WW1 German 7.9x57 SALAMANDER - Trench Art / Medal / Award?

A friend owns this interesting ammunition item. Does anyone know what it is? The lizard has a British crown on the back. The belly of the lizard has " what did the lizard say " etched on it. I have always thought it a cool item, maybe because I think salamanders rock? I wonder if it is an award, trench art, trophy? I was told the bullet is WW1 era & German which adds to the mystery in my head :-) Any clues or guesses.


Definitely trench art.
A couple of web sites to help you on your way to identifying it.



I don’t know what this is, but would pose a question that might or might not be germaine. It is a British crown. Did any British WWI unit have a “Salamander” as any part of its insignia. unit “nick-name,” etc.?

Googled around and found this reference:


Vklim - thank you! From the attitude of the lizard (the curve that it is holding its body in) and the presence of the crown, it seems far more than coincidental. The date seems late for this type of thing. Knowing the headstmap on the 7.9 cartridge in the device in question, if in truth it is a real cartridge, would be interesting.

Either a British ship of war or a base would certainly have a machine shop well up to making this sort of thing, either as an official symbol or souvenir of some sort, or by some individual(s) as a “midnight project.”

If the cartridge is a Besa round, or a date from any belligerant in WWII, I would say that you found its source. If a WWI round, it is still possible, but would probably need more research, if any such research is possible.

this is precisely why I toss into the hat some of these comments. Sometimes one just needs a starting point. I don’t know enough about computers or even foreign militaria to have found this on the web, like Vlim did. I tried to find something before writing my question, but to no avail. More skilled hands did the job. Now it will be fun to see if this pans out.

That lizard on the H.M.S. Lizard’s Crest sure looks like the one in the device!

Although it has nothing to do with the main subject, did any of you ex-Navy types pick up on the patch to right of the Lizard? Compare it with the US Navy Amphibious Patch. Who copied who?

You may be on the right track with this. There is not a salamander/ lizard on any cap badge, I am pretty sure of that.
However every Division had an emblem. For example, 19th Division’s was a butterfly.
Not all emblems were animals, There were crossed keys and all sorts of things, some were just shapes but it was a means of identifying troops in the field. A salamander would be the sort of distictive shape that might just have been used.
The divisional emblem was worn on the shoulder as a small coloured cloth patch. In reality it was the colour that gave recognition rather than the emblem but never the less it would have been a matter of pride.
The trouble is I can’t find a listing of divisional identification emblems, I have lots on cap badges but I am working on it.

The fact that the two front feet are raised onto the cartridge and the toes curl round the radius suggests to me that the salamader was specially made for the purpose rather than adapted from elsewhere.
This would indicate a commercial level of manufacture rather than a one off.In which case there will be more of these about.

[quote=“pbutler”]Although it has nothing to do with the main subject, did any of you ex-Navy types pick up on the patch to right of the Lizard? Compare it with the US Navy Amphibious Patch. Who copied who?


It shouts “American” to me. Thompsons are not british although they found their way into many branches of the service as a temporary measure during lease/lend they soon disappeared again afterwards.



The bullet is German WW1 7.9x57 headstamp P s67 8 18. I also was sent this salamander/lizard combined forces patch. I was told it is a US patch for a camo unit in the CBI ( China,Burma,India) WW2 front. Definitely a interesting and odd combination of items in this piece.


Extract from official WW2 records held at the Public Records Office, Kew, London. 19th Sept 1942 - US Army are now wearing their own version of the Combined Operations Badge, which is very similar to ours. These were worn by members of the Engineer Amphibian Corp. These badges were produced with the American Eagle replacing the original; embroidered in yellow on a light blue backing.