BACKGROUND: Military belts and their corresponding buckles date back centuries and were initially designed for attaching swords and daggers. In 1847 a new innovative box buckle with a quick release catch and corresponding belt were introduced which resulted in a Prussian, Hauptmann Virschow, initiating a new method of carrying personal equipment with the belt and shoulder straps supporting the majority of the weight. This system, with modifications, remains in use in most of the armies in the world to this day. During the Third Reich there was a prescribed form of wear of the belt and buckle with the buckle being positioned on the right side and the corresponding buckle catch on the left side. On January 24TH 1936 a new pattern EM/NCO’s belt buckle was officially introduced to replace the previously worn Weimar era Reichsheer buckle. The basic design of the Reichsheer buckle was retained with the addition of the new Wehrmacht style national eagle. This pattern buckle was worn through-out the Third Reich period with minor manufacturing variations and different colored finishes. The colored finish was determined by regulations depending on what form of uniform it was to be worn with.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 1940 pattern, field-grey painted, stamped steel construction, combat box buckle features a smooth outer field with a high relief, embossed Wehrmacht eagle with down swept wings to the slightly domed center, encompassed by an oak-leaf cluster to the bottom and script, "Gott Mit Uns", (God With Us), to the top. The oak-leaf cluster and script are on a ribbed background and are encircled by both an inner and outer simulated twisted rope border. The reverse of the buckle is a mirror image of the obverse. The reverse has the brazed buckle catch, prong bar and prongs all intact. The reverse is well marked with the stamped manufactures initials, "ESL", in a circular format encompassing the date, "41", indicating manufacture by Ernst Schneider of Lüdenscheid in 1941. Leather belt is 100% matching to the buckle the two never separated since the war and stamped "95" for length in centimeters.