Product Description: This is a great example of a rare SS Sleeve Eagle 1st Pattern. It depicts the distinctive early first type SS eagle and swastika emblem, neatly machine embroidered in gray-white thread on a backing of typical SS black wool badge cloth. All of the original stitching is intact. There is some very minor soiling or toning, probably from handling over time as there is no obvious indication that this eagle was ever sewn to a uniform. The black wool backing retains all of the original surface nap. There is no fraying, and just one very small nip out of the upper edge. The reverse of this SS Sleeve Eagle 1st Pattern shows the bobbin thread of the embroidery. There is some old adhesive residue on the back, possibly from having been mounted in a photo album in the past. This is a desirable piece of SS insignia, that remains in excellent condition.
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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