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I realise it is a post war award.... but I was wondering... why on earth did they award a Kampfwagen Badge?

In WW2 it was different,,, Panzer, Infantry, Arty/Pionier... they all had their own assault badge, and well deserved they were....

But in WW1... seriously... why bother? Its not like the German armoured troops were any huge success.... and the Infantry, Arty, Machine Gunners, Pioniers, Sturmtruppen etc. etc fought way harder and accomplished much more....

So what made some guy in 1921 decide that the Tankers deserved a badge all of their own?

Its a bit like not tipping anyone at a restaurant except the guy who peels the carrots....

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Dear Chris

I think the kampfwagen badges were awarded just like the flugzeugfuhrerabzeichen was awarded. A new technology, with a high casualty-rate. If I recall correctly Rick onces said that there was a deadrate of 90-95% among pilots in WW1. The tanks were a new technology, which was dangerous to use. One good blow from a big artillery gun and the whole crew (9-11 men) were dead. Badges for these new (now intregated) technologies were and still are a part of awardceremonies all around the world, submarine, tanks and planes all had their own award, simply because they were new. This was pushed through in WW2 and the army highcommand then choose to give every profession in the army it's own badge. There was simply no time to think about new awards for every branch of the army in ww1. Maybe if ww1 had been longer there would have been a Stoßtruppen-badge, and an artillery-badge. We'll never know...

Kind regards, Laurentius 

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Hi,

But the pilot badge was a qualification badge. if you qualified as a pilot, you got a badge.

If a qualified as a truck driver you had a job....

However the Tank badge required you to have 3 actions... i.e. an award for combat... not as a qualification.... so no Parallel to the Pilot.

And as 9 men could be killed with a shell... ditto for the infantry, a thousand times over in the war.

And as for having no time during the war... the Tank badge was postwar, so if they had time for the tanks, why not for the infantry.

The only Parallel I find is the U-Boot badge, but the U-Boots part in the war was waaaaaaaay bigger than the tankers....

I understand your thinking, but it still does not settle it for me.... it seems to be very much an "extrawürstchen" badge... :-(

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Dear Chris

As you said extrawurstchen was a thing of the time, just like kronprinz wilhelm having a centenary-medal for his position of ´´leuitenant´´ in the 1.st garde regiment in 1897, despite being 10. 

Kind regards, Laurentius

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It was just a commemorative badge like the air ship badges not a qualification badge.

I don't know why they don't introduce a qualification badge like for pilots or observers during the war.

Kind regards
Alex

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Dear chris

He did, the centenar-medal was a commerative medal, given out to everyone who served in the german army, and everyone who served under emporer (then king of Prussia) Wilhelm I (If they were still alive). Kronprinz Wilhelm, was made an honorary leuitenant in the 1.st garde infantry regiment, stationed in potsdam. The rank of leuitenant was given at the same time as the Order of the black eagle. This order was bestowed on every male from the hohenzollern family (both protestant and catholic branches) at the age of ten.

Kind regards, Laurentius

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What interests me is what kind of Lobby they must have had. Almost all the Reichswehr officers would have been Artillery and Infantry guys.... who get nada... but a special award is created for 99 tankers? How popular was that suggestion??

Remembering, when Rommel wrote his book, he did not call it "Gebirgsschützen greift an!" (Although his fame was because of his actions with the Gebirgs troops)... he realized that it was too elitist and may turn off the potential ex infantryman reader... so he called it "Infanterie greifft an!"

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Dear chris

I think it was called ´´infantrie greift an´´  because it discussed infantry and not gebirgsschutzen tactics. If I'm not mistaken it was largely about stoßtruppen, which were universally used in ww1, On every front and by all kinds of branches, simply because it worked. The former members of the army high command must have felt stupid during the kaiserschlacht, they had thrown away the lives of millions of young germans during offensives in which stronghold positions couldn't be captured, while the stoßtruppen just went around them and captured hugh chunks of land.

Kind regards, Laurentius

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3 minutes ago, laurentius said:

Dear chris

I think it was called ´´infantrie greift an´´  because it discussed infantry and not gebirgsschutzen tactics. If I'm not mistaken it was largely about stoßtruppen, which were universally used in ww1, On every front and by all kinds of branches, simply because it worked. The former members of the army high command must have felt stupid during the kaiserschlacht, they had thrown away the lives of millions of young germans during offensives in which stronghold positions couldn't be captured, while the stoßtruppen just went around them and captured hugh chunks of land.

Kind regards, Laurentius

Hi,

The book follows Rommel's personal experiences which were for most of the war, and for all of his high points the gebirgsschützen. I dont have my copy with me, but I think if you remove the Gebirgs parts you have about enough left for a newspaper article?

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It is a commemorative badge but also, I think that having been on the receiving end of massed tank attacks it also was a nod to tankers as a potentially elite arm. The German High Command totally missed the boat when it came to the value of tanks during WW1. I think as they were writing up their assessments after the war they realized this. Then it became logical to recognize the German tank crews as pioneers in their field.  They couldn't recognize the British after all.

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10 minutes ago, dond said:

It is a commemorative badge but also, I think that having been on the receiving end of massed tank attacks it also was a nod to tankers as a potentially elite arm. The German High Command totally missed the boat when it came to the value of tanks during WW1. I think as they were writing up their assessments after the war they realized this. Then it became logical to recognize the German tank crews as pioneers in their field.  They couldn't recognize the British after all.

Yeah, they obviously recognized the future potential... but as far as actual achievement... am I maybe underestimating the role of the German tanks in WW1? Whereas British and French tanks seem to have left a lasting impression in German regimental histories, the small amount of German Armour seems to barely have left an impression on the allied literature.

Basically what I think is, the super sexy badge is all out of proportion to their role in the war. Sturmtruppen, Artillery close combat batterie, flamethrowers... all were just as exciting and all played a muuuch bigger role...

I am glad the badge was instituted, find it really interesting.... and we will probably have to end up agreeing to disagree... but I find it strange that it was ever officially approved.

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There is also the Fliegererinnerungsabzeichen, another badge between a qualification and a commemorative. I think as originally intended, you got it if you were no longer on flying status, so you could not wear your Flugzeugführerabzeichen or Beobachterabzeichen, but you had to have been a qualified pilot/observer for some period to qualify.

Also, regarding Wehrmacht assault/battle badges, don't forget that originally only Panzer and infantry troops had their own badge. The Panzer Battle Badge, as well as the earler Condor Legion version, probably were a result of the WW1 badge, while the infantry also succeeded in getting their own version. The General Assault Badge was created 6 months later, as was the bronze version of the Panzer Battle Badge, and the Flak badge came over a year later.

From the US perspective, as I understand it, the CIB was created in WW2 specifically because of the higher casualty rates among the infantry, with the Combat Medic's Badge added because of the similarly high casualty rate among medics. The other branches failed to get their own badges until the 2000s, when the more generic Combat Action Badge was created.

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4 hours ago, Chris Boonzaier said:

Yeah, they obviously recognized the future potential... but as far as actual achievement... am I maybe underestimating the role of the German tanks in WW1? Whereas British and French tanks seem to have left a lasting impression in German regimental histories, the small amount of German Armour seems to barely have left an impression on the allied literature.

Basically what I think is, the super sexy badge is all out of proportion to their role in the war. Sturmtruppen, Artillery close combat batterie, flamethrowers... all were just as exciting and all played a muuuch bigger role...

I am glad the badge was instituted, find it really interesting.... and we will probably have to end up agreeing to disagree... but I find it strange that it was ever officially approved.

Well it was the early post war era when they were still trying to convince everyone that they were not defeated in the field......

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1 hour ago, dond said:

Well it was the early post war era when they were still trying to convince everyone that they were not defeated in the field......

agree. With Germany rocked by communist uprisings, worker strikes, political upheaval and foreign incursions into its territory, the advent of lots of official and unofficial bling for those loyal to and defending the status quo was politically expedient.

I remember seeing a period German cartoon in which the first panel showed an angry mob of disaffected soldiers and civilians, the second panel showed a General showering the mob with various medals and awards and the third panel showing the smiling mob, wearing their new medals and marching lock-step in the opposite direction.

Edited by bolewts58

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17 hours ago, Chris Boonzaier said:

I realise it is a post war award.... but I was wondering... why on earth did they award a Kampfwagen Badge?

So is someone going to show the unwashed amongst us a picture of this badge?

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Chris, I agree with Alex, biased as I am! 

Your parallel is the Zeppelin Commemorative badge, which came after the war, did have some qualification criteria, went to an arm that didn't achieve much but came into its own later (strategic bombing), and probably only had a lobby of a few score officers (with only several hundred badges subsequently purchased). 

As Hans von Schiller wrote in 1920 about the production of this new badge:

The idea had already emerged in 1916, as many comrades from the Airship branch might recall...why the proposal got no further, is unknown to me....After the Revolution, when the [Airship] Branch was dissolved by order of the enemy, the idea was taken up again by Korv.-Kap. Sommerfeld to create a Commemorative Badge for the many missions over the enemy. 

So it sounds like it was not a priority during the war, and a tchotchke afterward to salve some wounded pride! 

After that, like the Tanker, it became a commercial venture for any jeweller who wished to stock and retail them for a limited market.

As for approving such a badge--not much else for the Luftsreitkraefte to do in 1920 but arrange for the sale of their Zeppelins overseas as per Versailles.  If you were lucky enough to win a commemorative Zeppelin Becher there was no money for postage so come and get it!!

Edited by Luftmensch

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I can see the logic of the Luftschiffer one, all the other fliers had a badge....

I am still at a loss to the Tank one....

You have Sturmbataillon guys, Infantrymen, Combat pioniers, Tunnelers, Flamethrower men, Infantry assualt gunners, Minenwerfer guys, gas troops..... ALL of whom objectively did more..... than the tank guys, who were way to few, way too late and their list of actual battlefield achievments are so short I have not been able to find it.... and who gets the sexy badge..... envelope please..... and the winner is..... "The Tank guys!"

Its a bit like saying "The Godfather deserves an oscar for the best actor!" then ignoring Brando, Pacino, Caan, Duvall, John Cazale etc. etc.... and giving it to the guy who played Luca Brasi......

I agree tanks are sexy.... but I am still of the opinion that the arm of service to accomplished the least... got the great badge for doing it....

It remains a WTF?? issue for me ;-)

But I am glad to see some discussion!! :-)

 

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Not my area, but didn't the flamethrowers et al  already have some kind of distinctive insignia?

For the gearheads back then nothing impressed like an airship, a U-boat or a bloody great lumbering tank.

I think size won.   Big vehicle, big badge.  

Luca Brazzi and the gas troops weren't sexy enuff, I guess.   

 

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On 9/19/2017 at 08:12, dond said:

KWA1 001.jpg

Thanks for this.  It's a handsome trinket.  And thanks to Dave for the "how-to-wear" illustration.  

 

Hugh

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WRT the whole "100" badges issue, here is something I researched a while back:  " I have found more info on the German Tank Detachments. Three new books published by Tankograd have come out that directly relate to this thread: #1001 Sturmpanzer A7V, #1003 Beute-Tanks Vol1, and #1004 Beute-Tanks Vol 2. Besides extensive pictures of tanks in service with the German Army in WW1 they also have fairly complete records of the combat actions down to which tanks were in which battles on any given day. I hope to use this information to show that the collector myth of” 99 personnel were eligible for the Kampfwagonabzeichen” is just that, a myth. >>
Abts 1-4 were equipped with the German produced A7Vs which had a nominal crew of 18 personnel but in fact usually numbered 21. Each Abteilung (Abt) had 5 tanks for a total of 20 A7Vs. This gives us an initial manpower pool of 90-105 personnel per Abt or 360-420 total pax that could ride into battle in the A7V fleet. >>
ABTs 11-16 were equipped with captured British MK IV/V tanks. The Beute Tank Abts each had 5 tanks, each with a 12 man crew, 60 pax per Abt, or 360 pax total able to ride into battle at a given time. >>
The key to understanding the statistics is this, don’t count the tanks, count the crews. This is especially true with the Beute Tanks. If a tank broke down or was destroyed/lost/abandoned etc… crews would maneuver back to friendly lines and get a new tank assigned to them. Crews from broken tanks could be parceled out to fill the crews of tanks going into battle. As you will see, the crews of the senior Abts would participate in more actions then subsequent tank crews formed later. >>
For this reason Abt 1and Abt 11 have the most crews that could have received the tank badge. Abt 1 has 3 tanks that fought in 4 battles with two fighting in just 2 battles (21x3=63). Abt 11 has 3 (possibly 4) tanks that fought in three or more engagements (3(4)x12=36(48)). In just these two Abts we have a minimum of 99 pax who theoretically could have earned the tank badge. If only it was so easy.>>
The following is a roll up of engagements by Abt:>>
Abt 2 has 2 tanks with 3 or more assaults (2x21=42). >>
Abt 3 has 1 tank with 3 engagements (1x21=21)>>
Abt 4 has 2 tanks with 3 or more assaults (2x21=42). >>
Abt 12 has 3 tanks with 3 or more assaults (3x12=36).>>
Abt 13 has 4 with 3 assaults (4x12=48).>>
Abt 14 has 4 with 3 assaults (4x12=48).>>
Abts 15-16 have none that qualified.>>
It is not surprising that the Beute tank crews outnumber the A7V crews since there were more captured tanks available for service. Immobilized Beute tank crews would be re-equipped much quicker than the A7V crews could ever be. Still, in a perfect world, according to the stats above 348 personnel would be qualified for the badge under the three engagement rule. But the qualification rules also had another way to earn the badge, you merely had to get wounded during an assault. In the Beute tanks alone, 130 personnel qualified this way. There were no figures for the A7Vs as a whole though several officers were mentioned as being wounded. Even given the losses due to sickness, men rotating out to other units, death occurring after the end of the war and prior to the institution of the badge I cannot understand where this “99 award” myth comes from. The other part of the myth is that an officer placed an order for “100 badges.” Why? This was a Commemorative badge and as such was to be a private purchase. So why then would an officer place this order? >>
Here is my theory. Remember that 90-105 Abt manpower figure above? I believe that the German Army kept in its ranks a nucleus of tank veterans. These men were to preserve this capability for the new Weimar Army. Having been on the receiving end of massed tank assaults the Germans were more aware of the potential capabilities than the Allies at that time. I believe these men received their badges from the Army since they were on active duty. The Germans hid a number of banned capabilities using secret rosters and innocent sounding organizational structures so why not this one as well? Unfortunately any records of this were probably in the archives in Potsdam and were blown/burnt to ash in an air raid during WW2. So, old collector myth out, new collector myth in.>>
>>
Or maybe they just issued them to the wounded guys that were still alive, who knows.>>

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It was desirable to preserve a nucleus in all specialties, and presumably gainful employment was sufficient incentive in those days.  I'm guessing the Reichswehr Army was strapped supplying uniform necessities without having to buy commemorative pieces.  Unless you are saying an officer bought badges for those who served under him?  Or, maybe, as with the non-portable aviation awards funded by the aero industry, he got a cheque from one of the manufacturers who profited from making these vehicles.

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I'm betting the initial order for 100 badges was for issue to Reichsheer troops.  Why else would an officer order 100 badges?  As it was a private purchase piece for those no longer serving I would expect they would have to order one from a local jeweler who would then order one from a manufacturer (unless they were a Berliner in which case they went down and bought one fro a local supplier, Juncker/Meybauer/AWS etc...)

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