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KIA Dog Tag from Normandy

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Steering clear of the grave robbing topic (please), I would still like to hear from some tag collectors that can give more info on the type of tags we are looking at, if for example they are correct for the period and properly stamped.

 

I would also like to hear more about this "ridge". First time I have heard of this.

 

And as far as famous units being offered, I would have to say that if I were offered the opportunity to cherry pick a large box of these tags, and if I were solely interested in selling them, I would definitely offer these types of units first. Just sayin....

 

 


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Collecting WWII Armor and Tank Destroyer Items

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These were discussed in quite some detail earlier-- link below.. What appears to look like sand on the two I own is actually dirt. Also, FWIW, the two I own (one from the 9th Div DSC winner mentioned in the appended post and one from a 743rd Tank Battalion Tanker) are just the two-line type tags (i.e.3rd type-- no home address or NOK) issued between July 43 and March 44.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/154841-kia-dog-tag-from-normandy/


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Thanks. I liked that thread. I'm thinking they should be merged.


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Collecting WWII Armor and Tank Destroyer Items

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The Ghost Ridge (named by me actually) is a site OFF the Normandy ABMC land. I think (but am not sure) it was actually first located by the son of one of the cemetary directors. It is (or was) a dump site where all the stuff remianing on the bodies burried in smaller cemetaries were tossed when the bodies were moved and reprocesssed. Yes, In theory the tag should show being nailed to something and either pulled off or burnt.

 

When first buried the bodies were pretty quickly wrapped in a blanket or mattress cover to get them under ground. This often meant in the uniform (and equipment) the guy was killed in. When they were reprocessed for the final burial or shipment home they were exhumed and 'cleaned up'. All of that extra material was removed and dumped. What I find really interesting about this seller is that all manner of things were found in that location like coins (from England) broken watches, pens, bits of equipment fittings, all manner of small items that could be easily left on a body. Seems strange he just has dogtags. And yes, it seems strange that they are in such good shape and yet still dirty. But who knows.

 

Oh, and also there were a number of home address style tags, blowing the myth that they were "all" changed before the guys went to France. (The reason they changed was that the five embossed lines weakened the tag and they bent and broke easier- and that is from a confirmed archives record.).

 

Onen of the more interesting finds was that in theory the GRS people were supposed to bury the body (originally) with a small green glass bottle holding a paper copy of identification. These were hard to get at one point, and so according to one veteran they used empty .50 cal casings and just flattened the end. A number of these .50 cal casings were found at the same site with the remnants of paper in them.

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OK, I just checked my material I obtained from the site. Note that I did not pay anything for this- it was given to me due to my great interest in researching historical stuff like this. If you had been to the site and had a soul you would probably realize why I say this stuff really should note sold (very bad juju) but only given to people who would seriously appreciate it and have worked very hard in their specific related fields.

 

While I have a few of the replacement rectangular metal cross markers used before the final stones were installed, I only have one dog tag. It is a monel tag, and shows, well... just look at it. Now I will also say that some of the brass items- collar disk, coins, etc. were in pretty good shape unlike this- and I left them all as found- covered in a very fine brown dirt, not sand.

 

Yes, it is blurry in some parts- not on purpose, but due to my scanners narrow depth of field, and the bumps of rust and crud on it. Again, this is a Monel tag. I do not have a brass tag, but the brass items I do have are in very nice shape.

 

But for a monel tag? I think you get the idea.

 

GRtag1.jpg

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What is the difference between a dug tag and the American helmets that are dug up? No one objects to the helmets, even ones with holes that must have meant a mortal wound.

 

As for the sand, it looks to be pretty much the same sand that is adhered to the thousands of fake Roman artifacts coming out of Bulgaria for the last 15 years. It would take a Bulgarian faker about a day to figure out how to make and age these and then stick on some sand mixed with glue. Do other minor artifacts found in the area have big clumps of sand stuck to them or just the high dollar tags? If you wash the sand off, there should probably be some notable difference in coloration from that spot and the surrounding metal.


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I agree with you jgawne, very bad juju indeed....hope they can sleep at night. Real or not they pocketed a lot on dead heroes.

Thanks for posting this picture of a known tag! I do not doubt that there are many real tags recovered from this site....what remains in question are the tags on ebay. I guess the verdict is still out on these...but here are some facts I don't like:

 

1. All the names so far are guys listed on the ABMC registry online (none from returned remains)

2. All tags sold belonged to paratroopers, valor awards,tank units etc..."more to come from other units" has yet to be seen.

3. All the information on the ebay tags is available online thru ABMC, Ancestry, and NARA....except for blood type.

4.There is no source cited other than "Someone back in 1949..."

5. Seller has a feedback score of 10....about 90% of which are the tags. (Anyone look at the other items?)

6. The Air Corps tags have similar patterns of "crash damage" (Ripped / sheared tag)

7.The Armor tags have small similar "shrapnel holes"...but no heat damage despite what happens inside a Sherman when hit.

8. All the tags look like they're the same stainless type that are plentiful on the repro market. Monel or Brass tags have yet to be seen.

9. No nail holes in any of them....I've seen original film of Graves registration guys hammering them to wooden crosses.


Afghanistan Vet OEF 10-11 - Engineer Corps US Army.

Getting a medal means two things:

1. Someone saw you do it.

2. You didn't tick off the approval chain.
Seeking 984th Engineer Co (Land Clearance), 36th Engineer Regt/Bde, and Sanitary Corps items from all eras.

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The tags on ebay don't have the same color dirt as the one shown by jgawne.


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Glad you noticed the lack of nail marks on the hole. I was going to bring that up but figured one more hint for fakers.

I can say this guy was a return, and sleeps in a nice cemetery in the US.

 

Now that being said there is a chance these are not ghost ridge tags at all. They may well be from a different site by the cemetery that was found earlier- at some point theaters were removed and replaced by a rectangular metal marker on the wooden cross, then later replaced by the marble cross.

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This is a very emotive topic and one which rightly raises serious emotions with collectors and those who value the sacrifices of our forefathers more than half a century ago.

 

As already said the descriptions of the items raises clear ambiguities around the provenance of the items. The seller clearly does not, or will not divulge the history of the items. For this reason I believe that it would be appropriate to view these items with great suspicion. To do anything else only adds credence and inflated value to an item.

 

Regards,

Simon.



WW2 Battlefield Relics Virtual Museum:

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As member jgawne writes there were hundreds of items of all kinds retrieved from the Ghost Ridge in the 90 and those of you that visited the 'D-Day to V-Day' display in Belgium back in 2010 might recall seeing many of them on display.

But this doesn't mean that no tags or items could have been recovered at the time when the temporary graves were removed and the permament one was installed. As with so many items it's about believers and non-believers.

 

While a lot of people find the sale of items directly connected to the suffering of the fallen of any country sad and inappropriate, it seems there is a market for it and it may be considered not that different from selling uniforms and/or medals and such..

The USMF could take measures in favor or against these sales IF and only IF these were sold on this board, but that is not the case.

Once again I would like to add that the USMF is NOT the Ebay police and hence cannot interfere with the auctions on Ebay or any other site for that matter.

 

Fact is that these are being sold, whether you like it or not. We can go on for many posts about how these may not be real or how sad it is that someone is making money on the memory of these GIs, but in the end it won't really change anything.

 

Finally consider this... Seeing the insane sums these are selling for, I'm convinced that the buyer will at least cherish the tag and in doing so also the memory of the GI behind the name and his endeavour......

 

Johan


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Oh, and for what it's worth...

 

I have an X-file UNKNOWN Tag which does have an extra nail hole, but a Returned Home KIA tag that does not....

 

The former should be featured in an GRS article in the French Militaria Magazine in a couple of months...


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If anyone was so inclined it would be interesting to see the IDPF's for the GI's whose tags are being offered as this might go some way towards explaining whether or not the ebay tags are genuine,for example if the IDPF of John J.Bloggs states that "no tags accompanied remains to cemetery" it would suggest the tags on offer are not the real thing. On the other hand if the tags were on the body most IDPF's will have a typed transcript of the info on the tag,again if the tag in the IDPF is of a different type to the one on offer it would suggest it being a fake.

 

Of course such research could also go some way towards confirming the tags are genuine.


Collecting WWII and pre-war Air Corps items-Unit Histories,Uniforms,Medals and Groupings.

*Seeking Pre-WWII Air Corps Officers and Enlisted Dress Uniform items!*

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Oh, and for what it's worth...

 

I have an X-file UNKNOWN Tag which does have an extra nail hole, but a Returned Home KIA tag that does not....

 

The former should be featured in an GRS article in the French Militaria Magazine in a couple of months...

 

Thank you Johan, for both of your responses. I have to agree with what you say in the former post as well. It would be indeed hoped for that these items are now in the custody of individuals who will guard them with the care and respect they deserve.

 

Btw on a slightly different note, I also have an unknown GRS in my own collection:

http://www.lerenfort....uk/page55N.htm

 

I look forward to reading the article in MM in due course.

 

Regards,

Simon.



WW2 Battlefield Relics Virtual Museum:

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If anyone was so inclined it would be interesting to see the IDPF's for the GI's whose tags are being offered as this might go some way towards explaining whether or not the ebay tags are genuine,for example if the IDPF of John J.Bloggs states that "no tags accompanied remains to cemetery" it would suggest the tags on offer are not the real thing. On the other hand if the tags were on the body most IDPF's will have a typed transcript of the info on the tag,again if the tag in the IDPF is of a different type to the one on offer it would suggest it being a fake.

 

Of course such research could also go some way towards confirming the tags are genuine.

 

Hello M.Rimmer,

Whether or not the dog tags are mentioned in the IDPF also depends on when the remains were discovered. There are plenty of examples where the IDPF makes no mention of the dogtags because the individual has been listed as FOD and the remains not found, or even buried elsewhere as unknown. I would caution using the IDPF as a means of legitimising an item in this case.

 

Regards,

Simon.



WW2 Battlefield Relics Virtual Museum:

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Hello Simon,

 

Thanks for your reply and for raising a very good point which I admit I hadn't considered. I was specifically referring to tags from cemetery "dumps" as this would suggest the remains were found and buried in an ABMC cemetery and the tags from the temporary markers discarded,but as you say if the individual was found later the IDPF does not always detail the tags.

 

I would hope that if a tag was discovered from an individual who is listed as FOD/MIA the US Embassy in the country where it was found would be informed as JPAC maybe interested.

 

Matt.


Collecting WWII and pre-war Air Corps items-Unit Histories,Uniforms,Medals and Groupings.

*Seeking Pre-WWII Air Corps Officers and Enlisted Dress Uniform items!*

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Hello Simon,

 

Thanks for your reply and for raising a very good point which I admit I hadn't considered. I was specifically referring to tags from cemetery "dumps" as this would suggest the remains were found and buried in an ABMC cemetery and the tags from the temporary markers discarded,but as you say if the individual was found later the IDPF does not always detail the tags.

 

I would hope that if a tag was discovered from an individual who is listed as FOD/MIA the US Embassy in the country where it was found would be informed as JPAC maybe interested.

 

Matt.

 

Hi Matt,

Thanks for mentioning your first name.

I realise that you were refering to the items in this thread but thought it prudent to add another caveat. Indeed it is always worth checking with JPAC with regard to discovering a dogtag, if the individual appears to be still missing.

 

Kind Regards,

Simon



WW2 Battlefield Relics Virtual Museum:

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I think it is a very high (almost certain) probability that the tags recently offered on Ebay are not original. Look at the space between the service number and the name of the next of kin. On all of the tags recently offered this spacing is the same as all the other line spacings on the tag. Now look at any other next of kin tag online, ebay, etc.. On every NOK tag I could find the spacing is 2x larger between the service number and the name of the next of kin than the other line spacings. There is no way that such a unique line spacing would occur on such a small sampling of tags.

 

I have 3 KIA NOK tags in my collection that were returned to families in 1947/48. 1 of these tags came from a soldier who is interred in France while the other 2 were returned to the US for reburial. None of these tags have any evidence of being nailed even though they were attached to the temporary grave markers.

 

Regards,

Jason



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I think it is a very high (almost certain) probability that the tags recently offered on Ebay are not original. Look at the space between the service number and the name of the next of kin. On all of the tags recently offered this spacing is the same as all the other line spacings on the tag. Now look at any other next of kin tag online, ebay, etc.. On every NOK tag I could find the spacing is 2x larger between the service number and the name of the next of kin than the other line spacings. There is no way that such a unique line spacing would occur on such a small sampling of tags.

 

I have 3 KIA NOK tags in my collection that were returned to families in 1947/48. 1 of these tags came from a soldier who is interred in France while the other 2 were returned to the US for reburial. None of these tags have any evidence of being nailed even though they were attached to the temporary grave markers.

 

Regards,

Jason

 

Jason,

You are absolutely correct. I checked the six NOK tags I have and they all have a larger gap between the serial number and the NOK. I think these are all faked. Wow!!! Great detective work. There are some people that are out of alot of money!!!

 

Chris


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Here are two of the ebay tags from the seller. I have marked the space where there appears to be a descrepancy.

 

 

ebaytag2.jpg

 

ebaytag.jpg

 

Here is one of my tags. It has a noticeably larger space in between the serial number and the NOK info lines. All my NOK tags (6) are the same as the one pictured here.

 

012-2.jpg


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That is an interesting observation. I'm a newbie tag collector and have quickly learned that the only thing consistent with dog tag numbering/lettering/formats is the inconsistency.


KANSAS ITEMS WANTED - WWII Uniforms, photos, Purple Hearts, etc - TOP DOLLAR PAID!!!!

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Thanks to those who pointed out or confirmed that line spacing issue on the NOK tags that I mentioned in an earlier post on this matter.

I view that as a critical "marker" in the authentticity of these tags. still waiting for a tag "expert" to weigh in on this.

 


JimB

OMSA Member 6642

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Stupid question, I know when I came into the AF my dogtags (un-notched) were stamped one way, and a few years later during a mobility exercise, it was discovered that they we stamped on the wrong side, was told I needed to get a properly stamped set. That said the ones in question with the NOK on them looks to be stamped from one side, while the one that is known to real is stamped from the other side.

 

IE Real one the notch to upper left with the letters inset

Unknown ones the notch to the upper left the letters imbossed

 

Wouldn't they all be stamped the same way since the notch was for aligning them in the machine? Or am I just looking to deep?


Mike in Florida
TSgt, USAF Retired (1986-2008)
Aircrew Life Support

(122X0, 1T1X1, 1P0X1)
"Your Life Is Our Business"

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