Product Description: This early aluminum RAD belt buckle is a nice issued piece, with its original leather tab, and loads of character. The buckle is the standard issue type worn by enlisted men and NCOs of the Reichsarbeitsdienst, with the spade, swastika and wheat RAD organizational emblem. It’s made of aluminum and shows some obvious wear from use, but no damage. The front is very clean; the reverse has a slight, even age patina. On the reverse, inside the shovel, the commercial type stylized “A” maker mark of F. W. Assmann & Soehne in Ludenscheid is visible, as well as the date “36.” This aluminum RAD belt buckle features an integral catch and functional prongs, and is complete with its original brown leather tab. The tab is maker marked, but the stamp is worn and illegible. Some of the stitching on the tab has been lost to time, but it remains firmly in place. This aluminum RAD belt buckle is an attractive, early example, by a desirable maker.
Historical Description: The belt buckle was an important part of the regalia worn by all uniformed military, civil, political and paramilitary organizations during the Third Reich. The belt (“Koppel”) was part of the uniform, and would always be worn while on duty. The belt buckle (“Koppelschloss”) was generally specific to each organization, with many organizations having separate belt buckles for officers and for enlisted personnel, sometimes with different colors and finishes to further denote specific purposes. The buckles were adorned with various mottos and designs specific to the organizations for which they were intended. Many designs used the German national eagle emblem, in a variety of forms. Belt buckles were worn with uniforms ranging from finely tailored officer parade uniforms, to the issue uniforms of enlisted soldiers in combat. Generally speaking, most German belt buckles of the Third Reich were made with two prongs on the reverse, to allow the buckle to be worn and adjusted on a belt. The buckle had a catch that would mate with a hook on the belt, when worn. The earliest Third Reich buckles were often made of brass, or nickel silver. Later, aluminum became very common, and was used on private purchase as well as enlisted buckles of the German military, with or without a painted or plated finish. After WWII began, most enlisted military buckles were steel. Nazi belt buckles were popular souvenirs for Allied troops who served in Europe. Some types were made by the millions and remain quite common today. Others were made in limited numbers and are very rare.
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