CusterMen MENU Italian Campaign At The Front Books Armies Maps 85th Division GI Biographies Websites

Dated:  May 3, 2006

U.S. Uniforms:
Badges and Medals

Worn by Veterans of the Italian Campaign

   This page provides information to help research the uniforms, medals and ribbons in your collection.   The soldiers in Italy wore a wide variety of uniforms.  There is no way to describe all of them in detail.  Similarily, there are many medals and awards that could be earned by soldiers in Italy, which I will not cover.  This page only covers the basic uniforms of the Infantryman and the Campaign Medal (and ribbon) and other insiginia that was common for soldiers in Italy.  Of course, the details on how the medals and patches were worn on the uniform would apply for soldiers in France or Germany, as well.
   During war, the Campaign Medals and Good Conduct Medal were awarded with only a ribbon, as the medal was usually not available.  Therefore, when you send in the form to the Government requesting personel records, they will send a set of medals with the veteran's name inscribed on the back.  They will only do this if the veteran signs the form.
   The patches and pins worn on the US uniform were optional for some units.  These were not worn in combat, of course; only on the dress uniform or the Ike jacket.  On the lapels of the collar were usually worn a disc with "US" and the branch insignia and, below this, maybe a pair of unit insignia.  There were hundreds of unit insignia pins.  This page illustrates a few of the examples worn by units in Italy.

  Examples of Uniforms worn in the Italian Campaign.
 Patches & Insignia   Sleeve patches, proficiency badges and other insignia
  Medals & Ribbons  Medals earned for service in the Italian Campaign.
  DUI Pins   Distinguishing Unit Insigina Pins worn by units serving in Italy.
  Branch Pins   Collar discs, indiating branch of service.

 US Divisions Table - Contains images of the Division shoulder patches for ALL infantry divisions of the Army.
                                  Also includes a table of the infantry regiments & artillery battalions for each divisio

   Medals & Ribbons

This section provides information on the medals and ribbons that would be worn on the uniform of a soldier who served in the Italian Campaign.

   Campaign Medals earned by most soldiers who served in the Italian Campaign.  It is common for a soldier to have 3 of these medals.  Did not usually have all four.
American Campaign Medal
EAME Campaign Medal
American  Defense Medal
Victory Medal
American Campaign Medal - WWII 

Service outside the U.S. in the American theater for 30 days.

European - African - Middle Eastern Campaign Medal

  Service in the European - African- Middle Eastern theater for 30 days.

American Defense Service Medal 

  Service for 12 months of active duty in Army, 1939-41.

World War II
Victory Medal

  Service in US Armed Forces between 1941 and 1946.

Italy Star - British Campaign Medal

   British "Italy Star" Campaign Medal

    Since my site includes info on the British soldier, I thought it should include the campaign medal awarded to British soldiers for their service in Italy.
   The British were more specific on their campaign medals.  Whereas, the US issued one medal for all of Europe, Africa and Middle East, the Brits issued several different campaign stars with the same basic shape.  Each star had a unique ribbon, with the Italy Star in the national colors of Italy. 

   Front:  King's mongram & crown, with "THE ITALY STAR" embossed in ring.
   Obverse:  Name of soldier was stamped on the back.  Most other medals had the name stamped on the edge.

Tip for Bad Spellers: 
       Army medals are made out of metal.


   Patches & Insignia 

This section provides information on the patches, badges and other insignia that would be worn on the uniform of a soldier who served in the Italian Campaign.

Sleeve patches other than rank and Divisional patches.
Right Sleeve
Right Sleeve
Lower Sleeve Patches

        Service Stripes (Left Sleeve) >
   In addition to the basic medals above, Service Stripes were worn on the lower right sleeve.  One straight stripe was awarded for each 6 months of service overseas.  It was not necessary to serve in combat to receive these stripes.

< Distinguished Unit (Right Sleeve)
   Wreath patch denotes a member of a distinguished unit.

<  As viewed by wearer  >

Left Sleeve
Left Sleeve
Combat InfantryMan's Badge
Combat Infantryman's Badge
   The CIB was awarded to any Enlisted soldier who was classified as an Infantryman and who saw combat.  Therefore, it was not awarded to medics, artillerymen nor airmen. 
  It was awarded in different classes and was worn on the Left Breast, above the ribbons.
  In 1947, the Government approved the Bronze Star Medal for every infantryman who earned the CIB.
"Ruptured Duck" discharge pin
Discharge Pin & Patch
"Ruptured  Duck"

   The Discharge Pin or Patch was issued to discharged soldiers and was worn above the right breast pocket.  The main purpose of this patch was it allowed the GI to travel home while wearing his uniform and not be ordered around by an officer. 

   It got its nickname from the ugly Eagle in the center. 


   Proficiency Badges
   Proficiency Badges were badges earned during training for things such as marksmenship and driving and aircraft mechanic.  These badges were worn below the ribbons on the left breast pocket.  The most common badge worn by infantrymen were the Marksman, Sharpshooter, and Expert Shooting badges. The Marksman badge was a plain maltese cross.  The Expert Shooting badge had a bullseye in the center.  The Expert Shooting badge had a wreath around the cross. 
    These badges were earned by qualifying with a specific weapon.  Therefore, these badges would have a bar hung under the badge the identified the weapon.   Each bar was embossed with "RIFLE", "GRENADE", "BAYONET", etc.  There were many different types of weapons.  Cavlary troops would qualify with a weapon while mounted or dismounted.  Thus, their bars were marked as "CARBINE-M" or "PISTOL-D".  It was not unusual to see a soldier wearing 4, 5 or 6 bars hanging from his Sharpshooter Badge. 
    See Staff Sergeant Walker's photo, below.

Bars or "Hangar Bars" for Infantry Proficiency Badges.
The Bars issued in 1930s had a white finish.
Proficiency Badges
 Army Marksman
Proficiency Badges
Army Sharpshooter
Tank Destroyer trooper
Proficiency Badges
Army Expert Shooting
Proficiency Badges
  Pistol & Dismounted Pistol
Proficiency Badges
Heavy Weapons: 
75mm Recoiless Rifle & Mortar

Proficiency Badges

Cavalry Sword Bar
 Very Unusual for WW2

Proficiency Badges
Army Driver
Proficiency Badges
Army Aviation Mechanic
Note:  The Navy and Marines badges were different from the Army.

For more information on shoulder patches for each of the US Infantry divisions, refer to US Divisions.

 Branch Insignia Disks 
  The Branch of Service insignia was worn on every uniform even if the other insignia or patches were not.  This insignia was worn on the lower left collar lapel with the "US" insignia on the lower right. The officer's insignia differed in that theirs were not mounted on a round disk.  Officers also wore theirs branch insignia on their shirt collars.  All insignia are for enlisted men except where noted.   Insignia are NOT to scale.
Branch Insignia
 WW1-era Pin for Infantry-
Company F, 20th Regiment
Branch Insignia
Older Syle, 1-piece, dome.  HQ of 5th Regt
Branch Insignia
(Dome shape)

Branch Insignia
Branch Insignia

Photo not available

Crossed Rifles w/

Half Track super-imposed
Armored Infantry
Branch Insignia
Engineering Corps
Artillery Officers Insignia
Artillery - Officer
328 Field Artillery Btn
Branch Insignia
Signal Corps
Branch Insignia
Branch Insignia
Medical, Enlisted
Branch Insignia
Tank Destroyer
without the disc
Branch Insignia
Army Air Force
Branch Insignia

Quarter Master

(Dome shape)
Branch Insignia


Coastal Artillery

Coastal Artillery

AAF Officer Badge
Soon after the war, the Army Air Force began testing captured German jets, such as the Me-262.  The test pilots started a new ritual: When a new pilot returned from his solo flight in a jet, they would break the propellers off of their Army Air Force collar insignia.
Insular Affairs

Here is an old badge for the Trivia Books . . .

Bureau of Insular Affairs   -   pre-1939
This Department was in charge of U.S. possessions and islands under military occupation.  In 1939, the Bureau was tranferred from War Department to Department of Interior.

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CusterMen MENU Italian Campaign At The Front Books Armies Maps 85th Division GI Biographies Websites