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Most of the stuff worn by U-Boat crews was regular naval issue. One of the few things ( along with the U-Boat badges and their documents) which were only worn by U-Boat men were the specific cap ribbons.

Here are the training school ribbons. The Unterseebootsabwehrschule designation was a "disguise" to suggest they were being trained in defences against submarines, but this was in fact the first "secret" U-Boat training school.

All U-Boat ribbons range from hard to find up to super rare, none are common

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The flotilla ribbons

The full set-

It was originally intended to number them, hence 1 Unterseebootflotille, but this was soon changed to names, and 1 Flotille became Weddigen Flotilla, 1 Unterseebootflotille 1 was the only numbered ribbon.

Edited by Gordon Williamson
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What you have to watch for primarily are very early Bundesmarine ribbons being passed off as Kriegsmarine. In the first months of the BUndesmarine, they used the same Gothic script font for the lettering. In fact some of the early Bundesmarine ribbons, such as those I've shown here, are even rarer than the Kriegsmarine ones, though not quite as valuable.

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When it comes to out and out fakes there are plenty of these too. Most of the common fakes have an obvious error. Here is a genuine Panzerschiff Deustchland band. Then look at the way the word Panzerschiff is done on the fake. The letter "s" on the fake is shown as a Gothic S , not the correct "stroke" type s.

It has been suggested that both types of S were used on originals. That is true, but there were strict gramatical rules are to where in the word it could appear. NO original bands used the gothic style "s" in the word schiff where the word schiff was the suffix. Same with the word "schule" in e.g. Unterseebootsschule. The s at the end of Unterseeboots is correctly Gothic, but the S that begins the word "Schule" must be the stroke type, so you have both types in the same word, but in the correct places grammatically.

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When it comes to out and out fakes there are plenty of these too. Most of the common fakes have an obvious error. Here is a genuine Panzerschiff Deustchland band. Then look at the way the word Panzerschiff is done on the fake. The letter "s" on the fake is shown as a Gothic S , not the correct "stroke" type s.

It has been suggested that both types of S were used on originals. That is true, but there were strict gramatical rules are to where in the word it could appear. NO original bands used the gothic style "s" in the word schiff where the word schiff was the suffix. Same with the word "schule" in e.g. Unterseebootsschule. The s at the end of Unterseeboots is correctly Gothic, but the S that begins the word "Schule" must be the stroke type, so you have both types in the same word, but in the correct places grammatically.

Gordon,

Why does U-Bootsbegleitschiff have a gothic S in schiff? Should it not be the letter S or have I misunderstood?

Tony

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Here it is. Hope this explains.

the simple rule is that if the letter appears at the end of a word, or a syllable, the Gothic form is used.

This is complicated however by the German use of compound words. What may appear to the English reader to be an ?s? within the body of a word, may be at the end of a part of the composite word. Hence in Torpedobootsflotille, the ?s? is actually the final letter of the word ?Torpedoboots?. Indeed in the older Imperial ribbons many such compound words are split by a double hyphen, so that Torpedobootsflotille would appear Torpodeoboots=Flotille, showing that the ?s? is indeed at the end of a word.

An exception to the rule of the Gothic ?s? being used at the end of a syllable, is when the following syllable also begins with an ?s? or a ?p?, or if there has been an ?e? dropped. ( i.e. the word Unsere is often written with the first ?e? dropped, thus ? unsre,) in which case the Stroke rather than Gothic ?s? would be used. This exception only relates to parts of a syllable, not the components of a compound word, where a Gothic ?s? may precede a Stroke ?s?.

.

In all other instances, where the letter ?s? appears within a word, it is used in the Stroke form, thus Zerst?rer, Linienschiff, Panzerschiff. Schlachtschiff, Versuchsboot, Segelschulschiff, etc.

What confuses the matter even further is the fact that of course both forms of ?s? may appear in the same compound word, hence Unterseebootsflotille ( Unterseeboots=Flotille) uses the Stroke form of ?s? within the word ?Unterseeboots? , but the Gothic form at the end.

It is assumed that when, post-war, ships tally ribbons were made up for crew associations, and the collector market, the firms responsible were those who also wove the early ribbons for the Bundesmarine and that they simply used the same letter forms for their replicas. This when such post-war made ribbons for the Scharnhorst, Graf Spee etc are encountered, they invariably use the Gothic ?s? throughout.

Hopefully this brief explanation of the Grammatical rules will help collectors avoid purchasing these post-war copies or early Bundesmarine tallies in the belief that they are original.

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Hello Gordon,

Thanks for explaining. I think I'll have to read through it a good few times before it sinks in though.

I hope I can soon spot a repro on a market stall although I think 99.9% of them will be repros anyway.

Tony

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