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US Combat Infantryman badge

Article about: Together with my son I am building a collection of WW2 militaria. We do this by buying unique objects at international auctions and renowned suppliers in America and Germany. But the hobby s

  1. #1
    hvm
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    Default US Combat Infantryman badge

    Together with my son I am building a collection of WW2 militaria. We do this by buying unique objects at international auctions and renowned suppliers in America and Germany. But the hobby started when we visited Bastogne in the Ardennes last year. It started with a visit to Foy and the 101's foxhole forrest. We also visited all WW2 museums there and were deeply impressed. It is also there that my son bought his first item. A US Combat Infantryman badge (see photo). What we thought was a hefty investment for a small badge (€ 100), but since then the investments together with the enthusiasm have only increased. Bought in the 101'st museum in bastogne. They told us it was a unique item.

    Is there anyone here who can tell us more about this badge? It seems old to me, but related I usually find metal variants or designs in fabric that are much less beautifully made (silver thread embroidery).

    US Combat Infantryman badge

    US Combat Infantryman badge

  2. #2
    MAP
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    Welcome to the forum. I mentioned earlier, I am not well versed in these awards but "in theater" made awards are known. If original I would suspect this to be a post war made piece....I'm just guessing but possibly made in West Germany given the buckram backing and silver bullion embroidery.

    Let's see what others have to say.
    "Please", Thank You" and proper manners appreciated

    My greatest fear is that one day I will die and my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them

    "Don't tell me these are investments if you never intend to sell anything" (Quote: Wife)

  3. #3
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    the first I have ever seen.

  4. #4

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    A very nice Bullion theater made CIB.. I will echo what MAP said that this is possibly a post war made German CIB but it could have been made in any of the liberated countries who tried to rebuild their economy by providing GIs with in country made awards to show gratitude for being liberators but to also bring in commerce to a crippled country.

    It was a little steep for the price but if your son is happy with it then price should not be a concern...

    Smitty

  5. #5
    hvm
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    The conclusion is that it is not an original US award, which was awarded and worn in WW2. A pity, especially since the salesman of the 101st airborne museum in Bastogne told us this was the case. I don't think I'm telling my son just yet.

    Thanks anyway.

    By the way, I still highly recommend this museum is to visit!

  6. #6

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    HVM,

    This is a US award, and many Soldiers wanted to adorn their uniforms with better than what the US Army issued.. This was a common occurrence and in many cases it is still ongoing today.. There are some badges and decorations like the CIB that are awarded by the Army that many Soldiers will swap out with foreign made CIBs (Check out J Balme) a French Maker of US badges.. The CIB and Expert Infantry Badges are very finely detailed, scrolling in the stock of the musket and other details that are missing in the basic US awards.. Many tend to purchase these and wear these on dress uniforms. They also make airborne wings and other US awards..

    I have a friend of mine who is "Lt Fredrick "Moose" Heyliger's grandson. When he graduated from Airborne school he was issued the basic set of jump wings, but his grandfather gave him his set when he was in the 101st (Band of Brothers fame) and the Soldier wore his grandfather's jump wings..

    Have no worries that this is a US based award made by a foreign nation, and once again very desirable..

    Smitty

    On a side note:

    I used to wear a German Made Expert Infantryman's Badge on my uniform as it was better designed than my basic US issued one..

  7. #7
    MAP
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    Quote by hvm View Post
    The conclusion is that it is not an original US award, which was awarded and worn in WW2. A pity, especially since the salesman of the 101st airborne museum in Bastogne told us this was the case. I don't think I'm telling my son just yet.

    Thanks anyway.

    By the way, I still highly recommend this museum is to visit!
    "Theater made" pieces are not unique and are "private purchase" items. These private purchase items are like "Bling". Fancy piece to dress up a uniform

    I think the view is that is "possibly" post war. Remember that this award was only authorized in Nov 1943 and is still currently being awarded. Without direct provenance, it is very hard to tell when awards like this were made and what period they were worn

    So, no, it was not the official actual example originally awarded to a soldier, but as noted above, he probably bought it (along with unit patches and other insignia) to enhance the look of his uniform.

    It is little different than a German soldier buying a bullion made breast eagle or bullion made Pilot award. All privately purchased.

    Given that it is bullion, it is also likely that it was worn by an officer vs and enlisted man...but no way to really tell.

    I can not say if this one is authentic (again, not my strength), but if so, it is a fine award and a desirable item to own.

    Take a look at this B-14 jacket. To a Sgt but adorned with private purchase bullion made wings and patch. It puts this jacket over the top from a collectors perspective!

    8th Air Force B-14 Jacket




    Edit: I took too long to type and Smitty beat me too it
    "Please", Thank You" and proper manners appreciated

    My greatest fear is that one day I will die and my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them

    "Don't tell me these are investments if you never intend to sell anything" (Quote: Wife)

  8. #8
    hvm
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    Thank you both for the extensive info @ Rakkasan187 and @MAP. We can now supplement this information with our documentation.

    See his presentation in the display cabinet here:

    US Combat Infantryman badge

  9. #9

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    Hi Team

    I echo the thoughts of Smitty.

    I'm comfortable to put this in German occupation period 1945-47 period.

    This is based on the use of German material(buckrum) the cloth color field grey and construction.

    This is typical of German tailors businesses and families trying to make money and supplying cloth patches, CIB , chevrons and other US accountrements , using the same materials to supply the Wehrmacht during the war. There was a huge labour supply which benefitted both German and US troops during this period.

    GI's liked to "bling" their service uniforms on the way home due to supply issues as these were not a priority in supply and as Smitty mentioned to look good.

    However in some POE they arrived home they were ordered to remove all unauthorized contraband ie theatre made insignia and illegal supplies.

    GI's had 2 service uniforms , the standard with aiuthorized insignia and the other Blinged up with unauthorized insignia

    A friend of mine , interviewed a WWII MP stationed at POE who recalled seing alumium bins full of removed insignia and contraband to be destroyed!!

    Thankfully we still have uniforms with thetare made patches from the era, now worth a few bucks!!

    Can we see a close up of the 101st patch, it does not look right for the period

    Phill

  10. #10
    hvm
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    Thank you for the detailed information.

    You are correct, the patch is post WW2. It's there to complete the display, until we find a WW2 version. The newspaper is WW2 and about the jump wings pin we are not sure.

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