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The Machinegunner Sharpshooters Badge

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    #16
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    pseudo-expert

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      #17
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        #18
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          #19
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            #20
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              #21
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                #22
                Last one- have fun. I'm going to bed. Oh and Brian, thanks again and give the others a chance but feel free to post your studio shot to help them.

                Don
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                  #23
                  The Myth

                  Don,

                  This discussion has taken place on other forums and the concensus is that these badges were worn at the front. It was more likely that the enemy would have taken the badge from a uniform as a souvenir, than it would have been for a German soldier to have removed it from his own tunic.

                  In another thread, a member tells of his own grandfather, badly wounded and left in no-man's-land, being encountered by two French soldiers. They gave him a drink of water and cut the Totenkopf of the Garde Reserve Pionier Regiment off of his sleeve. So here is a case of a flamethrower, who did not remove his insignia. I think this just helps to reinforce the idea that the men of these units did not give much thought as to what feelings their insignia might arouse.

                  It would be interesting to catalog the attributes of the fake MGSSA insignia, as well as those of the original pieces. I am only aware of four manufacturers that marked their examples. They are C.E. Junker, Falkenburg & Richter, Prothmann & Wobeser and St.Metallw.Fab. W.Mayer - F.Wilhelm. There are also original examples with unmarked backing plates.
                  Paint finishes were either gilt or Feldgrau.

                  Has anyone seen anything else that they consider original?

                  Regards,
                  Chip
                  Last edited by Chip Minx; 12-15-2004, 11:31 PM. Reason: spelling correction

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                    #24
                    I would imagine it would have the effect of "no Return" just like the stories of gunners cahined to their guns. If you are wearing this, you might as well not surrender.

                    Dont forget, these were not guys in a regular infantry company. When Ludendorfs flexible defence system was implemented, these guys were stationed not in the front line but in the checkerboard of hidden machine gun nests and pillboxes behind the first positions. The positions were built to hit the allies by suprise, mostly with flanking fire as soon as they had passed through the first line of defence.

                    The chances of someone saying "oh, okay, you surrender then" would have been pretty minimal to say the least. At least if captured in the heat of combat.

                    I am sure if captured in some other way the wearing of this badge could have been mucho uncomfortable...
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                      #25
                      Chip, do you have any examples of the badges from the makers you listed?
                      Don
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                        #26
                        Hi Chris, I'm sure that immediately after a battle while the blood pressure was still up nasty things did happen but if you could survive those initial minutes your odds of survival were greatly enhanced. People back then were still a pretty decent lot, especially in western Europe. Reading period accounts will usually reveal a mutual respect from both sides for thier adversaries. Most of the HUN bashing, slurs etc... was propoganda spouted by people far to the rear. Look at the examples of truces that would be implemented by the combatants where both sides would leave the trenches and meet in No-Mans Land to talk and exchange cigs, etc... Sure, you had some guys that "hated" the Hun but they were not the majority.
                        Don
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                          #27
                          Originally posted by ddoering
                          Hi Chris, I'm sure that immediately after a battle while the blood pressure was still up nasty things did happen but if you could survive those initial minutes your odds of survival were greatly enhanced. People back then were still a pretty decent lot, especially in western Europe. Reading period accounts will usually reveal a mutual respect from both sides for thier adversaries. Most of the HUN bashing, slurs etc... was propoganda spouted by people far to the rear. Look at the examples of truces that would be implemented by the combatants where both sides would leave the trenches and meet in No-Mans Land to talk and exchange cigs, etc... Sure, you had some guys that "hated" the Hun but they were not the majority.
                          Don
                          Hi,
                          Sure, there were these truces, but it varied very much form sector to sector, and period of the war.
                          But then there were active sectors where raiders took no prisonners and defenders shot even the wounded in front of them.

                          What I was trying to say is, the MGSSA is different from the regular MG comapny. maybe the men are the same, but their place on the battlefield is different.

                          In 1917, in the sectors where it was correctly implemented, an attacking Brit/Frenchie would have to cross no mans land and fight his way through the first line of infantry (where the regular MG companys would be), in a perfectly laid out defence he would then go over a bit of high ground and see what his artillery could not see... untouched barbed wire defences that would channel advancing infantry into killing zones. He would have to advance into these and then be hit from the flanks by hidden machine guns in concrete bunkers, bunkers that in no way could show mercy to a surrendering attacker as they had no way to take POWS.
                          The "defensive battle" would keep the enemy in these killing zones while the Eingreifsdivision prepared for a counter attack. They would then attack and smash the attackers as by this point the attackers would be exhausted, wounded and not in a position where their artillery could help.

                          So just by the nature of their task, the MGSSA were to be found in positions where they could take no POWs, they would mow an advancing enemy down from the side (or even from behind), and they were in a position on the battlefield where the enemy was still in a high stress position...

                          The front line defence could be taken POW or killed rather easliy, with a rolling barrage used inthe 2nd half of the war they were usually trapped in their bunkers by the time the enemy infantry arrived... surrender or a grenade down the steps... but the concrete bunkers in the killing zone... Iwould imagine ittle sodierly empathy there. Added to that, the checkerboard way of setting them up would mean, as you were taking one, 2 others would be shooting at you... no time to be nice there.

                          I think that just from their place on the battlefield there would be little chance of becoming a POW, and before you did you would probably have killed a lot of the guys coming at you... you would have to be really, really persausive to get them to let you live..

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                            #28
                            Feel free to post pics, opinions, guesses etc... guys. (or gals, we do have gals in Imperial don't we?)
                            Don
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                              #29
                              MGSSA Insignia

                              Don,

                              I have two examples. One is unmarked and the other is a C.E.Junker. The others that I mention I have seen and cataloged. I have pictures that I could post, but alas, I am not a full member. Silly rule.

                              Chris,
                              I agree that an MGSSA crew member would most likely be shot on the spot, but not because of the insignia he was wearing, but rather because of the situation as you describe it.

                              I am impressed by your EKI document. Nice EKI documents are hard to find, especially from such interesting units. I have a MGSSA dogtag, Besitzzeugnis for EKII, black wound badge document, a letter with nice MGSSA insignia stamps and a pocket diary (untranslated).

                              Regards,
                              Chip

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                                #30
                                I had hoped for more responses but oh well. On the collage below I have circled the relevant areas that I believe provide the details to identify a "good" badge. You will notice in all the numbered photos that the front leg of the machinegun carriage is thicker than the back one and that the gap in the trail is very small. I beleive all the numbered badges are from the same maker.
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