Product Description: This is a scarce and desirable 18th Horst Wessel SS Volunteer collar tab. This style of collar tab was intended for wear by men of the 18. SS-Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier-Division “Horst Wessel.” This unit was formed in 1944 and composed primarily of ethnic Germans from Hungary. The front of this collar tab is emblazoned with the runic style SA emblem of the paramilitary Sturmabteilung organization. Like the swastika, this emblem was designed by Hitler. The emblem is machine embroidered in white thread, and is virtually perfect. The body of this collar tab is made of a typical black wool badge cloth fabric, with a fine weave and slightly fuzzy nap. The wool retains its strong, original black color. This wool fabric has been folded around a tan buckram stiffener, with the folded edges of the fabric each having lines of straight machine stitching. This style of construction is known, in the collecting community, to be typical of the collar tabs found in the warehouses of the concentration camp at Dachau, in Bavaria just outside of Munich. Since the end of the war, these tabs have been found predominately in the estates of US veterans, who brought them home from Europe as war souvenirs. This tab does not appear to have ever been issued or used, and shows no signs of wear. There are no holes, stains, or other damage. This tough to find 18th Horst Wessel SS Volunteer Collar Tab displays great, and is in outstanding, near mint condition.
Historical Description: Collar insignia, in the form of collar tabs (Kragenspiegel) or simple woven Litzen, were very widely used by many German civil, political, military and paramilitary organizations, before and during WWII. In some cases, for example on collar tabs of the Luftwaffe, the collar insignia were rank specific, with devices or rank Tresse that changed as a soldier was promoted. In other cases, such as the pre-1938 Litzen used on enlisted field tunics of the German Army, the collar insignia had no rank identifier, but bore “Waffenfarbe” branch colors that identified a soldier’s unit type. Some German collar insignia were adorned with unit or branch specific metal emblems, while others featured hand or machine embroidery, and still others were made using hand applied wire bullion. Less commonly, collar insignia emblems could be directly applied to the collar itself, rather than being a removable patch. Collar insignia intended for field use was often different from the formal dress insignia used by the same organization. It is no exaggeration to say that many hundreds of different collar patterns were in use during the Third Reich, with some organizations having multiple patterns as regulations changed during the 1933-45 period. Some collar insignia, which was mass produced for large organizations, remains relatively common today, while other insignia types such as those for officers of the highest ranks, or for small organizations, are very scarce.
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