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Insigna de conducător de tancuri brevetat

Qualified tank driver badge

The badge was instituted on April 19, 1920 by a Royal Decree No.1629 in one class only and was issued to qualified tank drivers – officers and other ranks – who “demonstrated detailed knowledge of the equipment and had driving and handling skills”.

Qualified tank driver badges were awarded according to results of a proficiency test carried out in armored units.

Occasionally it was awarded to German tank personnel as an honorary badge to commemorate joint military operations.

It had a shape of an oval laurel wreath with a superimposed emblem of a Renault FT tank.

French Renault FT was the first stock light tank that participated in the WWI and was used later not only by French but by Entente allies as well. Mass production started in 1917 and initially it was referred to as “A Renault FT armored car with tracks, Model 1917” (Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917).

The first Romanian armed unit, Batalionul Carelor de Luptă, was raised in 1919 and was equipped with 76 Renault FT tanks purchased from France. Of these, 48 tanks were equipped with 37 mm Puteaux cannon and the remaining 28 with 8 mm Hotchkiss machine gun. Tank crew consisted of driver and commander who operated arms of the rotating turret.

After the WWII broke out FT tanks formed Batalionul Carelor de Luptă FT, an independent unit responsible for security and training missions. They were mainly used to protect cities and important industrial centers in Romania, e.g. Bucharest, Ploieşti, Sibiu and Reşiţa and after the coup of August 23, 1944, tanks broke down German resistance in those areas. In February 1945 the Soviet army seized all tanks of the Romanian Army.

Qualified tank driver badge had to be worn on the left breast pocket but photographic evidence shows that the regulation was often disregarded and the badge was worn depending on holder’s preferences. Sometimes it was attached extremely high to the left side of a tunic, i.e. above a pocket and sometimes even to the right breast pocket.

Pinback badge of the same design was worn on tank crew personnel black berets as a distinctive insignia of elite units.

Qualified tank driver badge measuring 51x41 mm approximately was made of bronze or tombac and had a vertical pin and catching hook soldered to its reverse. Several patterns of the badge are known to exist as it was produced by various manufacturers.

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 tank badge