-11. Staff Sergeant as track commander
B-13 = First Platoon tank. Wing-man to B-14. Staff Sergeant as track commander
B-14 = First Platoon tank. Platoon Sergeant's tank. Crusty Sergeant First Class as track commander
There is a second and third platoon also for a total of fourteen tanks per company.
In garrison, support, maintenance and medics, belongs to the Headquarters company. In the field, support belong to the line company it supports. Hence the 'HQ' rather than 'B' at the start of the bumper number.
HQ-85B = Maintenance shop truck.
HQ-86B = Maintenance tool truck.
HQ-87B = Maintenance armored personnel carrier.
HQ-88B = M-88 Tank recovery vehicle.
HQ-89B = Medic's armored personnel carrier.
There are exceptions to this convention. This usually occurs in specialty type units such as Military Police or Military Intelligence.