12/04/2018 at 9:38 pm #52671
Hey all, I have searched the interwebs and cannot find this “patch”. It is on a South Vietnamese Airborne camo shirt. I have no idea what it could be. I have never seen a ‘patch’ on the uniform in that position either.
If there are any Vietnam War experts on here, I would really appreciate some info. I love learning about this kind of stuff!
Cheers and thanks in advance for the help 🙂0
12/05/2018 at 2:40 am #52676
Is that the back of the patch? There’s a shop near me that sells Vietnam-era patches, so I did (out of curiousity) do some checking up on patches some time back. There’s a big Vietnamese industry in making fake patches- apparently there’s a rare US reference book on them which acts as a guide for Vietnam makers.0
12/05/2018 at 8:30 am #52680
Hi, thanks for the input! That is the front of the patch. I do not think the rest of the shirt/patches are fake. This was the only patch that I have never seen. I will update when I find out more.
Thanks again 🙂0
12/05/2018 at 8:41 am #52685
- Location: Virginia
Huh, is there something wrong with it? Looks like it was made of wool and washed/dryed incorrectly. Never seen a patch like that before.0
12/05/2018 at 10:23 am #52700
In the period photos of ARVN paratroopers that I’ve seen there is no epaulette patch. That makes sense to me because they would not hold up very long in the field with LBE and rucksack straps, rifle slings, etc. wearing on the shoulder.
But the ARVN airborne battalions allegedly each had unit insignia as well that was worn on the epaulette (I say allegedly because I have not seen them in period photographs), and some airborne uniforms have turned up in collections with them, like this one with a 9th Airborne Battalion insignia.
The battalion patches are sold on eBay also. As Antique Frog says Vietnam War patches are still being made (and the uniforms are reproduced, as well), but they have a distinctive look that is very different than this one. Assuming there really was such a thing as a battalion epaulette patch, I’d say this was either a soldier’s amateur attempt to create his battalion patch out of thread and/or I agree with Jay it got destroyed in the wash. Even when I squint it’s not matching up with any of the alleged airborne battalion insignia that I have seen, though. (BTW, even reproduction items sell well.)0
12/05/2018 at 10:48 am #52706
- Location: SC
It looks to me like it’s hand made – embroidery on felted wool.0
12/05/2018 at 2:54 pm #52746
Hi, great info! This shirt was found with other US Army shirts, so I do not think it is a reproduction. Here is the rest of the shirt.0
12/05/2018 at 2:54 pm #52747
Also, the patch could be upside down??0
12/05/2018 at 4:34 pm #52749
12/05/2018 at 5:57 pm #52751
Neat shirt! It’s a nice example of one of many camouflage pattern uniforms recognized as in use in Vietnam by ARVN rangers and airborne and their advisors starting in 1966. These were manufactured in VN using US-supplied ERDL camouflage rip-stop cotton material (as Antique Frog noticed). There should be one or more large rectangular maker’s ink stamps inside but if the shirt was heavily washed they may be hard to see or faded out. The collectors call it the “invisible” camouflage pattern. With a full patch set as typically worn this would usually have Vietnamese jump wings sewn over the right pocket but that’s not a big deal.
While with real provenance this shirt could be worth a couple thousand (the number of advisors in that period were only in the 100’s), without provenance I think you’ve done the right thing by just using your key words and putting it up for auction to let the buyers decide what it’s worth. You’ve already got 30 watchers and a couple bids – it’ll go higher. Especially with that odd patch. It’s intriguing.
I’ve been collecting and trading militaria for many years. There are collectors who argue about the most minute differences in patches or sewing techniques or other identifying features to identify an original Vietnamese uniform by inspection but the truth is that with so many of the Vietnamese uniform items, it is very difficult to tell if something was made in 1966 or 2006. Everything may look right but without provenance, this ensemble could have been put together yesterday with the really good copies available. Personally, I don’t buy any “rare” Vietnam uniform or insignia items as originals unless there’s provenance, and by provenance I mean I got it from the guy or an estate and was shown pictures of the guy wearing it in VN, or some documentation like a DD-214 showing service in VN in that era, because military guys like to collect uniforms too and the previous owner could have bought it post-war. Good news for you is that there’s plenty of interest in this stuff and even reproductions bring a good price. Good luck!!2+
12/06/2018 at 11:59 am #52796
Re provenance: I was given a cap badge of a leopard’s face on a sky-blue background, surrounded by a wreath. The provenance was that it was brought back from the Congo in the 1960s by a Polish ex-serviceman employed as an aircraft armourer by the CIA. There were a number of Poles recruited in the British Midlands who went to the Congo. Wild guess was that it was a Katanga cap badge- went to a Belgian collector, probably too cheaply!1+
12/06/2018 at 2:44 pm #52819
You mean this one?
It was a beret badge for 5 Commando, the mercenaries.
Interesting route back to the UK for the one you had. There are period photos of Mike Hoare wearing it, and one of his famous officers, Muller. There were about 300 total soldiers though how many of these badges were really made at the time is unknown as period photos show a variety of uniforms and badges among the mercenaries. I understand he had copies of his patches and badges made up and sold at least in the US after the war to pay for his legal costs when he went to trial. Probably advertised in Soldier of Fortune magazine.0
12/06/2018 at 3:49 pm #52824
Yes! I am in awe! The one I sold was quite beat up and corroded.0
12/07/2018 at 10:46 am #52877
Hi, thank you so much for that great write up! The triangle is not there 🙁 We had a rather large offer within the 1st 15 minutes of listing it. The funny thing is, there are a lot of interested parties that are overseas. Can’t wait to see what happens, 40+ watchers now 🙂
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