Original German WW2 Wehrmacht Panzergrenadier Colonel (Oberst) / administration shoulder boards pair with matte, silver/aluminum Russian braid with a gilt washed, stamped alloy Caduceus (dual serpents entwined on a Mercurian staff) cypher, mounted on a dark green wool waffenfarbe base, VERY NICE CONDITION, THE RANK PIPS ARE SLIGHTLY FADED BUT INTACT - GOOD EXAMPLE, NOT EASY TO FIND
HISTORY OF THE AWARD:
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIAL'S SHOULDER BOARD (Schulterstücke) - Although military ranks and rank designations can be traced back to the mercenary armies of the 17TH century it wasn’t until the creation of standing armies in the early 18TH century that distinguishing insignia of rank began to be developed. Originally the shoulder straps were functional items designed to secure the saber and ammunition shoulder cross straps and the larger, metal trimmed epaulettes were a throw back to the protective shoulder pieces worn on medieval armor. By 1800 the epaulettes had lost their protective function and were retained as a badge of rank. In 1866 a new system of rank distinguishing Officer’s shoulder boards were introduced to replace the previously worn epaulettes although the epaulettes were retained for the parade and dress uniforms. Although the officer’s shoulder boards underwent numerous minor modifications they remained basically the same right up until the end of WWII. The German army had a tradition, dating from the 1700's, of maintaining a separate branch of Administrative Officials attached to the army to oversee all administrative functions, thus freeing up active army Officers and allowing them to concentrate on actual military matters. The Officials were responsible for a wide variety of administrative tasks from Court Martial, Librarian, Supply, Technical and Meteorological Services, to School, Barracks, and Hospital administration. Most Officials careers consisted of four varying grades, of high, elevated, medium and low grade with slightly differing identifying insignia for each grade. The grade of the career was determined by the education and/or experience of the individual. During the Reichswehr, (National Defence Force, Circa 1919-1933), era the Officials were divided into military and civilian personnel until December 22ND 1934 when the German High Command did away with the differentiation and consolidate all the officials into the newly formed Wehrmachtbeamte-Heer, (Armed Forces Officials-Army). Regulations of March 12TH 1937 reorganized the Officials and instituted the new Beamte auf Kriegsdauer a.K., (Wartime Officials for the duration of the war), to be activated in times of mobilization. Originally the uniformed Officials were allotted identifying, dark green waffenfarbe, (Branch of Service Color), with a nebenfarbe, (Secondary Color), to indicate their actual career. Of Note: Regulations of March 21ST 1940, replaced the assorted nebenfarbe colors with a secondary color of light grey for all Officials regardless of career or function. In January 1944 the Army instituted a new career for officers and certain officials, entitled, TSD, "Truppensonderdienst", (Special Service). This new career used light blue waffenfarbe and did away with secondary colors as worn by Officials in the other careers. On May 1ST 1944 all high grade career Administrative officials were transferred to the TSD.