Waffen-SS 1st pattern Officer's Sleeve Eagle
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Due to the fact that the SS was originally a political organisation and not a branch of the German armed services, its members were not entitled to wear the army pattern national eagle. To avoid this issue, the SS introduced their own sleeve eagle design in 1936. However, there is evidence that it was worn as early as the summer of 1935. The eagle was placed on the upper left sleeve.
The first pattern SS eagle was initially worn by the members of the Waffen-SS’ predecessor, the SS-Verfügungstruppe. The design featured a leftward facing eagle with “wavy” wings that pointed downward. In its talons, the eagle clasps an enwreathed swastika. Its head faces to the viewer’s left. Even after the introduction of the second pattern eagle, first pattern eagles were still sometimes worn by Waffen-SS members into the war years.
In 1938, the SS introduced a new sleeve eagle design that would be used until the end of the war. The design featured a rightward facing eagle with straight wings. The most identifiable feature of this eagle is the middle feather which is longer than the other feathers. In its talons, the eagle clasps a circular wreath with a swastika in the centre. Its head now faces to the viewer's right.
Initially, the sleeve eagles for Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and Enlisted Men (EMs) were machine-embroidered using white thread. The colour of the thread was later changed to grey.
The machine-embroidered version was later phased out in favour of a BeVo machine-weave version. A tan coloured BeVo weave eagle was also produced for wear with the tropical tunic.
Finally, a print-screen version was produced, although it was likely never issued.
Officer grade sleeve eagles were hand-embroidered using aluminium thread.
There is a great deal of variety in the appearance of the eagle due to the fact that there was a large number of manufacturers.
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