Last modified: 2002-10-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: savoie | chambery | star (yellow) | cross (white) | posthorn | chasseurs alpins |
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by Ivan Sache
Chambéry (ca. 55,000 inhabitants) is the prefecture of the department of Savoie.
Chambéry became the capital of the county of Savoie in 1232, which was erected to duchy in 1391. After several French occupations, the duke Emmanuel-Philibert transfered in 1563 the capital of the duchy to Torino (now in Piedmonte, Italy), which is located beyond the Alps mountains, and was therefore less exposed to French conquest. As a compensation, Chambéry had been granted in 1559 a Senate constituted on the model of the French (local) parliaments.
Chambéry has always been an important city on the transalpine road between Lyon and Torino.
Ivan Sache, 14 July 2000
The flag is the Savoy cross (white on red) with a yellow five-pointed star in first quarter. It is a banner of the municipal arms.
Ivan Sache, 14 July 2000
I recently found a metallic badge which has some vexillological
The badge features a posthorn. A shield, topped with a spreading eagle is encircled in the posthorn curl.
There is a trademark ARTHUS BERTRAND PARIS DEPOSE (patented) on the reverse of the badge. Arthus Bertrand is still active in producing high quality pins and badges.
This is a uniform jacket badge of a Savoy regiment since the
shield reproduces the Savoy cross. A careful examination revealed
more details: the shield is in fact the banner of arms of
Chambéry, the former capital of Savoy, a star being added in
canton. The badge must therefore belong to the Bataillon de
Chasseurs Alpins (BCA - Mountain Troops). The posthorn and the
eagle are traditional emblems of the BCAs.
An even more careful examination shows that the badge has been manually "defaced" with a sharp iron tool. The badge owner carved a small Lorraine cross above a V letter, for victory in the middle of the Savoy cross.
Unfortunately, I do not know anything about the origin of this particular badge. I can only infer it was "defaced" after the liberation of the province in 1945. It could also be hypothesized that the Lorraine cross was initially added when the badge owner joined the Resistance movements, which were very powerful and popular in Savoy, and added later the V after the liberation. It seems that the cross and the V have not been carved the same way.
All along the Alps mountains, the BCAs resisted in 1940 the Mussolinian troops, which entered France only with the support of their Nazi allies and without any military success. Mussolini had waited the shameful defeat of June 1940 before entering the war against France - as a reward, the Mussolinian troops occupied Savoy and County of Nice, until replaced by the Nazis after the fall of Mussolini. Comparatively, Italian occupation was rather mild.
Ivan Sache, 22 August 2000
It is the badge of the 13th Battalion of Chasseurs Alpins, one of
the original alpine battalions of 1888. The shield is indeed the arms
of Chambéry, which was the battalion's peace time
The V sounds like a personal addition; the battalion was reconstituted in 1944 from two units of the FFI, and so must have included some resistors in its ranks.
Of all the other battalions, only the short lived (1939-40) also had a coat of arms on its badge: the 93rd of 1939-40 included the arms of Savoy. This is not surprising, since it was formed at Chambéry, from reservists of the 13th.
Badges like this were introduced during the 1920s and 1930s. The badge discussed here is mid-forties in date, since in 1947, the Army introduced a sealed pattern number (nombre d'homologation) which was stamped onto the rear of each badge [and is not present on the badge discussed here].
Ian Sumner, 23 August 2000