Luftwaffe NCO/EM Ranks Tropical Field Blouse
Image courtesy of Hermann Historica Auctioneers, Munich
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The German Wehrmacht was composed of three main branches, the Heer, the Kriegsmarine, and the Luftwaffe. The Heer and Kriegsmarine uniforms were based upon the designs utilized by their predecessor organizations, the Deutsches Heer and the Kaiserliche Marine. Conversely, the Luftwaffe uniforms were based upon the uniforms worn in the sports and para-military 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 Reichs Luftschutzbund). The DLV included both a civilian group and a secret military sub-group called the DLV-Fliegerschaft (Pilot Base).
The DLV and the RLB were officially founded in 1933, and they 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 in 1937.
The Tropical Field Blouse was worn by Luftwaffe personnel while serving in tropical theatres, such as Italy, Greece, and North Africa.
This tunic mirrors the design of the Cloth Tunic. It is single-breasted and composed of several main elements, including the cloth, the pockets, the buttons, and the additional insignia.
The tunic is made of tan/khaki coloured cotton, twill, or linen cloth, and it features four pockets with rectangular flaps covers, each closed by a button.
There are six buttons along the front of the tunic, which are generally silver-coloured or coloured to match the fabric of the tunic.
There are several types of insignia worn on these tunics, including the embroidered silver-coloured Luftwaffe pattern national emblem breast eagle on a tan or brown backing located on the right breast. The breast eagle for NCO/EM ranks (Non-Commissioned Officers/Enlisted Men) is composed of cotton thread, while the breast eagle for Officers may be hand-embroidered from bullion wire, but many Officers preferred to use the NCO/EM breast eagle.
The shoulder boards on these tunics are generally slip-on and are the main way through which to identify the rank of the wearer. These tunics may also feature collar tabs, but these insignia are not always present.
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