You are here:

Military History/Identification of military map symbol

Advertisement


Question
Unrecognized military map symbol
Unrecognized military  
QUESTION: "Despite considerable effort, I have been unable to identify the meaning of the combined military map symbol (shown on the attached image) consisting of a rectangle intersecting a circle. The map symbol appears on a map from a declassified document showing the planned disposition of troops for the 1961 invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Thank you in advance for any assistance you may be able to render!"

ANSWER: Jose:

The problem is you think it is a Nato Symbol, when in fact it is a US Army map marking, not a unit symbol.  The Circle or oval can designate a supply point or a unit in reserve or bivouac.  The fact that a Nato unit symbol overlaps it is incidental.  So from looking at the map, it looks like they could be supply points that were to be held or secured by a squad of infantry each, or they could designate the position the reserve squad was to be positioned.  In any event, look at the circles as map markings not as Unit Symbols.  Do a bit more searching or read any text or operational plans and see if they stipulate "areas" or "positions", that squads from the 1st, 6th and 3rd platoons were to occupy.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your response, Keith. The problem I have with that suggestion is that the positions associated with the circles (based on associated text) were forward strongpoints (to be held mainly by paratroopers) around the occupied beachhead. If the circles were triangles it would make more sense as this would designate them as observation posts. But the interpretation of these as supply points does not seem logical. Some information suggests that minefields were to be associated with these forward positions. I wonder if you think that is possibly what is being represented.

Answer
Jose:

Yes, you are right, I wondered about the Airborne and other squads being where they were and was torn between whether they might be scouts or OPs but did not know enough about the operational plan on the maps.  I was not sure of the axis of advance.  I thought I saw a coastline, but was not sure.  I think you suggestion that it was a strongpoint.  Minefields seems as good an explanation as any.

I could not find any definitive explanation for the map symbols, and in any case there was probably a good reason not to explain everything in detail in case the maps fell into the wrong hands after the landing occurred.

Military History

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Keith H. Patton

Expertise

I can answer questions pertaining to weapons and tactics, personalities, battles, and strategies in european and U.S. history.

Experience

I was a history major, and had done extensive research in the subject area. I have designed and tested numerous computer games for various
historical periods.

Education/Credentials
B.A History M.S. Science
I have had the opportunity to live abroad and walk numerous battlefields both in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.