Shoulder Straps
Enlisted Men

Shoulder straps on German uniforms were changed with the introduction of the new Field Blouse in 1931.  A field grey strap, similar to those worn in the Great War, was adopted.  These straps were pointed at one end, had no piping, and had the wearer's unit number embroidered onto them in chain stitch, in coloured thread of the unit's waffenfarbe.  Afterwards, there were several changes.

In December 1934, the shoulder straps were ordered to be constructed of field grey uniform cloth. 1rei.gif (1259 bytes)
When the dark green collar was introduced to the uniform in September 1935, the shoulder straps were also changed to dark green.   These shoulder straps were worn on both the field blouse and the Waffenrock. 1reig.gif (1259 bytes)
In November 1938, new shoulder straps with piping around the edges and a rounded edge were introduced. 1strap.gif (1359 bytes)
When the new AFV uniform was introduced, shoulder straps were made in black to match the rest of the uniform. pansi.gif (1316 bytes)
In May 1940, the shoulder straps were changed back to field grey. 1grey.gif (1370 bytes)
Shoulder straps were attached in one of two ways; either by sewing them directly to the uniform, or (especially in the case of the Field Blouse) attached by means of a cloth loop sewn next to the shoulder.  In either case, the top end of the strap was secured by a button. 

Before the war, a soldier's unit was also shown by an embossed number on the shoulder strap button.  A Roman numeral indicated a battalion or battery number, while an Arabic number indicated a company.  These buttons were not used very often after the outbreak of war.  These buttons were silver-coloured aluminum and usually left unpainted.

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A Company button bearing the number "1".  This shoulder strap also has a regimental number embroided in 6; the colour (golden yellow) and lack of any other device identify this as the 6th Cavalry Regiment.

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A button signifying the wearer belongs to the Fifth Company.

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A very early pattern of pointed shoulder board.  Note the field grey coloured cloth.  The lack of piping makes it impossible to determine what type of unit the owner of this strap belonged to; the 91 could refer to many types of unit, such as an artillery regiment or an infantry regiment.

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Prewar dark-green pointed straps; note the underside is in standard field grey wool; uniform-quality "badge cloth" is only used on the upper portion of the strap.

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NCO's tress was worn on these pointed straps in the same manner as on the rounded ones.

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Standard shoulder strap of the type worn in 1939.  Again, dark green badge cloth is used sparingly, with field grey uniform cloth used on the underside.  The underside of the strap has been strengthened with twill material.