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boplet89

New collector, US WWI Victory Medal, real or copy

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Bilco

Hi Bill,

Your medal in post # 1 is a modern copy. The wire loop suspension is usually a sign of a copy - there were supposed to be some very early examples with this suspension - but the give-away is on the brooch. Under the pin you can see G27. This indicates that it was made by GRACO Manufacturing in Texas, who were contracted to supply Reissue Victory medals for the US Government in the 1990s. They also sold the medals they made to the public, using the wire loop suspension you see here. There are also small detail differences in the figure of Victory to distinguish it from an original.

Original US Victory medals with the knob suspension as in post # 6 are readily available on eBay or with UK dealers for quite reasonable amounts of money.

Bill

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Lancashire Fusilier

Examples of the Service Clasps issued for non-combat services is various countries, including ' France ' and ' Siberia ' in their original issue boxes.

The total number of Clasps awarded for each country varied, and some are much scarcer than others, here are some of the numbers showing the number of Clasps awarded for some of the countries :-

France: 621,000
England: 30,000
Siberia: 9,000
Russia: 9,000
Italy: 4,800
LF

post-63666-0-48478700-1387811428_thumb.j

post-63666-0-52853700-1387811450_thumb.j

post-63666-0-52840700-1387811619_thumb.j

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boplet89

Thanks very much guys, you've helped me out a lot. Iv studied all these examples carefully and will go into my next purchase much wiser, and i know where to come if i need any help.

Very grateful

Bill

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Lancashire Fusilier

Bill,

Note the incorrect suspension ring fitting on these copies.

Regards,

LF

Pleased to help,

Regards,

LF

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Lancashire Fusilier

American soldier wearing the Victory Medal with 3 Clasps.

LF

post-63666-0-26217300-1387890974_thumb.j

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jwp2007

This is a medal I have had for some time, is this combination of clasps not correct as the France is non combatant ?,

cheers,

John.

post-27136-0-86725100-1388012748_thumb.j

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Lancashire Fusilier

This is a medal I have had for some time, is this combination of clasps not correct as the France is non combatant ?,

cheers,

John.

John,

Your medal is 100% correct, and remember the Battle Clasp for St. Mihiel only covers a period of just 5 days, 12th -16th September 1918, and for many servicemen military service could and did span both combat and non-combat roles.

The American recipient of your medal was obviously posted to France, and spent time in a non-combat role, hence the ' France ' Clasp, he then took part in the Battle of St. Mihiel for which he was awarded the ' St. Mihiel ' Clasp.

I have seen other examples of the mixture of Battle Clasps, and Service Clasps.

Regards,

LF

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jwp2007

LF, many thanks for the interesting information, glad to know it is correct,

thanks again,

regards,

John.

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Lancashire Fusilier

This is a medal I have had for some time, is this combination of clasps not correct as the France is non combatant ?,

cheers,

John.

Edit - update.

John,

I have tried to find regulations regarding the wearing of both a Battle Clasp and a Service Clasp on a Victory Medal ribbon, and can find no regulation preventing the wearing of both Clasps.

All I can find is the general reference to a ' Service Clasp ' being awarded to someone not eligible for a ' Battle Clasp ', that of course does not exclude a serviceman from being eligible for both Clasps if he had completed non-combat service, and then for whatever reason took part in a particular battle, and therefore qualified for that Battle's Clasp.

In some situations, and due to heavy casualties being sustained by a particular unit, soldiers who normally were in non-combat roles, could have been drafted into combat roles to make up those casualty losses.

Having looked at many examples of Victory Medals and their Clasps, I would say that your example, with both a Battle Clasp and a Service Clasp is very unusual and a very interesting example, and nevertheless 100% authentic.

Regards,

LF

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Bilco

Hi Gents,

John's medal is incorrect according to the regulations on two counts. Firstly, the Sector or Service clasp was only issued to those who were not eligible for a Battle clasp - see http://www.amervets.com/replacement/w1.htm#isr Secondly, all those who were eligible for a Battle clasp were also eligible for the Defensive Sector clasp, so this medal should have two clasps - the St Mihiel and the Defensive Sector.

However, once the vets left the Army and were issued with their medals, many felt that they wished to reflect what they felt was important on their medals, which lead to the production of many unofficial clasps for things the vets felt the US Government should have issued a clasp. Also, extra official clasps could be bought from various non-Government suppliers and added to the medal, so maybe the original owner of this medal wanted to show that he had been in France and the battle of St Mihiel, and wasn't worried about the Defensive Sector clasp!

Bill

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auchonvillerssomme

Heres a made up example.

post-11859-0-93954900-1388057451_thumb.j

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auchonvillerssomme

And of course this example. Sorry about pic quality.

post-11859-0-26172700-1388057682_thumb.j

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Lancashire Fusilier

Secondly, all those who were eligible for a Battle clasp were also eligible for the Defensive Sector clasp, so this medal should have two clasps - the St Mihiel and the Defensive Sector.

Bill

Bill,

I have to disagree with you, as far as the Defensive Sector Clasp is concerned, my understanding of the wording is that it was issued in respect of a ' battle ' in which the serviceman fought, but that ' battle ' was not covered by any of those battles specified on the ' Battle Clasps '. So whilst the majority of combat soldiers fought continuously throughout WW1 in many different ' battles ', they would have also qualified for the ' Defensive Sector ' Clasp, however, if a serviceman took part in just one particular

' battle ' as was possibly the case with John's medal recipient, who may have just participated in the St. Mihiel action alone, he would not have automatically qualified for the ' Defensive Sector ' Clasp, as that serviceman would have also had to have fought in another action not covered by any Battle Clasp in order to qualify for the Defensive Sector Clasp, which he may not have done.

What particularly interested me regarding John's medal, is that it could have been issued to a serviceman who was normally in a non-combat role, and therefore qualified for the ' Service Clasp ', and possibly due to casualty shortages when non-combats were drafted into combat roles, may have been fought in a combat role for the 5 qualifying days of the ' St. Mihiel ' battle, and that may have been his only combat role, and therefore he would not have qualified for the ' Defensive Sector ' Clasp.

With regard to the Service Clasp, I agree with you that it was issued to those not eligible for a ' Battle Clasp ', however, I have seen no regulations preventing someone eligible for the ' Battle Clasp ' not also being eligible for the ' Service Clasp ', assuming that during his service life that man had both non-combat and combat roles, as was the case with some servicemen, particularly those non-combat servicemen brought into combat service to meet shortfalls due to heavy casualties, and possibly for just one action.

In many situations, particularly WW1 situations, there are always circumstances where the unconventional occurs, as I consider happened with John's medal where a serviceman had both a non-combat and a combat role, and only fought ( for whatever reason ) in the 5 qualifying days of the St. Mihiel ' battle '. Unfortunately, we do not know the man's name or his service record, however, just looking at John's medal, we can see that both Clasps have always been together on that ribbon, and I personally consider it to be 100% correct.

Regards,

LF

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Bilco

Hi LF,

On the Service clasp - the regulation says "To be eligible for a service clasp, an individual must not have been eligible for a battle clasp." The final entitlement to clasps was decided after the War was over, and the totality of each soldier's service was looked at to determine the clasps issued. If he was entitled to a Battle clasp, regardless of what else he had done during the War, he could not have been entitled to a Service clasp.

On the Defensive Sector clasp - there is a first-class guide to the Army clasps issued to the US Victory medal at http://www.ebay.com/gds/Army-WWI-Victory-Medal-Clasps-/10000000005867427/g.html

Note the para "The following is a list of the authorized clasps for the larger Army units raised during WWI. Remember to add the Defensive Sector Battle Clasp mentally to every unit authorized any Battle Clasps. If a unit was only eligible for the Defensive Sector Battle Clasp, then it will be the only clasp listed. Also remember - this is a listing of UNIT eligibility. For specific INDIVIDUALS, they would have had to participate in every specific battle honored with a Battle Clasp to earn the right to wear that clasp." That last sentence means that if an individual was not with his unit - in hospital for example - when the battle was fought he didn't get the clasp. The second sentence is the important one in regard to the Defensive Sector clasp.

The situation with the Defensive Sector clasp is laid out much more eloquently than I could manage here http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/133893-us-army-victory-medal-wwi/page-2 post # 21

The whole subject of the clasps, both to the US Army and to the US Navy is covered in many posts of the USMilitaria Forum, and the poster Johnnymac has the answers, backed up by relevent quotes, to all queries.

Bill

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Bilco

Hi Gents,

Further to the Defensive Sector clasp - and despite having Sector in the title, it was a Battle clasp - the criteria for its award are set out below.

The Defensive Sector Clasp was awarded for the following specific engagements:

- In the First Army area, between 30 August and 11 November 1918, or in the Second Army area between October 12 and November 11, 1918.

- At the regulating station at St Dizier and in the billeting region in connection therewith between October 31 and November 11, 1918.

- In the area of corps, divisions, or smaller independent organizations under French, British, Belgian, or Italian commands between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918.

- In any engagement not included in one of the thirteen major operations recognized by its own battle clasp.

- In any engagement in European Russia after August 1, 1918, or in Siberia after August 15, 1918.

- For service in Toulon-Troyon (Lorraine) between March 18 and May 13, 1918.

- For service in Chateau-Thierry (Ile de France) between June 6 and July 16, 1918.

- For service in Marbache (Lorraine) between August 6 and 16, 1918.

- For service in Limey (Lorraine) between September 10 and 11, 1918.

If you were in a battle that qualified for the award of a Battle Clasp, you must have satisfied one of the above criteria, so you got the Battle clasp and the Defensive Sector clasp.

If you satisfied one of the above criteria but did not take part in a battle for which a Battle Clasp was awarded, you got the Defensive Sector clasp and no other.

If you were in France but did not satisfy one of the above criteria you got the France clasp and no other.

One can see that, if you missed a battle that qualified for a Battle clasp, but your unit took part in the battle, it wouldn't mean much to you in wartime. However, after the medals and clasps were issued and you went to a reunion and found all your mates had a Battle clasp and you didn't because you weren't there, you might feel hard done-by. No problem, there were vendors at reunions who would supply you with the missing clasp, and any others you felt you should have had, including ones the US Government had had the bad taste not to produce. There were 17 of these unofficial, bogus or fantasy clasps: Alsace, Alsace-Lorraine, Army of Occupation, Belleau-Woods, Cantigny, Champagne, Chateau-Thierry, Flanders, Ile de France, Lorraine, Offensive Sector, Picardy, Soissons, Victory, Venetia, Verdun and Serbia.

Bill

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Lancashire Fusilier

Bill,



John's medal has certainly opened up a mass of jargon, plus dates and places, including pages from ebay ( which I have never found to be the most reliable reference ).


I certainly understand that a serviceman was eligible for the Service Clasp because he was not entitled to any Battle Clasp, however, I have not seen any regulation preventing a serviceman claiming or being entitled to both. The regulations on the Navy Operational Clasps were crystal clear, only one Clasp per ribbon, why then were they not so explicit with the Army Service Clasps and the Army Battle Clasps ? Whilst it says a serviceman would be eligible for a Service Clasp because he was not entitled to a Battle Clasp, it does not say that a serviceman would not be eligible for a Service Clasp because he had a Battle Clasp, a big difference.


As to all those dates and places you quote associated with the Defensive Sector Clasp, why not just give every single serviceman a Defensive Sector Clasp ? why have the need for any criteria at all, if according to your interpretation, everyone got one anyway.


My understanding of the wording, is that if a serviceman fought in any of the named ' battles ' he got the Battle Clasp for that battle, if however, he fought in any other ' battle ' not part of the named Battle Clasps list, he could be entitled to the Defensive Sector Clasp. The assumption being, that there could be servicemen who only fought in a very limited number of battles, in reality, possible only one battle and saw no other actions, as would be the case with a non-combat serviceman being used in a combat role for a specific reason on a specific occasion after which, he returned to his non-combat role.



Now, had John's medal had a Mine Sweeping Clasp and the Atlantic Fleet Clasp that would be a completely different matter, as the criteria was explicit, only one Navy Operational Clasp per ribbon, I have yet to see that same crystal clear stipulation as it relates to the Service Clasp and the Battle Clasp and how that would translate to a serviceman being eligible for both, as he had performed both a non-combat and a combat role in France during WW1.



With WW1 it is wise never to say never, and without that man's name or detailed service records nobody can be sure of what exactly took place almost 100 years ago, and with all those masses of ambiguous regulations you have quoted, who is to say that a serviceman who had non-combat service in France making him eligible for the ' France ' Service Clasp, then also had a combat role during the Battle of St. Mihiel's 5 days qualifying period, and would therefore also eligible for the St. Mihiel Battle Clasp, who is to say that would never have happened or could never have happened.


As I think we have taken this a far as it can go, I am more that happy to respect your interpretation these Clasps, and will also be happy to disagree with you, at least we can agree that John's medal has prompted some good discussion on the subject.



Regards,


LF



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Bilco

Hi LF,

Certainly, when the subject of clasps is discussed on the USMilitaria Forum, often more heat than light is generated!

Happy New Year,

Bill

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jwp2007

many thanks chaps for all the most interesting additional information, quite a complicated subject and as said some lively and interesting debate !,plenty of interesting info here for me to digest over the holiday period, once again many thanks all, much appreciated, all the best for 2014,

regards,

John.

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Lancashire Fusilier

Hi LF, Certainly, when the subject of clasps is discussed on the USMilitaria Forum, often more heat than light is generated! Happy New Year, Bill

I shall perhaps take a look at the USMF, and you also have a very Happy New Year.

Regards,

LF

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Lancashire Fusilier

many thanks chaps for all the most interesting additional information, quite a complicated subject and as said some lively and interesting debate !,plenty of interesting info here for me to digest over the holiday period, once again many thanks all, much appreciated, all the best for 2014,

regards,

John.

John,

I hope that everyone's input has been of assistance to you, I certainly found your particular medal very interesting and unusual, and certainly one I would have no problem having in my Collection, so continue to enjoy owning it.

Have a very Happy New Year.

Regards,

LF

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Khaki

Hello LF and all, what clasp would cover Belleau Wood/, the dates seem to miss it.?

khaki

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