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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Gents,

It’s nice to be home and we’re managing to catch up on both sleep as well as work around the house.


I would greatly appreciate some input from the “Peanut Gallery” regarding the collar insignia on this tunic?


http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320541238460&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT


Any and all input would be greatly appreciated. The photo isn’t entirely clear, but based on what I can make out it looks like a hunting horn over the lightning bolts of the telegraph/communications units???


Also, any idea regarding the medals represented by the ribbons on the tunic?

Thank you one and all for your help with this.

Warmest regards,


JPS
 

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Now, I have no knowledge at all about this insignia, but I will suggest a theory based on how we did things here in earlier times....

It may be a hunting horn as you suggest, but it might perhaps be a postal horn? It might be the insignia of some (military?) mail service? I cannot say anything about how the Austro Hungarians would do it, but here state services would have a logo with crossed lightning bolts, for instance the railway logo here was a winged wheel over crossed lightning bolts, I think the postal logo was also at one time a postal horn over crossed lightning bolts. This might possibly be an Austro Hungarian mailmans uniform?

I'm not saying that this is more than a theory, but the horn has been used as a postal logo in many countries.
 

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Hey John,
I would agree with BC that this is a postal insignia, but I can not confirm it. I can not find any such insignia in any of my books, but I think you still did well on the tunic, I think it may be OK, although the markings are not what one would expect.
Best
Gus
 

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Looks like the modern day logo of the Austrian postal service also has a stylized horn.



P.S. Welcome home!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Hello Gents,

Thank you one and all for the input. And BC, I think you have come as close as we’re going to get without tapping the Austro-Hungarian archives in Vienna! Your comment about the postal service caused me to go back to recheck the sources I have and sure enough, the Austro-Hungarian military post used a traditional hunting horn as their collar badge.


The only difference between the tunic badges in question and the drawing in one of my books (
La Guerra Italo Austriaca 1915-1918 by Paolo Marzetti), are the lightning bolts upon which the hunting horn is superimposed. I’ll post better photos of the badges when the tunic has arrived.

Regarding the tunic, it sure looks like a common variation of the "Karlsbluse" field jacket with exposed buttons, which was never an "officially introduced model" despite the fact that examples survive in museums and private collections as well as in a broad range of period photos. According to the seller there are several other markings in the liner other than the date. Between the collar tabs and insignia, the color of the wool, the construction and pattern of the tunic, I’ll be very surprised if it’s not original? At that price I figured it was worth finding out. I picked it up for “Best Offer” at $250 including shipping.


I’ll post photos when it arrives. Thanks Gents! If I find anything new regarding the insignia I’ll post it on this thread.


Warmest regards,


JPS
 

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Glad to be of help, John.

To follow up on that. If the military postal insignia was the horn, could this be a mailmans (non-military) tunic? Remember that in many (most, I believe) european countries the postal services have been state owned and the employees have had civil servant status and been entitled to official uniforms. That could explain the horn over crossed lightning bolts, it may possibly have been the civilian postal insignia? The uniform might well have been similar or indeed identical to the military uniforms. Back when railwaymen had civil servant status here (before 1997), if you saw me in uniform, you would not be able to tell me apart from a policeman at a glance, for instance.... Our older uniforms were practically identical to military uniforms except for the colour. Just a theory, but it could explain the crossed lightning bolts. As previously stated it has been quite common for state owned civil services to have lightning bolts as part of the insignia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Hi BC,

Thank you again for your help and input with this ID. If there is anything I have learned over the years, ANYTHING is possible! It might very well be that this tunic was issued to the postal service. If so, was it the civilian postal service or the military postal service?


The date stamp in the tunic looks original, which would indicate that it was manufactured in 1917. However, until I see the other markings in the liner, it may not be depot marked. If there are no depot markings, it still may be private purchase. IMHO this is most likely the case for one simple reason. By 1917, the Austro-Hungarians were suffering from the blockade and were manufacturing tunics that were varying shades of gray, brown and other earth tones due to availability of dye. They were already using paper-cloth to produce ersatz items. This tunic has been produced with what appears to be military grade wool dyed to the pre/early-war M1908 spec? By 1917 the K.u.K. was reissuing captured Italian tunics. All sorts of ersatz materials were being employed in manufacturing everything. I wouldn’t think that by that date, a civilian postal worker would receive a tunic of this material and quality??? Could a wartime civilian postal worker afford a private purchase tunic? Would the K.u.K. issue better quality tunics to postal workers than to their soldiers??? Would a civilian postal worker have military style ribbons sewn on his tunic? The ribbons may eventually help in IDing this properly. I lean towards believing that it’s a private purchase military tunic.


This tunic is without question that of the “Karlsbluse” pattern as described and presented in
The Emperor’s Coat, a simplified field jacket/tunic that was an off-shoot of the M1916 tunic that had the stand and fall collar, but lacked the concealed buttons of the M1908, M1915 and M1916 tunics. This pattern was never “officially” adopted, but was designed to save manufacturing time and material. The construction, stitching and other marks present in the partial lining should help ID this tunic. So at least we do know that it’s of wartime manufacture and military pattern.

Regarding the insignia, both the military telegraph service, as well as the electrical service, have very similar lighting bolts in their collar insignia. However, regarding the horn, I have also found that the same style horn was used in insignia for some of the Jaeger units? But why would a Jaeger insignia have lighting bolts??? I don’t think it’s a Jaeger insignia. The military postal service horn in the drawing I found in Marzetti’s book is not identical. It has an extra loop in the horn near the mouth piece and is not exactly the same as this insignia, but might simply be one of a variety of approved insignia. The drawing lacks the lighting bolts as well.


Unless we find an absolute match of the insignia with a clear description, I will send photos to one of the curators I know at the Museum in Vienna. Another question that I can’t answer is whether or not the post and telegraph service in Austria-Hungary was run by the military during the war or not?


I think that the definitive answer is going to come from Vienna. I’ve combed the internet and have found less information than what I have in my own library. I’m open to suggestion in the meantime and will post photos when it has arrived.


Thank you all again for your excellent input! Either way I’m happy with it relative to what I paid for it. In time I’m sure we’ll have answers.


Warmest regards,


JPS
 

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" Could a wartime civilian postal worker afford a private purchase tunic?"

I think you are right, John. My great grandfather, in his memoirs, wrote that in 1897 he and his colleagues (he started working at age 14 in 1895 in the railway workshops, removing rust inside the steam kettles of locomotives, nasty work!) finally were entitled to railway uniforms. Some of the cost was deducted from their pay, some was paid by the railways. They never used their uniforms for work, though, as he commented that for most this would be the only suit that most of them would ever be able to afford, and that it was only used for holidays and occations that required a suit. I'd be surprised if pay and privileges for Austro Hungarian postmen would be a life of wealth, milk and honey....

Keep us posted on what you find, please.
 

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I don't know what the insignia stand for. I was just somewhat intrigued by the "form/design" of the crossing of the lightnting bolts in the middle. The photo isn't good enough to see the details but, to me, it seems that there is "something more". A close-up may clarify it but at one moment I was even thinking of an "Edelweiss-flower". The yellow-red-white-black bar seems rather high on the chest???
Future will tell ... just intrigued.
 

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The ribbons look like they could be post WWI 1st Austrian Republic. I'd say perhaps a post-war postal service uniform, but the collar badges almost look Italian to me.

-Devo
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Devo,

Thank you for your input. You may very well be right. This COULD be a wartime manufactured "Karlsbluse" reissued after the war to the postal service. It would make sense for the Austrian government to try and use up stocks of surviving wartime uniforms during the post war era.


If so, it might explain why the collar tabs are mid WWI vintage in appearance, while the collar insignia doesn't match anything we have found so far from known WWI badges?


Once again, hopefully the markings in the tunic will clear up the mystery or if not, a letter to Vienna.


Thank you for taking the time to comment! As usual, the regulars come through again!!!


Warmest regards,


JPS
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hello Gents,

GREAT JOB GEORGE!!!!


Well done! I checked Austro-Hungarian, Austria and Austrian and NEVER thought to search under Hungary or Hungarian! Look's like the emblem under Royal Hungarian Post to be exactly the same as the insignia on the page you posted the link for in Wikipedia. Excellent! Saves me from having to write that letter!


I'll post detailed photos of the tunic when it arrives. Thanks Gents! Great job as always.


Warmest regards,


JPS
 

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John,
I see two problems with the tunic. First, I don't see any way a Karlsbluse would have been produced with hechtgrau wool. Second, those issue stamps look original to the tunic, but do not look Austrian. Austrian issue stamps had a consistent look throughout the war and pre-war years. Maybe this is a Swiss tunic with the buttons replaced?
Brian
 

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It does look a lot like a Swiss tunic, but why would anyone apply Hungarian postal insignia to a Swiss tunic? I will have to dig out a Swiss over coat I have to cheack the markings to see if the match (they do look familiar) I can see Hechtgrau material being used for civies when the change to Feld Grau was made.
Gus
 
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