L001889 EM/NCO'S TROPICAL BELT & BELT BUCKLE. (Tropen Koppel und Koppelschloß)
BACKGROUND: Military belts and their corresponding buckles date back centuries and were initially designed for attaching swords and daggers. In 1847 a new innovative box buckle with a quick release catch and corresponding belt were introduced which resulted in a Prussian, Hauptmann Virschow, initiating a new method of carrying personal equipment with the belt and shoulder straps supporting the majority of the weight. This system, with modifications, remains in use in most of the armies in the world to this day. During the Third Reich there was a prescribed form of wear of the belt and buckle with the buckle being positioned on the right side and the corresponding buckle catch on the left side. First introduced on May 20TH 1935, the Luftwaffe EM/NCO’s belt buckle underwent minor modifications in late 1937 or early 1938 with a new pattern eagle and again in 1940 with a slight difference in construction. Originally the EM/NCO’s buckles were produced with a silver finish until a blue/grey version was introduced, (Circa mid-1940), although the silver finished buckles continued to be utilized. In late 1940, with the impending German entrance into the North African campaign, the army quickly developed and issued tropical uniforms and equipment in time for DAK, Deutsches Afrika Korps, (German Africa Corps), personnel’s arrival in Tripoli in February 1941. At the same time the Luftwaffe also developed and introduced their own version of the tropical uniform and equipment independently from the other branches of service. Along with the tropical uniforms and equipment the Luftwaffe introduced a canvas web waist belt and altered the finish on the standard issue belt buckle to an olive drab coloration. Of Note: Originally military buckles produced under government contract had the addition of a leather, (canvas web for tropical buckles), tabs which were designed to help support the ammunition pouches and prevent slippage but regulations in 1942 discontinued the tabs to preserve leather although the directive was not completely adhered to.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 1940 pattern, stamped steel construction, box buckle features a smooth outer field with a central embossed, horizontally oval, laurel leaf wreath encompassing a slightly domed, pebbled inner field with an embossed, second pattern, (Circa 1937/1938-1945), Luftwaffe eagle with out-stretched wings, clutching a canted swastika in one talon to the center. The reverse of the buckle is a mirror image of the obverse. The reverse has the brazed buckle catch, prong bar and prongs all intact. Maker marked "HA 40" (H. Aurich Dresden). Superb paint and original fabric pull tab. The buckle comes complete with a 90cm long, olive canvas web belt with steel buckle catch and a canvas retaining tongue both intact. Rare Luftwaffe tropical belt. Super nice!!
GRADE ****1/2 PRICE $1,695.00
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