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Engineer, Signal, and Supply Units
Some of the radicals used to construct German tactical symbols resembled items associated with the unit they depicted. Thus, the symbol for an engineer battalion that built bridges rested on a picture that looked like a top-down view of a bridge. Other radicals, however, were less obvious. The symbols for signal units, for example, were surmounted by a single inverted “v”, while those for engineer units were topped by two such arrowheads. The symbol for a railroad operating battalion bore a simple circle atop its staff. That of a railroad construction battalion moved the railroad radical circle to the bottom of the staff, thereby making room for the engineer radical.
The radical that distinguished supply units consisted of two parallel bars placed on top of the staff of the basic unit symbol. While this strikes present-day observers as random, it reminded German soldiers of the early twentieth century of the pairs of parallel bars that depicted supply columns on order-of-battle diagrams.
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