For the Record: Is the Star on the Firefly Correct?
Author: David “Listy” Lister With the recent WOT trailer for Gamescom, the sharp eyed amongst you have spotted the long awaited Sherman Firefly. Now, I’ve noticed an outburst of people getting wound up by that photo. Claiming a British tank had “US Stars” on it. This is not the case, and WG haven’t dropped a clanger. It is historical… sort of. First a disclaimer: Whenever discussing British tank makings, be aware that its very random. British units had guidelines for their markings – however, individual units interrupted those, as they saw fit. Some stuck to the letter of the guidelines, while others ignored it and did their own thing. Many fell between the two extremes, so keep that in mind while reading the following. Those US stars were a common identification marking used by all armies in Europe and to an extent, in Italy. The reason, why you don’t often see them is because they’re normally carried on the upper surfaces of the tanks, so that aircraft pilots can see them. Originally the symbol was this: And was found all over the tanks and vehicles. However, it was quickly found to make a brilliant bullseye for German gunners. So was quickly switched to a low visibility scheme, or simply removed from the hull sides. Equally the single star was often applied: However some units carried on using a White star or similar. As can be seen here: But again the markings are on the areas of the tank least likely to be seen. So while the Gamescom trailer is technically correct, it was rather rare to see a tank with the star mounted on the side. But it did happen: As all Allied vehicles carried the star this annoyed the Canadians, whom resented having to carry a marking that appeared to be from the US. Here again the flexible nature of the regulations came into play. The Canadians started painting their stars on their sides. As can be seen here: