Condition: Near Mint
Product Description: This first pattern M34 Heer Breast Eagle is a really tough one to find. It features a white German Army eagle on a light gray backing, and was introduced on February 17, 1934, as the first breast eagle type used by the German Army. It was produced until June, 1937, and continued to be used in the early part of WWII. It’s common in original photos, but most were worn out and discarded, so they are very scarce today. This one is a near-perfect example. It is unissued, never folded, and retains the full original rayon backing. There are no rips or tears, no holes, no discoloration; only extremely slight age toning. The reverse shows details of the Bevo machine woven construction which is textbook in every way. This desirable M34 Heer Breast Eagle would be suitable for restoring a very early Wehrmacht tunic and also displays well as a collectible in its own right.
Historical Description: The German Armed Forces (Wehrmacht), as formed in 1935, and as they existed until the end of World War 2, consisted of the Army (Heer), the Air Force (Luftwaffe) and the Navy (Kriegsmarine). The Waffen-SS fell under the command of the Wehrmacht during the war. Each of these branches of service had a unique eagle design that was worn on both the formal dress and parade uniforms, and the field uniforms, of the members of that branch. These eagles were worn on soft headgear, including service and field caps, as well as on the uniform jacket. In the Heer, the Luftwaffe, and the Kriegsmarine, this eagle was worn on the chest of the tunic; collectors have termed these “breast eagles.” The Heer and the Luftwaffe generally used the same eagle style, though variations in color of the eagle or the backing distinguish between the two. The Luftwaffe used their own flying eagle emblem. The Waffen-SS sleeve eagle (and cap eagle) had wings that came to a distinctive tapered point. The cap, breast and sleeve eagles used by the various military branches were manufactured in many variations. There were machine-woven and machine embroidered versions, usually used by officers and NCOs. Hand-embroidered bullion wire eagles were typically for officers. There were metal eagles, for caps, or for uniforms that were intended to have detachable insignia. There were even eagles embroidered on camouflage fabric, intended for use on special field uniforms. There were also eagles in specific colors for use on tropical uniforms. Some of these eagles were mass-produced, and are still common today; others were and are very rare.
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