Kriegsmarine Anti-Aircraft Observer Insignia Type I
Image courtesy of Angolia, Schlicht, "Die Kriegsmarine - Uniforms & Traditions, Volume 2"
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The headgear, uniforms, and insignia worn by members of the Kriegsmarine were based upon the designs utilized by the Kaiserliche Marine and the Reichsmarine. The official regulations governing the uniforms of the Reichsmarine were issued on April 5, 1921, and they were embraced, with a few alterations, as the Kriegsmarine uniforms in 1935.
The Specialty Insignia were worn by Privates and Junior Non-Commissioned Officers. They were indicators of the wearer’s training in one or more specialty trades. Therefore, more than one could be worn at once. The insignia were worn on the left sleeve of the Kriegsmarine blue service uniform and white summer uniform; they were worn below the rank and career insignia. These insignia were not featured on special occasion uniform pieces, or on leather jackets.
The first regulations concerning the insignia were issued in 1933, but the organization of the Kriegsmarine specialties and several of their insignia and designs were altered in 1940. However, some remained unchanged, while others were discontinued altogether.
The cloth on which the specialty design is embroidered may be white or navy-blue. The colour of the cloth backing corresponds with the uniform on which it was meant to be worn; regular blue service uniform or the white summer uniform. The specialty icon is machine-embroidered in red thread, which may be artificial silk or cotton thread. The blue cloth backings are generally composed of wool, while the white cloth backings are generally made from a cotton/rayon blend. Pre-Second World War insignia often have a protective nettle cloth layer, the colour of which corresponds with the colour of the cloth backing of the insignia. This protective layer was rarely added on Second World War insignia.
In some cases, additional grades of specialty were added to the insignia in the form of chevrons.
The anti-aircraft observer was known as Fla. Maschinenwaffenführer or Fla.M.W.B., later Flak B. The insignia features a flaming winged shell.
The anti-aircraft gun chief (Geschützführer für Flak or G.F. Flak) is said to have worn the same insignia. It is unknown if his was distinguished with the help of an additional chevron.
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