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1st army patch ID


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Can anyone help me identify this 1st Army patch? I have seen it noted as the 3rd Pioneer Infantry Regiment - is that correct, or......? Thank you for any help you can provide. All the best,

 

mccooper

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I've only seen one loose 1st Army shoulder patch like that listed as "1st Army, Pioneer Infantry".

 

However, I've seen four like that - two loose and two on service coats, both with Ordnance collar discs, listed as "1st Army, 3rd Heavy Ordnance Repair Shop" ... three of which are shown below. Both the left and right hand insignia were on service coats and the center patch was loose.

 

Because of the large artillery projectile and the Ordnance discs, I'm inclined to think that the insignia represents 1st Army, 3rd Heavy Ordnance Repair Shop and that "1st Pioneer Infantry" may not be correct.

 

The next photo shows the two 1st Army shoulder patches that I have which were labeled as "1st Army, Pioneer Infantry" - one with the letter 'P', which to me, seems logical, and one with the large artillery shell, which doesn't seem logical?

 

The period photo depicts a soldier from the 1st Army, 3rd Pioneer Infantry Regiment. He is clearly wearing an infantry disc with the letter 'P' superimposed over the crossed rifles and the numeral '3' on his overseas cap.

 

The shoulder insignia however, is composed of the 1st Army 'A' logo with what appears to be crossed axes superimposed on top of the 'A'. Just below the 'A' is a geometric shape that could be either a shell, a rectangle or an oblong. Any guesses?

 

Somewhere I have a photo of a 1st Army patch with an oblong in the shape of a race-track oval beneath the 'A', but it's not where it should be so I cannot give an ID it at the moment. It also seems that I've seen a 1st Army patch with a rectangular shape beneath the 'A', but right now I can't say what that represents either.

 

After all of that, I'm sticking with 3rd Heavy Ordnance Repair Shop because it makes the most sense to me, but I can adjust if it turns out to be something else, like Pioneer Infantry ... Hopefully, someone else will know?

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Nerd-

 

The collar disc is a generic artillery one. The seller assumed this uniform to be trench mortar, but told me that he had a grouping with uniform ID'ed as 3rd Heavy Ordnance Repair Shop. He did not have it with him, so I will try to locate him and see what that one looks like; his brief description sounded a bit like the ARS patch shown below, except with a "3" instead of the flaming bomb. However, that is strictly circumstantial until - and if - I can view that uniform. I went to Dalessandro's book first; that is where I found the Pioneer ID. I will start deeper digging and keep the Forum posted if I learn anything else useful. In the meantime, heavy repair sounds very feasible. Thank you for your always knowledgeable replies. This is a great hobby/ongoing history class.

 

Mccooper

 

 

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I found the 1st Army insignia with a racetrack oval under the 'A'. It was right where it should have been, but it turned out to be a period photo, not a photo of the insignia.

 

The photo was sold by Bay State Militaria, but for some reason, I didn't label what the insignia represented. Due to its poor resolution, I can't say with any degree of certainty what the officer's collar insignia is, but it looks like artillery to me?

 

Also, since we're talking about 1st Army and Ordnance, I thought I'd post the only images of 1st Army insignia bearing an Ordnance Department flaming grenade that I've downloaded.

 

Mccooper, if you do come across any answers in respect to 1st Army pioneer infantry vs ordnance repair, etc. please let us know.

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Nerd-

 

Found a 2014 post on the Forum with a photo of a helmet with this design (see below). It was conjectured to be trench mortar or artillery park. However, the response indicated that Keller's book United States Army Shoulder Patches: Army Groups, Armies and Corps on page 31 identifies this patch as being 3rd Pioneers, same as the Dalessandro ID. The RPPC pic you posted was part of that response. He states further that other Pioneer units might have used that SSI, but only the 3rd had been ID'ed through photos. I am accepting that ID for my inventory description of this acquisition, but will continue to look. The 1st Army patches are a real story, aren't they? Thanks again for your help, and all the best,

 

mccooper

 

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^ Pulled that helmet out of an attic myself and still have it sitting on the shelf at home!

 

I also have a yardlong for one of the Companies of the 3rd Pioneers, a handful of the gents are wearing the A with arty shell SSI. If I have the time this evening I'll pull it out and take a quick picture.

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All of the 1st Army insignia are supposedly defined in something called "Memorandum 45". If anyone can locate that, it's probably the Rosetta Stone for understanding what's what.

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Thanks for the update Mccooper and thanks as well to Austin O. for confirming that the shell beneath the 'A' was indeed used by the 1st Army's, 3rd Pioneer Infantry Regiment. Photos of the men wearing that insignia would be nice however.

 

Memorandum 45, if a copy of that turned up it would probably clear up a lot of mysteries in respect to 1st Army shoulder insignia.

 

I still have three questions though ...

 

1. Was that shoulder patch design exclusive to the 3rd Pioneer Infantry or could it also have been used by the 3rd Heavy Ordnance Repair Shop as suggested, or possibly other 1st Army organizations?

 

2. Why the design of a large artillery shell for the 3rd Pioneer Infantry Regiment?

 

3. Wouldn't Artillery collar brass, although not impossible, be unusual for a an Infantry or Pioneer Infantry Regiment? I don't have the tables and organization for a Pioneer Infantry Regiment handy, but I assume it had a 3 inch trench mortar battery just like regular infantry regiments did. However, generally the TM battery's personnel were drawn from the infantry ranks and trained in the use of that weapon. Wouldn't most wear infantry or TM collar brass?

 

PS, I'm not disputing the information put forth, I'm just wondering.

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Hi, Since the ID is from us, I thought I should chime in with our evidence. Firstly, an identified group from PFC Charles W. Olson. As you can see, his uniform has an Infantry PFC chevron, Infantry collar brass, the "US 3" disc and the patch in question.

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And the back which seals it in my opinion. We've observed several other uniforms in the "US 3" disc and the First Army with shell below. They have all had one or two "US 3" discs on the collar. We have another unidentified grouping that has two "US 3" discs and the embroidered on felt patch.

 

As to other units using this exact patch I cannot say. In our collection, we have a uniform- First Army with the horizontal shell and Ordnance bomb. That coat has Ordnance Brass.

 

Pioneer Infantry Regiments were huge, around 4,000 soldiers. Could there have been other branch collar brass used by the unit? possibly, but I have no evidence to support that. Part of putting books together is how you are limited about what you can produce (print) as evidence. You can't go on and on. With the format of the Schiffer books, it was get to the point and move on.

 

 

Hope this clears things up.

 

Bill

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Thank you Bill and Austin O. I think we can all agree now that the "A' with a large shell beneath it is 3rd Pioneer Infantry Regiment ... case closed.

 

I'll probably never know, but I'd still like to know the story about why they chose an artillery projectile as their logo?

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My thanks to all who have responded to my inquiry. I am relatively new to the wonderful field of WWI uniform collecting, and appreciate the awesome depth of knowledge to found on the Forum,and the willingness of its members to share information. I knew little of the pioneer infantry prior to acquiring this piece, and am doubly pleased to now own it, as your contributions have expanded my historical knowledge and increased my enthusiasm in owning a small piece of that history. Thank you again, and all the best,

 

mccooper

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Has anyone checked the assignments of the 3d Pioneer Infantry? Could the unit have been attached to the Ordnance unit and therefore wear the SSI?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have also seen the shell used by ordnance reclamation/salvage units, and I wonder if that might be the service included in the 3rd Pioneer Infantry's assignment? Has anyone ever seen the Field Bulletin which detailed supposedly all the insignia used by First Army assigned units. That Rosetta Stone would inspire us as historians to try to "collect them all!" as we saw on TV in the '60's when we were growing up!

 

David

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Forum member hist3891 shared the 3rd Pioneer's unit history with me last year, still have it in PDF form and have attached the pertinent portion here. Please note the highlighted paragraph.

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This is a cool unit history and explains many details. These guys played an important part in the final offensive and the associated earlier end of the war!! The quote from the French officer was especially praiseworthy. It's also impressive that they destroyed that much ordnance at the end of the war - probably about a third to half of it was gas munitions, and there were no acute injuries! This story goes great with the uniform group to save their history for posterity!

 

David

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