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To all,

Here is an interesting vic from a group to a gentleman of the 33rd Division, recently posted on a us militaria forum. It was part of a larger Purple Heart group that also included a number of French awards.

The current owner of the group has agreed to allow me to post this pic.

Of note is the ARMY OF PREOCCUPATION, OFFENSIVE SECTOR and ALSACE-LORRAINE bars. These are rarely seen.

Regards,

Rob

Edited by RobW

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I guess the Army of Preoccupation are the guys who go in ahead of the Army of Occupation?

Bill

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Hi Rob I was going to the use that clasp "Army of Preoccupation" in my book. I even tried to purchase it from the owner months ago, "Oh well'. As for the clasp it is from the same maker of the next clasp down. For me, and with that said, it closes the book on this type of clasp being made by BB&B. They could not have made that big of a mistake on the front of a clasps.

Hi Bill, Preoccupation would have been the German Army and we all know that the US Government was not making clasps for the German Army. The aftermarket "Army of Occupation" clasps were being sold by BB&B, Studley and Davison and many many more and mostly to veterans and military collectors. I think that maybe some of these "Preoccupation" clasps got out before the maker realized what had happen. Note the stars, color and lettering, the top 2 clasps were made "for" and "by" the same person. Just like I stated earlier in this blog where the French word "Grand" was misunderstood and the the clasp "Large" Fleet came onto the market. Later it was corrected to the "Grand" Fleet as it was originally to intended.

Regards

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Speaking of that "Large Fleet" clasp someone purchased this medal shown in my posting for the tidy sum of $303 + S&H on ebay last week. It came with photo of a WWI sailor and two cards, one with the name James on it. But what is more interesting is you checking the two tiny stars out that look just like the ones on the clasps which some believe are BB&B. It is French made clasp as stated on the back bar.

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I guess the Army of Preoccupation are the guys who go in ahead of the Army of Occupation?

Bill

Hello Bill,

Details from the original post on 'usmilitariaforum' indicated the gentleman in question was in the 129th Infantry Regiment of the 33rd Division. The Regiment was entitled to the following battle clasps:

* Somme Offensive

* Meuse-Argonne

* Defensive Sector

In addition they served in the following sectors:

* Amiens, 27 July - 5 August 1918

* Verdun-Frommereville, 8-25 September 1918

* Troyon, 26 October - 11 November 1918

The division was involved in the last Meuse-Argonne offensive. Following the armistice the division remained in positions near the Meuse river for approximately one month. It was at that time that the Army of Occupation, or 3rd American Army was raised from the following divisions; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 32nd, 42nd, 89th and 90th.

The 33rd division was initially one of those divisions that were tasked to provide support to the Army of Occupation and guard the lines of communication. On 12 December 1918 the 33rd division was allocated to the 7th Corps and subsequently became part of the 3rd Army.

It would seem logical that in the interim time between the Army of Occupation establishing itself on the Rhine, and Mozelle valley some form of 'PreOccupation' activities would have occurred, hence the unofficial bar. Interestingly; formal occupation activities occurred in Alsace and Lorraine on 8 December with elements of the 131st Infantry Regiment, of the 33rd Division, in attendance. That may explain the bottom bar. The 33rd division also found itself on occupation duties in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Given all these events I can see why an individual soldier would adorn his vic with these unofficial 'Army of PreOccupation' and 'Alsace-Lorraine' bars. They may not be technically correct but at least it has given the vic some character.

Hope this is of use.

Regards,

Rob

Sources:

1. WW1 Campaign and Service Credits, Planchet Press, June 1996.

2. The History of the A.E.F., Shipley Thomas, 1920.

3. The History of the 33rd Division, A.E.F., Frederic Huidekoper, 1921.

Edited by RobW

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Hello Bill,

Here is a page from a catalog from just one of the hundreds of dealers who sold to anyone and everyone at the collectors show. And I'll add that it did not matter that you were in the Army or not.

This medal in question is a medal which found its way into a collection by unintended means or by design or from a "want-to-be". Want-to-be's are people who wear and collect military items, yet who did not serve in the military for a full host of things, some with good reasons like lack minimun schooling or medical.

Let's look at this medal. There is not one official clasp on it. The first question one has to ask himself is: if a veteran enhanced his medal then why did he not at least use the three official clasps that would have came with his medal? I will also note the Somme Offensive, Meuse- Argonne and Defensive Sector clasp are all missing.

Each clasp even the St Mihiel and the Champagne-Marne are after-market made. As just pointed out by Rob in his remarks about where the 33rd Division served, this person's unit was not even at St Mihiel or Champagne-Marne. The standard answer for this discrepancy is that the soldier was assigned at that time to a different unit. To me that would be believable if his medal was an official issue, but this medal is not. I can't see a shred of truth to this medal ever belonging to a veteran.

This dealer who sold this mess not for historical reason but for money obviously did not even have a ribbon long enough, so he crammed as many clasps onto a reproduction ribbon as he could.

To me the only thing missing on this medal is the bogus Serbia clasp which is also listed in this catalog of the biggest show dealers. Also note there is no "Army of Preoccupation" clasp in his catalog.

These are the awards of the 33rd Division

Campaign Streams: Somme Offensive, Meuse-Argonne, Picardy and Lorraine.

U.S. Victory Medals clasps: Somme Offensive, Meuse-Argonne and Defensive Sector

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Rob, Jim, many thanks for covering the detail background to these clasps. With all the combinations of official clasps as well as all the fantasy items it's a field of collecting in its own right.

I'm intrigued by the variations in the size of stars on this collection - from the top (ignoring the top clasp) they are small, medium and large with a point at the 12 o'clock, and two medium with a point at the 6 o'clock. To what extent can the size and orientation of the stars be used to identify the manufacturer?

Bill

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Bill, The main course for collecting U.S. Vic is: There was only one type clasp made for the Army. The three manufactures of the original Army style Victory medals got their third thousand + dies set from one place, which was the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, If you talk Navy that is different story. So, if you purchase any U.S. Victory medals and it does not have the original clasp, no matter how hard someone tries to make a medal a real military issue, it is not. It remain a bogus military medal. Some call unofficial looking clasp a "Reproduction". I do not for the simple reason that a reproduction should be a reproduction and not just something that looks close to the original. I personally collect all reproductions and fakes and bogus and unofficial clasp and medals. Why? Because they are interesting and some have more value than the original. BUT I will not pass or try to pass a fake off as an official just because I paid more money then I should have. To many macho men cannot say that they made a mistake and will go blue in the face to prove to you, you are wrong. Yet, they will never on the other hand give any credit for you being right.

I am out for the day at a pig roast, cheers

Edited by johnnymac

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To what extent can the size and orientation of the stars be used to identify the manufacturer?

Bill

Hello Bill,

That is a question that has been posed to our US collector friends some time back. No responses have been forthcoming so the hunt for information continues. :D Time will tell...

Regards,

Rob

Edited by RobW

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Bilco, on 11August 2012 - 09:29, Said, To what extent can the size and orientation of the stars be used to identify the manufacturer?

To all

The easiest way to remember is by remembering Elvis Presley "There is only one King, the others are all impersonators".

Look at these stars. If I asked you in five minutes to list them with the first clasp being the original clasp and the others being impersonators, could you not do that? If you said no! Then I would ask you did you not also look at the shape of each half moons or the lack of a half moon on each end of the clasp. Look at the spacer bars or lack of spacer bars and also look at the fonts along with looking at the "stars". The first clasp is the authorized issue clasp made by the only one die maker the U.S. Mint. The others are impersonators.

.

The BNP I understand is selling a poor copy of a reproduction of the Victoria Cross medal selling for 12 pounds as it is posted on the internet, is this reported fact true I do not know. But I have to wonder if any of you would defend that repro medal if it was posted here on our blogging site, or would you expose it for what it is as a impersonator.

Edited by johnnymac

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Hi Jim,

Many thanks for the picture and tutorial. Another one for the reference file.

How do these two clasps on my US vic check out - particularly the Defensive Sector?

USvic303-crop.jpg

Bill

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I know you can answer that question, without my help. Font, stars, moons and spacers

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Sheesh - I hate tests!

Well Jim, although the photograph shows details on both my clasps aren't as sharp as your True King example, they are much better 'in the hand'. The Meuse-Argonne I would say is perfectly OK. The Defensive Sector clasp has less clearly-defined moons, the left-hand star is 'flat' where the others have a point in the centre, and the lettering is less sharp in some spots - the E at the end of Defensive is much less well defined than the rest. However, the font looks right, and the size of the stars (back to my original query) matches your exemplar. Maybe it came from a worn die, but I think it's a good'n.

How did I do?

Bill

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Dear Bill, I would not have any trouble with either of these clasps. Look for major and total changes not slight ones. I am glad you went with your gut feeling because it is a good'n. I am sorry if I come off to you as though there is a monster under every rock. I believe that collecting should be about fun and sharing.

Jim

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Bilco, on 11August 2012 - 09:29, Said, To what extent can the size and orientation of the stars be used to identify the manufacturer?

To all

The easiest way to remember is by remembering Elvis Presley "There is only one King, the others are all impersonators".

Look at these stars. If I asked you in five minutes to list them with the first clasp being the original clasp and the others being impersonators, could you not do that? If you said no! Then I would ask you did you not also look at the shape of each half moons or the lack of a half moon on each end of the clasp. Look at the spacer bars or lack of spacer bars and also look at the fonts along with looking at the "stars". The first clasp is the authorized issue clasp made by the only one die maker the U.S. Mint. The others are impersonators.

Jim,

These are good points about the differences in the stars, end loops, fonts, and spacers; but we are still no closer to positively identifying the actual manufacturers of these different bar varieties.

Given the passage of time I suspect that the relevant information, if still known or even residing in the manufacturing companies archives somewhere, will not come out.

Regards,

Rob

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Robw,

The manufacturers of three clasps in the middle of the group of five that I posted are still a puzzle. Yet, the three clasp themselves do give us clues:

1) The U.S. would have been these clasps biggest market.

2) There is no import stamp, so most likely they are U.S. made.

3) The time frame when they would have been most popular I believe was 1920 - 1940, as WWII might have slowed it all down.

Have ever build a puzzle? Some times you need to let go and come back finish it on another day. And at other times someone else who is just passing by, see's your puzzle and slip the right piece in to make sense of it all. The beauty of a puzzle is it can be build over and over by many people and each time it can be just as much fun for them as it was for the very first person.

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Good afternoon gentlemen!

And how many bars were fired?

SOMME DEFENSIVE

OISE-AISNE

YPRES-LYS

ST. MIHIEL

Oliver

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Hi Oliver.

I think this can help you. Approximate numbers.

post-7101-125638352423.jpg

Lambert

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Hello to all.

I saw that we had an interesting week here .. I was out and could not keep up ..

I'll calmly read the posts and see if I can contribute.

Regards

Lambert

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Thanks Lambert

Just right.

I bought the medal «CHAMPAIGNE-MARNE», «AISNE-MARNE», «OISE-AISNE»

and here I want to know the number and what parts they can awarded.

Oliver

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To all,

This is a legitimate Victory medal which was made up for the Army and veteran museums. Possibility from a Veterans hall like the American Legion which was formed in 1919. The ring, the planchet, the ribbon, the brooch and all the 19 different clasps are all original. France, Italy, England, Russia, Siberia, Cambrai, Somme Defense, Lys, Aisne, Montdidier-Noyon, Aisne-Marne, Somme-Offense, Oise-Aisne, Ypres-Lys, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, Vittoroi-Venteto and the Defensive Sector. I have seen only two others in 40 + years. One Washington D.C. and one in a military collectors show. I do not know how to make the photo larger sorry.

I do hope you enjoy this rare medal

Edited by johnnymac

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Hello Jim,

What an interesting piece. Is it yours?

Regards,

Rob

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Hi Jim.,

Excellent example! very good ..

I ask the expert ...

What Vic U.S. is harder to find nowadays ?

Lambert

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Yes Rob, I do own this medal. I put it at the top of my collection. Regards and thanks for asking, Jim

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To all,

Here is an interesting us vic with a 'wire loop'. It has a 2.4 mm diameter planchet and not the 3 mm planchet of an 'official type 1' according to the Laslo book.

Of note is the unofficial 'OFFENSIVE SECTOR' bar. Apart from a US group of 4 posted here earlier (post # 94), that was listed on another us militaria forum, and a reference (but no picture) in the Laslo book (2nd Edition page 119) I have seen very few other examples.

Have any of our us collectors seen this variety before?

Regards,

Rob

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