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filfoster

Hangy-Downs: Aiguillettes. Who, What and Why?

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The Kaiser and von Mackensen were two oft-photographed big shots who wore aiguillettes with their uniforms, to commemorate their appointments as Aides de Camp to Kaiser Willy I, etc.. The plaiting of these aiguillettes is very like the British senior officer aiguillettes, a herringbone style and with a central row of plaits.  I cannot braid so I have no idea what this style is called.  The cords, from my observation, seem to be gimp and Orris.

Does anyone know the rules for these particular aiguillettes, whether the particular style of plaiting and gimp and Orris cording were specified?   Can't find anything in the references I have, on this.

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Posted (edited)

No help?  This subject gets little attention in any of the uniform references, even the Verlag books, such as The German Generals, except to show a general's example for parade dress.

I have gold and silver examples in the gimp and Orris that lack the center plaiting but have no idea who wore them or why, except to guess they were for adjutants below general rank.

BTW, if you are trying to reproduce this for a display, you'll find the gimp and Orris cord hard to find and very expensive when you do. The plaiting is different than the British ones that are very similar. These German ones are wider and 'denser' plaiting, managed with the addition of two gold wrapped cords through the plaiting at either side.

I have one made many years ago by Hand & Locke, using cord left over from a job for the Sultan of Brunei, and it cost me body parts then, which I didn't mind, having already had my children.

Edited by filfoster

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The aguilettes shown are parade accoutrements that to my knowledge have nothing to do with Mackensen or Wilhelm II being adjutants. There is some good info on relevant regulations in older books like Knötel/Pietsch/Collas, Atlas des deutschen Reichsheeres and Paul Pietsch, Formations- und Uniformierungsgeschichte des preußischen Heeres, Band II, none of which I have handy as I'm traveling.

More recently, Die deutsche Generalität published by Verlag Militaria also has some good pics and info, and is probably available in English: https://www.militaria.at/Book.aspx?book=1596672&language=de 

 

Hope of use. 

Sandro

 

7 hours ago, filfoster said:

  This subject gets little attention in any of the uniform references, even the Verlag books, such as The German Generals, except to show a general's example for parade dress.

Not sure that is correct: I recently looked up the color of the aguilettes for Mecklenburg-Schwerin generals in that reference, and it is described in detail on page 190, including continued use of silver braided aguilettes after 1900, when Mecklenurg-Schwerin otherwise made changes to more align their still unique general's uniform with its prussian counterpart.

Page 190 from memory also mentions the style of braiding used for aguilettes worn by M-S generals.

 

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Posted (edited)

Sandro: Thanks for your reply.  I referenced the Verlag book in my posts and it is a fine reference. It doesn't, however, have much detail on the various styles and the particulars for wearing the aiguillettes. They were for parade yes, but they did, according to most references and many comments on the photos of von Mackensen in particular, reflect status as a general officer-ranked adjutant of the Kaisers. It is my belief that lower-ranking officers wore simpler aiguillettes and the pattern and braid type may have been different depending on both the rank of the adjutant and the rank of the  big shot to whom he was assigned.

I have both silver and gold gimp and Orris braid Imperial Geman aiguillettes that are similar to the ones worn by von Mackensen and the Kaiser. These are gold gimp and Orris.  Mine lack the center ridge of plaiting/braiding, however, and so I believe are for a lower-ranking officer adjutant.

We can hope that someone with some detailed knowledge of Imperial German Army aiguillettes will join our conversation on this topic, which I think is important enough to merit some more information.

Edited by filfoster

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Posted (edited)

Nicely highhanded response (if you had bothered to check my posts you would have seen that I have owned some general’s items in my time, and do in fact read German, which sort of helps in studying  regulations and primary and secondary sources.

Anyway, not sure exactly what you are seeking to debate, but the regulations I thought yousaid you sought can be found in the references cited above, and are referenced, too, in the book we both apparently have, and from which I reproduced a page. That page, for example, mentions continued use of silver braided sguilettes by MS general’s even after regulations were changed to prescribed gold ones.

Adjutant aguilettes in the Prussian army were silver (check out Weitze’s site, he sold one this week from last week’s update), as are those of general’s a la Suite.Wilhelm’s are standard, gold general’s aguilettes, as can be seen in the Doorn pieces shown in the book you own/referenced, in pics on the web of his tunic on displsy in Berlin, and even the  pic you yourself posted confirms. So, I think, are Mackensens, based on the pic you posted, and several on the web. I sought to confirm this from pics of his uniform on display in Rastatt, but noticed that that is on display without aguilettes.

Not sure if this answers, because I’m not clear on your question: but for Wilhelm II at least I’m quite certain  thst his aguilettes had no relationship  with his status of former adjudant of his grandfather: his cypher and adjudantenabzeichen bore witness to that, and his sguilettes are, euh, well, simply the wrong color ...

Sandro

Edited by GdC26

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Sandro: I apologize for any offense, unintended to be sure, and thank you for your help. I do not read German and envy you for that. This does answer some of my questions about these aiguillettes but not all. 

I will parse through the text of the Verlag book and hope it will address whether there were variations for rank of the wearer or the rank of the personage he was serving. 

I regret that my response came off as 'high handed' !  I'm pretty humble and deservedly so, my wife assures me.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, if none intended then none taken. I’ll dig out my references to see if they contain anything supporting or refuting your theory, which as I understand it, is based on the elaborate braiding of the aguilettes shown in the pics you posted`

Sandro 

Edited by GdC26

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Posted (edited)

Ok, I've had a quick look at the sections of Knötel/Pietsch/Collas and Pietsch, Formierungsgeschichte, and must correct a comment I made above: Generaladjutanten des Königs von Preußen golden aguilettes, Generale a la Suite des Königs (von Preußen) und Kaisers silver. To that extent, your theory could be/have been correct - but the descriptions mention no deviations from the standard general's pattern.

The texts are reproduced below. The first one desribes the Aguilettes for ordinary generals (basically, the pattern shown in your pics, consisting of two cords (Fangschnure) and two three-braided Ächselbänder), the second  the regulations for generaladjutanten and generale a la suite des Königs und Kaisers.  Both of these come from Knötel/Pietsch/Collas.

The third scan comes from Paul Pietsch, Formationsgeschichte. It deals with the uniforms for Prussian Generaladjutanten in quite a bit of detail, including the color (gold) and use the aguilettes  (mandatory on the overcoat as per the AKO of 28. September 1864 (!)) but makes no mention of a special pattern for Generaladjutanten. It does mention special aguilettes for Generale a la Suite des Königs und Kaisers, who according to the Bekleidingsvorschrift 1895 wore silver flat woven aguilettes with golden crowns. 

Wilhelm II and Mackensen may have worn their aguilettes as Generaladjutanten, but the sources mentioned do not indicate that  a different pattern was prescribed from that worn by "ordinary" generals. 

Hope this assists. 

Sandro

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Edited by GdC26

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Posted (edited)

Sandro  Thanks for this.  It adds much more and I'm satisfied about the Mackensen and Kaiser aiguillettes, General's pattern of gold, triple braid of the gimp and Orris cord.

I have a silver aiguillette that is simpler, only one plaited braid of double cords in the herringbone pattern, not the triple as for generals, and one looped cord.(This is from memory. It's in my bits box and I haven't looked at it for a while)  It's the same gimp and Orris cord material, and has the button hole piece attached, in a silver tape braid. It doesn't appear to have been anything else, e.g., damaged or missing cords. This is what prompted my curiosity about these aiguillettes in general, and, since the Germans seemed to have regulated everything else in such detail, thought it might be an example of a variation of these that would be for a lower ranking officer, among perhaps a lot of variations.

Maybe someday someone (not me, I don't have the resources and particularly value this forum and knowledgeable folks like yourself who are willing to share their expertise and resources.  And to overlook my in-artful expression!) will put together a comprehensive book or article on aiguillettes that includes photos of examples. The resources you included do have a lot of detail.

Thanks again, this helps.  P

Edited by filfoster

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Posted (edited)

Happy to hear that. I have not checked this, but consider it likely that there were  differences between German states as well in the prescribed model of the agulettes for generals - I recall a discussion on different styles of crowns etc.

Do the simpler aguilettes you refer to look like those shown in the attached pics? There are the Flügeladjutanten Aguilettes I referred to in an earlier post. 

Sandro

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Edited by GdC26

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Posted (edited)

That's exactly the one I have and another one just like it in gold.  Got them many years ago from a family of collectors who came to our local military shows. They didn't need them for their own displays so I bought them, along with that other simpler silver one I described,  I will try to get a picture up soon.

Edited by filfoster

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Here is the photo.  The silver one is all dead gimp; the gold ones are gimp and Orris.

AIGS.jpg

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