David A. Suter for Wehrmacht-Awards.com

Officer Shoulder Boards

Basic designs:

Officer shoulder boards were made up of a soutache braid commonly referred to as Russia braid.  The braid has metallic threads in the form of a 'V,' with a depression down the center giving the impression of two braids. The braid can be either bright silver (Photo 22) or of a matte finish (Photo 23).

Photo 22 Photo 23

Company Grade Officers:

The boards are constructed of two braids attached to the underlay parallel to each other. This gives the impression of eight individual strands.

Field Grade Officers:

These boards were also made up of two parallel rows of Russia braid on an underlay, but the braid is interwoven or braided. There are five 'bends' or 'loops' on each side of the board, and a loop at the top for the button (Photo 24). These were worn in mirror pairs. The final loop that forms the button hole passes under the last loop on the board proper and is worn to the front (Photo 25).

Photo 24 Photo 25

General Officers;

General's boards were made up of three interwoven cords, the outer two being a round gold bullion (later Celleon) cord and the center a silver or aluminum flat soutache braid. There are four loops on each side of the board, and one at the top for the button (Photo 26). Until 1944 all general's underlays were of red cloth. In mid-1944 generals of the Specialist Careers were to use the color of their branch career (Medical, Veterinary, Ordnance, Motor Park, TSD).  As this came rather late in the war use of the new insignia was not widespread.  There were also generals who held the honorary rank of Colonel-in Chief of a Regiment.  Probably the best known of these individuals was Field Marshal von Rundstedt, who wore GFM boards on white with the dress collar tabs of a regular officer. 

Photo 26 Photo 26a
S. Pritchett Collection


Field Marshals: Field Marshal’s boards were identical to regular General Officer boards until April 1941.  At that time the center cord was changed from silver to gold. (Fig 26b)

 Photo 26b


Reserve Officers;

Reserve officers boards were constructed in the same fashion as their regular army counterparts, except that there was a secondary gray backing (Photo 26a). 

Attachment methods;

Shoulder boards were attached to the uniform in one of three ways: they were sewn directly into the head seam (Photo 27), were detachable by use of a tongue (Photo 28), or they had 'wings' (Photo 29). This later method was only used on the white summer tunic. 

Photo 27
Photo 28

Photo 29

Top of Page


© Copyright Wehrmacht-Awards.com LLC