BACKGROUND: Although military ranks and rank designations can be traced back to the mercenary armies of the 17TH century it wasn’t until the creation of standing armies in the early 18TH century that distinguishing insignia of rank began to be developed. Originally the shoulder straps were functional items designed to secure the saber and ammunition shoulder cross straps and the larger, metal trimmed epaulettes were a throw back to the protective shoulder pieces worn on medieval armor. By 1800 the epaulettes had lost their protective function and were retained as a badge of rank. In 1866 a new system of rank distinguishing Officer’s shoulder boards were introduced to replace the previously worn epaulettes although the epaulettes were retained for the parade and dress uniforms. Although the officer’s shoulder boards underwent numerous minor modifications they remained basically the same right up until the end of WWII. Normally the different branches of service within the German army were allocated a particular identifying waffenfarbe, (Branch of Service Color), which was displayed as the base on the shoulder boards although personnel holding Generals ranks from Generalmajor to Generfeldmarschall utilized bright red bases on the shoulder boards regardless of branch of service. Of Note: Regulations in April 1944 dictated that Generals with specialist careers, ie. Medical, Veterinarian etc., alter the base color of the shoulder boards to the appropriate branch of service color to reflect their specialized training to be effective as of May 1ST 1944. Original Generals shoulder boards utilized gilt bullion and silver braiding but regulations of July 15TH 1938, replaced the gilt bullion braid with golden yellow celleon braid and at a later unknown date the silver braid was replaced with silver/aluminum braid.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Post-July 1938 pattern, sew on shoulder boards consists of three, interwoven strands of Russian braiding with a central silver/aluminum braid flanked by dual golden yellow celleon braids all mounted a red wool base. Single rank pip to each. Nice!

GRADE ****1/2                             PRICE $1,115.00

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