Product Description: This is a great, representative example of a Red Cross EM buckle. This pattern of belt buckle was worn by enlisted men and NCOs of the Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (DRK), the German Red Cross. This is a wartime example of the Red Cross EM buckle, made of zinc. As is typical of wartime zinc pieces, this buckle exhibits the dull gray color of the base metal. It retains lots of great detail, and shows typical age patina on the front and back, but no real wear- the overall condition rates excellent. The front of the buckle bears the DRK eagle emblem, surrounded by a wreath. The reverse of this one-piece zinc Red Cross EM buckle has an interesting integral cast catch, rather than the separate piece usually encountered on stamped buckles. The prongs for affixing this to a belt are intact and functional. There is no manufacturer marking. Overall, this is a really nice example of one of the tougher wartime buckle variants to find.
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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