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  • Heer Cuff Titles

    Unit Cuff Titles

    Select German units were allowed to wear cuff titles bearing the unit name. Most often associated with elite formations, some were simply identifiers, such as for war correspondents and military police. Titles were worn on the right or left sleeve, depending on the unit, usually just above the split cuff on the tunic.

    "Grossdeutschland" was eventually the largest unit in the German Army. The cuff titles for this division exist in over a dozen variations, including different colors, weaving styles, letter styles, and widths. The initial title was the "Gothic" pattern, worn by troops of the original Wach Regiment. The Sutterlin and handwritten styles followed shortly thereafter. The black, Sutterlin pattern seems to have been the most common. If you are in a reenacting unit, see if they have a preference before ordering. By 1943, all patterns were in use, so "correct" is simply a matter of preference.
    Officers and NCO's often acquired the hand-embroidered ("officer") pattern insignia from private tailors and uniform shops. All styles were worn on the right sleeve.

    "Afrikakorps": Also known as the DAK, the this cuff title was worn by troops serving in North Africa under Rommel. Worn on the right sleeve.

    "Feldgendarmarie": For military police. Worn on the left sleeve.

    "Kriegsberichter des Heeres": Army war correspondents. Worn on the left sleeve.

    Campaign Cuff Titles

    These were issued for participation in a specific combat theater, and members of any branch of service were eligible. These include "Afrika", "Metz" and "Kreta". All were worn on the left sleeve.

  • WSS Cuff Titles

    WSS Cuff Titles

    Many troops of the WSS wore cuff bands embroidered with the name of their unit. Although many did not, the main combat divisions and a few regiments had their own unique insignia. There were three basic patterns of cuff titles made during the War.

    RZM: This was the initial manufacturing style of the pre-War cuff bands. The name of the unit is embroidered in light gray thread onto a black, woven band.

    This appeared later in the War, as a simplified means of production. Both the band and the lettering are woven at one time on a thin rayon ribbon. Many late War units' cuff bands only exist in this style such as "Frundsberg" and "Hohenstaufen".

    : In this style, the lettering is hand embroidered on an RZM band bu hand, using silver wire ("bullion") thread. These were hand made, one at a time, so any unit could have exited in this pattern. These were not strictly officer items- any WSS man who wanted to spend the money could purchase one from a tailor or insignia shop.

  • Heer Breast & Sleeve

    German Army (Heer) Breast Eagles

    The German Army had a bewildering variety of insignia and the national symbol, the breast eagle, was no exception. There are two broad categories- enlisted, or issue eagles, and those privately purchased for officers. In practice, just about any combination of uniform and eagle can be found in original photos. The German troops appear to have been just as confused with the array of options and far less concerned with regulations than Living Historians.

    Enlisted Eagles: During the pre-War period, most uniforms had an embroidered (woolen) eagle with a bottle green background. Sometime in the late 1930's a machine woven type (BeVo) appeared. Once the bottle green collar was dropped from the tunics, the eagles began to be manufactured with field gray backgrounds instead, and most were now of the BeVo style. A tan pattern was made for the tropical tunics, black bordered versions were made for Panzer uniforms and a simplified, triangular type was made for the M44 tunic at the end of the War.
    The "M40" and "M43" are names we have given different manufacturing variations- they are NOT official German military designations. The "M43" seems to have appeared well before 1943 and is the most common eagle seen on original uniforms of all models.

    Which one is correct? Any and all of them. An M36 tunic is perfectly correct with an M43 eagle and M43 tunics sometimes had M36 eagles. It's quite probable that any and all types were sewed onto any and all models of uniform at some point by some soldier. Not the answer you wanted? Sorry, the Germans were a mess. As said, the "M43" eagle is the most common. Officers often wore enlisted eagles on their uniforms.

    Officer Eagles: Private tailor shops offered hand embroidered wire eagles for purchase. NCO's and Officers both tended to wear these- as well as the EM patterns. Black bordered eagles correspond to Panzer uniforms and bottle green ones for field gray tunics.

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