THE GOLDEN LION - The Division Insignia


The division insignia consists of a golden lion's face on a blue background, encircled by white and with red borders added respectively. The blue color represents the infantry component of the Division, while the red color symbolizes the supporting artillery. The lion's face is indicative of strength and power.

The insignia was first authorized in December 1942 and over the course of the next three years several variations were manufactured.

106th Division Sleeve patch variations

WWII Issued patches

According to the official Institute of Heraldry blueprint, this variant would be the first of the 106th Division's patches.  It is a rare to-come-by issue.
The face of a real example bares a striking resemblance to the drawing.  Afterwards, different embroidery companies would make their batches, with each baring it's little differences. 


These two types of "Golden Lion" patches are of the earliest types in knowledge.  The design of the lion is similar, only the threading of the embroidery is thicker edged in the second type.
Notice the whiskers on the upper lip.  The layout of the manes is also duplicated.  The left one seems darker, but is in fact soiled from use on a field uniform.


The second variant was widely issued.  The eyes have changed to full view.
The whiskers have been deleted and the upper right mane has changed from double to single.
Again a twin variant can be observed.  The right version has been embroided with thicker brown thread than the left one.


Patch variant 3 features a Golden Lion with pinched eyes and an angrier look than previous types.  The head is smaller and has thinner manes.  The nose appears to be almost human and therefor discontinues from previous types.  The upper right mane has changed again to a the previous double.  These two pictures differ as the left one is embroided in yellow thread and the right one is embroided in orange thread.  The white band is also narrower than on other patches.


The last variant of WWII issue 106th patches (to my knowledge) is displayed above.  The left one has simplified manes and specifications of previous patches.  The right one also shows simplified manes and a completely different facial set-up.  The eyes also appear to have eyebrows.  The embroidery is no longer using cotton thread but synthetic thread, so we can conclude that this patch is actually very late to postWWII (possibly Korean era) manufacture.  The synthetic thread theory is confirmed by the fire-test. 
The second example is of 1950ies vintage and was manufactured in Germany for occupation troops.


1950ies -1960ies patches

The patch on the left dates from the Korean War.  It is sometimes seen as SSI on 1950ies era jackets.
It has a specific design in the lion's head.  Pointy ears and a distinctive mouth.

The other patch looks like Japanese manufacturing.  It is possibly a 1960ies post war patch.  It is not cut-edge but rather merrow edged.
The lion looks more like a cat to me?

WWII Bullion Theatre Made

Bullion patches is a category by itself.  These patches are, unlike the standard variations depicted above, not US made.  These patches were usually constructed by local tailors in occupied territories.  The patch construction differs greatly from the standard cut edge patches.  As the name says, "Bullion" patches were constructed of a woll base with the insignia sewn in gold or silver metallic thread, better known as "Bullion".  As they were locally produced and not amchine embroided, no two examples are alike.  Therefor it is better to picture them as examples, rather than types.

The patch on the left  is constructed on blue felt, the color of Infantry.  The red and white circles are switched and are contstructed of silver bullion and red painted metallic thread.  The lion's face is constructed to the image of an official 106th patch and is very detailed.  It is made up entirely of gold bullion.

The second patch has a two-piece wool construction, in red and blue.  The white edge seperating the infantry from the artillery is silver bullion.  The lion is constructed of both gold bullion for the face and silver bullion for the manes.  This example shows that these patches are rather flimzy.  The bullion thread easily breaks under stress.

Two more Bullion examples.  The patch on the left has a blue cotton backing and has an overall construction made out of bullion.  The fragile nature of these patches can be observed here, as most of the silver bullion has broken off during it's time.

The second patch also has a two-piece wool backing and is in overall good shape.

Note:  These Bullion examples are not in my possession.  They are displayed here for reference only.
            If the owner wants his name credited, please request so.  It's not my intention to steal your credit.

Current Reproductions AKA Fake Patches

These are two examples of current reproductions that are on the market.  These can be easily distinguished from original cut edge patches based on the design and look of the lion.
The first patch is a poor reproduction, so testifies the upper part of the "Golden Lion", which has been horizontaly embroided.  The manes are another dead give-away.
The second patch is a reproduction based on the second variant displayed on this page.  Differences in eyes and manes also show a clear distinction with WWII originals.  Also the feel of the patches is different.  WWII produced "Golden Lions" are rather thin, embroided on a white or green backing material.  The back of these patches also shows a fair amount of "snow".  UV light makes it clear that the patches pictured above are phony, as the thread used lights up. 

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