Sunday, June 26, 2011

Archer and Hut Handstamps on Vietnamese Military Covers

I am hoping someone can shed some light on these hand stamps found on ARVN military covers postmarked 1970-1971.
The first marking depicts a hut, apparently on stilts over water. Behind it appears to be a tree or trees with vertical branches or handholds. Above the hut, perhaps attached to the tree, is a banner or flag. The hand stamp suggests a rural or small village setting.

The cover in my collection with this marking was mailed by a Vietnamese Ranger (Biet Dong Quan) from KBC 4579. I don't know where this KBC was located, but I have records of Ranger units using it as early as 1962, always with the designation "BDQ B".

The other hand stamp depicts an archer with his bow drawn. His head is uncovered by a hat or helmet and his hair is long. In the background is a building, perhaps another hut on stilts, flanked by a tree. 

The archer is presumably an ethnic warrior, whom the French called "montagnards" meaning highlander or mountain people.

I have two examples of the other marking on covers sent from KBC 6279 that was operated by the Regional Forces in Pleiku.

Presumably these markings were purely decorative. Certainly they did not convey free-franking privileges since each of these covers bears a postage stamp cancelled with a military QUAN-BUU postmark.

Please contact me or post a comment if you have more information about these markings.

UPDATE: Jack Dykhouse emailed me a scan of another archer hand stamp, bringing the unofficial tally to three.