The German national emblem, an eagle clutching a wreathed swastika, was worn over the right breast of all Army troops. This insignia varied widely in construction, especially after wartime changes to the uniform were made. The basic pattern design of the insignia, as shown in the graphics below, did not change.
National insignia breast eagles were usually mounted on uniforms in the factory; they were affixed with a zig zag stitch that did not go through the lining of the jacket itself.
White on dark green breast eagle
The first National Emblem for wear on the uniform (known by collectors as a "breast eagle" was introduced on 1 May 1934; it was produced in off white on field grey.
In September 1935, when dark green collars and shoulder straps were introduced to the Field Blouse, the breast eagle began to be produced in off white on a dark green background.
In late 1939, the colour of the eagle changed from white to mouse grey.
In probably the middle of 1940, the backing colour changed once again to field grey.
When the 1944 Field Uniform was introduced, a new style of breast eagle was introduced specifically for the field blouse, consisting of the traditional pattern eagle in mouse grey, embroidered onto a field grey triangular shaped background.
Enlisted Men wore either a BEVO breast eagle in imitation silk, or else a version machine stitched in cotton thread onto a wool background. Before the war, eagles were mounted (especially on the Waffenrock) onto badge cloth backings; this became more rare as the war went on.
Grey on dark green breast eagle
Mouse grey on field grey breast eagle
Breast eagle as worn on the 1944 Field Uniform
|Prewar white on field grey eagle, this one being worn on a Waffenrock. Note the field grey badge cloth to which the eagle has been mounted.|
|Machine embroidered breast eagle in grey cotton thread on a dark green wool background (this example is stitched to a Waffenrock.)|
|BEVO quality breast eagle in grey on dark green.|
|Later example of BEVO quality breast eagle, in mouse grey on field grey.|
|The BEVO national insignia designed for wear with the Model 1944 Field Uniform, showing the triangular background.|
SPECIAL UNIFORM INSIGNIA
White on black breast eagle as worn on Panzer uniform
Later issue subdued colour version.
A special white on black badge was also designed for the black AFV uniform. It was not actually worn on the AFV uniform until May 1936, however. During the war, this insignia began to be produced in grey on black.
The tropical uniforms introduced for German forces in Africa had tropical pattern insignia, in light blue on tan.
Tropical breast eagle
|BEVO quality "panzer" breast eagle as worn on the black AFV uniform. This is the early version, in white.|
|A white on black version of the M44 breast insignia, for panzer uniforms. Note the mouse-grey colour.|
|Silver wire "officer's quality" eagle, this example from an NCO's panzer uniform. NCO's were permitted to wear Officer's quality badges on tunics for walking out.|
|Machine woven BEVO tropical eagle.|
|Cotton embroidered tropical eagle.|
Officers normally wore a hand embroidered silver wire badge, either on dark green, or in the case of the armoured vehicle uniform, on black. Some officers did make do with the machine embroidered version worn by Enlisted Men, as it was cheaper to purchase.
Generals wore a hand embroidered badge in gold wire or bullion, on the appropriate coloured background.
|On the white summer Officer's tunic, a metal breast eagle was worn pinned to the tunic in place of a cloth badge; this aided in stripping the jacket of insignia in order that it could be laundered.|
Enlisted Men were entitled to privately purchase officer's quality badges for wear on private purchase Walking Out uniforms.
|Hand embroidered General's
insignia on dark green. Some examples on black (for the AFV uniform) can also be
found (as below). These insignia were private purchase pieces and there are many
|Silver wire embroidered eagle on dark green background.|
|Silver wire embroidered eagle on field grey background.|
|Prewar silver wire BEVO quality breast eagle, on a field grey rather than dark green backing.|