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Why does the skull on the right of #1076 have to be a metal one?

I won't contest it for the skull in the middle, but the one on the right could be made of cloth and have been directly sewn on the sleeve.

Edited by Gilles
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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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Why does the skull on the right of #1076 have to be a metal one?

I won't contest it for the skull in the middle, but the one on the right could be made of cloth and have been directly sewn on the sleeve.

There's a very pronounced shadow all the way around it, especially under the curve of the skull and under the crossed bones. If you look carefully, you can also see that the edge of the upper jaw is distinct from the crossed bones (see white arrow), as though the badge has been stamped from metal. In the cloth Totenkopf, the skull upper jaw is not distinct from the crossed bones. All is one flat piece. Finally, in this Totenkopf, there is no evidence of white teeth.

Edited by Thomas W
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There's a very pronounced shadow all the way around it, especially under the curve of the skull and under the crossed bones. If you look carefully, you can also see that the edge of the upper jaw is distinct from the crossed bones (see white arrow), as though the badge has been stamped from metal. In the cloth Totenkopf, the skull upper jaw is not distinct from the crossed bones. All is one flat piece. Finally, in this Totenkopf, there is no evidence of white teeth.

Hi,

I misread the intial post. IMHO from left to right we have a standard badge. a metal badge and the one above maybe a homemade grey cloth skull sewn on. If it was loosley sewn in it could easily lift as well, causing a shadow.

Best

Chris

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Hi,

I misread the intial post. IMHO from left to right we have a standard badge. a metal badge and the one above maybe a homemade grey cloth skull sewn on. If it was loosley sewn in it could easily lift as well, causing a shadow.

A loosely sewn-on cloth badge might cause a shadow, but it wouldn't create the raised relief of the upper jaw. That can only be the result of stamped or cast metal.

I went through my entire colection and found another flamethrower pioneer wearing what has to be a metal badge, near the top edge of the cuff but not on it. There's no question that this is a metal badge, because it's three dimensional and has rounded edges. I've superimposed the other badge below it for comparison purposes.

Edited by Thomas W
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A different pattern would be one thing, a different material another. The first doesn’t necessarily imply the second.

What about the light incidence?

On Robin’s picture comparing the grey and the black skull, you can see that the light makes the skull appear higher, clearly above sea-level...

Especially the jaw... and it doesn't seem to me that his skull is made "of stamped or cast metal"

Edited by Gilles
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On Robin’s picture comparing the grey and the black skull, you can see that the light makes the skull appear higher, clearly above sea-level...

Especially the jaw... and it doesn't seem to me that his skull is made "of stamped or cast metal"

Sure, but the raised relief detail of the upper jaw isn't found on cloth badges, unless the skull and cross bones are made of separate pieces of cloth.

I see the same sort of raised relief detail that I've marked in red on this SS Totenkopf, which leads me to believe that the badge in my photo is metal.

Edited by Thomas W
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I dont see raised when I look at it, if there was some tread along the outline of the jaw it would have the same effect.

(Something happened, which resulted in a double post. Ignore this one and read the one below it. Thanks!)

Edited by Thomas W
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I dont see raised when I look at it, if there was some tread along the outline of the jaw it would have the same effect.

The official patterns of flamethrower Totenkopf had no such thread along the outline of the jaw. Maybe if this was a completely home-made skull, that could be right. But it makes more sense to me that if there are two undoubtably metal Totenkopf worn by flamethrower pioneers, as I've shown in my photos, this weird-looking badge with what appears to be a raised edge of the jawline would be metal rather than a cloth version with a jawline made of thread.

Edited by Thomas W
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Another oddity, found here ..............

http://www.tapferes-...n_abzeichen.htm

Has raised relief on the upper jaw. ;)

The link says that since the Totenkopf was already drawn on a signboard in an early photo of a "Flammen-Kommando," we can assume that the choice of the badge was surely made by the troops, if not by Reddemann personally, and later officially sanctioned by the Kaiser. Details of the circumstances of the introduction or preparation of the badge cannot not be found.

That contradicts what I've read, that the Totenkopf was the personal symbol of the Crown Prince, who served in the Death's Head Hussars. The letter to the flamethrower regiment written by the Crown Prince announcing the Totenkopf badge says that he himself recommended it.

His Majesty the Kaiser and King has, at my recommendation, decreed that the Guard Reserve Pioneer Regiment, which has been developed under my eyes, should wear during the war on the left sleeve of its uniform an insignia in the form of a death’s head. In recognition of its outstanding achievements I wish to congratulate the flame projector regiment on the award of this insignia.

Always placed into action in the most difficult places, both officers and men everywhere brought their arm into play both effectively and quickly, and became one of the most fearful opponents in close combat the French had.

I am convinced that the outer insignia of the young arm will always be an exhortation to continue to develop in the spirit of death-defying joy of combat.

It's too bad that the photo of the early "Flammen-Kommando" is too small to make out any details, such as the date or the shape of the skull.

This new skull is woven from bullion. It could either be an officer's version or a postwar badge worn by former members of the flamethrower regiment, who were offically allowed to wear the badge only for the duration of the war.

Edited by Thomas W
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Robin, I'm pretty sure this new Totenkopf is a postwar version. It compares pretty favorably--not exactly--to a badge worn by a Reichwehr or Freikorps soldier in a photo I have.

The WW2 collectors have a special vocab "Rounders", "third toed eagles" "Flatties" etc. etc.... Maybe it is time we Imperial folks did the same... I vote we call this last one the "bent knob"

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The WW2 collectors have a special vocab "Rounders", "third toed eagles" "Flatties" etc. etc.... Maybe it is time we Imperial folks did the same... I vote we call this last one the "bent knob"

I think "rickets" is more appropriate, given those totally curved thigh bones.

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What a WONDERFUL thread this is .................... so many odd variations supported by period pix.

The black TK will be vindicated in this way some day ....................................... I am sure of it!

having tried all possible reasonings... the most obvious one is still lacking.

It is pretty unlikely, but then so is the badge....

This is for the Askari FW Trupp of the Schutztruppe in DOA .... :-))))

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To me, looks embroidered in white cotton?

You're right. White cotton. You don't see too many photos of flamethrower Totenkopf badges--even the nonofficial ones--after the early 1920's. I'll bet that since there were so many Freikorps guys wearing Totenkopfen all over their unifroms, what happened was the flamethrower pioneers simply stopped wearing theirs. When you perceive yourself as an elite and then suddenly see every Tom, Dick, or Harry wearing similar insignia, you don't want to be considered just another schlub.

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Please correct me if I am wrong here.

I am too lazy in my old age ........... ;)

1. The Heuschkel unit served in 1919-20 ??

2. The Ober/Stabsgefreiter badge dates from 1921 ??

3. The TK is an official WW1 FW badge ............. not a later unofficial one .............. but is still worn long after it should have been removed, according to the instructions of the Crown Prince ??

So .............. both the WW1 FW TK and the Heuschkel badge were worn unofficially after 1920 ??

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Just noticed ............. the GKSK photo stamp appears to date from 1919, unless old stamps were used by successor units.

When was the chevrons rank badge introduced? I thought it was 1921, but I may be mistaken (again!) :)

If I'm mistaken about the chevrons, the photo is probably from 1919.

Edited by Robin Lumsden
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