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Remembered Today:

Mystery Germany Insignia


leanes-trench
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Can anyone ID the badge on this guy's left cuff? It isn't drawn onto the negative or the image. Under a glass, it's clear that they were just colored strips of cloth that were sewn on. I have checked both volumes of Woolley - and might have missed it - and I seem to recall seeing a reference to it. And no, this is not a test or a trick (somebody suggested that for my earlier post about a cap badge). I am a photo collector and like to do my best to ID everything in my collection.

Thank you in advance! Oh, and there is no unit reference on the reverse.

Regards,

Pat

post-5223-1129310663.jpg

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Hi Pat

A very interesting photo (please let me know if you ever want to sell it!)

This soldier is serving with the 185th Infantry Regiment. This regiment was part of the 208th Infantry Division, and this division adopted a series of battle recognition insignia (not unlike the widespread British practice) which was worn just above the left cuff of the tunic or bluse. This insignia was based on each unit of the division wearing a different combination of white strips, crosses and triangles, and appears to date from the 1917-18 period. The 185th Infantry Regiment wore a white "x" above a bar, as shown in your photo.

A photo on page 45 of "The German Army in World War I" Vol 3, published by Osprey Books, shows soldiers from another unit in the 208th Division -the 267th Field Artillery Regiment in 1917- wearing their cuff insignia of a white triangle above a bar.

A colour plate in the same book shows a medical orderly from the 185th Infantry Reginent in 1918 wearing the exact same insignia, in exactly the same place, as the man in your photo.

The adoption of battle insignia in the German Army is a very obscure topic -Chip Minx sometimes posts on this forum, and he is far more knowledgable about it than I am. I have heard that there is a tunic in a private collection which bears an original set of battle insignia for one of the units in the 208th Division, although I haven't seen it in person.

I have seen other examples of battle insignia being worn by German soldiers in WWI on the upper arm of the tunic. In Woolley, Vol 1, there are photos of soldiers wearing inverted chevrons on the upper left arm in both light and dark colours, and footage shot during the early part of the Battle of the Somme shows German prisoners wearing insignia consisting of light coloured bars on the upper left arm. Photos also exist of assault units wearing dark coloured stick grenade patches, also on the upper left arm.

So....mystery solved. I hope this wordy reply has been of some interest,

All the best

Paul.

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Hi Pat

A very interesting photo (please let me know if you ever want to sell it!)

This soldier is serving with the 185th Infantry Regiment.  This regiment was part of the 208th Infantry Division, and this division adopted a series of battle recognition insignia (not unlike the widespread British practice) which was worn just above the left cuff of the tunic or bluse.  This insignia was based on each unit of the division wearing a different combination of white strips, crosses and triangles, and appears to date from the 1917-18 period.  The 185th Infantry Regiment wore a white "x" above a bar, as shown in your photo.

A photo on page 45 of "The German Army in World War I" Vol 3, published by Osprey Books, shows soldiers from another unit in the 208th Division -the 267th Field Artillery Regiment in 1917- wearing their cuff insignia of a white triangle above a bar.

A colour plate in the same book shows a medical orderly from the 185th Infantry Reginent in 1918 wearing the exact same insignia, in exactly the same place, as the man in your photo.

The adoption of battle insignia in the German Army is a very obscure topic -Chip Minx sometimes posts on this forum, and he is far more knowledgable about it than I am.  I have heard that there is a tunic in a private collection which bears an original set of battle insignia for one of the units in the 208th Division, although I haven't seen it in person.

I have seen other examples of battle insignia being worn by German soldiers in WWI on the upper arm of the tunic.  In Woolley, Vol 1, there are photos of soldiers wearing inverted chevrons on the upper left arm in both light and dark colours, and footage shot during the early part of the Battle of the Somme shows German prisoners wearing insignia consisting of light coloured bars on the upper left arm.  Photos also exist of assault units wearing dark coloured stick grenade patches, also on the upper left arm.

So....mystery solved.  I hope this wordy reply has been of some interest,

All the best

Paul.

Dear Paul,

VERY helpful! I really appreciate the wordy reply, me being an historian and all (in addition to a heavily addicted collector of WWI photos).

Many thanks,

Pat

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