Thursday, December 31, 2009

1938 Pattern Shoulder Straps

1938 Pattern HJ Shoulder Straps

Numbered Shoulder Straps

Regulations dated September 30, 1938 Stated that all shoulder straps of the HJ were now to have a black base. This is also the time period when piping and numeral color reflecting branch assignment was now in full effect as per the 1937 regulations. Bann numbers 1 through 949 may be encountered. It's possible higher numbered Banns were in used, however research has not shown this as yet. There were unused Bann numbers below 949, some of which were used to create new Banns late in the war. It is important to consider the time frame when looking at HJ straps, as Bann numbers changed as new Banns were added over the course of time. Branch colors reflecting assignment are as follows:

General HJ, a Bright Red. The earlier pattern straps had a more dull red
Motor HJ, Pink
Flieger HJ, Blue
SignalsHJ, Yellow on a black background strap
Marine HJ, Yellow on a blue background strap
Stiefendienst, White
Gebiets Stab and Stab of the RJF, Carmine or Silver *
Gebiets Stab of Flieger HJ, Blue

* Gebeitstab will often have metal numerals in combination with stitched lettering

Lettered Shoulder Straps of the HJ

Post ’38 straps may also be encountered that have lettering rather than numerals to identify the wearer’s assignment. Straps with lettering often reflect special assignments or participation in educational, leadership, or agricultural programs. There are also straps with lettering that reflect a physical disability. These lettered straps are scarcer and this is often reflected in the value when they are offered. Some examples that may be encountered are as follows:
A, Akademie, Silver
AHS, Adolph Hitler Schule, Red for students, Silver for leaders
B, Blind, Red
G, Deaf, Black
J, Franken, see assignment colors above
L, Hochland, see assignment colors above
LBA, Lehrerbildungsanstalt, Silver or White *
L, Landjahr, Green on a black strap
NPEA, White
RFS, Reichsfinazschule, Red
RFS, Reichfuhrerschule, SilverRS,
Rundfunk Spielscharen, Red

* LBA will occasionally have metal lettering, or be “converted” from normal HJ straps.

HJ Rank Structure for Post 1938 Straps and Boards

HJ boards and straps are often encountered with metal pips, cloth cords, and litzen affixed. These devices are normally representative of HJ rank. Occasionally the pips and litzen were worn in combination with a lanyard to denote a rank or position within the HJ organization. By wearing shoulder straps with these devices, the wearer’s assignment, Bann number, and HJ rank was instantly identifiable. This was universal throughout the HJ. A final note, most dealers will charge more for straps with pips and litzen on them, and they are easily added to inflate the value of a normal set of straps by dishonest sellers. I would recommend being cautious when buying straps with these devices. There were several changes in the rank system with the final regulations put in place September 30th 1938. This rank system remained in place until the end of the war. This section deals exclusively with the aforementioned final rank system.

Hitlerjunge: Basic strap with no devices.
Rottenfuhrer:Single 5mm wide silver stripe or litze at the base of the strap.
Oberrottenfuhrer: Two 5mm wide silver stripes or litzen positioned as above.
Kameradschaftsfuhrer: One single pip.
Oberkameradschaftsfuhrer: One pip above a 5mm wide silver litzen at the base.
Scharfuhrer: Two pips positioned on a horizontal line.
Oberscharfuhrer: Two pips in a horizontal line above a single 5mm wide litze.
Gefolgschaftsfuhrer: Three pips, two in a horizontal line with one above. Obergefolgschaftsfuhrer: Three pips as above, positioned over a single 5mm wide litze.
Hauptgefolgschaftsfuhrer: Three pips as above over two 5mm wide litzen.

The following ranks are higher ranking HJ leaders who wore special black boards with a silver twist cord piping around the outer edge. These are more “stiff” in construction in many cases than the lower ranking HJ straps. These boards will rarely be encountered and are considered scarce to rare. They command high prices when they are offered. Be very careful with HJ straps of this level, these are possibly the most often faked HJ boards.

Stammfuhrer: Four pips, two horizontal and two vertical forming a square.
Oberstammfuhrer: Four pips as above over a single 5mm silver litzen.
Bannfuhrer: Black strap with 10mm Bann number above one oak leaf with one acorn.
Oberbanfuhrer: Two silver oak leaves with two acorns.
Hauptbannfuhrer: Two silver oak leaves with two acorns and one silver pip below.
Gebietsfuhrer: As above with the oak leaves, acorns, and pip in gold coloring.
Obergebietsfuhrer: Three gold oak leaves with two acorns, one gold pip, and 2.5mm gold twist cord piping.
Stabsfuhrer: Three gold oak leaves with acorns, and two gold pips on a horizontal line below the oak leaves, and a 2.5mm gold twist cord piping.

Additional Notes on Post 1938 Shoulder Straps of the HJ

Normally two different styles of the “post 1938” shoulder strap will be encountered. A "sew in" variety which is a longer version to allow it to be sewn into the shoulder seam of the uniform, and a “slip on” variety, which is a little shorter and has a tongue on the backside and a loop, which passes through a loop sewn to the uniform to allow for removal during washing. Straps modified with black metal snaps may also be encountered, allowing for removal from uniforms for washing. An RZM tag in red lettering will often be affixed to the reverse of the strap. Some slight variance in size is common, due to manufacturing differences, shrinkage from age or laundering, and exposure to U.V. sunlight. Most straps were made specificly for certain HJ ranks at the factory as it was deemed difficult for the wearer to affix rank pips and litzen. Some will have more crudely attached rank devices that were attached at a later point by the wearer as promotions were attained. Single straps are often encountered, as it was more profitable for dealers in the past to sell singles rather than pairs. It is difficult to match two singles into a pair.

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