Original German WW2 Wehrmacht / Luftwaffe 44th Flak (Anti-Aircraft) Regiment Lieutenant (Leutnant) shoulder boards pair with matte, silver/aluminum braid with a gilt washed, stamped alloy "44" insignia, mounted on a red wool waffenfarbe base, VERY NICE CONDITION - GOOD EXAMPLE, NOT EASY TO FIND
HISTORY OF THE GERMAN AIR FORCE:
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1945; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956. Schweizer Luftwaffe is also the name of the Swiss Air Force in German. Two other historic German air forces are the World War I-era Luftstreitkräfte of the era of the German Empire, and the Luftstreitkräfte der NVA in the GDR. The air force of Austria is called Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte. The forerunner of the Luftwaffe, the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte), was founded in 1910 with the name Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches. During World War I, the Imperial Army Air Service utilised a wide variety of aircraft, ranging from fighters (such as those manufactured by Albatros-Flugzeugwerke and Fokker) to reconnaissance aircraft (Aviatik and DFW) and heavy bombers (Gothaer Waggonfabrik, better known simply as Gotha, and the Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI "giant" heavy bomber). At the outset of the war, the Luftwaffe was one of the most modern, powerful, and experienced air forces in the world, and dominated the skies over much of continental Europe with aircraft much more advanced than their foreign counterparts. The Luftwaffe was central to the German operational methods, as the close air support provided by various medium two-engine bombers, Stuka dive bombers and an overwhelming force of tactical fighters were key to several early successes. Unlike the British and American Air Forces, the Luftwaffe never developed four-engine bombers in any significant numbers, and was thus unable to conduct an effective long-range strategic bombing campaign against either the Russians or the Western Allies. The leader of the Luftwaffe was Hermann Göring, a World War I fighter ace and former commander of Manfred von Richthofen's famous JG 1 (aka "The Flying Circus") who had joined the Nazi party in its early stages.