H016780 INFANTRY "Reichswehr" MUSICIAN'S WINGS/SWALLOW'S NESTS. (Schwalbennester)

BACKGROUND: Germany has a long history of producing some of the best master musicians in the world including the renown composers Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms and Hitler’s personal favorite Richard Wagner. Military bands date back to the middle ages and were originally utilized for acoustic signaling long before eventually evolving into a form of entertainment. The German military recognized the beneficially morale effect of music and along with larger units and Headquarters bands, German infantry battalions, excluding Jäger, (Light Infantry), and Gebirgsjäger, (Mountain Troop), battalions, each had a fife and drum band that usually consisted of six buglers and drummers and a Drum Major and a wide variety of acceptable music was readily available to these musicians. Along with their instruments the musicians wore the distinctive, identifying, "swallow’s nest", insignia when performing with the band. The "swallow’s nest" insignia was utilized from at least the 1800's if not earlier and was carried over into the Imperial, the Weimar Reichswehr, (National Defence Force, Circa 1919-1933), and the Third Reich eras with minor variations. The Reichswehr era "swallow’s nests" consisted of seven, or eight, wide vertical stripes on a colored background field and all had a fringe applied to bottom edge until regulations of 1923 abolished the fringe for drummers and fifers but maintained the fringe for Drum Majors. Regulations of September 1935 altered the seven/eight, wide vertical stripes on the "swallow’s nests" to nine, narrower, stripes. The 1935 pattern "swallow’s nests" were utilized for the duration of the war. Regulations permitted the "swallow’s nests" to be permanently affixed to the walking-out and dress tunics but were removable, being secured by five hooks and eyes, on the service tunics and the field blouses. The different branches of service within the German army were allocated a specific, identifying, waffenfarbe, (Branch of Service Color), with white being chosen for Infantry personnel. Besides generally being displayed on the uniform shoulder straps/boards and the collar tabs the appropriate waffenfarbe was also utilized as the base color of the "swallow’s nests".

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Two roughly, 10cm tall, 24cm wide, half-moon shaped, matching, Infantry drummers and fifers "swallow’s nests" consisting of a white wool waffenfarbe base with seven, alternating, evenly spaced, machine stitched, vertical, bright, silver/aluminum, diamond patterned, tress stripes and an additional, slightly curved, horizontal, bright, silver/aluminum, diamond patterned, tress stripe to the bottom edge. The white wool base shows through as a narrow, vertical stripe between each of the tress stripes. Silver fringe to the bottom of each (Officer?). The reverse of each "swallow’s nest" has a protective, feldgrau wool backing stitched in place. The reverse of the "swallow’s nests" have five (missing one), evenly spaced, sheet metal attachment hooks. The "swallow’s nests", are in overall very good condition with minor age and usage toning.

GRADE ****                             PRICE $129.00

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