Skip to comments.Calling WWII history buffs.
Posted on 03/25/2012 6:40:17 PM PDT by gop4lyf
I went to a family reunion today and came away with some pictures and an artifact of my granddad's WWII service. If at all possible, I would like some help identifying the following two things...
Secon is a picture of an artifact that he brought back. It appears to be a letter opener welded to some shrapnel of some sort. On the part that looks like a letter opener is what looks to me like an Iron Cross and the letter "W". Any ideas on what it is and what the "W" signifies?
Any help is greatly appreciated!
The Iron Cross 1914-18 has the central letter “ W “ for Wilhelm II?
I am pretty sure the flag is the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Reconnaissance_Battalion
The guidon looks like a cavalry split - half white, half red.
the 1 at the top would designate the unit.
My guess is that this would be 1st Reconnaisance Squadron or Troop.
It wouldn’t be uncommon to have a recon unit attached to any number of manuever formations during that time period.
Armored divisions or infantry divisions, more than likely.
Very interesting. The cross design is different from the German Iron Cross (sharper angles). The UK Military Cross had right angles. I really have no idea but hope someone else knows.
guidon of 1st cav division 1st recon battalion?
Wehrmacht would be a good guess. I’ve seen WWI iron crosses with a W in that position, but not in that style of lettering, In a more traditional serif rather than this seemingly later, stylized and sort of art deco font, and also not on a letter opener.
The debris welded to it would be significant to the American or other unit that made the capture, took the installation or what have you. Significant of an event associated with the Wehrmacht officer, in which he played a role.
Just speculating, but reasonable speculation.
Considering how roughly made this appears (versus the quality of WWI Iron Crosses), I wonder if this was taken from a statue or gravestone. It was only meant to represent an iron cross. It may explain the damage (melted or chiseled off)?
I’m pretty sure he was U.S. Army, and I know that he was at the Normandy invasion and was in Europe until V-E day.
Paging Homer_J_Simpson, the official WWII Historian of Free Republic!
(seems ping-worthy to me...)
forgot to add this:
It does lokk sort of like a stylized finial rather than being made for the purpose of a letter opener, now that you mention it. It’d be more finely crafted for a desk accessory.
The small Iron Cross dagger looks like WWI German trench art made from a piece of shrapnel. Nice.
BINGO, I think we have a winner.
If true, it would be interesting to know how your Grandfather came upon this during WWII.
Could the symbol on the cross be a Sigma instead of an M? Maybe it’s Greek.
OK, so the W would be “Weltkrieg” meaning world war, and the debris was not welded on, the letter opener or dagger was actually made in the trenches by a German soldier, from a shell splinter, just something to pass the time when not under bombardment, then?
I am not so sure about that...I think it is the 1st Cav division recon troop under the recon brigade.....see here....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cavalry_Division_1_November_1940.jpg
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