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And here's Bernhard Reddemann in the background, the big guy with a notebook and pencil, his overcoat on his shoulder. The flamethrower is the Kleif M.1914. Notice that he doesn't have a Totenkopf sle

IR92 tankard lid............

Brunswick HR17 flask...............(with Prussian skull !!)

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My flamethrower book was finally published. I sent a copy to a Bulgarian friend to deliver to the National Museum of Military History in Sofia, because they'd been so helpful. My friend sent me a photo of a museum staffer accepting the book.

There's a book in that photo? Really? Where?

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There's a girl in that photo? Really? Where? :cheeky:

Young man, I worry about you. There's more to life than skulls! But I appreciate the thanks.

(The publisher still has my !@#$%^&* photo collection, by the way. The very dark Totenkopf is on page 67 of the book, under the chapter on the Ottoman Empire. I was going to scan it and post it here, but when I enlarged it, all I could see was dots. I have to wait until my collection is returned to me.)

Edited by Thomas W
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The very dark Totenkopf is ............. under the chapter on the Ottoman Empire.

Funny you should say that..................about a year ago, someone suggested to me that the black skull (with red eyes) might be some sort of Turkish version of the German badge. They thought so because of the colour scheme.

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Funny you should say that..................about a year ago, someone suggested to me that the black skull (with red eyes) might be some sort of Turkish version of the German badge. They thought so because of the colour scheme.

As soon as I finished that flamethrower book the publisher asked me to write a book about German assault troops that I just finished. It's incredible the number of unofficial shock-troop badges there were. The new book will show several different "S" badges, colored rectangles, wreaths, an "H" badge on the shoulder strap (for "Handgranate"), numerals, crossed grenades, single grenades, and a chevron, all (except the "H") on the upper left arm or left elbow. All are in period photos, not modern collections.

Besides the grenade and crossed-grenade badges, none of these have been described in any sources I've seen. None were authorized, either, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that someone would knock up an unofficial black-skull badge. The Austrians based their own assault-troop badges on the skull worn by the flamethrower platoon of Sturmbataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr), which trained the Austrians. Prior to the k.u.k. Sturmtruppen, the Austrians had no tradition of Totenkopf badges. Since Sturmbataillon No. 5 (Rohr) was the premier shock-troop training organization, it's possible that some Germans or Turks were so impressed by the nifty skull badge worn by their instructors that they made a similar badge for themselves.

As for your age, I'm 48. The day I choose old postcards over gorgeous Bulgarian women is the day I lie down and pull a dirt blanket up over my head!

Edited by Thomas W
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I remember a dealer, who sold one or two of those stick pins in past, offered them as early NS sympathy stick pins. We know the skull symbol and the motto "Und Doch!" were used by Freikorps members of the Eiserne Division. The question is, when were the stick pins made? Pre or after 1933? The swastika means not, that it must be made after 1933. And who used that kind of stick pin? Photos show us, that veterans used the symbols on flags during the Weimarer Republik.

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Edited by Sergeant 08
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