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Winkerflaggen-Abzeichen

Signaller’s Arm Badge

Arm badge of a skilled signaller, or “Abzeichen für die im Gebrauch der Winkerflaggen ausgebildeten Unteroffiziere und Mannschaften” in full, that had to be worn by personnel of signals troops was initially described by the Instruction No.379 of January 27, 1903 (Vorschrift für den Gebrauch der Winkerflaggen). Every signals troop (Signaltrupp) that was raised within ranks of every company consisted of two soldiers under command of a NCO. Their main task was to transmit signals, messages and orders based on Morse code during combat and sentry duty. Signalers used white and red signal flags (Signalflaggen) during daytime depending on weather conditions and lanterns at night. Appearance of signal flags and their exact colours had been regulated by the Instruction No.405 (Vorschrift für den Gebrauch der Signalflaggen) issued on March 29, 1906.

Signaller’s arm badge had to be worn on tunics (Waffenrock) since April 17, 1903. Winkerflaggen-Abzeichen were not apparently worn on overcoats and Litewkas.

The badge was made of a round cloth with a diameter of 8 cm. Two crossed signal flags with yellow flagstaffs of various shapes appear in its centre, white on the left and poppy-red on the right. It’s worth mentioning here that shape of colour cloth varied depending for instance on branch of service, e.g. it could have been square, rectangular and even two-pronged pennant-shaped (for Hussars regiments).

Colour of the cloth base depended on branch of service and was dark blue (Dunkelblau) for standard tunics, light blue (Hellblau) for Bavarian units, dark green (Stahlgrün) for Jäger battalions, red for Hussars regiments and grey-green (Graugrün) for machine gun battalions. When intended for use on field uniform, cloth base was field grey colour (Feldgrau).

Arm badge was worn on the upper right sleeve, but if a signaler was decorated with Emperor’s Shooting Badge or was chosen as a standard bearer and thus was issued with a corresponding badge, the signaller’s badge was to be worn on the upper left sleeve. However photographic evidence shows that such soldiers preferred to wear both badges on right sleeve above each other.

On ending their duty with signals troop soldiers had to remove the badge.

Signaller Arm Badge 1