Product Description: This RAD Tunic is a handsome and impressive display object. It is a factory made, issue type service tunic, made of a dark brown wool. It’s the 1939 pattern, with a closed collar. The dark brown badge cloth collar has hand applied Bevo collar tabs indicating the rank of Obervormann. The shoulder straps are the expected slip-on style, and are matching, with twisted black and silver cord piping. The left sleeve has the assignment RAD patch, Bevo machine woven, with red numerals on a silver flat wire spade emblem, on a black backing. The unit patch has the numerals 233 over 8 for Abteilung (Battalion) 8th section 233rd Group, and is hand applied to the tunic sleeve with black stitching. Below this patch is a wool NSDAP armband, which is textbook, with desirable multi-piece construction. The armband retains bright original color, but shows scattered moth nips and holes. All of the original buttons are present, and the tunic shows minimal if any wear, and no damage. Inside, this RAD Tunic is lined with a tan cotton fabric. It’s well marked, with size stamps, a partially legible maker stamp, and a typical RAD depot marking indicating acceptance in 1940. The marked chest size is 96 cm, which is about 38 inches. The quality and condition of this tunic is remarkable. It displays great, and remains in excellent plus plus condition.
Historical Description: The German National Labor Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst, or RAD) was a major Nazi Party organization before and during WWII. It provided a labor force for Nazi civil, economic and military projects. Service in this organization was compulsory; men aged 18 to 25 had to serve six months in the RAD, though those who volunteered for certain military duties were exempt. There was also a female RAD section, with compulsory service for young women during WWII. The Reichsarbeitsdienst was originally formed in 1934, from an amalgamation of previous voluntary labor organizations. Before the war, they dug ditches, cleared forests, reclaimed waste lands and built roads, including a role in building the famous German Autobahn system. In the leadup to war, they assisted with harvests and also built bunkers and field fortifications including the West Wall. During WWII the RAD was classified as an auxiliary organization to the Wehrmacht. The organization took on an increasingly military role, with RAD personnel serving on all fronts, and even in combat. The RAD had a vast array of distinctive uniforms, from finely tailored officer garments for formal wear to coveralls and work clothing. Insignia and headgear in many patterns was issued and used in the organization’s 11-year history, and special awards were instituted to recognize RAD service. In addition to the iconic spades used by RAD members, many other types of field equipment were also issued and used.
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