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Strange marking

Article about: I was just sorting through my discs and came across this one I've always found strange and thought you all might like to see. The obverse is interesting in that it has a very uncommon markin

  1. #1

    Default Strange marking

    I was just sorting through my discs and came across this one I've always found strange and thought you all might like to see. The obverse is interesting in that it has a very uncommon marking listing both an Ersatz and a field unit (which is what always had me thinking some field units had an integral Ersatz section early in the war), and while that's cool- despite some bozo 'cleaning' it with some steel wool (one should never destroy patina)- that's not the weird bit; on the back, in pencil is written a man's name.

    That in itself may not seem strange, but it's written in Sütterlin script- that form of cursive handwriting hasn't been used probably since the 50s; my Dad had to go to my Grandmother to get her to read wartime letters written in Sütterlin since he never learned it in school. Luckily this text is very clear and it names one 'Bodemann, Horst' and I wonder- was he the soldier who carried this disc? Clearly it was worn as the wear on the neck cord holes demosntrates, and it's in good shape and intact, meaning he survived the war; I wonder if perhaps he kept the disc and at some point put his name on it- or he gave it to someone who did.

    The fact that the name is written in Sütterlin would seem to suggest it was written a long time ago, so it's not likely a product of more recent investigation. It's hard to tell if the pencil is on top of the mild oxidation and discolouration on the aluminum or below it, but under magnification it doesn't look to be on top- the dark patches to the right do appear to run up to the pencil line and stop, and the graphite itself is not clean or shiny overall suggesting it's newer; so I doubt it was the disc's first buyer asking the elderly soldier or relative to write the name on for them or anything like that.

    Regardless of the timing, the only logical reason I can see for the name being put on the disc is that it was the wartime owner- so this disc may be a rare example of knowing just who carried a particular Erkennungsmarke...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ohhhhh- pillage then burn...

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Strange marking

    Wow, fascinating piece! Thanks for showing!

  4. #3

    Default Re: Strange marking

    Very nice disc you got there, Matt! Makes for an interesting research project.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Strange marking


    I have a few half disks with the soldiers written name on the back. According to my research it was common for the name to be written when the soldier died as part of the "paperwork" when the report was written. Then the disk would be returned to the family with the other personal items. I have never seen an unbroken disk with the name on the back only half disks. The book from Ulrich of England on ID disks also has this information in it.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Strange marking

    I was singularly unimpressed by the first offering of the author of that book- it had at last as many errors as correct facts- so I'm dubious of its information LOL; I can see the case you describe as being done, but indeed the fact that this disc is whole shows the man didn't die so there has to be another explanation. Of course half a disc was left with a body if buried in the field- perhaps if a man died in a hospital at home there was no need to break the disc and it could still have been returned to the family...
    Ohhhhh- pillage then burn...

  7. #6

    Default Re: Strange marking


    What would you recommend as a good resource book on this subject?

  8. #7

    Default Re: Strange marking

    Well I'm not sure there is such a thing- Erkennungsmarken are so variable in form that a reference book is really only good for a few generalities, and list of KM 'career' codes, LW MOB Nr. codes, known abbreviations and such, etc. Most of the really useful stuff about collecting and recognizing fakes is the kind of stuff we've written about here. Jean Höidal's book is the only other one I know of and it's good, but again just for the basics. Things like understanding the intricacies of the German Ersatzheer system, unit structures, which are vital, are an entire area of their own and most of all it's just about looking at lots, and lots of real and fake discs, which no book can possibly show enough of. For real ones is helpful and just head to ebaY for the fakes LOL Actually the few little stickies I've posted here should help a good deal and searching around for postings on various fora discussing them will do as well.
    Ohhhhh- pillage then burn...

  9. #8

    Default Re: Strange marking

    Nice EK Matt and your right logically particularyu due to the old script it could be the owner of the disc.

    As i understand it a new book is due out in the near future i'll dig out the details,
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  10. #9
    kc1 is online now

    Default Re: Strange marking

    If the disc was created at unit level and the clerk didn't know 320 from Adam he could have written the name on the rear to ensure it went to the right man. It wouldn't have needed to have been a secret, if captured its name rank and serial no.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Strange marking

    Well it's possible that discs were assigned to individuals but pencil wouldn't last on the back when the disc is worn- so the writing did have to be put on after the disc ceased being worn or even handled much for sure.

    People often think that the commander of a unit would be give disc serial number 1, or that the officers got the first discs so low numbers mean officer but that's not the case- there's a noted example of Hauptmann d. R. Hans-Horst Maintz, commander of the II./ I.R. 274 whose disc number was 42- so presumably it was just an alphabetical list.
    Last edited by Matt L; 05-19-2011 at 04:31 PM.
    Ohhhhh- pillage then burn...

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