Good morning, I have a question about a World War One Armor patch and "Trench Art" painted Tank Corps jerkin. It's less of an ID question and more of - have you ever seen.....? Other than through my discussions with the Museum curator described below, I didn't even know these existed.
Below is a proposed article for a militaria collectors' newsletter(I can forward photos, if requested - I'm not sure how to attach them to this e-mail) relating to a recent WWI Tank Corps uniform acquisition. You'll note reference to two original Patton-designed armor patches that were sewn into the jerkin - as you can see I've spoken to the Armor Museum about them - and I was wondering if any CMH WWI Tank Corps experts have ever come across any examples of these patches outside of that museum - I can't even find reference to them in any of my WWI insignia reference sources.
Thanks very much for any thoughts you might have - the details of those two patches ate discussed in the article below.
At a recent estate sale near my home I purchased uniform items from the family of a World War I US Army vet who appears to have been in the then nascent Tank Corps. The family information indicated that he was a Sgt, though no such stripes came with the uniform or was reflected on the dog tags). The items purchased were (see photos) :
- Private purchase tunic (with mint Tank Corps Patch, US and Type II Tank Corps collar discs, discharge and overseas Chevrons) shirt and breeches all in virtually mint condition
- Overseas Cap
- Leather jerkin with wool lining with artwork and patches and remains of a tattered makers label appearing to reflect a 1918 date (the curator of the Patton Armor Museum at Fort Knox has suggested that the US variants of these were more rare than those made in the UK for US use)
- Dog tags from early in his service (no regiment or rank)
- Photos of the soldier (including at Camp Colt, PA - Tank Corps School)
The tunic patch is a beautiful three piece wool on OD Tank Corps patch with no damage and vibrant colors (the uniform apparently had been stored for many years in plastic bags in a wooden box). (
The patches on the interior of the jerkin (also very well preserved) (were, initially a mystery to me - I thought that it was one big item or, if they were individual items, they didn’t match anything in my reference books. However, after sending a photo to Charles Lemons, Curator of the Patton Armor Museum, he indicated that, in fact, these were two of the original Tanks Corps patches designed by then Lt. Col. George S. Patton and used prior to the time of the official Army approval of the patch on the tunic sleeve. Unlike the official version, in these, the top field of yellow (representing cavalry – the red and blue representing artillery and infantry, respectively) was larger than the other two fields. Like Patton’s originals, these appear to be made of silk and, apparently are very rare - the Armor museum only had two examples, including one from the Patton family (I welcome input from any AAMUCers who’ve seen these before).
The artwork on the back of the Jerkin supports the Patton connection. – on top of the Mark IV tank picture it says (not clearly visible in the photo) - TANK SERVICE AEF 1918-1919 BOURG FRANCE . Bourg was the site of the Light Tank School founded in 1918 by Patton. The depiction of the Mark IV tank is interesting, as it was a heavy tank as opposed to those at the school. Has anyone ever seen a painted Jerkin like this? There many not be that many around.
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