Product Description: This is a perfect example of the SS Gas Protection NCO occupational insignia. This was an early occupational patch that was introduced prior to October 1935, though it was used in the Waffen-SS by gas protection NCOs until the end of the war. These troops were tasked with constructing anti-gas defenses, and decontamination following a gas attack, as well as the maintenance of unit gas protection equipment, and instruction of unit members on anti-gas measures. This patch is likely a later war piece from the stores at Dachau. This SS Gas Protection NCO patch is round, about 2-1/4 inches in diameter, and made of black wool. It features a machine embroidered representation of a German GM30 pattern gas mask and filter, neatly stitched in light gray thread. This piece shows only extremely minor age toning, and is in near mint condition. It would be hard to find a nicer one.
Historical Description: The uniforms worn by the various SS branches before and during WWII used a variety of insignia to indicate rank, unit assignment, and role, including collar tabs and shoulder boards, cuff titles, and sleeve diamonds. The sleeve diamonds were initially authorized in October 1935. Each had a distinctive letter, symbol or emblem, with its own unique meaning. SS sleeve diamonds were used to indicate which SS organization the wearer was assigned to, specific roles of SS personnel, special achievements such as proficiency in sports or marksmanship, or to recognize former service in other Nazi Party organizations. Some diamonds were specific to certain SS branches, such as the Allgemeine-SS, Waffen-SS, or the SS-Totenkopfverbände. Other sleeve diamonds could be worn by a member of any SS branch. The materials and construction of original sleeve diamonds varied. Some were either hand-embroidered or machine-embroidered on black wool, while others were “Bevo” machine woven on a rayon base. Generally, silver-gray thread embroidery was used for enlisted ranks and NCOs, while officers wore hand embroidered wire bullion. Diamonds could be edged with silver-colored twisted wire cord for officers, or black and silver twisted cord for NCOs. Originals existed with paper or cloth RZM tags on the reverse, or were unlabeled. In total, there were dozens of different types and variations of these made between 1935-45. Some were produced in limited numbers, and others are more commonly encountered today, but all are desirable and collectible pieces of SS regalia.
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