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Guest Chip Minx

Polish WWI Insignia

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Pictured here is what I believe to be a shoulder strap from the tunic of a member of Austria's Polish Legion. The eagle is embroidered in gilt bullion wire on a shield of carmine. The strap does have a hole at the upper end for a retaining button. The material, looks to be either horizon blue or the Austrian Hechtgrau/pike grey (a color very similar to horizon blue). Though there were Polish troops serving with both armies, I think this piece is most likely from the Austrian Legion. The eagle on the shoulder straps of the Polish troops in France was white with a red background. Also, the squared off effect of the upper end of the strap is similar to the standard Austro-Hungarian uniform strap.

Can anyone verify or correct my identification? Would this be an officer's, NCO or enlisted example? Any advice would be most appreciated. There is not much reference on this sort of thing.

Chip

post-23-1094422002.jpg

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ID: 2   Posted (edited)

Hi CHip,

Most likely it is from the Polish Army in France as I do not believe the Austrian Polish Legion wore Eagles on their shoulderboards, to the best of my knowledge they wore standard Austro-Hungarian boards. The polish Army in France did. that being said Officers wore silver bullion, gold is new to me.

Polish uniforms are not my strongpoint but I would say Polish Army in France.

Neat item,

Neil

I just went back to check to see if I could find anything actually showing either Austrian Boards from the Polish Legion or Haller's Army sorry, nothing.

Edited by Neil Burns

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Lt Minx's insignia appears to be an officer's shoulder board device for the Polish army in France (late 1918-1920) There are two photographs in Polski mundur wojskowy (by Z Zygulski jun. and H Wielecki, Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, Krakow, 1988) which show similar devices, embroidered in gold wire on red. One is photograph no. 186 (page 238), showing the complete uniform of Gen'l Jozefa Hallera, and the other is photograph no. 187 (page 239), the uniform of a company-grade officer. The eaglets in the photographs cited are on a round or oval background, whereas Lt Minx's is on a shield. The Other Ranks uniforms shown in the same work have plain epaulettes. I also thought there was an article in the French Militaria, but looking through the Index Recapitulatif des Nos 1 a 227 I canna find any mention. Trust this is of some help? PS: The 'Polish' units in the K.u.K. Heer wore the ordinary regulation epaulettes and insignia, as LCOL Burns has pointed out.

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Thanks for the replies. Bert - It sounds like you have that book. Could you post the pictures that you mentioned? As you say, the Polish eagles on French uniforms are on scarlet ovals. This is definitely not an oval and the backing material is carmine, not scarlet.

Chip

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Always happy to oblige a decent fellow. Here (with apologies to Messrs Zygulski et Wielecki) is the photograph of Gen'l Hallera's uniform.

post-23-1094498398.jpg

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And here is the photograph of the company-grade officer's uniform.

post-23-1094498931.jpg

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Bert,

Thank you for the effort that it took to post the two pictures. After seeing them, I still think that my piece might be from the Austrian Polish Legion. Both of the French style uniforms worn by these Polish officers have pointed shoulder straps, whereas mine is squared off. In addition, both pictured examples have oval patches with what appears to be white or silver bullion eagle insignia.

I don't suppose that there is much information available on the Austrian Polish Legion's uniforms.

Chip

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Hi Bert,

Thank you for posting those very nice to see a White Eagle Adrian!

Chip I will double check but I believe rank insignia for the Austrian Polish Legion was the same as the KuK. I agree the board looks more Austrian than French but that could be a result (I'm guessing here) of a former Austrian officer being transferred to a unit formerly of Haller's Army. The early Polish army was not exactly known for it's uniformity!

Again thank you for posting it's a neat item,

Neil

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If the board colour is anything to go by I would also plump for Austrain Grey rather than French Horizon blue. Though the few examples of unifroms i have in bad photos of the time show nothing to help. I have checked the recent Osprey publication of the Austro-Hungarian army uniforms and this is no real help other than it shows the polish legion troops to be having what appears to be Austrian insignia.

To me the insignia seems to be Polish, yet the board colour seems Austro-german grey. Could it be that it is post WW1 and be Polish/Haller insignia on German/Austro uniforms?

If i had to go one way I would say German grey not French Horizon is the key and as such it would be post WW1 or Polish legion!

Its only a guess!!!!

regards

Arm.

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