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U.S. Army Brassards & Armbands 1898 to 1918 Part 2


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My guess is that the brassards are the red Orderlies Brassard, which I believe was adopted in 1912. Orderlies Brassards were also mentioned in 1917 uniform regulations:

 

63. BRASSARDS, Red. The authorized mounted orderlies of Infantry and Cavalry regiments, the mounted men assigned as orderlies to brigade and higher commanders, and agents of communication of the Field Artillery and machine-gun companies will, while on duty in that capacity at drill or in the field, wear a red brassard on the right forearm. The brassards will be furnished by the Quartermaster Corps.

 

Special Regulations No. 41, Regulations for the Uniform of the United States Army, 1917, page 29

This red brassard recently offered for sale by Bay State Militaria was listed as a “runners” armband. Could it be an example of the Mounted Orderlies Brassard, and possibly what the messengers depicted in the 369th Infantry Regiment photo are wearing?

post-5143-0-60493200-1416040485.jpg

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Jerseygary,

 

I agree that the graphic style (design and font) of any insignia can be a good way to potentially narrow down the approximate time frame in which something like trench art or insignia, was made or issued.

 

For anyone who collects period insignia, painted helmets, etc., it's worth looking through, and studying the artwork and lettering styles used in various newspapers and magazines from the period in question. The advertisement illustrations and cover art, in most instances would have been the only artistic styles that average makers would be familiar with.

 

I always consider the prevailing style of graphics and advertising art that was popular during any given period when accessing the authenticity of certain handmade or one of a kind pieces. Unfortunately, unless one is an expert in the field, it can also be inconclusive, speculative, and difficult to prove ... but a useful tool nevertheless.

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  • 3 weeks later...

For what it’s worth, forum member jagjetta sent me the following information which may indicate what the color of the M.D.S. brassard was supposed to be. It’s certainly not conclusive, but it makes sense that if the so called “M.D.S. marker” was composed of black letters on an orange background, then the brassards would likely be the same:

 

General Orders No. 159, General HQ, France, Sept. 19, 1918

 

IV. In connection with Par. 3, G.O. No. 60, AEF, 1917, Motor Dispatch Services automobiles will carry a metal marker 6” X 9” on the windshield on the right side of the car, the marker having upon it the letters “M.D.S.” in black on an orange background.

 

By Command of General Pershing,

James W. McAndrew

Chief of Staff

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In this enlarged view, it seems clear to me that these two soldiers are in fact wearing brassards, and that the center messenger does have something sewn onto his upper arm.

 

Any guesses as to what it might be – rank chevron – shoulder patch – other?

 

Hello,

A better picture with US soldiers on it, same unit:

post-154530-0-99672700-1417876275.jpg

 

Thanks

Laurentpost-154530-0-99672700-1417876275.jpg

Thank you

Laurent

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Hello

No info for the armband, may be it was an unofficial piece of fabric for a duty (guard) , a mission (messenger, reco) or a specificity (interpreter, cook, pilot...)

Thanks

laurent

Thank you

Laurent

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Hi Laurent,

 

Thanks for posting the photos of the 93rd Division personnel. You're absolutely right about the brassards worn by the men in the other 93rd Division photo. They could very well have been some sort of field made provisional insignia used for any number of reasons.

 

Jagjetta led me to this photograph on Ebay of another black on orange(?) MDS Brassard worn by medical personnel.

post-5143-0-34890700-1418441438.jpg

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Gold Star Mourning Brassard

Photo No. 119: Gold Star Mourning Brassard: The right hand photo shows a wounded veteran wearing a non-regulation black wool brassard with a pleated middle section, bearing a five-pointed gilt brass or gold star in the center. Wearing this type of brassard indicated the mourning of a son or brother killed in service.

 

 

 

From Popular Mechanics, I don't have the issue date handy; 1917-1918 though.

 

 

goldstararmband.jpg

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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  • 1 month later...

Great article! I have over 200 MP brassards in my collection. They run from the 1914 1st type blue denim up until the 1970s (pre Velcro).

I have a few posted on this forum in the Display section under Army Military Police collection. Check it out. Also some of the images that

you used are in my collection. I have some items that you might like to see. If you send me your e-mail, I send you some photos.

Bob

WANTED TO BUY


Checkpoint Bravo MP brassard

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Most of the following photos of WW I era MP related Brassards were provided by forum member MP25. They are just a fraction of his very impressive Military Police themed collection. Thanks Bob for allowing me to add them to this thread.

 

Photo No. 153: Another example of an early white on blue denim MP brassard. The blue denim brassards which featured only the outline of the initials ‘M’ & ‘P’ are believed to have been the first regulation Army MP brassards. It’s possible that this example is a transition brassard between the early pattern and its replacement which was comprised of solid white initials on a blue wool/felt armband. Beneath it is a curious brown denim brassard that is said to have belonged to Victor A. Mortensen, HQ Company, 134th Infantry Regiment, 34th Division.

post-5143-0-09812200-1422601301.jpg

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Photo No. 155: A white on blue MP Brassard is worn by the MP cradling a nightstick. He is presiding over a group of Doughboys posted to Kelly Field as they peruse the offerings of the camps mobile library. Ever vigilant, he is ready to quell any mayhem that these unruly bookworms may cause.

 

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

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Photo No. 156: Yet another style of the white on blue wool MP Brassard. It is interesting to note how many different lettering styles were used on this style of brassard, and the fact that they were fabricated with and without periods following each initial.

 

Below is the red on black British style MP Brassard that the AEF first borrowed and then copied from the British Army while serving in France.

post-5143-0-78160800-1422601443.jpg

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Photo No. 157: Two more variations of the red on black British style MP Brassard that was associated with the AEF. The lower brassard whose letters bear serifs is thought to be British made. The right hand image of an African American MP was recently offered for sale by Bay State Militaria. The MP Brassard he wears likely features red initials on either a faded black or possibly a dark blue background. Also of interest is the fact that the soldier is wearing a French equipment belt and that his decorated 1916 Automatic Holster hangs from a leather frog that was intended to hold a French bayonet.

 

Doughboy photo courtesy of Bay State Militaria

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Photo No. 158: Numerous photos turn up showing AEF MPs wearing an MP Brassard bearing white rather than red initials. In most period black and white photograph there is no way to reliable determine whether the white initials are on a black British style, or dark blue American style armband. These two examples are both on black armbands; one of which is comprised of white tape and the other appears to have been stenciled. Could it be that white initials were substituted for red because the white initial’s visibility would have been better at night?

post-5143-0-63129800-1422601545.jpg

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Photo No. 161: A better version of the Provost Guard Brassard that was shown in post number 14, on page number 1 of this post. The period photo showing the PG Brassard in use was posted elsewhere on this post by forum member jagetta.

 

Doughboy image courtesy of the John Adam-Graf collection

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Photo No. 162: Apparently the Transportation Police were in no way affiliated with the Army’s Military police. They were in fact under the command of the Motor Transport Corps. The primary duty of the Transportation Police was to provide security and traffic control to motor vehicle convoys within the Theater of Operations. Transportation police were identified as such by a black on red brassard bearing the initial ‘T’ or the abbreviation “Trans.” followed by the word “Police”. Examples of both are shown below.

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Photo No. 165: The Home or State Guard was created on December 22, 1917 to carry out the duties of the National Guard organizations after they had been sworn into federal service. These all volunteer units were comprised primarily of patriotic men who were too old or physically unfit for military service. The photo shows three of the men that made up Company D of the Cincinnati Home Guard. Note the Cincinnati Home Guard badge worn on the left breast, and the unusual rank insignia, presumably for a corporal (left) and a sergeant (right) sewn onto the left sleeve.

 

The War Department and the 1918 Militia Board authorized that organizations not constituted as the National Guard, such as State and Home Guard organizations could adopt any style of cap and collar device provided they did not resemble the insignia currently used by the Army, Navy or Marine Corps. Three such Home Guard collar discs are shown at right, from top to bottom: Home Guard, South Dakota Home Guard, and a generic Honor Guard, Home Guard collar disc.

post-5143-0-70897100-1422601908.jpg

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