Battle Relic # 2             

Item Description: U.S. Army ID Panel Case CS-150 Y

Introduction: Batttedetective owns a canvas green case intended to contain a yellow identification panel. These panels were used to mark airborne Drop- and Landing Zones for parachute and glider troops. They were also used to indicate being 'friendly' to the Air Corps, by draping the panels over the hoods of Allied vehicles or to mark own positions. This specific case was found shortly after the War's end in the Zonsche Forest by Tom's Uncle and given to him recently. This is the story of a Battle Relic that "runs in the family."

The Story:

     

Shortly after the fighting in the Zonsche Forest died down in late September 1944, Tom's uncle was a kid who played in the woods as did so many Eindhoven children at that time. This was not without risk because the woods were still littered with unexploded ordnance. One day he found the Panel Case somewhere in the woods. After the war it saw use a bag for fishing rods. The picture above on the left shows the label with cleaning instructions for the panel. After the war, Tom's uncle moved to the town of Best and together with the town's name, he wrote his own family name in it. He had it for almost 60 years when he gave it to his nephew.

The picture on the right shows the case from the Zonsche Forest and a case, bought at a military show for comparison.

These cases where used by US Army Pathfinder teams to indicate the Drop and Landing Zones to the incoming troop carrying planes on September 17th 1944. With the bright-colored panels letters where laid out in the fields of Son to indicate wind direction, location of the aid station and the letter designation of the particular DZ or LZ. They were used in addition to Eureka Beacons, a homing device which signal could be picked up by the pilots in the incoming planes.

      

These particular panels where also used to indicate friendly positions and vehicles to Air Corps pilots. The panels where laid in front of the Main Line of Resistance or on the hoods of commandeered or captured vehicles.

It was also one of these panels that Lieutenant-Colonel Robert G. Cole of 3rd Bn./506 was laying out in front of his troops at the edge of the Zonsche Forest near Best on the 18th of September 1944. Cole did this to keep US fighter pilots from strafing their own troops. Unfortunately this exposed the Colonel, making him a target for a sniper who killed him.  

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