Original Imperial German WWI Unit Marked Belt with M1915 Prussian Steel Buckle by Hoffmann - dated 1916
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice WWI Imperial German Waist Belt, with the correct M1915 Prussian Steel Belt Buckle (Koppelschloß). This buckle features painted steel construction, with a 45mm, slightly convex, stamped metal box buckle. This features the Prussian Crown, encompassed by a dual rope-like border within which, against a ribbed background, is the Prussian motto GOTT MIT UNS (God [is] With Us), and a spray of laurels. To the reverse is its welded-on buckle catch, and a metal prong bar with dual prongs, for the belt’s retaining tongue, with the original leather pull tab.
The buckle is in good condition, with a nice patina of age, and signs of long service. Most of the oxide finish is missing from the face of the buckle, while it is retained better on the inside, protected from wear. It is a very attractive display piece that still retains most of the detail on the insignia. The leather tab is good but worn condition, and most of the original marking can still be read:
The maker name is somewhat faint, but with a magnifying glass, we were able to make out the name.
The included leather belt appears to be dark brown or black, and is in very nice condition. It measures around 38 1/2 inches in overall length, and is still supple, with the expected wear to the finish. it retains the original tab, so the buckle can be attached securely. There is a 95 stamped into one end, indicating that the belt was originally 95cm in length (about 37.4 inches), so it has stretched a little bit. The stitching is mostly intact, with some missing around the clip end.
The belt also has a very nice unit marking stamped onto the inside:
17 J R
L I R 8
This would indicate issue to the 17th (4th Westphalian) Infantry "Count Barfuss" Regiment, raised in 1 July 1813 and garrisoned in Mörchingen. It was part of the XXI Army corps. The numbers underneath should indicate which part of the regiment the soldier was part of. It is possible that the 1903 is a date, as belts could stay in service for years.
A very nice example of the standard German belt and buckle from "The Great War", ready to research and display!
History of German/Prussian Belt Buckles:
First introduced in 1847, the design of the buckle remained virtually unchanged until 1918. After January of 1915, these buckles, which were also used by the Prussian-dominated states of Baden, Oldenburg, Hansa and Thuringia, were made of zinc-plated sheet iron. Originally the box buckles came in a 50mm, (roughly 2 inches), width until 1895 when the width was reduced to 45mm, (roughly 1 3/4 inches), in an attempt to lighten the weight load of the field gear. Initially the buckles were produced of brass with a nickel/silver face plate until 1914 when steel construction buckles were introduced. This buckle design is essentially the same as those used later in WWII.
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