WW1 / WW2 / 20th Century

352 items found
A Third Reich, Kriegsmarine, 6. Schiffsstammabteilung Der Ostsee Training Crew Recruits Baltic Command

A Third Reich, Kriegsmarine, 6. Schiffsstammabteilung Der Ostsee Training Crew Recruits Baltic Command

A very impressive German, Kriegsmarine cap tally from the 1930's and WW2. Photo in the gallery of the Schiffsstammabteilung Der Ostsee officers and men.

The tally on a sailor's cap is a ribbon usually bearing the name of a ship or some other establishment to which they belong.

Practice varies with each navy, though a conventional tally is black, with a gold or yellow inscription. The inscription may be simply a ship's name (e.g. "H.M.A.S. ARRERNTE"), the name of the navy ("MARINE NATIONALE") or a longer name such as "Red Banner Baltic Fleet" ("КРАСНОЗНАМЕН. БАЛТ. ФЛОТ"). During World War II, the ship's name would often be omitted from the tall—leaving just "H.M.A.S", for example—as a precautionary measure against espionage.

Likewise, the manner a tally is fastened onto the cap varies with each navy. For example, the British tie it into a bow on the left side; the Germans and Russians tie it at the back, leaving behind a pair of streamers; while the French stitch it onto the cap like an ordinary cap band.

Occasionally, the tally's colour may vary from the usual black, such as the Ribbon of Saint George tallies used in the Soviet and Russian navies to denote Guards units.  read more

Code: 19855

95.00 GBP

A Superb French Bacchi Fusilier-Marins Cap.

A Superb French Bacchi Fusilier-Marins Cap.

As the crews of the ships lacked personnel trained for fighting on land, the imperial decree of 5 June 1856 created the specialisation of marin fusilier. The Fusiliers-Marins was initially composed of sailors and naval officers who were sent for special infantry training in Lorient in order to form the marine detachments aboard ships and conduct small scale landings. This was not the first time that the French had tried this approach. Before the First Republic, the Corps royal de l'infanterie de la marine had been superseded by the Corps royal de canonniers-matelots on 1 January 1786.

These troops were notably engaged during the war of 1870 and the defence of Paris. Two battalions of Fusiliers-Marins, under the respective commands of capitaines de frégate Laguerre and de Beaumont, took part in the Tonkin campaign as part of the Tonkin Expeditionary Corps, distinguishing themselves at Son Tay and Bac Ninh. In 1900 they participated in the fighting during the Boxer Rebellion and it was on the same year that the fusiliers were finally confirmed as part of the naval service as their counterparts in the troupes de marine (troupes coloniales) moved on to the Army via the War Ministry.
In World War I, their famous defense in 1914 of Diksmude in the Battle of the Yser stands out. They also served at the Dardanelles and in Macedonia.

The fusiliers-marins were busy studying amphibious warfare, testing experimental landing craft and taking part in exercices combinés from the late 1920s until the mid-1930s.

In World War II, their most famous battles were Bir Hakeim and Normandy. World War II Fusiliers-Marins units included the 1er Regiment de Fusiliers-Marins de Reconnaissance which served in the 1st Free French Division (1er DFL), the Régiment Blindé de Fusiliers Marins (RBFM) of the 2nd Armoured Division and the 1er Bataillon de Fusiliers Marins Commandos (1er BFMC) who served in 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando. Today's Commandos Marine are drawn exclusively from the ranks of the Fusiliers-Marins after passing rigorous selection.

In Indochina after World War II, the French Navy and Fusiliers-Marins created the famous riverine warfare units called divisions navales d'assaut (naval assault divisions), commonly referred to as dinassauts. The Demi-Brigade de Fusiliers-Marins (DBFM) which included the Bataillon d'Intervention de Fusiliers-Marins (BIFM) served in Algeria.  read more

Code: 24625


A Near Mint Early WW2 Coldstream Guards 'Battle Honour' Wilkinson Officer's Sword of The Household Division, The King's Guard, With Fine FS Scabbard

A Near Mint Early WW2 Coldstream Guards 'Battle Honour' Wilkinson Officer's Sword of The Household Division, The King's Guard, With Fine FS Scabbard

An absolute historical beauty, from a WW2, British Expeditionary Force serving officer, with it's original frog. Commissioned from Wilkinson's by it's owner in early-mid 1939. Deluxe grade with the regiments battle honours, up to 1918, in high grade etched detailing, within scrolls down the length of both sides of the blade. Near mint condition and perfectly serviceable for a serving officer today. The Coldstream Guards is an elite infantry regiment of the British Army. It is the most senior regiment of the Guards Division and, as such, is the most senior regiment of infantry. During the Second World War the regiment was expanded to six service battalions, with the re-raising of the 4th Battalion, and the establishment of the 5th and 6th Battalions. When the Second World War began, the 1st and 2nd battalions of The Coldstream Guards were part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France; whilst the 3rd Battalion was on overseas service in the Middle East. Additional 4th and 5th battalions were also formed for the duration of the war. They fought extensively, as part of the Guards Armoured Division, in North Africa and Europe as dismounted infantry. The 4th battalion first became a motorized battalion in 1940 and then an armoured battalion in 1943. the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, and were part of the 3rd Infantry Division, led by Major General Bernard Law Montgomery. As the BEF was pushed back by the German blitzkrieg during the battles of France and Dunkirk, these battalions played a considerable role in maintaining the British Army's reputation during the withdrawal phase of the campaign before being themselves evacuated from Dunkirk. After this they returned to the United Kingdom where they undertook defensive duties in anticipation of a possible German invasion. They fought extensively in North Africa and Europe as dismounted infantry and the 1st battalion in the Guards Armoured Division. The 4th battalion first became a motorized battalion in 1940 and then an armoured battalion in 1943. The 4th and 5th served as part of the Guards Armoured Division. Landing in Normandy on 26 June 1944, the Guards were soon heading to the Caen region as part of VIII Corp, British Second Army, 21st Army Group. Caen, which was supposed to have fallen to the British on D-Day, still stood as a German stronghold. Caen was a key objective in the liberation of France as it was cantered on dry open plains bordered by Vimont to the east. Capturing Caen would be key to capturing Paris.
Operation Goodwood

The Guards, along with the 11th and 7th Armoured divisions endeavoured to take Caen through Operation Goodwood, which commenced 18 July 1944. The Guards were to penetrate German defences to the east of Caen, cut the Caen-Vimont road at Cagny and continue down to Vimont after an intense period of bombing. After Vimont, it was to join the assault on Bourgebus Ridge with the 11th and 7th Armoured to dig out the German defenders overlooking the city.

The aerial bombing was less effective than hoped on the first day. It missed many of the dug in defenders south of Caen and in Cagny and Emieville, east of Caen. These three defensive points were on the Guards? route and the fast attack that was intended bogged down.
Operation Goodwood
The Guards division alone lost 60 tanks to hidden 8.8cm AA guns of the 21. Panzerdivision around Cagny as well as the few remaining Tigers of the 503. Schwere Panzerabteilung near Emieville. Also, the advance of the three armoured divisions was hindered by a counter-attack by Kampfgruppe Hitlerjugend. Luckily, infantry losses were low and the losses in tanks were replaceable from the constant supply arriving on the beaches.
Guards Armoured Division infantry cross a wooden bridge
By 19 July, the Guards were able to carry on towards the Bourgebus Ridge to assist elements of the 11th and 7th Armoured in digging out the German defenders. However, the Germans held out throughout the operation, though not without losses. The outcome of Goodwood was somewhat in question with the British and Canadian divisions gaining ground, but many of the German defences remaining intact and quite effective. Caen fell within a few days. The real victory of Goodwood was it convinced the Germans that the major breakthrough attempts would be in and around Caen and not by the Americans in Operation Cobra. On 1 August, the Guards were called up to continue the rapid advance that the 11th Armoured had created against the two German infantry divisions (326. and 276.). The next two weeks would see intense bocage fighting as the Germans, reinforced with the 21. Panzer, 1., 9. and 10. SS-Panzerdivisions, fought for every mile of French ground. By 15 August, the German 7th Army began to withdraw only to be caught in the infamous Falaise Pocket. After their action in Normandy, the Guards went on to liberate Brussels. The British surprised the German garrison as the 5th Guards Armoured Brigade and the 32nd Guards Infantry Brigade advanced simultaneously into the capital, much to the delight of the locals. However, the ensuing celebration slowed the Guards? advance and allowed many of the German units to retreat and regroup for the later defence along the Siegfried Line. The British 1st Airborne Division eventually withdrew from the Arnhem area having suffered roughly 8,000 casualties. The Guards Armoured Division came within a mile of reaching their lines, but was unable to push through the withering German defence.
The pressure that was exerted on not only their own line of advance, but also from all sides of the offensive, requiring them to help the American airborne hold their gains to the south.

The Guards Armoured Division saw additional action in early 1945 as they advanced into the German hinterland. Crossing the Rhine River, they found themselves assaulting the ?Siegfriend Line? with the 51st Highland Division. They then pushed on toward Lindel and Bremen under constant harassing attacks by the German 1st Parachute Army among others.

Late April saw many more attacks by the Germans as the defenders either surrendered or became more desperate in their counter-attacks. Finally, on 5 May, the German surrender was announced and the Guards went on to disarmament duties in Germany, giving up their tanks for good. Photo in the gallery of Lieutenant Robert Boscawen (March 17, 1923- ) left with radiophones, commander of 2 Troop, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, Guards Armoured Division, XXX Corps, in a Sherman Firefly IC Hybrid, one of the very few Allied Tanks of WW2 with the capability of destroying the infamous German Tigers  read more

Code: 22816

1550.00 GBP

WW1 Ottway Naval Gunsight Telescope V.P 5 to 15,. Made by W Ottway & Co, Ealing

WW1 Ottway Naval Gunsight Telescope V.P 5 to 15,. Made by W Ottway & Co, Ealing

As used on the Dreadnought class battleships.
This amazing looking scientific instrument is a 1913 WW1 Ottway Military Gunsight Telescope V.P 5 to 15,. Made by W Ottway & Co, Ealing, 6 kilos, a noted high quality manufacturer of optical instruments.

On the gun deck of the battleship it would be securely mounted accordingly. Jolly good optics.

Composed of, predominantly, brass and its very heavy! This type of gunsight was often used on the gun turrets of British Royal Navy ships, including the capital ships the “Dreadnought.” The small additional viewing site {shown in position and separate in the photos} affixes on the top is lacking its small mounting screws.  read more

Code: 24675

245.00 GBP

German DRL Award Badge

German DRL Award Badge

German Third Reich DRL Sports Badge.
DRL 1937 issue. [Deutsches Reichsabzeichen fu Liebsubungen]. Hitler considered this the one award all German's should have. The DRL Sports Badge Replaced the DRA Sports Badge in 1937. The difference being the addition of a Swastika. To qualify for the Bronze grade a men or women had to be between the ages of 18 and 32. They also had to past all 5 parts of a rigorous physical test within a 12 month period to qualify for the Bronze Grade. The 5 physical tests were in Swimming, Jumping, Running, Weight Throwing and Speed. The Speed Test for men consisted of running 10,911 yards in 50 minutes, or swim 1,091 yards in 29 minutes or cycle 12.5 miles in 45 minutes. Part of a very fine and significant collection of German medals and awards we were most fortunate to acquire. Both Heinrich Himmler Gestapo Chief, and Reinhard Heidrich wore his DRL sports award badge with his SD uniform [see photograph]. DRGM mark with number, and maker marked by Wernstein of Jena.  read more

Code: 22376

110.00 GBP

An Original, Patriotic War Period Infantryman’s, Red Army Russian Service Belt From A WW2 Veteran

An Original, Patriotic War Period Infantryman’s, Red Army Russian Service Belt From A WW2 Veteran

Just acquired from it's original owner who served in the USSR's Red army in WW2 and in the early Cold War Era. This was his Red Star service belt that he wore, and another belt we show in the gallery was from his comrade who served in the USSR navy [now sold]. With it's original leather belt. A most scarce original example straight from it's original owner. The Red Workers' and Peasants' Army was the name given to the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and from 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It was established in the immediate period after the 1917 October Revolution (Red October or Bolshevik Revolution), when the Bolsheviks constituted an army during the Russian Civil War opposite the military confederations (especially the combined groups summarized under the preamble White Army) of their adversaries. From February 1939, the Red Army, who together with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces, took the official name "Soviet Army" until its dissolution in December 1991.  read more

Code: 18089

125.00 GBP

A Polish Republic Order Of Merit Medal with Miniature in Original Box

A Polish Republic Order Of Merit Medal with Miniature in Original Box

Originated in 1923. At the time of its establishment in 1923, the Cross of Merit was the highest civilian award in Poland. It was awarded to citizens who went beyond the call of duty in their work for the country and society as a whole. May be awarded twice in each grade to the same person. 1950's PRL centre  read more

Code: 20828

110.00 GBP

A Very Important Piece of US Aeronautical Pilot Headgear A WW1 1917 United States Air Service Pilot's Helmet

A Very Important Piece of US Aeronautical Pilot Headgear A WW1 1917 United States Air Service Pilot's Helmet

The first pilot's helmet made, in WW1, for the US Army Air Service [designed for use with electric earphones]. U.S. Air Service Western Electric Type 1-A Flying 1917 Patt U.S. Air Service Type 1-A Pilot’s Western Electric Leather Flying Helm The Type 1-A Flying Helmet was the first flying helmet standardized by the United States Army Air Service in 1917. It remained in use throughout the mid-1920s. A similar example, also with earphones lacking, is in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the helmet was worn by Lt. Byron M. Bates. WWI U.S. Air Service Western Electric Type 1-A Flying Helmet and Airplane, Interphone Type S.C.R. 57. The Western Electric Type 1-A was the first helmet to incorporate radio telephone communication equipment. The russet brown leather helmet is lined in flannel and laces in the back for a snug fit. The crown of the helmet is also fitted with an strap and buckle for further adjustment. There are leather housings for earphones mounted on each side (earphones lacking) and coverted in leather. Tag mounted on the inside reads "Western Electric Co. Inc. / No. 1-A Helmet / Medium Size". Thaw came from one of the 100 wealthiest families in the United States. (During her lifetime, Thaw’s grandmother donated $6 million to charity.) In 1913 he soloed in a Curtiss hydroaeroplane, bought for him by his dad. When the war began, he went to France hoping to join the French air service, but settled for the French foreign legion and fought in the trenches for months until the air service made him an observer. Despite bad eyesight, Thaw became an ace, and is probably the first American to fly in combat.The first U.S. aviation squadron to reach France was the 1st Aero Squadron, which sailed from New York in August 1917 and arrived at Le Havre on September 3. A member of the squadron, Lt. Stephen W. Thompson, achieved the first aerial victory by the U.S. military while flying as a gunner-observer with a French day bombing squadron on February 5, 1918. As other squadrons were organized, they were sent overseas, where they continued their training. The first U.S. squadron to see combat, on February 19, 1918, was the 103rd Aero Squadron, a pursuit unit flying with French forces and composed largely of former members of the Lafayette Escadrille and Lafayette Flying Corps. The first U.S. aviator killed in action during aerial combat occurred March 8, 1918, when Captain James E. Miller, commanding the 95th Pursuit Squadron, was shot down while on a voluntary patrol near Reims. The first aerial victory in an American unit was by 1st Lt. Paul F. Baer of the 103rd Aero Squadron, and formerly a member of the Lafayette Flying Corps, on March 11. The first victories credited to American-trained pilots came on April 14, 1918, when Lieutenants Alan F. Winslow and Douglas Campbell of the 94th Pursuit Squadron scored. The first mission by an American squadron across the lines occurred April 11, when the 1st Aero Squadron, led by its commander, Major Ralph Royce, flew a photo reconnaissance mission to the vicinity of Apremont.

The first American balloon group arrived in France on December 28, 1917. It separated into four companies that were assigned individually to training centers and instructed in French balloon procedures, then equipped with Caquot balloons, winches, and parachutes. The 2d Balloon Company joined the French 91st Balloon Company at the front near Royaumeix on February 26, 1918. On March 5 it took over the line and began operations supporting the U.S. 1st Division, becoming the "first complete American Air Service unit in history to operate against an enemy on foreign soil." By the beginning of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive the Air Service AEF consisted of 32 squadrons (15 pursuit, 13 observation, and 4 bombing) at the front, while by November 11, 1918, 45 squadrons (20 pursuit, 18 observation, and 7 bombardment] had been assembled for combat. During the war, these squadrons played important roles in the Battle of Château-Thierry, the St-Mihiel Offensive, and the Meuse-Argonne. Several units, including the 94th Pursuit Squadron under the command of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, and the 27th Pursuit Squadron, which had "balloon buster" 1st Lt. Frank Luke as one of its pilots, achieved distinguished records in combat and remained a permanent part of the air forces.  read more

Code: 23499

595.00 GBP

A Rare And Incredibly Collectable Original Souvenir of WW1 Trench Warfare Inert WW1 German 1915/1916 Stick Grenade

A Rare And Incredibly Collectable Original Souvenir of WW1 Trench Warfare Inert WW1 German 1915/1916 Stick Grenade

Only the second we have had in the past six months Inert WW1 German 1915/1916 Stick Grenade, an interesting transitional period example with the head section being the early 1915 type and the haft being the later pattern with the porcelain ball to the inside of the wood. Haft nicely stamped “5 ½ SECONDE” and a Berlin makers mark. The Stielhandgranate (German for "stick hand grenade") was a German hand grenade of unique design. It was the standard issue of the German Empire during World War I, and became the widespread issue of Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II. The very distinctive appearance led to it being called a "stick grenade", or "potato masher" in British Army slang, and is today one of the most easily recognized infantry weapons of the 20th century Germany entered World War I with a single grenade design: a heavy 750-gram (26 oz) ball-shaped fragmentation grenade (Kugelhandgranate) for use only by pioneers in attacking fortifications. It was too heavy for regular use on the battlefield by untrained troops and not suitable for mass production. This left Germany without a standard-issue grenade and improvised designs similar to those of the British were used until a proper grenade could be supplied.

The "stick grenade" first appeared in the midst of World War I; it was introduced in 1915 for use by the German Empire's armed forces. As time went on, the design further developed, adding and removing certain features. Aside from its unique and unusual appearance, the Stielhandgranate used a friction igniter system, a method very uncommon in other nations but widely used in German grenades.

During World War I, the original design of the Stielhandgranate, under the name M1915 (Model 1915), was in direct technological competition with the British standard-issue Mills bomb series. The first design model of the Mills bomb – the grenade No. 5 Mk. 1 – was introduced the same year as the German Model 1915, but due to delays in manufacturing it was not widely distributed into general service until 1916. (There was a small period of time where German troops had large supplies of new Model 1915 grenades, while their British opponents only had a very small number.)

As World War I progressed, the Model 1915 Stielhandgranate was further improved with various changes. These received new designations corresponding for the year of introduction, such as the Model 1916 and the Model 1917. Old glue marks / residue towards the top of the haft and grenade head. Old collectors label attached. This item is empty and safe, legal to own within the UK. The thread to attach the bottom cap to the handle is not present, but the cap is original and complete with pulling cord and porcelain ball.

Not suitable for export.  read more

Code: 23341


A Most Rare Original WW2 British Early War Issue Pattern Tank Crew Helmet,

A Most Rare Original WW2 British Early War Issue Pattern Tank Crew Helmet,

A fabulous early WW2 British tanker's helmet of fibre body shell with enforced plate to the top and padded front section. Exterior of the helmet is finished in a rough textured paint finish. Original liner with leather sweatband having broad arrow stamp underneath. Shows some wear with some of the exterior paint flaking and the padded front section is slightly crushed. The RAC was created on 4 April 1939, just before World War II started, by combining regiments from the cavalry of the line which had mechanised with the Royal Tank Corps (renamed Royal Tank Regiment). As the war went on and other regular cavalry and Territorial Army Yeomanry units became mechanised, the corps was enlarged. A significant number of infantry battalions also converted to the armoured role as RAC regiments. In addition, the RAC created its own training and support regiments. Finally, in 1944, the RAC absorbed the regiments of the Reconnaissance Corps. The 7th Armoured Division was an armoured division of the British Army that saw distinguished active service during World War II, where its exploits in the Western Desert Campaign gained it the Desert Rats nickname.

After the Munich Agreement, the division was formed in Egypt during 1938 as the Mobile Division (Egypt) and its first divisional commander was the tank theorist Major-General Sir Percy Hobart. In February 1940, the name of the unit was changed to the 7th Armoured Division.

The division fought in most major battles during the North African Campaign; On 7 June, the division was again prepared for battle as part of Operation Battleaxe, having received new tanks and additional personnel. In the attack plan for Operation Battleaxe, the 7th force was divided between the Coast Force and Escarpment Force. However, this Allied push failed, and the 7th Armoured Division was forced to withdraw on the third day of fighting. On 18 November, as part of Operation Crusader the whole of the 7th Armoured Division was concentrated on breaking through. They faced only the weakened 21st Panzer Division. However, the XXX Corps commander, Lieutenant-General Willoughby Norrie, aware that the 7th Armoured Division was down to 200 tanks, decided on caution. During the wait, in the early afternoon of 22 November, Rommel attacked Sidi Rezegh with the 21st Panzer and captured the airfield. Fighting was desperate and gallant: for his actions during these two days of fighting, Brigadier Jock Campbell, commanding the 7th Support Group, was awarded the Victoria Cross. However, the 21st Panzer, despite being considerably weaker in armour, proved superior in its combined arms tactics, pushing the 7th Armoured back with a further 50 tanks lost (mainly from the 22nd Armoured Brigade).

On 27 June 1942, elements of the 7th Armoured Division, along with units of the 3rd The King's Own Hussars, suffered one of the worst friendly fire incidents when they were attacked by a group of Royal Air Force (RAF) Vickers Wellington bombers during a two-hour raid near Mersa Matruh, Egypt. Over 359 troops were killed and 560 others were wounded.

The Western Desert Force later became HQ XIII Corps, one of the major parts of the British Eighth Army which, from August 1942 was commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Montgomery. The 7th Armoured Division took part in most of the major battles of the North African Campaign, including both battles of El Alamein (the First Battle of El Alamein in July 1942, which stopped the Axis advance, and the Second Battle of El Alamein in October/November 1942, which turned the tide of the war in North Africa).

Infantrymen of the 1/6th Battalion, Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) marching into Tobruk, Libya, 18 November 1942.
The 7th Armoured Division, now consisting of the 22nd Armoured and 131st Infantry Brigades and commanded by Major General John Harding, fought in many major battles of the Tunisian Campaign, taking part in the Battle of El Agheila in December. By January 1943 the Eighth Army had reached Tripoli where a victory parade was held, with the 7th Armoured Division taking part. Among the witnesses was Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, and General Sir Alan Brooke, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS).

The division, now commanded by Major General George Erskine after Harding was severely injured in January, next took part in the Battle of Medenine, followed by the Battle of the Mareth Line in March. In late April, towards the end of the campaign, the 7th Armoured Division was transferred to IX Corps of the British First Army for the assault on Medjez El Bab. The attack was successful, with the 7th Armoured Division competing with the 6th Armoured Division of the First Army in a race to the city of Tunis, with 'B' Squadron of the 11th Hussars being first into the city on the afternoon of 7 May, followed closely by the 22nd Armoured Brigade and the 131st Brigade. The fighting in North Africa came to an end just days later, with almost 250,000 Axis soldiers surrendering to the Allies and becoming POWs  read more

Code: 23340