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I'm about to write an article on a Romanian tank crew badge. I have several photos in my collection with that badge in wear so I'll illustrate future article with those pictures. I already posted them here: http://forum.antique..._3079#entry3079

But I still lack enough info about the badge itself. Could you please provide any info? Thanks in advance!

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Here's a draft article.

 

 

Tank crew badge

 

The badge was instituted in 1920 and was issued to qualified tank crew personnel. Occasionally it was awarded to German tank personnel as a 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, Ploiesti, Sibiu and Resita 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.

Tank crew 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.

Tank crew badge measuring 51x41 mm approximately was made of bronze or tombak and had a vertical pin and catching hook soldered to its reverse.

 

- What is the correct name of that badge in Romanian?

- I encountered version that the badge had two grades, is it true?

- Any corrections and additions?

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- The correct name is: ”Insigna de conducător de tancuri brevetat, md.1920” (translation: ”M.1920 badge for the licensed tank driver”)

- There was only one grade of the badge, but there were many variants of the badge because they were made by different makers.

- Additions from the book: „Armoured troops of Romanian Army 1919 -1947, Muzeul Militar Național, Oscar Print, București, 2005”: the badge was adopted by Royal Decree nr.1629 of April 19, 1920. It should be carried by those officers and men who actually drove tanks ”proving the detailed knowledge of the equipment and had driving and handling skills”, ..., was awarded by unit order of the day as a result of a speciality examination held inside the unit.

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