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Army WWI Victory Medal Clasps

military-memorabilia
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 An Intermediate Guide by Military-Memorabilia

 The U.S.Army authorized a number of clasps to be affixed to the ribbon of the WWI Victory Medal to denote service or combat in various fields or areas.  A listing of the various clasps, and the dates service qualified for the specific clasp is listed below:

COMBAT CLASPS
 A Combat Clasp is denoted by having a star at either end of the bar.  I have also included the number of days the particular battle lasted. and the number of KNOWN Divisions or Regiments involved.  A Regiment is roughly up to 5,000 soldiers, while a Division is approximately 15,000 soldiers.  This will give you a rough indication of the scarcity of each Combat Clasp listed.

Cambrai: May 20 to December 4, 1917                      (198 Days of Combat - 3 Regiments)
Somme Defensive: March 21 to April 6, 1918             (  16 Days of Combat - 1 Regiment)
Lys: April 9 to 27, 1918                                            (  18 Days of Combat - Units from 4 Divisions)
Aisne: May 27 to June 5, 1918                                  (    9 Days of Combat - 2 Divisions)
Montdidier-Noyon: June 9 to 13, 1918                        (    4 Days of Combat - 1 Division)
Champagne-Marne: July 18 to August 6, 1918            (  19 Days of Combat - 4 Divisions)
Aisne-Marne: July 18 to August 6, 1918                     (  19 Days of Combat - 8 Divisions)
Somme Offensive: August 8 to November 11, 1918      (  95 Days of Combat - 3 Divisions)
Oise-Aisne: August 18 to November 11, 1918              (  85 Days of Combat - 3 Divisions)
Ypres-Lys: August 19 to November 11, 1918               (  84 Days of Combat - 4 Divisions)
St. Mihiel: September 12 to 16, 1918                          (    4 Days of Combat - 13 Divisions)
Meuse-Argonne: September 26 to November 11, 1918  (  46 Days of Combat - 25 Divisions)
Vittorio-Veneto: October 24 to November 4, 1918         (   11 Days of Combat - 1 Regiment)
Defensive Sector: For participation in any 'minor' battle that is not honored with any of the above 'named' Combat Clasps:
     April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918                       (584 Eligible Days - Typically for 1 Day of Combat - 2 Divisions, plus anyone engaged or wounded in combat)

SERVICE CLASPS
 A Service Clasp is denoted by not having stars on the ends of the clasp.  Again, the KNOWN number of eligible units are indicated).  Service Clasps were given basically "for being there".

England: April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918 (References state ±30,100 issued)
France: April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918 (12 Divisions - References state ±621,000 issued)
Italy: April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918 (Support units from the 83rd Division - References state ±4,800 issued)
Russia: Any service in European Russia (3 Battalion to Regiment sized units from the 85th Division - References state ±9,000 issued)
Siberia: Any service in Siberia or Asian Russia (Volunteers from 5 Regiments - References state ±9,000 issued)

 The US Selective Service Records indicate 2,810,296 individuals were inducted during WWI, of which ±62,000 served in the US Navy.  As nearly 2,000,000 American servicemen in the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Force) had reached Europe (primarily France) prior to the cessation of hostilities on November 11th, 1918, and the approximate issue of Medals with a Service Clasp (from above) was ±673,000, this means ±1,326,000 WWI Victory Medals were issued with one (or more) Combat Clasps, and ±748,000 were issued with no clasps, indicating stateside service only.

 Unlike the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the U.S. Army did allow the wearing of multiple Combat Clasps.  If an individual qualified to wear more than one clasp, the recipient was allowed to wear the clasp.  The exception being the wearing of a Service Clasp and a Combat Clasp.  A Combat Clasp is presumed to take precidence over a Service Clasp, so therefore, if anyone was authorized a Combat Clasp, they recieve that instead of a Service Clasp.  The most common way to upgrade to a Battle Clasp was to be awarded the Defensive Sector Clasp for being wounded.  This is what occured with my Uncle, who served with the 41st Division.  Since he was exposed to a gas attack (wounded), he became eligible for a Defensive Sector Combat Clasp vs a France Service Clasp.  Bottom line - any offering of a multi-clasp medal with Service and Battle Clasps combined are made-up combinations.  Also, the U.S. Army did not allow the wearing of multiple Service Clasps - if you were eligible for two Service Clasps, you only got to choose one for award and wearing.  That leaves the question of which combination of Combat Clasps are legitimate?  Not every clasp can be worn together.  Some are date exclusive, especially for Infantry or Marine units - you were either at one battle, or the other.  For example, you will never see an Infantry unit with the Oise-Asine and Ypres-Lys Battle Clasps together (however an Artillery unit, which spanned both battle fronts, DID recieve this unusual combination).

  The following is a list of the authorized clasps for the larger Army units raised during WWI.  Remember to add the Defensive Sector Battle Clasp mentally to every unit authorized any Battle Clasps.  If a unit was only eligible for the Defensive Sector Battle Clasp, then it will be the only clasp listed.  Also remember - this is a listing of UNIT eligibility.  For specific INDIVIDUALS, they would have had to participate in every specific battle honored with a Battle Clasp to earn the right to wear that clasp.

  With this knowledge, it is obvious that the most Battle Clasps an individual could have earned on any one medal is seven (by personnel in the 3rd Division, 6th Engineers).  Realistically, anything above three Battle Clasps is an outstanding accomplishment, by WWI standards.  With this list, you should have a start in identifing which unit the recipient of the medal with multiple clasps served in, as certian combinatons will only be found within certian units.  If a Battle or Service Clasp is UNIQUE to a unit - it will be denoted with a *U* following the name of the clasp.

1st Division
 Montdidier-Noyon - *U*
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

2nd Division
 Aisne
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

3rd Division (Most of Division - exceptions follow)
 Aisne
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 Meuse-Argonne
 
3rd Division, 3rd Ammunition Train
 Ineligible for Aisne

3rd Division, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade
 Add - St. Mihiel
 Ineligible for Asine

3rd Division, 7th Machine Gun Batallion
 Add - St. Mihiel

3rd Division, 6th Engineers Regiment
 Add - St. Mihiel
 Add - Somme Defensive

4th Division (Most of Division - exception follows)
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

4th Division, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, 77th Field Artillery Battery
 Ineligible for Aisne-Marne

5th Division (Most of Division - exception follows)
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

5th Division, 5th Field Artillery Brigade
 Ineligible for Meuse-Argonne

6th Division
 Meuse-Argonne

7th Division
 Meuse-Argonne

8th Division
 No Clasps Authorized

26th Division
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

27th Division (Most of Division - exception follows)
 Ypres-Lys
 Somme Offensive

27th Division, 52nd Field Artillery Brigade
 Add - Meuse-Argonne
 Ineligible for Ypres-Lys
 Ineligible for Somme Offensive

28th Division (Most of Division - exception follows)
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 Oise-Aisne
 Meuse-Argonne

28th Division, 53rd Artillery Brigade
 Add - Ypres-Lys
 Ineligible for Champagne-Marne
 Ineligible for Aisne-Marne

29th Division
 Meuse-Argonne

30th Division
 Ypres-Lys
 Somme Offensive

31st Division
 France Service Clasp

32nd Division
 Aisne-Marne
 Oise-Aisne
 Meuse-Argonne

33rd Division (Most of Division - exception follows)
 Somme Offensive
 Meuse-Argonne

33rd Division, 58th Field Artillery Brigade
 Add - St. Mihiel
 Ineligible for Somme Offensive

34th Division
 France Service Clasp

35th Division (Most of Division - exception follows)
 Meuse-Argonne

35th Division, 60th Field Artillery and the 69th and 70th Infantry Brigades, 110th Engineers, and the 110th Field Signal and 128th Machine Gun Batallions
 Add - St. Mihiel

36th Division (Most of Division - exception follows)
 Meuse-Argonne

36th Division, 111th Engineers
 Add - St. Mihiel

37th Division (Most of Division - exception follows)
 Meuse-Argonne
 Ypres-Lys

37th Division, 62nd Field Artillery Brigade
 Ineligible for Ypres-Lys

38th Division
 France Service Clasp

39th Division
 France Service Clasp

40th Division
 France Service Clasp

41st Division
 France Service Clasp

42nd Division
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

76th Division
 France Service Clasp

77th Division
 Oise-Aisne
 Meuse-Argonne

78th Division
 Meuse-Argonne
 St. Mihiel

79th Division
 Meuse-Argonne

80th Division (Most of Division - exceptions follow)
 Meuse-Argonne

80th Division, 159th and 160th Infantry Brigades, 305th Engineers, and the 305th field Signal and 313th Machine Gun Batallions
 Add - St. Mihiel

80th Division, No Specific Unit Cited - Possibly entire Division
(Reference: G.O. #75, G.H.Q., A.E.F., May 2nd, 1919)
 Add - Somme Offensive

81st Division
 Meuse-Argonne

82nd Division
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

83rd Division
 France Service Clasp

84th Division
 France Service Clasp

85th Division
 France Service Clasp

85th Division. 1st Battalion
 Russia Service Clasp

85th Division, 339th Infantry Regiment
 Russia Service Clasp

85th Division, 310th Engineer Train
 Russia Service Clasp

86th Division
 France Service Clasp

87th Division
 France Service Clasp

88th Division
 Meuse-Argonne

89th Division (Most of Division - exception follows)
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

89th Division, 164th Field Artillery Brigade
 Defensive Sector only
 Ineligible for St. Mihiel
 Ineligible for Meuse-Argonne

90th Division
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

91st Division
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne
 Ypres-Lys

92nd Division
Meuse-Argonne

93rd Division
 No Clasps Authorized* (See Footnote Below)

11th Engineer Regiment
 Cambrai

12th Infantry Regiment (Few Volunteers)
 Siberia Service Clasp

12th Engineer Regiment
 Cambrai

13th Infantry Regiment (Many Volunteers)
 Siberia Service Clasp

14th Engineer Regiment
 Cambrai

27th Infantry Regiment
 Siberia Service Clasp

31st Infantry Regiment
 Siberia Service Clasp

62nd Infantry Regiment (Many Volunteers)
 Siberia Service Clasp

332nd Infantry Regiment
 Vittorio-Veneto - *U*

369th Infantry Regiment
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 Meuse-Argonne

370th Infantry Regiment
 St. Mihiel
 Oise-Aisne

371st Infantry Regiment
 Meuse-Argonne

57th Field Artillery Brigade
 Aisne-Marne
 Oise-Marne
 Meuse-Argonne

66th Field Artillery Brigade
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

158 Field Artillery Brigade and the 3rd Corps Artillery Park
 Meuse-Argonne

1st Corps Artillery Park
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 Oise-Marne
 Meuse-Argonne
 
2nd Corps Artillery Park
 Aisne-Marne
 Oise-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

4th Corps Artillery Park and the 58th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps
 Defensive Sector

1st Army Artillery Park plus the 43rd, 51st, 53rd, 57th, 59th, 60th, and the 65th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

42nd Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps
 Champagne-Marne

44th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps
 Champagne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

52nd Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps, the 1st Gas Regiment, and the 1st Batallion, Trench Artillery
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

55th and 56th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps
 Oise-Marne
 Meuse-Argonne

2nd Cavalry Division
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

1st and 2nd Antiaircraft Batallion plus the 1st and 2nd Antiaircraft Machine Gun Battalion
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

115th and the 301st Field Signal Batallion
 Defensive Sector

308th Field Signal Batallion
 Aisne-Marne
 Oise-Marne
 Meuse-Argonne

310th Field Signal Batallion
 St. Mihiel

317th and the 319th Field Signal Batallion
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

318th Field Signal Batallion
 Somme Offensive

322nd Field Signal Batallion
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

11th Engineers (Standard Guage RR)
 Lys

12th Engineers (Light RR)
 Somme Defensive

13th Engineers (Standard Guage RR) plus the 115th Engineers
 Defensive Sector

14th Engineers (Light RR)
 Somme Defensive
 Aisne-Marne
 Oise-Marne
 Meuse-Argonne

15th Engineers (Standard Guage RR) and the 21st Engineers (Light RR) plus Independant Engineers - 23rd (Highway), 24th (Supply & Shop), 26th (Water Supply), 28th (Quarry), 37th (Electrical & Mechanical), 56th (Searchlight), 310th, and the 602nd
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

16th Engineers (Standard Guage RR)
 Lys
 Meuse-Argonne

22nd Engineers (Light RR) plus Independant Engineers - 25th (Construction), 27th (Mining), 114th, 603rd, and the 604th
 Meuse-Argonne

Independant Engineers - 29th (Survey & Print) and the 40th (Camoflage)
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

301st Engineers
 St. Mihiel

308th Engineers
 Aisne-Marne
 Oise-Marne
 Meuse-Argonne

1st Pioneer Infantry
 Aisne-Marne
 Oise-Aisne
 Meuse-Argonne

3rd, 52nd, 54th, 56th, 59th, 802nd, 805th, 806th, 807th, and the 808th Pioneer Infantry
 Meuse-Argonne

51st Pioneer Infantry
 St. Mihiel

53rd Pioneer Infantry
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse Argonne

803rd and the 804th Pioneer Infantry
 Defensive Sector

51st, 409th, 417th, and the 419th Telegraph Batallion
 Defensive Sector

52nd Telegraph Batallion
 Aisne-Marne
 Oise-Marne
 Meuse-Argonne

55th and the 401st Telegraph Batallion
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

406th and the 411th Telegraph Batallion
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

412th Telegraph Batallion
 Ypres-Lys
 Somme Offensive

301st Batallion, Tank Corps
 Somme Offensive

344th and the 345th Batallion, Tank Corps
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

1st Corps Observation Group (Most of Group - exception follows)
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

1st Corps Observation Group, 50th Squadron
 Ineligible for Champagne-Marne
 Ineligible for Aisne-Marne

3rd Corps Observation Group (Most of Group - exceptions follow)
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

3rd Corps Observation Group, 90th Squadron
 Ineligible for Champagne-Marne
 Ineligible for Aisne-Marne

3rd Corps Observation Group, 199th Squadron
 Ineligible for Champagne-Marne
 Ineligible for Aisne-Marne
 Ineligible for St. Mihiel

4th Corps Observation Group (Most of Group - exception follows)
 St. Mihiel

4th Corps Observation Group, 168th Squadron
 Defensive Sector Only
 Ineligible for St. Mihiel

5th Corps Observation Group plus 1st Army Observarion Group (Most of Group - exception follows) and the 1st Day Bombardment Group (Most of Group - exception follows)
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

1st Army Observarion Group, 186th Squadron and the 1st Day Bombardment Group, 166th Squadron
 Ineligible for St. Mihiel

6th and 7th Corps Observation Group, plus the 2nd Day Bombardment Group
 Defensive Sector

1st Pursuit Group (Most of Group - exceptions follow)
 Champagne-Marne
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

1st Pursuit Group, 185th Squadron
 Ineligible for Champagne-Marne
 Ineligible for Aisne-Marne
 Ineligible for St. Mihiel

1st Pursuit Group, 4th Air Park
 Ineligible for Champagne-Marne
 Ineligible for Aisne-Marne

2nd Pursuit Group (Most of Group - exceptions follow)
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

2nd Pursuit Group, 22nd Squadron
 Add - Somme Defensive
.
2nd Pursuit Group, 5th Air Park
 Ineligible for St. Mihiel

3rd Pursuit Group (Most of Group - exception follows)
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

3rd Pursuit Group. 28th Squadron
 Add - Somme Defensive
 Add - Lys

4th Pursuit Group (Most of Group - exceptions follow)
 Somme Defensive
 Somme Offensive

4th Pursuit Group, 141st Squadron and the 6th Air Park
 Defensive Sector only
 Ineligible for Somme Defensive
 Ineligible for Somme Offensive

1st Corps Balloon Group (Most of Group - exceptions follow)
 Aisne-Marne
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

1st Corps Balloon Group, 2nd Balloon Company
 Add - Champagne-Marne

1st Corps Balloon Group, 5th Balloon Company
 Ineligible for Aisne-Marne

3rd Corps Balloon Group (Most of Group - exceptions follow) and all of the 5th Corps Balloon Group, Army Balloons - 1st Army, and 3rd Air Park
 St. Mihiel
 Meuse-Argonne

3rd Corps Balloon Group, 4th Balloon Company
 Add - Aisne-Marne
 Ineligible for St. Mihiel

4th Corps Balloon Group (Most of Group - exceptions follow)
 Defensive Sector

4th Corps Balloon Group, 69th Balloon Company
 Add - St. Mihiel

6th Corps Balloon Group
 St. Mihiel

 I have yet to find any specific unit authorized the England or Italy Service Clasps.  For Italy, however, it is most likely to be units from the 83rd Division in support of the 332nd Infantry Regiment.

* A sad commentary on the mindset of the times.  President Wilson and General Pershing had demanded all American units be kept under American command, much to the chagrin of our Allies who wished to piecemeal plug in American units as they arrived, wherever thay were "needed".  This is a precident that has continued to this day.  However, as a "colored" (read that as expendable) unit, the 93rd Division was "allowed" to be placed under French command for the duration of the war.  Because they were not under "American" command during the war, they were deemed ineligible for ANY clasp that would have been normally issued to any other unit, be it Combat or Service.  It is an inequity that has not been corrected to this day.

 Much of this information was consolidated from various internet sources, and the period reference "Battle Participation of Organizations of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, Belgium and Italy 1917-1918" by the US War Office, 1920.

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