This is a fine pair of leutnant’s shoulder boards from 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß. These shoulder boards have no cypher. The backing is white. They are of the sewn-in variety, which was typical of junior officers. They are top condition.
PAIR OF LEUTNANT SHOULDER BOARDS – 5. GARDE-REGIMENT zu FUß – PRUSSIA
The Kingdom of Bavaria produced only three generalfeldmarschalls during the Imperial German Period: König Ludwig III, Kronprinz Rupprecht, and Prinz Leopold. König Ludwig III’s appointment was strictly political, an acknowledgment of his stature as ruler of one of the Reich’s four Kingdoms. Württemberg’s Wilhelm II and Saxony’s Friedrich August III received their appointments within relatively close proximity of Ludwig’s. The appointments of Kronprinz Rupprecht and Prinz Leopold, while they had some political weight, were based on their qualifications and contributions to the German war machine. They were excellent field commanders who had earned their promotions.
Today we are offering you a pair of generalfeldmarschall shoulder boards from one of these three men. We do not know which of those three owned this pair. Trying to judge which one was the owner is a matter of pure speculation. At least it is a very limited number from which to choose! These gorgeous shoulder boards measure 2″ x 5″. [We can tell they were meant for a tunic rather than an overcoat (mantel) by their size]. They exhibit alternating rows of silver and gold bullion (often referred to as “Russian Rope”). If one carefully examines the silver row, one can detect the blue chevrons confirming that they hail from Bavaria. In each shoulder board’s center is a handsome set of generalfeldmarschall’s crossed batons. Each one measures 2 1/4″ in length. The board’s reverse sports a red strap that helps to attach each shoulder board to a tunic, which made these shoulder boards of the “slip on” variety. The underlays are made of a red felt.
We have offered a pair of Saxon generalfeldmarschall’s shoulder boards in the past, as well as several from Prussia (naturally, since Prussia boasted the greatest number of generalfeldmarschalls[!]). This set is simply magnificent.
This is a single Bavarian Army generalmajor’s shoulder board that was used on his overcoat (mantle). It measures 2 1/3″ x 5 ½.” While it displays a general’s bullion rope braid, it does not show a pip because it is for the lowest general’s rank. It is for the Imperial German equivalent of a U.S. Army/Air Force/Marine Corps Brigadier General. The oversized shoulder board’s condition is quite pleasing.
This is a Kaiserliche Marine Vizeadmiral’s pair of shoulder boards. [The Imperial German Navy featured only four Admiräle ranks, while the Imperial German Army boasted five General Officer levels. The missing naval rank was equivalent to the Army’s Generaloberst(respectively equivalent to the U.S. Army’s four star general). The Kaiserliche Marine’s four Admiräle ranks were Konteradmiral, Vizeadmiral, Admiral, and Großadmiral (the last rank awarded to only SIX men from its inception in 1901 through its last recipient in 1918)]. Vizeadmiral was a very high rank whose recipients generally commanded fleets, squadrons, and other large tactical units or administrative posts.
Each shoulder board measures 4 ¼” x 2 7/16.” They closely resemble an Army General’s shoulder board pattern of two gold Russian bullion ropes enclosing a silver bullion rope sporting chevrons that are half black, one quarter red and one quarter white (Imperial Germany’s national colors). A single silver-toned pip on each board indicates the Vizeadmiral’s rank. The shoulder boards’ dark-blue felt underlays further confirm their Kaiserliche Marine status. Their reverses also reveal the straps that helped hold the boards securely on the tunic, along with a small gilt toned button at the opposite end.
These are very rare Navy shoulder boards in absolutely gorgeous condition. They would make welcome additions to any serious naval collection.
I'm Kenneth (Ken) J. Greenfield, currently of New Port Richey, Florida, located on the West Coast of Florida in the Tampa Bay area. I started out as a collector of Imperial German Militaria, particularly items dealing with the Imperial German Air Service in the early 1960's. After more than forty years of avid collecting, I began to sell a few items to upgrade my collection and help finance my collecting "habit." I attended militaria shows, both to buy and sell. I wanted to spend more time at home and less traveling for the national companies that I had worked for; so, starting my own business seemed like an attractive alternative. I like nothing better than talking with others about militaria, and introducing newcomers to the joys of owning a "piece of history."