Original German WWII Heer Army Infantry NCO Shoulder Boards - Unteroffizier

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Set of 2 Available. This is a very nice set of German WWII Schulterstücken (Shoulderboards). These have the correct woven silver strap around the edge, which leaves the shoulder end open. This is an Non-Commissioned officer rank for the German Wehrmacht Unteroffizier or the U.S. Sergeant, just above Corporal.

This set of shoulder boards have very nice green felt backing and intact straps underneath, for securing them around the shoulder loop. They have white piping around the edge, which was the Waffenfarbe (corps color) during WWII for the infantry.

There is some light wear and moth nips, but these really are a nice set. These would be perfect to dress up any infantry uniform. Ready to display!

Shoulder-Straps (Schulterklappen) and Shoulder Boards (Schulterstücke)
The Reichsheer's shoulder-straps to enlisted men (German: Mannschaften) were very similar to those of World War I, made of feldgrau uniform cloth with pointed or "gable" button ends. In December 1934 the material was changed to gray badge-cloth (Abzeichentuch) and in September 1935 changed again to dark bottle-green (flaschengrün). These "first pattern" shoulder-straps were not edged in Waffenfarbe piping.

In 1938, simultaneous with the removal of Waffenfarbe from field-uniform collar patches, new shoulder-straps were issued. These "second pattern" straps had round rather than pointed ends, and were edged on three sides with wool (later rayon) piping in Waffenfarbe. This pattern would be used through the end of the war, although in 1940 manufacture reverted to field-gray uniform cloth, and as usual alternate versions were made to go with the Panzer uniform (black), tropical uniform (olive cotton) and HBT summer uniform (reed-green twill). Schulterklappen were not worn with the fatigue uniform, nor with camouflage smocks and parkas which used an alternate system of rank insignia.

For junior enlisted men (Mannschaften), rank insignia if any was worn on the left sleeve. However the epaulets did indicate the wearer's unit (usually regiment or independent battalion) together with his sub-branch if any, machine-embroidered in branch-color. For example, a Schulterklappe with rose-pink piping and number "4" would indicate the 4th Panzer Regiment; but if it carried a pink number "4" and letter "A" it would indicate the 4th Armored Reconnaissance (Aufklärungs) Battalion. The German Army used a very large assortment of Latin initials, Gothic initials, script ciphers, Arabic numerals, Roman numerals and symbols to designate all its various service branches and installations. Before the war, shoulder-buttons were embossed with the number of the wearer's company as well, this practice was discontinued "for the duration."

Beginning in January 1940, shoulder-straps with unit insignia were (supposed to be) phased out as a security measure, and removable fabric loops with devices were issued instead. In May 1944 the embroidery was changed from waffenfarbe to light gray.

Non-commissioned officers (de: Unteroffiziere) wore their rank insignia on their shoulder-straps, consisting of braid and white-metal rank stars. An Unteroffizier's epaulet was edged with Tresse on three sides and an Unterfeldwebel's on all four. Senior NCO's (Unteroffiziere mit Portepee) added one to three stars; in addition, their unit identifiers took the form of white-metal insignia rather than embroidery.

Shoulder-straps were made in both a standard width (4.5 cm, 1¾") and a wider one for three-digit unit numbers (5.3 cm, 2"), and in three lengths depending on the size of the man. There was in addition an extra-large size for the overcoat (Mantel).

Officers' shoulder boards were constructed from "Russia" braid, an aluminum-thread double piping. Company-grade officers (Leutnant through Hauptmann/Rittmeister) wore epaulets constructed by wrapping two side-by-side lengths of braid around the buttonhole and back, giving the appearance of eight parallel cords; the whole was sewn to an underlay (Unterlagen) of Waffenfarbe badge-cloth. Until 1938 the underlay was of the same outer dimensions as the braid, and only visible edge-on; in that year the underlay was made wider, so as to create the impression of edge piping like the enlisted shoulder-strap. Rank was indicated by zero to two gilt-metal rank stars; unit designators were also of gilt metal.

Field-grade officer (Stabsoffizier) shoulder boards were made by plaiting together double widths of Russia braid and looping them to form a buttonhole, sewn to a Waffenfarbe underlay; rank again was displayed by zero to two gilt stars.

Once the war began, dull gray aluminum braids appeared, but bright aluminum continued in use.

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