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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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Congratulations!

Thanks! The Fahnennagel came with a stein that has a lettering from a veterans organization in Limbach in Sachsen. Why is it so interesting? Both pieces came from the same person. So it is possible that the Fahnennagel was from the Wehrwolf Ortsgruppe in Limbach.

Edited by Sergeant 08
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Recently I got a newspaper with an article about the history of the Wehrwolf in Limbach. It was written that the Ortsgruppe was one of the first Ortsgruppen in Sachsen. And the Ortsgruppe was later part of the so called “Schwarze Brigade” in 1933.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Robin,

Sorry for the bad pun, Mr Fox is Heiko Fuchs.

Maybe it is some kind of over-cautious reaction from me. It always gives collectors a headache when the same extremly rare & non regulation item appears suddenly several times - in a rather short time, after Detlev Niemann opened Pandorra's box when he showed both sides of his patches- and in a close geographic range. The text to the first sell on Ebay (as a patch of WWI "Nebeltruppe") sounded pretty much like deception and made me very suspicious from the beginning.

But as any human being, I may be wrong.

Regards

Gilles

By cleaning my email-account, I found against all odds a trace of this offer that sound very tricky to me.

holen Sie sich jetzt das beobachtete Angebot, bevor ein Anderer schneller ist. s.gif

200317948739.jpg Ärmelabzeichen Nebel truppe WW1 WK1 Aktueller Preis:

EUR 24,50 Angebotsende: 15.03.09 16:59:23 MEZ Mein eBay aufrufen | Alle beobachteten Artikel aufrufen

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By cleaning my email-account, I found against all odds a trace of this offer that sound very tricky to me.

holen Sie sich jetzt das beobachtete Angebot, bevor ein Anderer schneller ist. s.gif

200317948739.jpg Ärmelabzeichen Nebel truppe WW1 WK1 Aktueller Preis:

EUR 24,50 Angebotsende: 15.03.09 16:59:23 MEZ Mein eBay aufrufen | Alle beobachteten Artikel aufrufen

Can't find it. What was it ??

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Can't find it. What was it ??

It was the very first appearance of the black skull patch, months (or weeks) before antikfuchs sold it (or sold one).

The Berlin based seller described it as a WWI patch of the "Nebelwerfer-Truppe". This mix of branch knowledge and error (for someone who had proposed many a militaria item in the past) made me very sceptical at the time.

Regards

Gilles

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It was the very first appearance of the black skull patch, months (or weeks) before antikfuchs sold it (or sold one).

The Berlin based seller described it as a WWI patch of the "Nebelwerfer-Truppe". This mix of branch knowledge and error (for someone who had proposed many a militaria item in the past) made me very sceptical at the time.

Regards

Gilles

I would be really interesting to see the photos of that auction.

But I guess nobody had saved the photos......so it can't help us. :rolleyes:

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Yes, I should have done it, it is a pity I haven't. It was a black skull with red eyes and ared mouth together with a very strange description. I was puzzled.

You can notice that the auction ended on March 15th and Robin started this thread on May 17th.

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Thanks Gilles.

Whatever the source was originally, it doesn't alter my opinion on the black skull I have, or my positive opinion of Stefan's badge.

Errors in seller descriptions are commonplace .............. even with the 'best' professional dealers.

The bottom line is that only two of these have shown up.

Stefan is happy with his and I am happy with mine.

For me, that's the main thing.

However, I am still hopeful that ................. in time ................ one of these blackies will show up in a period photo, or be mentioned in a period document.

Please remember ............

1. If I had any doubts about this thing, it would be binned at once. I am pretty choosy on the items I have in my collection.

2. I own one of the 'Niemann-find' original FW TKs and, so far as I know, am the only person here who has had the opportunity to compare the regulation FW TK and the black skull side-by-side, in hand. The black one compares very favourably with the regulation TK when you see them together. There are distinctive features on both which could not have been included on the black one if it had been 'copied from a photo of the regulation TK'.

For obvious reasons, I am not going to describe these here. ;)

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Thanks Gilles.

Whatever the source was originally, it doesn't alter my opinion on the black skull I have, or my positive opinion of Stefan's badge.

Errors in seller descriptions are commonplace .............. even with the 'best' professional dealers.

The bottom line is that only two of these have shown up.

Stefan is happy with his and I am happy with mine.

For me, that's the main thing.

However, I am still hopeful that ................. in time ................ one of these blackies will show up in a period photo, or be mentioned in a period document.

Please remember ............

1. If I had any doubts about this thing, it would be binned at once. I am pretty choosy on the items I have in my collection.

2. I own one of the 'Niemann-find' original FW TKs and, so far as I know, am the only person here who has had the opportunity to compare the regulation FW TK and the black skull side-by-side, in hand. The black one compares very favourably with the regulation TK when you see them together. There are distinctive features on both which could not have been included on the black one if it had been 'copied from a photo of the regulation TK'.

For obvious reasons, I am not going to describe these here. ;)

Another point to mention is that despite the millions of period photos, if you don't know what to look for, you won't see it.

As far as I know, I'm the person who determined that without a doubt, the flamethrower pioneers of Sturmbataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr) wore their sleeve badges below the elbow. I've now found five photos of flamethrower pioneers wearing the sleeve badge precisely at the top of the cuff. In two cases the skulls have been applied without the oval cloth backing, and in three the backing is there, requiring that it be sewn half-on and half-off the cuff, a sloppy arrangement that looks ugly.

Why would they do that? Obviously the position of the badge is significant.

My working theory is that men who wore the badge in that position--at the top of the cuff--were not qualified to use flamethrowers, even though they belonged to the flamethrower regiment. There were machine gunners and grenade-launcher operators in the regiment, and I have the Soldbuch of a flamethrower pioneer who was trained in the use of the grenade launcher, but there's no mention of him being trained in the flamethrower. They may have been like Bob Lembke's father Georg, who after his wounding was allowed to remain in the regiment but was not qualified to operate flamethrowers. He was a grenadier, machine gunner, and trench raider instead.

This may have been done at the request of the flamethrower-qualified men, who didn't want to dilute the prestige of their badge by allowing it to be shared by men who couldn't use the weapon. It may have been a decision by Reddemann himself.

So that's two brand-new pieces of information about the flamethrower sleeve badge that I've discovered and publicized, despite the last nearly 100 years of research being done on the imperial German army and despite me being an amateur and not a pedigreed expert.

So anything is possible, Robin.

Edited by Thomas W
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That's two brand-new pieces of information about the flamethrower sleeve badge that I've discovered and publicized, despite the last nearly 100 years of research being done on the imperial German army and despite me being an amateur and not a pedigreed expert.

So anything is possible, Robin.

Thanks Thomas.

How right you are.

In my experience, not just of this hobby but of life in general, the amateurs are FAR better than the 'experts' in rooting out new discoveries.

They follow their instincts out of a love for their subject, not because they need to earn a living from it. :)

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Attention Robin Lumsden:

Brace yourself.

A little background: The most famous flamethrower attacks of World War I were those carried out by Sturmbatailllon Nr. 2 against the American Lost Battalion October 6 and 7, 1918, in the Argonne. American accounts report that flamethrower pioneers were killed, and German accounts list two deaths among Sturmbatailllon Nr. 2, but not whether the men were flamethrower pioneers.

The death book of the Garde-Reserve-Pionier-Regiment lists no names anywhere near those dates, which was always a mystery to me, since the Garde-Reserve-Pionier-Regiment provided the flamethrower pioneers for all the army assault battalions, including Sturmbataillon Nr. 2.

Or did it?

Here is a photo of men of the 1st Company, Sturmbataillon Nr. 2. It's stamped July 8, 1917, and commemorates a shooting contest of the NCOs of the company which took place in Vauziers. Sitting on the beer keg is a pioneer. He has the Swedish cuffs, but he clearly has the number "2" on his shoulder straps.

Wait for the next post, please.

Edited by Thomas W
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Here is a closeup of his sleeve badge.

That, my friend, is almost certainly a Totenkopf, and it's darkish. (Remember, black often shows up as gray in period photos, and a side-on angle can drastically lighten darker colors.) This guy is not a member of the Garde-Reserve-Pionier-Regiment, because he has no Garde Litzen and his shoulder straps are numbered.

If Sturmbataillon Nr. 2 had it own platoon of flamethrower pioneers not connected with the Garde-Reserve-Pionier-Regiment, that would explain the lack of names in the death book of the flamethrower regiment listed for October 6-7, 1918. It might also explain your black Totenkopf badge.

If a flamethrower unit not affilitated with the Garde-Reserve-Pionier-Regiment saw Reddemann and Rohr's men getting those cool badges, what would stop them from making up their own versions, but in black to make sure they didn't step on the toes of the men awarded the offical badge? Since army assault battalions were elite units themselves, who would stop them from making their own Totenkopf sleeve badges?

This is as close as we've come yet to finding period, photographic confirmation of the authenticity of your badge.

Let the naysaying and pooh-poohing begin!

Edited by Thomas W
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As far as I know, I'm the person who determined that without a doubt, the flamethrower pioneers of Sturmbataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr) wore their sleeve badges below the elbow. I've now found five photos of flamethrower pioneers wearing the sleeve badge precisely at the top of the cuff. In two cases the skulls have been applied without the oval cloth backing, and in three the backing is there, requiring that it be sewn half-on and half-off the cuff, a sloppy arrangement that looks ugly.

Why would they do that? Obviously the position of the badge is significant.

Or.... a parcel of badges were sent to the Rohr detachment with a directive vague enough that they sewed it on where they did... later they met up with the "others" who said ..."What the hell!?!?!?" ... but by then it was too late.

I think supposition is dangerous ground here. :-)

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