West German Rank and Insignia

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    panzerwerk
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    West German Rank and Insignia

    Post by panzerwerk on Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:20 pm

    I have posted pages from a 1997 Bund Pamphlet on Military rank and such , I still have to add a couple pages ,it is a nice basic start if you want to know rank and such .

    I cant post it all here as the pages are huge so you can read the text , but just go to the site via the link,Scroll to the bottom of the page and right click and save to your computer to get the full size .
    Below is a sample , sorry its so big .

    Click here



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    Re: West German Rank and Insignia

    Post by CollectinSteve on Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:11 pm

    Ah, one of my obsessions is collecting all of the old and current unit arm badges. There's a lot of them and the rarer ones are quite competitive on eBay. I've seen individuals go for as high as $20, while you can buy 10 of the more common ones for $1.

    The edging of the badges has specific meaning. Thin black lines (stripes), usually with a white background, denotes the highest level for whatever that badge represents. For example, if it is a field division then the striped one represents the division. If it is a training section or HQ troops, it represents the highest level of that type of formation. Branch of service colors are used for units attached to these higher level units, such as Lehr and Schule, as appropriate.

    Field division badges have (usually) three brigade badges, represented by white, red, and yellow edging (in that order). Each brigade has a unique number, unlike current US Army's generic brigade numbering. Therefore, if the soldier is a member of a divisional sub-unit he wears the striped version. If the soldier is assigned to a sub-unit of a specific brigade, then he wears the colored version of that particular brigade. At least in theory.

    In reality a lot of these units have been disbanded, reduced, or amalgamated into other formations. It appears that that some of the remaining brigades now use their former divisional badge (striped) because they are, now, the highest level of that formation. But PzGren Brigade 32 still retains its original colored version. Which is odd also because according to my book, and Wikipedia, the division was completely disbanded in 1992/3 and some of its remaining pieces went to 1st PzDivision. In this case one of the two battalions of PzGren Brigade 32 went to Pz Brigade 2. So it's odd to see the original PzGren Brigade 32 shield listed in a 1997 publication. Perhaps they retained their badge despite being reassigned?

    Whatever the case is, the BW has gone through several major reorganizations and those reorganizations continue. For example, the remaining PzGren Battalion from 11th Panzer Division's PzGren Brigade 32 was disbanded in 2003. Other formerly active units are now just on the reserve roster with a "shadow staff" at best.

    As for rank badges... a book could probably be written about the different types and styles used since the BW's creation. Very confusing Very Happy

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    Re: West German Rank and Insignia

    Post by 1stDivVet on Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:57 pm

    Here's some of mine.

    Sleeve flag off of field uniforms from the 50's/60's.


    Service/Sports Award in bronze for field uniform. 70's/80's era.


    Mountain Troops insignia. 70's era.


    1st Mountain Division. 60's era.


    Last edited by 1stDivVet on Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:47 pm; edited 2 times in total


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    Re: West German Rank and Insignia

    Post by CollectinSteve on Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:39 am

    I'm afraid that your descriptions, 1stDivVet, are in need of correction. I hope you take the corrections in the helpful spirt they are intended. Like I said, this is a bit of an obsession of mine Very Happy

    The shoulder flag could be from any point in time from 1957 until today. I've found no good way to date them except to hold one up against a known sample of a particular age. They really didn't change much over time, so that generally does nothing Very Happy

    The second one is the Leistungsabzeichen (Service/Sports Badge) in Bronze. It is awarded for individual achievements, though my German isn't good enough to understand the circumstances of Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards. The award was created on the 15th of February, 1971 and was, for a time, worn as a metal badge on the dress uniform. I've seen round and square backings, as well as subdued black and square Flecktarn backings. The round ones appear to be from the 1970s and early 1980s. There is no officially sanction badge for snipers, though there is an official one that is tolerated by members of the reserves.

    The third badge you have is for the first brigade, Panzergrenadierbrigade 22, based in Murnau. The second brigade is Gebirgsjägerbrigade 23 and the third brigade is Panzerbrigade 24. Their colors are white, red, and yellow respectively. The 1950s Gebirgsjägerdivision badge had only the thinner white ring.

    The fourth badge is the divisional badge for 1st Gebirgsdivision. It is worn by personnel who are members of the division but not assigned to one of the three brigades.

    It's impossible to date the Gebirgsjäger badges as far as I know, other than to say it was sometime after 4th of May 1957 and probably not within the past few years. The reason for that is the division had a different badge prior to that and since recent times the dress uniforms have used "hand stitched" badges. So it's likely these are both from the 1970s or 1980s, but there's no reason I can think of to say it wasn't from earlier. Just not as likely simply because older stuff tends to be rarer.

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    Re: West German Rank and Insignia

    Post by 1stDivVet on Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:45 pm

    No prob Steve.. I went off info from a book for the descriptions, so it's entirely possible. I know the dates are right tho.. I cut the flag off a mothed up 58 dated wool jacket. The 1st gebirgs patch from a 70's dated dress coat. Last one came from a guy stationed in Germany with USAREUR in the mid 60's. It is possible to date the wool insignia.. You have to look at the material itself.. It's hard to describe.. It's in the weight and color and thickness.. Early stuff tends to be more like TR in all that.. Newer stuff is thicker weight, different weave, lighter color.. Otherwise, you're right.. it's impossible without direct vet aquisition or it still being on uniform.

    Fins..


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    Re: West German Rank and Insignia

    Post by CollectinSteve on Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:09 pm

    Yup, definitely correct about the only real way to ROUGHLY date this stuff is to pull it off of something which is still original. That is, unfortunately, a bit of a problem sometimes because I've purchased plenty of things which definitely have the wrong era badges on them.

    As you say there are some very subtle manufacturing differences. This is true for the collar tabs of dress uniforms. But the fact is that the changes to these badges over time were extremely small, so first hand comparisons are generally the only way to go.

    There are also a lot of commercial items floating around. That further confuses things. The commercial unit badges I've seen have white woven backings while the real badges have various shades of smoother gray backings. You can also see quality differences in the patterns themselves. I'm not sure why there are commercial versions available, though, since you can buy the real ones in the hundreds if you know where to look.

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    Re: West German Rank and Insignia

    Post by Eichenlaub43 on Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:13 pm

    For the "Leistungsabzeichen"you need in Gold:Leistungsmarsch, 12 km with 15 kg Gepäck, Schützenschnur in Gold and the German "Sportabzeichen"in Gold. In Silver: 9 km Marsch with 15kg Gepäck, Schützenschnur in Silver and the Sportabzeichen in Silver. In Bronze:Leistungsmarsch 6 km with 15 kg Gepäck,Schützenschnur in Bronze and the Sportabzeichen in Bronze.It is the same as Olympia.First, second and third place.
    I hope everyone understand this my english is not so good to tell this example.

    Thomas
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    Re: West German Rank and Insignia

    Post by marder on Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:19 pm

    CollectinSteve wrote: The shoulder flag could be from any point in time from 1957 until today. Steve

    Steve...I believe the flags were officially introduced in 1962, and then for wear on combat uniforms only, they were/could be retro sewn onto older combat clothing.
    Prost ! Steve.
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    Re: West German Rank and Insignia

    Post by CollectinSteve on Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:45 am

    I can't remember exactly when the flags started showing up, but I'm pretty sure I have a 1959 parka with flags. Hmmm... and an early Filzlaus jacket comes to mind too. But that stuff is inaccessible now and of course they could have been retrosewn on.

    Interestingly the Moleskin type uniform didn't receive flags until 1967 IIRC. That's because until then they were an extension of the discontinued Arbeitsanzug (work uniform). The Filzlaus (wool) uniform was the supposed standard field uniform.

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    Re: West German Rank and Insignia

    Post by Bury_Dave on Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:13 am

    Eichenlaub43 wrote:For the "Leistungsabzeichen"you need in Gold:Leistungsmarsch, 12 km with 15 kg Gepäck, Schützenschnur in Gold and the German "Sportabzeichen"in Gold. In Silver: 9 km Marsch with 15kg Gepäck, Schützenschnur in Silver and the Sportabzeichen in Silver. In Bronze:Leistungsmarsch 6 km with 15 kg Gepäck,Schützenschnur in Bronze and the Sportabzeichen in Bronze.It is the same as Olympia.First, second and third place.
    I hope everyone understand this my english is not so good to tell this example.

    Thomas

    Thomas, thank you for posting that information.

    And your english is more than good enough ! Smile

    Dave

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