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Bulgarian Naval Engineer - Radio Operator badge
Old 08-31-2019, 03:55 PM   #1
stray_dog
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Default Bulgarian Naval Engineer - Radio Operator badge

Hi all!

I would like to ask some questions regarding any info about the Bulgarian Naval Engineer - Radio Operator badge. Research looks quite tough -in English language at least...

So far, I know that two (or three?) grades existed, a metal and enamel version for officers and a stamped metal version, which I have seen in bronze and silver.

Are the latter two different versions, for sailors and NCOs, respectively?

What were the award criteria?

Looking at examples offered for sale online, they are referred to as "rare" -and are accordingly priced- but is this the truth?

Regards,
Giorgos
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:06 PM   #2
Lubo
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Hi Giorgos, please post a picture of the award you want to know about!
Just by your description it’s not 100% clear which one you’re talking about, I suspect you mean the ENGINEERS AND SAPPER TROOPS.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:16 PM   #3
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Hi Lubo!

Thank you for your reply! I wanted to avoid posting the badge linked to a hosting site...

I learnt that it actually is the "Engineers and Sapper Troops" badge that you mentioned and that it was awarded to both naval and army units. It was initially -wrongly- identified as in the title of this thread. My example is in bronze for Other Ranks, I have seen the officers' enamel version and also a silver, hollow-back version, otherwise identical to my bronze one, here:

https://gr.pinterest.com/pin/521010250637778034/

I was also told that it was issued between 1923 and 1946 (post-1944 without the royal crown, obviously) and that there is a theory that, if the initials on it are read as "Engineers and Signals Troops", the period should be limited between February 1942 and November 1943. I guess that, given the debate, photographic evidence of the badge in wear must be scarce?

It has also not become really clear to me if it was a specialty badge, issued to every man of such formations, or if it was an award with specific criteria.

And last... what about its rarity? I am not interested in terms of monetary value, but in the ones of cataloging my collection. What I found interesting, was that once I knew what I was looking at, I found four examples being offered online, so maybe it is not that rare, but actually just less known to international collectors than other badges?

Regards,
Giorgos
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:15 PM   #4
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Ok, in order for me to bring some clarity to you and others about this topic we need to start from somewhere.
So, this is your Badge I’m posting here, which is a stamped example in bronze, original, for soldiers (meaning, this is the lowest grade in bronze).
A good question here would be “well, how many grades are there?”, the answer unfortunately is not exactly clear, as the Bulgarian books on the subject were produced in a rather “lazy” manner, with just a figurative description of the badge and no other useful information whatsoever. Not only this, but the types/grades of the badge are also quite unclear. That is of course if you go by the books only
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:43 PM   #5
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Now, the real name of this badge should be (as you’ve said already) “Engineers and Signal Troops” Honorary Award. It was NOT a Specialty/Qualification Award.
This award was established “around” the late 1930s, very early 1940s and continued to be awarded in the very early post war years (with removed/severed crown of course.
The name of the badge was not supposed to be related to SAPPER troops due to the simple reason that there weren’t any, at least officially at the time of establishment of the award. A very good friend of mine is digging through the archives as we speak to sort out what’s known and what not.
This award, just like its better known cousin “The Honorary Award of the Bulgarian Infantry” was not a Specialty award, but awarded to the troops on special occasions.
It was as well awarded to Bulgaria’s AXIS allies, mainly German Soldiers of course.
Most of the award documents are made to foreign recipients, probably because the Bulgarian awardees only got a note at the award section of their military ID. I have a few documents for the Infantry award, none was made to a Bulgarian.
Here is a very rare picture of a Bulgarian awardee, podporuchick (first lieutenant) with a badge which grade is unclear. The picture is dated to Christmas Eve 1944.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:06 PM   #6
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Here, this badge with award document was for sale as a part of a grouping to this same person, it all sold pretty expensive IMO.
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:56 PM   #7
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About the grades:
Here is what the newest book on the subject lists and I’m also adding what’s missing and what doesn’t exist at all.

1. Gold plated with blue enamel, for generals.
About this grade, I’ve never seen it, I don’t think it exists, asked around, no one has seen it. These series of books are notorious for some compilations being made to fill up the bill. Here it’s quite unclear what’s going on.

2. Silver wreath with gold plated other symbols, blue enamel, Officer’s.
This is the grade I show earlier , for officers. I think that this same grade was awarded to generals (if any) and senior officers as well.

!!! Here is the spot for one more variant !!!
This badge is All silver plated, with blue enamel and riveted back plate as the one I posted. This is the true Officer grade badge, don’t have a picture of it for now (soon will).

3. Bronze wreath, with gold plated other symbols for NCOs.

!!! After that, comes another one, not described in the book as well !!! It’s the same like the bronze grade listed in N4 (like yours), but silver plated (hollow stamped, no enamel), don’t have a picture of it, but have seen it.

4. Bronze grade, hollow stamped (like yours, soldier’s grade)

About prices:
Bronze grade is the easiest to find (beware fakes of this grade exist), reasonable price for it would be 40-75$
The one listed as N2 was offered to me once for 300$, it’s quite rare.

Hope I was of some help!
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Last edited by Lubo; 09-11-2019 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:55 AM   #8
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Lubo, thank you so much for your very detailed descriptions and your time! I really appreciate it!

From the award document you posted, the connection to Signals ("Nachrichten") troops is clear beyond any doubt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lubo View Post
About the grades:

3. Bronze wreath, with gold plated other symbols for NCOs.

!!! After that, comes another one, not described in the book as well !!! It’s the same like the bronze grade listed in N4 (like yours), but silver plated (hollow stamped, no enamel), don’t have a picture of it, but have seen it.
The first badge you posted is actually this one. Silver plated, hollow stamped, no enamel. I have seen it currently on offer on ebay.

I have posted mine on my website, but I will have to change the related info. It looks like mine has had holes drilled on it, so that it could be worn sewn on a uniform, since the suspension pin or screwback plate is missing.

https://ww2militaria.weebly.com/other-axis.html

Having mentioned fakes, do you think I might have been burnt? I have very little experience in Bulgarian militaria, but given the level of detail on the obverse, perfectly in line with the stamped reverse and the general feel and look of the metal, I felt pretty comfortable with it. Was I right?

Thanks again for everything!

Regards,
Giorgos
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lubo View Post
A very good friend of mine is digging through the archives as we speak to sort out what’s known and what not.
I know how time-consuming and tiring this can be, I 've been doing this for several Greek awards. Mistakes, misconceptions and dark areas are also very common in that field, but the results are very rewarding, so I wish him luck and success!

Giorgos
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:42 PM   #10
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Here are some nice images of #3 badge.
Also front and back of the more common BRONZE hollow stamped version.
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