Discovered too late to include in PW15, the following information comes to us via Tom Laemlein of Armor Plate Press who has just released a reprint of the Recognition Handbook of German Technical Equipment originally published in May, 1945 by SHAEF Office of Assistant Chief of Staff G-4: The 18t Zgkw on page 69 and the Marder II on page 70 both have Enemy War Material Branch Numbers painted on them. These numbers were created to help in “inventorying Enemy War Materials which may be captured by the Allies or surrendered by the enemy before final disposal instructions can be given.”
German equipment was broadly classified into various sections, Ammunition, Armaments, etc. Within each section all equipments have been further classified and allotted a number X/Y/Z called the Enemy War Materials Branch Number, EWMB No.
“X” is the German Stoffgliederung (classification of equipment) Number. “Y” is a further subdivision by convenient groups. In the case of vehicles there are eight such groups. “Z” denotes a specific item within a group based on ascending Sd.Kfz. number. On page 69, the s.Zgkw.18t has received the number 21/4/16, identifying it as a 18-ton semi-tracked tractor. On page 70, the Marder II has received the number 21/1/17, denoting a 7.5 cm, A.T. gun 40 on Mark II – Model ‘A’, ‘C’ or ‘F’ tank chassis – MARTEN II.
The (2) at the end of the number is not addressed in the Handbook. Since the Marder II made it back to the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, KY, it may mean that the item was to be saved or returned to the states, but this is pure conjecture at this point.