BACKGROUND: When the Reichsluftwaffe, was official established on February 26TH 1935 as the third branch of service of the Armed Forces it adopted the shoulder board/strap rank insignia that had been utilized by its civilian forerunner the Deutscher Luftsport Verband, (German Air Sports League). The shoulder boards/straps remained in use through-out the war with minor modifications. Of Note: On March 9TH 1935 the formation of the new Reichsluftwaffe was announced to the foreign press and on March 16TH conscription was reintroduced for all three branches of service. On May 21ST 1935 the Reichsluftwaffe designation was altered to Luftwaffe. The shoulder straps were worn in matching pairs and indicated the branch of service and rank of the wearer. The different branches of service within the Luftwaffe were allocated specific identifying waffenfarbe, (Branch of Service Color), with golden yellow being chosen for personnel serving with Flieger, (Flight) units which was generally displayed as piping on the shoulder straps. Originally NCO ranks wore a bright silver/aluminum tress on the forward collar edge of the dress and service tunics, on the tropical and continental field blouses, as adornment on the shoulder straps and dress tunic cuffs and also as sleeve rank chevrons. On September 1ST 1942, the Luftwaffe, following the army’s lead, introduced a new subdued matte blue/grey rayon tress for wear on the field uniform. Although the new subdued tress was intended to replace the highly visible bright silver/aluminum tress it continued in usage until the end of the war. The Luftwaffe utilized a wide variety of shoulder board/strap cyphers that indicated numerous specific, assorted trades, careers, functions and/or units. Most of the shoulder board/strap cyphers were introduced prior to the war but additional cyphers were introduced through-out the conflict as required. Regulations decreed that the shoulder board/strap cyphers were embroidered in the branch of service color for the enlisted ranks up to and including Unterfeldwebel, in white aluminum for the NCO ranks of Feldwebel, Oberfeldwebel and Stabsfeldwebel, gilt metal for Officers ranks up to and including the rank of Oberst and in silver aluminum for Generals ranks.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Luftwaffe blue/grey wool construction, slip on shoulder strap with bright silver/aluminum, waffle patterned NCO’s tress to all but the sew on ends and golden yellow wool waffenfarbe piping and a single rank pip.

GRADE ****                             PRICE $49.00

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