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Collar patch terminology

Article about: I thought it would be a fun little project (and hopefully an informative one, too) to do a little thread on German collar patch terminology. I decided to place this thread in the Wehrmacht u

  1. #11


    Good evening HPL2008,

    fantastic clarification of all these terms.

    One special question - I know this is cap-related, not Kragenspiegel specific - do you also know what a "Schranze" is - (vgl. Prediger: Die Schirmmütze des Heeres.):

    "In die Mütze kommt eine gebogene Schranze mit einem sich 2 1/2 cm über die Gerade erhebenden Bogen. Diese Schranze ist demnach oben 2 cm kleiner als unten. Dieses Muster würde bei einer gerade geschnittenen Schranze also zu eng sein. Da der Kopf nun aber eine längliche Form hat, zieht man unten neben den Seitennähten das Teil aus, das man vorn, gegebenenfalls auch hinten, wieder einhält, wodurch vermieden wird, daß das Seitenteil einer Deckelmütze vorn eine Spannung bekommt. Bei dem Deckel ziehe man, wie schon gesagt, an der Seite den Deckel aus "

    There are some other specific terms like "Stoßen der Biesen", Nähte, die "völlig" oder "glatt" zu halten sind, "ausziehen" und "einhalten" which I believe to have understood. But the "Schranze"-term is still a miracle. Would be great if yould solve the riddle.


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  3. #12


    Schranze is an archaic term for a slit or slash (the derogatory term Hofschranze is in fact derived from the slit attire once worn at royalty's courts). Surely that is what it refers to here as well, but no matter how often I read that paragraph, I cannot picture what they are talking about and just what part of the cap is to be slit in what way... (Not that I know the first thing about cap-making to begin with.)

  4. #13


    Thank you very much!

    So finally the meaning of Schranze has become clear - I'll let the whole thing sink into my brain, perhaps I'll have the heureka one day what this has got to do with caps.

  5. #14


    Just a little addition on the subject of branch colors:

    Collar patch terminology

    The German term for branch color is Waffenfarbe. Branch colors in the modern sense of the term first came about in WWI, with a much more detailed and elaborate system created for the Reichswehr in 1921. Over the decades, this system was often modified and expanded, but many of the branch colors used today still have essentially the same meaning as they did in 1945, or even 1921.
    (Photo: An assortment of Bundeswehr collar patches showing the full range of currently-used branch colors.)

    Collar patch terminology

    All uniformed Beamte [officials] serving in the Heeresverwaltung [army administration] of the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht had dark green Waffenfarbe. The various specialty careers were further identifed by the use of a Nebenfarbe [secondary color], which appeared as an additional shoulder board underlay and as three-sided collar patch piping.
    (Photo: Collar patches for a cavalry officer with golden-yellow Waffenfarbe and for an official of the high-grade career displaying bright-red Nebenfarbe.)

    Collar patch terminology

    However, the Third Reich-era police did not use the term Waffenfarbe, but Dienstzweigfarbe, which literally translates as "service branch color".
    (Photo: Collar patches for enlisted ranks of the police; Dienstzweigfarbe is, respectively, orange for the Gendarmerie and bright green for the Schutzpolizei des Reiches).

  6. #15


    Thanks to HPL2008 for his clarifications about the nomenclature. As to the Waffen(gattungs)farben of Ordnungspolizei I did read also Spartenfarbe somewhere, but I can’t remember whether it was in period reference material or postwar literature.

  7. #16


    Thanks for taking the time to put this article together Andreas. I'm sure that many members on the forum will find it to be very helpful - me included!


  8. #17
    CBH is offline


    Yes thank you for the informative thread, this should be a sticky.

  9. #18


    A bit of an afterthough on the subject of branch color (or the lack thereof):

    Up until 1938, enlisted ranks' collar patches for army field uniforms displayed the branch color on the Litzenspiegel. By an order of 26 November 1938, this practice was discontinued and standardized collar patches with a dark green Litzenspiegel were introduced for all branches.

    These were known as Einheitslitzen:

    Collar patch terminology

  10. #19


    Hello Gentlemen,
    This thread is now stuck. Thank you Andreas for this thread that will be helpful for our community.

    The sacrifice of life is a huge sacrifice, there is only one that is more terrible, the sacrifice of honor

    In Memoriam :
    Laurent Huart (1964-2008)

  11. #20


    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Collar patch terminology  

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