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Bibliography: United States Insignia of World War Two

Compiled by Dr. Howard G. Lanham

It is impossible to list all books and articles relating to insignia of U.S. Armed Forces during the Second World War. I wish to apologize to any author that I have over looked. If anyone wishes to see a source recognized that I have omitted please contact me.


Aleck, Chris Authorized Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. ArmyWorth, IL Privately Printed 2004
A booklet showing dates various authorized patches were in use. Illustrations are black and white (coded for color).

Aleck, Chris Shoulder Sleeve Insignia Manufacture The Trading Post (LVII July-Sept. 1998: 21-22)
A detailed discussion of manufacture and terminology.

American Society of Military Insignia Collectors Cloth Patch Insignia Catalog of the U.S. Armed Forces (various volumes and dates)
A catalog that has line drawings of various insignia

Anonymous American Decorations and Insignia of Honor and Service (New York, Wolf Appleton, c1945)
A period publication showing patches.

Anonymous The Officer's Guide (Harrisburg, PA: Military Service Publishing Co., various years)
These include plates illustrating insignia current at the time of publication. The ones for the post-war years are particularly useful in that they include all of the W.W. II designs including many of the unofficial ones.

Anonymous Shoulder Patch Insignia of the United States Armed Forces The National Geographic Magazine (XXXVI, Dec. 1919: 502-526)
A period publication showing W.W. I patches.

Beck, Steven The First Special Service Force The Trading Post (LII Jan.-Mar 1993):9-15
A nice summary of knowledge regarding insignia of this elite unit

Britton, Jack and George Washington, Jr. Military Shoulder Patches of the United States Armed Forces (Tulsa, OK:privately printed 1981)
Images and identification of a large number (more than any other source) of cloth unit insignia of all periods but little background information.

Brown, Christopher P. U.S. Military Patches of World War II (Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Co., 2002)
One volume coverage of W.W. II pathces with both good images and explanatory text. Unlike many prior books he discusses patch contruction and faking in the kind of detail a collector needs.

Bunkley, J.W. Military and Naval Recognition Book (New York: D Van Nostrand Co., 1942)
Contains a plate of shoulder sleeve insignia c1941 that includes many depictions of designs that did not exist.

Campbell, J. Duncan Aviation Badges and Insignia of the United States Army 1913-1946 (Harrisburg, PA: privately printed 1977)
This book includes material on Army Air Force shoulder sleeve insignia.

Capistrano, Robert Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. Army: 1941 The Trading Post (LII Jan-Mar 1993):31-42
An outstanding, color illustrated article, which catalogs the state of knowledge regarding insignia in 1941
.
Capistrano, Robert Pocket Artillery: Chemical Mortar Insignia of World War II The Trading Post (LII Jan-Mar 1993):45-51 and backcover
An outstanding article, which catalogs the state of knowledge regarding chemical DIs and shoulder sleeve insignia.

Cook, John USAAF Shoulder Patches The Trading Post (LIV July-Sept. 1995):34-38
An outstanding article, which catalogs the state of knowledge regarding World War II Army Air Force Shoulder Sleeve Insignia.

Dalessandro, Robert J. and Michael G. Knapp Organization and Insignia of the American Expeditionary Force 1917-1923 (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2008)
The book has a discussion of the organization of the A. E. F. and many photographs of period shoulder sleeve insignia.

Diver, Thomas R. (Editor) Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, Insignia of Rank, Service Ribbons, Decorations and Insignia of the U.S. Armed Forces (New York: Joel and Arnoff, 1945)
A period publication, illustrated in color that was the basis for many of the post-war patch reproductions, which appeared on the market during the late 1940s and 1950s.

Du Bois, Arthur The Traditions and Glamour of Insignia The National Geographic Magazine (LXXXIII, June 1943: 652-709)
A period publication showing W.W. II patches and giving background information.

Emerson, William K. Chevrons (Washington, D.C.:Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983)
A detailed study of chevron used in all periods.

Emerson, William K. Encyclopedia of U.S. Army Insignia and Uniforms (Norman, OK:University of Oklahoma Press, 1996)
A detailed study of branch insignia used in all periods with supplemental information on uniforms. A good balance of text and images from the leading authority on U.S. insignia.

Kaufman, DavePatch Styles and Manufacture The Trading Post LXI (April-June 2002):25-29
A very well done, well-illustrated and helpful article

Keller, Kurt Emblems of Honor, Patches and Insignia of the U.S. Army from the Great War to the early Cold War: Armor, Cavlary, Tank Destroyer, Constabulary (Privately Printed, 2004)
This is the fourth book in Keller's Series and well worth acquiring. A great photo survey of this material.

Keller, William and Kurt Keller United States Army Shoulder Patches: Army Groups, Armies and Corps (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2004)
A great photographic reference with clear color photographs of hundreds of variations of patches used from W.W. I to Korea. The text is fairly limited, but can be supplemented with Smith's book for unit background and insignia approval dates. I hope the Kellers kept them coming. There are still more patches to cover.

Keller, William and Kurt Keller United States Army Shoulder Patches: 1st to 40th Division (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2001)
A great photographic reference with clear color photographs of hundreds of variations of patches used from W.W. I to Korea. The text is fairly limited, but can be supplemented with Smith's book for unit background and insignia approval dates.

Keller, William and Kurt Keller United States Army Shoulder Patches: 41st to 106th Division (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2002)
The second book in the Keller's series continues their great job of documenting patch variations.

Kerrigan, Evans E. American Badges and Insignia (New York: Viking Press, 1967)
An overview of U.S. Armed Forces insignia and badges mostly 20th Century with line drawings.

Kling, Ray Non-Olive Drab Bordered U.S. Army Patches of World War II The Trading Post (LIII Jan-Mar 1994):34-38
An outstanding, color illustrated article, which catalogs the state of knowledge regarding non-olive drab bordered shoulder sleeve insignia.

Fowler, William American Military Insignia (New York: Mallard Press, 1990)
An overview of U.S. Army insignia both W.W. II and post W.W.II. with very good photographs.

Gawne, Jonathan Finding Your Father's War (Philadelphia: Casemate, 2006)
A discussion of how to research a serviceman, which includes an extensive section on U.S. Army insignia and units. However, there is little coverage of USN or USMC. This is also a good reference for collectors who want to research items that are identified to soldiers.
More Information on the book.

Grosvenor, Gilbert et al. Insignia and Decorations of the U.S. Armed Forces (Washington: National Geographic Society, 1944)
An update of the 1943 National Geographic Magazine, which appeared in December of 1944

Hughes, Les Cloth Airborne Insignia of WWII: A Primer The Trading Post (LIV Jan-Mar 1995):33-40
An outstanding, color illustrated article, which catalogs the state of knowledge regarding airborne insignia.

Johnson, Steve and Dave Johnson 158th RCT Variations The Trading Post (LXII Oct-Dec 2003):11-14
A Comprehensive study of 158th Regimental Combat Team (Bushmasters) Patches.

Johnson, Steve and Dave Johnson Theater-made Variations of SSI for Merrill's Marauders and the The Mars Task Force The Trading Post (LXIII Jan-Mar 2004):11-14
An outstanding article, with many original examples of these rare patches.

Laframboise, Leon History of the Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry Branch of Service Insignia (Steelville, MO: Watson Publishing Co., 1976)
A survey of branch insignia of combat arms with photographs of variations.

Laframboise, Leon History of the Combat Support Branches Branch of Service Insignia (Steelville, MO: Watson Publishing Co., 1977)
A survey of branch insignia with photographs of variations.

Laframboise, Leon History of the Administrative and Technical Service Branch of Service Insignia (Steelville, MO: Watson Publishing Co., 1977)
A survey of branch insignia with photographs of variations. Emerson's work is more recent, in print and covers similiar material to Laframboise's three volumes.

Lowry, Joseph United States Marine Corps Shoulder Patches The Trading Post (LIII July-Sept. 1994):34-38
An outstanding, color illustrated article, which catalogs the state of knowledge regarding Marine Shoulder Sleeve Insignia.

Maguire, Jon A. Silver Wings, Pinks and Greens (Atglen, PA:Schiffer Pub., 1994)
A book on uniforms that includes great photographs of original Army Air Force shoulder sleeve insignia.

McDuff, James M. U. S. Army Officer's Collar Insignia 1902-1995 (Shawnee, KS: K&M Collectibles, 2007)
A line drawing illustrated listing of variations of branch of Service Insignia

McLaughlin, Patrick D. Soldiers and Symbols: The Origins of the Army Shoulder Patch Reprint from Prologue Fall 1971, p.79
The history of the origin of shoulder sleeve insignia and photographs of some of those of W.W. I.

Morgan, George O. and Mark Warren Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the A.E.F. 1917-1919 (Keokuk, IA: privately printed, 1986)
A good reference on W.W. I shoulder sleeve insignia.

Massaro, Joseph M.Distinctive Insignia of the U.S. Army Air Forces 1924-1847 (Austin, Texas: International Publishing Co., 1987)
A good hard cover reference on W.W. I and W.W. II distinctive insignia.

Patton, John R.Pre-WW II Metal-backed Patches Worn in the Hawaiian Islands The Trading Post LXI (April-June 2002):19-24
A good article explaining the uncommon NO-SO patches.

Rentz, Bill Geronimo: U.S. Airborne Uniforms, Insignia & Equipment in World War II (Atglen,PA:Schiffer Military History 1999)
The usual well-done and authoritative Schiffer publication gives good coverage of U.S. airborne uniforms. Close up color photographs are shown of the many unusual insignia on the uniforms that were used as examples, but the book does not attempt a comprehensive presentation of all of the rare period airborne insignia variations. Some airborne insignia, for example oval background trimmings, desperately need better coverage in reference works.

Rosignoli, Guido World Army Badges and Insignia since 1939 (Poole, UK:Blandford Press, 1983)
This widely distributed book includes plates that identify W.W. II shoulder sleeve insignia.

Smith, Richard W. Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. Armed Forces 1941-1945 (privately printed, 1981)
The basic balanced reference that is a "must have" for a patch collector. It gives the basic identification, approval dates and unit history for the common World War Two era patches. It does not show all of the rare, uncommon and unapproved insignia worn during the period and does not explore variations in manufacture and construction.

Smith, Richard W. Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. Armed Forces 1946-1989 (privately printed, 1990)
This book carries shoulder sleeve insignia into the post-war years.

Stacey, John A.Identifying Sailors'UniformsFootlocker XXVI (Sept 2002):3-9.
A great overview of changes in naval uniforms and insingia 1886-current.

Stacey, John A. U.S. Navy Rating Badges, Specialty Marks and Distinguishing Marks 1885-1992 (Ft. Washington, MD: privately printed, 1992)
This well done booklet gives information on the Navy's use of shoulder sleeve insignia.

Stanton, Shelby L. Order of Battle U.S. Army World War II (Novato, CA: Presidio, 1984)
This is provides detailed background material on U.S. Army units and includes a supplement with colored photographs of shoulder sleeve insignia and regimental distinctive insignia.

Stanton, Shelby L. U.S. Army Uniforms of World War II (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1991)
A good photo illustrated history of uniforms used during W.W. II. Insignia are not covered.

Steffen, Randy The Horse Soldier 1776-1943 (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977)
This four volume work has a focus on cavalry uniforms, insignia, weapons and equipment. It is very detailed and includes much background information on insignia that can be applied to other branches.

Stein, Barry Jason U.S. Army Patches: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cloth Unit Insignia (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1997)
This book has good photographs of a extensive collection of cloth insignia.

Stein, Barry Jason U.S. Army Patches, Flashes and Ovals: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cloth Unit Insignia (N.P. Insignia Ventures, 2006)
This book is a revised and expanded version of the 1997 book. The addition of flashes and ovals is very nice since those have been long neglected in reference books. The plates and text have been extensively reworked and many more insignia illustrated. Someone owning the 1997 book should not feel that he is sold something very similar to what he already has.

War Department, Army Regulations 600-35 (Washington: GPO, 1941)
These contain the written regulations governing uniforms and insignia.

Woerpel, Robert O D Border Patches The Trading Post (LII July-Sept. 1993):34-38
An outstanding, color illustrated article, which catalogs W.W. II insignia with olive drab borders.

*The Trading Post is the journal of the American Society of Military Insignia Collectors (ASMIC).

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