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. With the formation of the Königliche Marine, (Imperial/Royal {Prussian} Navy), in 1848 Senior NCO’s and Officer’s ranks adopted a series of rank identifying shoulder insignia for the traditional blue and white uniforms. With the later introduction of the brown tropical uniform and field-grey uniforms for land based personnel the wear of shoulder rank insignia was utilized by all ranks, but only on these specific uniforms. The Imperial Prussian Navy rank shoulder insignia remained in use through the Weimar, Reichsmarine, (National Navy, Circa 1919-1933), era and on into the Third Reich era with minor variations. On entering Kriegsmarine, (War Navy), service all personnel were assigned and trained for a specific career. These careers consisted of a wide variety of specialty trades and functions with some of the careers restricted to certain rank groups. On successful completion of the appropriate training, most personnel were issued distinctive career cypher insignia to be worn on the shoulder boards/straps.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Pass through style on shoulder boards in matte, silver/aluminum Russian braid with the gilt washed, stamped alloy, engineering career cyphers consisting of a multi-cogged gear wheel with six internal spokes and a central, circular hub, all mounted on a deep, navy blue wool base. Tips of the wooden "Pass Through" dowels have broken off, but otherwise fine.    (Ex Philippe Gillain Collection)

GRADE ****                             PRICE $89.00

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