L016474 EM/NCO'S BELT BUCKLE. (Koppelschloß für Mannschaften und Unteroffizier)

BACKGROUND: 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. During the Third Reich there was a prescribed form of wear of the belt and buckle with the buckle being positioned on the right side and the corresponding buckle catch on the left side. When the Reichsluftwaffe, (National Air-{Weapon}, Force), was official established on February 26TH 1935 as the third branch of service of the Wehrmacht, (Armed Forces), personnel utilized the belt buckles of the earlier DLV, Deutscher Luftsport Verband, (German Air Sports Association), and the DLV Fliegerschaft, (Pilot Base) the clandestine, civilian, forerunners of the Luftwaffe. Regulations of May 20TH 1935 introduced two, new style, belt buckles with one for EM/NCO personnel and the other for Officer's ranks. Of Note: On May 21ST 1935 the Reichsluftwaffe designation was altered to Luftwaffe, (Air-{Weapon}, Force). The belt buckle for EM/NCO's underwent minor modifications in late 1937 or early 1938 with a new pattern eagle and again in 1940 with a slight difference in construction. Originally the EM/NCO's buckles were produced with a silver finish until a blue/grey version was introduced, (Circa mid-1940), and a tropical, olive drab version was introduced in late 1940 although the silver finished buckles continued to be utilized, primarily for dress wear. The standard issue belt buckles were roughly, 4.5cm-4.7cm, (1 3/4"-1 7/8"), tall, and 6.5cm-6.7cm, (2 9/16"-2 5/8"), long, while private purchase belt buckles were generally a little smaller. Luftwaffe personnel initially utilized brown leather accoutrements but during the war the leather items were generally blackened. Originally military buckles produced under government contract had the addition of a leather, (canvas web for tropical buckles), tabs which were designed to help support the ammunition pouches and prevent slippage but regulations of March 28TH 1942 discontinued the tabs, although the directive was not completely adhered to.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 1938 pattern, standard issue, silver washed, injection molded, aluminum construction box buckle features a pebbled outer field with a central, embossed, high relief, horizontally oval, laurel leaf wreath encompassing a domed, pebbled, inner field with an embossed, second pattern, (Circa 1937/1938-1945), Luftwaffe eagle, with out-stretched wings, clutching a canted swastika in one talon, to the center. The reverse of the buckle is a crude mirror image of the obverse, including parts of the outer, pebbled, field and has the integral, raised, slotted buckle catch and the separate prong bar and prongs all intact.

GRADE *** 3/4                             PRICE $69.00

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