Luftwaffe Hauptgefreiter Chevron
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The German Wehrmacht was composed of three main branches, the Heer (Army), the Kriegsmarine (Navy), and the Luftwaffe (Air Force). The Heer and Kriegsmarine uniforms were based upon the designs utilized by their predecessor organizations, the Reichsheer and the Kaiserliche Marine. Conversely, the Luftwaffe uniforms were based upon the uniforms worn in the sports and paramilitary organizations that were the forerunners of the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe uniforms were specifically designed to deviate from the designs of the other Wehrmacht service branches. It was also necessary that the uniforms differentiate between military and civilian pilots.
There were two main organizational precursors of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Sports Association (DLV or Deutscher Luftsportverband), and the National Air Raid Protection League (RLB or Reichsluftschutzbund).
The DLV and the RLB were created in 1933. These civilian organizations were used to secretly train members for future roles in the Luftwaffe. The DLV became obsolete after Hitler’s official introduction of the Luftwaffe in 1935, and it was disbanded and replaced by the National Socialist Flyers Corps (NSFK or Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps) in 1937.
On May 27, 1935, an order was released that delineated the official forms of the Luftwaffe uniforms, but chevrons were not instituted for Luftwaffe personnel until 1938.
Initially, only the ranks of Gefreiter, Obergefreiter, and Hauptgefreiter wore chevrons, but on February 4, 1944, the new rank of Stabsgegreiter was added above Hauptgefreiter.
The chevrons were sewn onto the left sleeve, between the elbow and shoulder, of the Greatcoat, the uniform and dress tunics, and the flight blouse.
These chevrons are composed of “V” shaped tress approximately 10mm wide. The tress was initially composed of silver-aluminum wire but the silver colour was deemed to visible, and in 1942 the tress was changed to bluish-grey rayon. This tress was generally sewn onto a blue-grey wool cloth backing, but they are also known to have rarely been sewn onto silk with no additional backing.
The Hauptgefreiter Chevron features three “V” tresses. On February 4, 1944, the rank of Stabsgefreiter was added and superseded the Hauptgefreiter rank.
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