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ITALY Al Valore Marina - A WW2 U Boat or turkey?!

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Friends,

I was wondering if I could solicit a little help regarding this medal which I have secured on a whim, or possibly on a hunch. Way out of comfort zone, but a project nonetheless.

Named as we see to "Tdv Freiderich Karl Guggenberger" a U-Boat Kapt of some renown. Bought with little research, but yielding  much of course.

Could I pick a few brains, as this medal throws up a number of questions...

1.Not a FG issue, rather it has 800 mark and what I think is likely a maker's cartouche - Milan maybe. Correct for this issue  I wonder, although I am aware there are many variations. Seen 800 on many wartime medals in the past.

2. Wreath on the back is unusual..with half as oak leaves. Ribbon bow at the base not seen before.

3. Engraving crude - possibly done in "field conditions" ie unofficially - if indeed this was awarded named in the first place, (awarded on parade in march 1942. Guggenberger was on active service)

4. TDV - Italian rank of "Tenente di vasello" = Captain. Indicating Italian naming?

Now, this could be a complete turkey, but if a deliberate fake, why make anything like this with so many questionable attributes? Because it's so wrong, might make it right...some might say!

There is a LOT on Guggenberger out there, cannot find anything alluded to in the past about his awards - yet alone this one. So, don't hold back either way on opinions!

best in collecting,

Roy

 

fg3.jpg

fg4.jpg

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4. TDV - Italian rank of "Tenente di vasello" = Captain. Indicating Italian naming?

Not an expert on Italian ranks, but based on French/Spanish equivalents, I would read this as Navy Lieutenant, equivalent to Army Captain.  Is this consistent with Guggenberger's rank at the time of award?  

 

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The .800 mark suggests Germam manufacture. Possibly his piece which he had made when he didn't receive the original from Italy, possibly, as an old unrepentant Austrian Nazi who resided in Minas Gerais once said when asked why he lived in Brazil, "due to the political situation".

Paul

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Paul and Hugh,

Thanks for the replies. This medal is an enigma for sure.

Like you Paul, I think the .800 mark has the signs of a German hand. Italian marks were usually in an oval shape. The Cartouche shape (from what I can glean on the net) is a shape used by Karl Hohmann in Pforzheim in the 1920's-40's. Unfortunately I cannot read into it. Quite why that company would be making this medal is questionable, so I have a hunch it is not an official issue. Having said all that, I have found a further reference to the shape of the Cartouche only being present on Italian made silver post 1968..!

What's more I have found a photo of Guggenberger actually receiving his Al Valore di Marina from the Duke of Aosta, on parade in March 1942, and I have no idea if these medals were named prior to presentation. The rank TDV hints of Italian naming....but on a German-made medal? Hmm! For info, Guggenberger was sunk and then rescued off Brazil in July 1943 by the US, so for all I know all his gongs are at the bottom of the Atlantic! Unless they were safely with his wife at home back in Germany....

Best,

Roy

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From what you say it makes sense that it is a German made private replacement.

Paul 

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Hello,

from what I've been able to find, Guggenberger received the Silver and Bronze "Al Valore Militare" medals and, unless further evidence, no "Al Valore di Marina" ones.

This award has to be considered as a "Lifesaving Medal" (at sea). I fear that this piece is not original and created because of a misunderstanding of the difference between two different italian, "Al Valore" medals (there is a third one, the "Al Valore Civile").

Best wishes,

Enzo (E.L.)

Just as an example of an original "Al Valore di Marina" medal, I would like to post the pictures of the piece awarded to another U-Boot officer, but Austrian: Egon Lerch, the famous officer who died in the attempt to force Venice's Harbour.

His italian award, received some years earlier, for having saved from drowning, the life of an italian worker in Fiume, was found in the wreck of the U-XII, when it was demolished at the Arsenal of Venice. The suspension is broken away, perhaps due to the circumstances of the explosion and sinking.

 

Lerch_1.jpg

Lerch_2.jpg

Lerch_3.jpg

Lerch_4.jpg

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1 hour ago, Elmar Lang said:

Just as an example of an original "Al Valore di Marina" medal, I would like to post the pictures of the piece awarded to another U-Boot officer, but Austrian: Egon Lerch, the famous officer who died in the attempt to force Venice's Harbour.

His italian award, received some years earlier, for having saved from drowning, the life of an italian worker in Fiume, was found in the wreck of the U-XII, when it was demolished at the Arsenal of Venice. The suspension is broken away, perhaps due to the circumstances of the explosion and sinking.

This is very interesting, thank you very much for sharing! Fiume is the Italian name for Croatian city of Rijeka which was part of Austria Hungary back then.

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Fiume was.part of Austria Hingary till 1919 and was their major port when the Italian poet DAnnunzio staged a coup and  it became a free city until 1924 issuing it's own postage stamps. In 1924 il Duce annexed it to Italy until 1943 when the Germans occupied it after the war it became part of Jugoslavia and since 1991 it has been part of Croatia.

Paul

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4 hours ago, Elmar Lang said:

Hello,

from what I've been able to find, Guggenberger received the Silver and Bronze "Al Valore Militare" medals and, unless further evidence, no "Al Valore di Marina" ones.

This award has to be considered as a "Lifesaving Medal" (at sea). I fear that this piece is not original and created because of a misunderstanding of the difference between two different italian, "Al Valore" medals (there is a third one, the "Al Valore Civile").

Best wishes,

Enzo (E.L.)

Just as an example of an original "Al Valore di Marina" medal, I would like to post the pictures of the piece awarded to another U-Boot officer, but Austrian: Egon Lerch, the famous officer who died in the attempt to force Venice's Harbour.

His italian award, received some years earlier, for having saved from drowning, the life of an italian worker in Fiume, was found in the wreck of the U-XII, when it was demolished at the Arsenal of Venice. The suspension is broken away, perhaps due to the circumstances of the explosion and sinking.

 

Lerch_1.jpg

Lerch_2.jpg

Lerch_3.jpg

Lerch_4.jpg

This is definitely something you don´t see often.  Not often. never.  Is this medal in your possession?

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Yes, this piece is in my own collection; sort of a trait d'union between my collection of imperial Austrian orders and decorations and my Country.

Egon Lerch was quite famous in his time.

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