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The M1951 Gymnastica


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Gentlemen,

Well another Saturday and I had told my wife yesterday that I wouldn't be going to any flea markets today. Well, by breakfast this morning my resolve had disappeared so I set out for Ecseri right after breakfast. Now that I have been here for a while, pickings are slim at Ecseri. High prices because of the tourists, a dwindling supply of medals/awards (especially the high end ones) and my collection has grown so that I only need certain items now. There really wasn't much to look at except someone new has set up a militaria stand that I hadn't seen before. Of interest were some Rakoci era tunics he had hanging up. After some haggling, I left the table to brows the rest of the market and came back again to bargain. We eventually settled on a price for a 1951 model Gymnastica, a tunic I did not have in my collection, and a padded coat often refered to as the "Tankers uniform". The padded uniform shows up in wear by other units, especially during the 1956 revolution when it is seen in wear with "Kadar's Hussars" and therefore is not strictly issued to tank units. I'll post the padded jaclet later when I have had more time to examine it.

The Hungarian Gymnastica closely resembles its Russian parent except for the "stand-and-fall-collar". It has two hidden breast pockets with external, buttoned flaps. It has a four button front and a double buttons sleeve cuff. There are loops at the shoulder seam of each shoulder for the slip on boards. There is a button sewn on the shoulder at the collar end to hold the shoulder boards in place. Those two buttons are missing on this tunic. There would have been two five sided collar tabs in the service-colour of the arm-of-service as well as a metal device showing the arm-of-service. For example, for an infantryman, the collar tabs would have been green with metal crossed rifles on each one. The arm-of-service was indicated on the shoulderboards by using the same colur as the collar tabs but the metal insignia was not used. Only rank insignia was shown. The collar tabs and shoulderboards are missing from this tunic but will be replaced as soon as I can find a set. The cahp that sold me the tunic had some boards but I wasn't sure what a fair price would have been so I left that part of the deal for another day. In the picture, the difference in the colour of the tunic material clearly shows where the collar tabs and the shoulder boards were at one point. It is not really that noticeable in normal lighting conditions.

Regards,

Gordon

Edited by Gordon Craig
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There was clearly a pin on badge of some sort worn over the right breast pocket for some time. There are broken threasd indicating where this badge was removed and replaced repeatedly when the tunic was washed. The two holes are 25mm apart. I have tried a number of pin on badges from my collection, next to the button holes, but none of them match correctly. The pins are all too short. Here is a picture of the two holes.

Edited by Gordon Craig
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The photo is post #6 is titles 'Two-time [winnters of the] Excelent Platoon.'

All of the members in the photo are from the Signals branch and the three men in the center are those that have won the ultra rare 'Excelent Platoon Leaders Badge'. Those flanking them have only one of the awards on thier chest (square badge). The one on the right with a circular badge is the 'Excelent Machine Gunner' (or it may be the light machine gunner - hard to tell) From what I can see I would think that the loops on Gordons tunic is probably for one of the 'Excelent' round badges from the pre 1956 era. Could also perhaps be the Haditorna Badge (?)

Here is the 1957 version of the Excelent Platoon Badge (same as the 1954 type - only the center crest was changed)

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Ulsterman,

Yes a great Saturday. The badges, the ones that are roughly square in shape, are the Kiv?lo Szakasz, if I remeber correctly, Excellent Platoon Badge. Very rare. Charles and I saw one in the Military Museum and he recently acquired one for himself. The caption at the top of the page "K?tszeres Kiv?lo Szakasz" translates roughly as "double Excellent Platoon" indicating these are special NCOs who have been awarded this badge twice.

Regards,

Gordon

Sems that Charles and I were answering Ulsterman's question at the same time. Double youur moneys worth!!!!!

Charles,

Thanks for the suggestion on the badge that would be on my tunic. I'll have to get my badge book out and see what I think might fit although I don't have pictures of the back.

Edited by Gordon Craig
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I took Charles suggestion about what badges might fit on the marked spot on this tunic and I looked in my Hungarian badge book. What I found was that I had a badge with a pin on the back which fit this spot excatly. The badge is identified in the book as "Oszt?ly? t?vir?sz". The badge book translates this, because of the 1 at the bottom as "First Class Signaller". T?vir?sz actually stands for "telegraphist" and a more correct translation may be "First Class Telegraphist". My badge book does not indicate the date of institution of this badge and from its designs I tend to think that it is from a time period when the M1951 Gymnastica may no longer have been worn. However, since it fits, and I don't have any collartabs/shoulderboards on the tunic to assign this tunic to a specific arm-of-service I'll leave it in place until I get information assigning it to a later time period.

Regards,

Gordon

The front of the badge.

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The signals badge was introduced in the 1960's (from what the guy in the Signals Musuem told me) What does fit perfectly for the 25mm loops is the Excelent Platoon Badge, but also the Haditorna Badge (sports badge). The other one that could go on there is the "Excelent Quartermaster Badge" but the examoplke that I have has avery wide prong on the back. The circular wreath type badges for 'Excelent' have about a 32-35mm spacing for the prongs. I would lean towards this being a Haditorna Badge as the platoon type are rare.

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Charles,

My problem is that there are no loops on this tunic. It might look like loops but it is really only broken threads on the woven fabric where someone has repeatedly removed and replaced a pin back badge. There must be something else out there with a pin long enough to be worn in that spot that was in use before 57.

Regards,

Gordon

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Charles,

A question about the gymnastica worn in the picture I posted. There appears to be two different models in wear. One like I bought on Saturday that takes slip on shoulderboards and a different one that has sewn in shoulderboards with the rank applied directly to it. I have no reference for the gymnastica that has the sewn in boards. Do you?

Regards,

Gordon

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I have no idea on the badge on what should have gone there - not aware of badges that had a vertical pin like that until the 1960's. Prongs were the way to go - however I do have some badges that were converted with solder and safety pins. Perhaps this may have been the case as the prongs could only be bent so manu times.

As for the uniforms - the slip on shoulderboards went to those above the rank of Sgt and above - from what I know, corporal and privates had the sew on type - the guy in the photo on the far right is a corporal with 2 stripes on his shoulder board.

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I have no idea on the badge on what should have gone there - not aware of badges that had a vertical pin like that until the 1960's. Prongs were the way to go - however I do have some badges that were converted with solder and safety pins. Perhaps this may have been the case as the prongs could only be bent so manu times.

As for the uniforms - the slip on shoulderboards went to those above the rank of Sgt and above - from what I know, corporal and privates had the sew on type - the guy in the photo on the far right is a corporal with 2 stripes on his shoulder board.

Charles,

Thanks for the quick answer. I rather suspected that was the case with the Gymnasticas as I noticed that the junior NCOs were wearing the one type while the Senior NCOs the other. Makes logical sense in a conscript army.

Re the modified pin on badges. I'll have to look at them the next time I am over.

Cheers,

Gordon

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Gents,

In case you haven't noticed, Charles and I have changed the name of the "Excellent Platoon Leaders Badge" (in our previous posts) to "Excellent Platoon Badge". In looking at the picture I posted it became apparent that the name of the badge as "Excellent Platoon Leader Badge" was not logical as there was an officer, senior and junior NCOs all wearing the same badge. Only the officer would logically be the platoon commander. Charles and I checked our reference material again and it appears that all members of the "Excellent Platoon" received this badge. Due to the scarcity of these badges I do not beleive they were awarded very often.

Regards,

Gordon

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