Kriegsmarine Open-Claw Officer's Belt Strap and Buckle
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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 (Imperial Navy) and the Reichsmarine of the Weimar Republic. 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.
From 1933-1945, the uniforms worn by personnel in the German Navy were produced and disseminated by the Navy Clothing Depot and private manufacturers.
Similar to the larger uniform items, the belt straps and buckles worn by Kriegsmarine personnel were based upon those utilized during the Reichsmarine.
The Kriegsmarine Open-Claw Officer belt strap and buckle were worn by Officers, Senior Officer Candidates and a slew of other ranks considered to be equivalent in rank to Officers, such as Warrant Officers and Bandleaders. This belt was worn with all field-grey uniform garments. It was also infrequently used during the Second World War with blue uniform garments, but during peacetime it had been worn with the landing dress.
This Officer belt strap and buckle are composed of several main elements, including the leather strap, the open buckle, the center bar, the double buckle claws/prongs, and the leather loops. The belts were worn with a cross strap until they were discontinued in May 1940.
The Officer belt strap was originally composed of brown leather, but at some point after July 1943, the leather colour was changed to black. The early belt straps have an approximate width of 50-55mm, but in May 1943, the width was lowered to 45mm. The strap features seven pairs of parallel holes for sizing.
The open buckle and the strap of the Officer belt are inextricably connected, wherein the left end of the leather strap is wrapped around the centre bar of the open buckle and sewn shut. The buckle is pebbled in appearance with an open, rectangular design, rounded corners, and a vertical centre bar with two extending claws/prongs. The buckle was originally composed of silver-coloured metals, such as dull argentine and matte-silver light metal alloy, but in 1943 gold-coloured buckles were introduced for wear by Admirals with the blue or field-grey uniform.
The belt strap also features two leather loops along the left end of the belt, for use in securing the loose sections of the strap when in wear.
The marks of private manufacturers vary widely, ranging from codes to full names, and even abbreviated letters, as well as the year of manufacture. After 1942, Reich numbers (Reichsbetriebsnummer) were also used as manufacturer marks (RB-).
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