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GermanyBundesmarine Cap Tallies 1955-1990


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File Name: Bundesmarine Cap Tallies 1955-1990

File Submitter: Odulf

File Submitted: 13 Jul 2012

File Category: Germany


This is a copy of a set of photo stats I received from a German fellow collector of cap tallies in the early 1990s. Unfortunately the accompanying correspondence has been lost, so I don’t know if he was the author, but I think that this particular information may be of interest to other collectors of BUNDESMARINE tallies. Because not all users of the GMIC forum can read German, and in particular the used Fraktur script, I have made a crude translation of the most useful information which the author, Mr. Kurt Speckmann, has added.

Many Bundesmarine tallies are sold on the market as dating from the period between 1929 and 1939, therefore chapter 1 of the lists can be of use to collectors of Kriegsmarine also.

As the list has been corrected until about 1991, all later introduced Bundesmarine tallies are not included.



Preface to the 1st edition.

In both the Kaiserliche Marine [1871-1919] and the Reichsmarine [1919-1935] the cap tallies showed Latin printing type script. From 1927 the Union For German Script repeatedly suggested to the Admiralty to use German script for naval cap tallies, successfully after all.

On 14 October 1929 the Admiralty announced that hence forward for new ships ship’s names, cap tallies and lettering should be executed in fat Imperial Gothic [“Fraktur”] script. Thus, collectors should not use the term “Gothic” tallies, but “Fraktur” tallies instead.

The first ship to receive the new type tally was the Kreuzer Karlsruhe [in November 1929]. The script on this tally was 15 mm high, but this was found to be to narrow an it was altered to 20 mm. Later all other older ships received the new style tallies.

Also the Bundesmarine [from 1955] continued the Fraktur type text on the cap tallies.

Unfortunately the general knowledge of the correct use of the Fractur type was not so common as before 1945. The problems were connected to the use of the “long s” [which resembled very much the letter “l” and the “rounded s”. Thus variations of the same ship’s name appeared in different writing.

In the following outline of Bundesmarine cap tallies I have included all known variations.

The Fractur script was removed from the cap tallies in 1959, to be replaced by the Latin script (Beton-antiqua). I would be interested to learn the plausible reason for this. The Netherlands and DDR stuck to the Fractur script, and I hope that the USSR and other nations will never let go of their national script.

On 16 October 1959 the General Inspector of the Bundesmarine agreed to the manufacturing of the new cap tallies, and the old style cap tallies were allowed to be worn until 1 October 1960, and from that day on only the new style.

Because it cannot be exactly determined for individual tallies when they were replaced, I have placed the date ending the wearing of Fractur script tallies on December 1959. Thus the beginning of the new (Latin) script in Breton-antiqua begins in January 1960.

The tallies which were ordered via the Beschaffungsamt [Purchasing-Department] in Koblenz, are always executed in Viscose fibre (Reyon gelb) [yellow rayon]. Thus: all names woven in metal wire (gold) are so-called Canteen tallies, Officers tallies or Bluff tallies.


In the 1st chapter of the next outlines, the tallies from the period between 1955 and 1959 are listed.

All tallies listed are in Fraktur script, inclusive the variations.


In the 2nd chapter, all official post 1960 tallies are listed.

The script used is Breton-Antiqua, in yellow rayon. All these were ordered by the Purchasing-Department in Koblenz, and as such these are all official.


In the 3rd chapter all unofficial are listed, these were not to be worn on duty. These are called:

Kantinenbänder [Canteen tallies]

Offiziersbänder [Officers tallies]

Renommierbänder [bluff/Boast tallies]

Tallies listed were not all observed, there fore it is possible that they were not woven, but part of these realy do exist. It must be stressed that always tallies, so far unknown, may appear.

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