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Well, they might have changed the requirements later (I have seen no proof of that), but when this badge was instituted in 1916 it was specifically for MGSS formations.


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I here you Chip but the photographic record doesn't support that. It would have been just as easy to provide the badge to all the soldiers in the unit as it was to supply them with anything else. And its not like they had a butt load of uniforms with them. I look at armies today and you can see the same thing. Look at the US Army for example. We started Ranger School for the Rangers, Air Assualt School for the 101st, Airborne for the Airborne etc... and each has thier specific qualification badge. Once those units were filled with qualified guys the schools were opened up to others because they are go to know skills. Why wouldn't the germans do the same? They had machineguns along the whole front and having specially trained subject matter experts in thier use would have made sense. What commander wouldn't want to have his guys trained?

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So, are you saying that any machine gunner that had some sort of training beyond the basic MG training would get this badge? OK, I can see that as a theory. I'm not saying that this idea is not possible, I am saying that I have never seen or heard of anything from the period that supports it thus far.

What in the photographic record shows that soldiers other than those of MGSS units are wearing this badge? I have seen photos of training schools with the instructors wearing the badges and the students not. I have also seen pictures of MGSS units where all of the menbers are not wearing the badge. I don't think I have ever seen anything that specifically has men from a regimental MG company wearing the badge and explains why they are doing so. Perhaps Chris' photo could shed some light on the subject. I'm willing to learn something new, but I am from the "Show Me" state. :)

Best regards,


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OK, this is looking more like something is going on that I don't understand. So Chris, why do you think some of these men are wearing the badge? Obviously, this is not a MGSSA. So what are the requirements for wearing the badge? When did the original intent of the badge change or was this possible from the beginning? I think I know more than I did before by having seen this photo. It still leaves unanswered questions. Perhaps Glenn can pick something out of the A.K.O.s?

Kraus says, "From January 1916 onwards, experienced soldiers were trained as machine gun marksmen to be deployed in army reserve units..." He goes on to say that in the autumn of 1916 these 200 marksmen units were formed into the MGSSA. So it sounds like these marksmen could have gotten the badge in the period between its introduction in February of 1916 and the establishment of the MGSSA in the Fall. This would mean that there were men in these small marksmen units, serving with the reserves before the establishment of the Abteilungs that could have been wearing this badge.

Chris, is there a date on your photo?


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it is January 1918.

Here is a thought...

Some guys qualified through the REAL machine gun schools (D?beritz, Rozoy off the top of my head)

The A.O.K. ran their own training courses for the Regts under their command.

And the regts attached people to M.G.K. that carried water and munitions and what have you (ie. not all MGK personnel would have been trained M-gunners).

In this photo there are MAYBE, qualified machine gunners (with the badge) and the rest of the company that carry the heavy ammunition, the hand grenades and bottles of beer ;-)

The guys on the photo with the badge all seem to be pretty proud of it and do their best to have it seen on the photo.

The "Elite" MGSSA were formed in late 1916 it I remember correctly (The Rozoy school"), but of experienced machine gunners, who would surely not have been transfered en masse into a Reserve regt MG Komp?

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A funny thing is...

I have the 1917 Prussian, 1918 Saxon and 1918 Bavarian Training manuals for MG08 companies. They have sections on medals, uniforms and distinctive badges (as well as tactics, weapons etc) included are badges for musicians, flag carriers, waffenmeister, pilots....

In none does it mention the MG badge.

Does anyone know the exact date they were introduced and where the regulations can be found?

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Hi just to give some new life to this old thread I wonder how many MGSS units where there?

I got a copy of an old German document named "Maschinengewehr Scarftschutzen in Felde 1916-18"

in its the story about MGSS Abt 54.

I writes about MGSS nr 94,141 and 198 that formed MGSS Abt54 late 1916

The MGSS 54 Abt lost 76 KIA 133 Wounded and 70 POW during 1916-18 out of 840 Officers and NCO/privates

And I thought to show some pics of the MGSS Badge in wear from my collection.


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