Product Description: This RAD belt and buckle set is a nice issued piece with loads of character and a great early tabbed buckle. The buckle is the type worn by enlisted men and NCOs of the Reichsarbeitsdienst. It’s made of aluminum and shows some wear from use, but retains a lot of detail. It has a slight, even age patina. The reverse of the buckle is clean and unmarked, with an integral catch and functional prongs. There are a couple of bends to the upper and lower edges of the buckle. This RAD Belt and Buckle is complete with its original brown leather tab. The tab is maker marked, but the stamp is worn and illegible. The date on the tab appears to be “1938,” which would make sense for this buckle type. The belt is brown leather, correct for RAD, that has darkened from use and age. It has an early aluminum hook, matching the buckle. The tongue of the belt has been removed, the end shortened, and two holes have been punched to allow the buckle to be affixed directly to the belt. This was a common period modification for shortening these belts, that is also seen on military belts. This RAD belt and buckle would look great on a mannequin with a field or work uniform, and it displays great on its own as well.
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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