Army Unit Naming?

I’m curious about how the U.S. Army decided on names for its units.

For example: the 101st Airborne Division (or Air Assault Division) - was it formed after 100 other divisions had been formed in WWII? Or did the army call it the 101st to confuse enemy intelligence - “We’ve just detected a 101st division - the American army must be larger than we thought!”

Similarly, what about the 173rd Airborne Brigade? We certainly don’t have 172 other brigades running around, airborne or not. And, of course, the famous 4077th MASH…

Hmmm…dunno, but I’ll bump, cause I wanna know.

We done this, and recently. Can’t find that thread right now, but this one will do.

Found it.

Ah. Many thanks, and only a month ago too? :slight_smile:

In the past the numbering has indeed been scrambled to confuse enemy intelligence analysts. Nowadays, there is less point to this, with so much information readily published about the army’s makeup.

My offer to explain the stripes on MP helmets still stands. Oh never mind.

Okay Paul in Saudi, I’ll bite, since my son is a Master at Arms in the Naval Reserves, I should know the sordid story of MP helmet stripes. I had a few run ins with MP’s, and never noticed them, but then again my run ins usually (always) involved quantities of alcohol which made my powers of observation questionable, and usually they were behind me holding onto the handcuffs I was wearing and pushing me into a paddy wagon, so I did not get a good look at thier helmets.

Red stripes are corps-level MP brigades
Blue stripes are division-level MP battalions
White stripes are everyone else.

Why I remember that, I will never know.

I must have only dealt with white stripes, because the company commander always smoothed things over and got me remanded to him for punishment. I did a lot of extra guard duty and once spent three days with a push broom sweeping a motor pool the size of Montana, but no long term visits to the stockade. I doubt he could have done that at a division or corp level. I would guess it was more like battalion level. Thanks for the info.