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H093359 REICHSWEHR EM/NCO'S BELT BUCKLE. (Koppelschloß für Mannschaften)

BACKGROUND: At the conclusion of WWI the victorious Allies laid the full cause and responsibility for the war on Germany, assigning them Alleinschuld, (Sole Guilt) and an Allied tribunal was established to determine what steps were to be taken to prevent Germany from any future military aggressive actions. One of the main clauses of the Allies Treaty of Versailles restricted the German army to a total of 100,000 personnel, (roughly 1/8TH of the pre-war strength), including Officer’s ranks and a Navy of 15,000 personnel including Officer’s ranks while a German military air-force was completed banned. Military belts and their corresponding buckles date back centuries and were initially designed for attaching swords and daggers. In 1847 Prussian Hauptmann Virschow introduced a new, innovative, box buckle with a quick release catch and corresponding belt for EM/NCO’s ranks and initiated 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. The Weimar Reichswehr era , (National Defence Force, Circa 1919-1933), belt buckle was introduced in May 1919, for wear by EM/NCO personnel serving in both the Reichsheer, (National Army), and the Reichsmarine, (National Navy), with a different colored finish for each branch of service with silver buckles for the army and golden buckles for the navy. Although introduced in May 1919 the belt buckles weren’t widely distributed until 1921. The buckles retained the same basic design as the Imperial German belt buckles but replaced the Imperial crown with the newly introduced national eagle. The Reichswehr era belt buckles were most commonly manufactured in solid nickel/silver although steel buckles were also produced. The buckles produced under government contract had the addition of a leather tab which were designed to help support the ammunition pouches and prevent slippage .The standard issue belt buckles were roughly, 4.5cm-4.7cm, (roughly 1 3/4"-1 7/8"), tall, with a matte silver finish, while private purchase belt buckles for the walking out dress were generally a little smaller ranging from 3.5cm-4cm, (1 3/8"-1 5/8"), tall with a bright silver finish. Of Note: On January 24TH 1936 a new pattern EM/NCO’s belt buckle was officially introduced to replace the Reichswehr belt buckles although both were worn concurrently for a short period of time. The new pattern belt buckles retained the basic design of the Reichswehr belt buckles with the addition of the new Wehrmacht, (Armed Forces), style national eagle. Military regulations dictated a prescribed form of wear of the belt and buckle with the buckle being positioned on the right side and the corresponding buckle catch/eyelets on the left side. Regulations of March 14TH altered the earlier utilized medium and light brown belts to a dark brown coloration.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Early, two piece, standard issue, silver washed, die stamped, nickel/silver alloy construction, box buckle features a pebbled outer field with a separate, central, embossed, circular face plate soldered in place. The face plate has a high relief, embossed Weimar style, national eagle with down-swept wings, to the slightly domed, smooth finished, center, encompassed by a laurel leaf cluster to the bottom and script, "Gott Mit Uns", (God With Us), to the top. The laurel leaf cluster and script are on a ribbed background and are encircled by both an inner and outer simulated twisted rope border. The buckle shows nice detailing and only retains hints of it’s silver wash with a faint, attractive yellowish age and usage patina. The reverse of the buckle has two, small, soldered spots retaining the face plate, a stamped, raised, semi-circular catch and the prong bar and prongs are all intact. The buckle has no visible manufacturer’s markings.

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $50.00

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