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Backing material on medal bars

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I have a question, which might have an easy answer: Is the backing material important, when speaking of medal bars with a single long service award (or a combination of two long service awards)?

Red seems to be popular or frequent, but so is fieldgray, darkblue and lightgrey. Is there a meaning behind this? I read that some manufacturers/tailors preferred one color above the other, so I tend to believe there is no relation to the branch of the long service award.

Thank you,


Ps: Why is this forum a paradise when it comes to medal bars/ribbon bars? :rolleyes:

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Because people share their pretty scans. :rolleyes:

Red is the "traditional" color, found on almost all Imperial era army bars, but also on anything else.

Navy blue or black CLOTH (we are not talking about silk material etc etc) is almost always EITHER for the navy... or used on civilian suits.

Feldgrau tended to take over from red for Third Reich awards, especially during the early part of the war--when medal bars were still being worn.

Luftwaffe badge cloth is almost always found on awards being worn on a Luftwaffe uniform, even when there may be no "Luftwaffe" award on there. It is also possible that some backings in this color were just used because they were on hand.

I have seen Party "sand" brown, Polizei "green," and R.A.D. brown backings-- those presumably cost more and very likely were the product of a large commercial bar maker, rather than the sort of "Mom & Pop" corner watch repair shop we often find medal bar labels from.

Bright green, pink, yellow... all sorts of strange colors can be found as just random materials.

By the middle of the war, scraps can be found. I've seen pieces of army TUNICS used as backings on Luftwaffe bars. Nobody cared by then what was on the underside. :rolleyes:

But backing cloth color CAN be a good clue most of the time.

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Army? Navy? Haven't been able to identify this holder of the Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure yet-- but note the backing is made out of army TUNIC material:

This WW1 veteran, probably a Third Reich "late bloomer" in the Polizei medical service and twice decorated for WW2 civil defense has a sort of SchuPo Waffenfarbe colored backing-- no help to us AT ALL. Coincidence, nothing more, in the color backing. Or... IS it?

From David S's collection :cheers: note that the swords are UPSIDE DOWN. :speechless1:

Vizeadmiral zS Karl Topp's ribbon bar is-- naturally :rolleyes: navy blue backed:

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Godet in Berlin long used a light gray backing with their distinctive = hinge pins, so when we see this color, even without the little metal "license tags" they used to sew onto the reverses, we know a Godet is... just a Godet.

Somehow I think we can safely say this one was NOT worn on a camouflage ski suit. :rolleyes:

Now I suppose you might think that a bar like this could have been worn on a white summer uniform.

But I've seen waaaaay more white backings than white tunics, and have NEVER seen an identifiable naval bar backed in white--and they wore that color for half the year!

These again from David S's collection. :cheers:

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I've discovered that I have to RE-DO a lot of my "on hand" scans to make the little sizes better for the new edition Ribbon bar Article planned for here.

Here's a Luftwaffe Abzeichentuch backed one.

This is among my favorites not only because the cheapskate added on a single ribbon extension at the end, and wore this long enough that he added the EK2 Spange device to a bar made before he had it but...

this civil servant (4th ribbon is 25 Years Loyal Service Cross and not "Luftwaffe" at all, oh my) is wearing NOT the Austrian Anschluss March 1938 ribbon in 5th place...

but the 1923 BLOOD ORDER ribbon.

Which could NOT be worn on a ribbon bar. Which repeated regulations kept saying to STOP wearing on ribbon bars.

Ribbon bars on uniforms that had no breast pockets...

in this case, a Luftwaffe Fliegerbluse.

So here there are TWO clues that a bar with no "Luftwaffe" awards at all WAS Luftwaffe-- the backing cloth, and a ribbon wearers WANTED to wear here when they had no upper pockets. I don't think this went on a naval reefer jacket! :catjava:

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