Hitler Youth Belts and Buckles
The new HJ leaders’ buckle and special leather gear was authorized for wear by the following with an entry dated April l, 1937: (a) Leaders with the rank of HJ-Bannfuhrer and upwards (including "Verwaltungsbannfuhrer" which were administrators/managers): being DJ-Jungbannfdhren HJ-Obcrbannfiihrerg DJ-Oberjungbannfuhren HJ-Gebietsfuhrer; DJ-Gebietsjungvolkfuhrer; HJ-Obergebietsfuhrer, as well as appointed Stabsfuhrer (mainly with the RJF).(b) Appointed leaders ranking lower than H.J.-Bannfuhrer, being leaders of a"Bann" unit (function being "Fuhrer von Bannen"), department leaders of an area (Abteilungsleiter der Gebiete), staff leaders from an area (Stabsleiter der Gebiete), RJF main consultants (Hauptreferenten der RJF), deputy department chiefs (stellv. Amtschefs) and leaders of area leaders’ schools (Leiter der Gebietsfuhrer schulen).
Initially, it was planned that adjutants for a "Gebiets- und Gebietsjungvolkfuhrer" were also to wear the leaders’ belt and buckle. But in the course of early 1937 this position was withdrawn from the list (the intricate rank and function system caused a re-organization in late 1938 (consult this note and note 26 for a better understanding of the situation)).
"HJ-Fuhrerkoppelschloss/Feldbindenschl0ss" description, 1936:
The Hitler Youth leaders’ buckle was round and made of tempered aluminum sheet or an aluminum sheet alloy (Al-Mg-Si DIN1713, called "legiertem Aluminiumblech"), which was first copper-plated and then matte-silvered or nickled with the appropriate design as the inset for the regular HJ buckle. Around the upper rope design is a raised, smooth 3.0mm wide edge which gives the disc an approximate diameter of 5.0cm. The relief details of the buckle are somewhat higher. The eagle has a robust look, especially its head, as well as the "Blut und Ehre"motto. The HJ diamond touches the lower rope design. The outer edge, the eagle and the HJ diamond were all highly polished. All HJ leaders’ buckles were stamped and show the design relief on the reverse, where the catch should always have the "M4/22" RZM c0de for the manufacturer C. Th. Dicke.
The fitting with the rotating prongs which fit in the holes of the leather belt to make it adjustable, is positioned at the left (as seen by the viewer). A leather tongue is also found on the reverse of the belt. On this style belt the buckle is sewn on the right side of the belt. When the buckle, however, is loose and includes the fitting with the rotating prongs, this is located on the left side and the keeper is sewn to the belt. The buckle was designed to carry a weight of 60kg.
The manufacturing and material for this approximately 4.4cm wide black belt, with a 3.5mm thickness, is similar as that described for the 1933/1936 enlisted ranks belt. The applied paint had to be light and waterproof, and had to be scuff resistant. The earliest leader’s belts were backed with a mixed brown cloth or a felt-like material. The belt tip at left was somewhat rounded and on the reverse a natural colored leather tongue was sewn on. The size and position of this tongue is basically the same as for enlisted ranks, but in most cases was sewn on with twelve stitches which had a length of 5.0cm. The tip of the tongue is positioned approximately 1.5cm from the tip of the belt. Two 1.6cm wide leather slides are positioned on the belt, the back of which are joined by two stitches.
Two 2.4cm wide slides with a sewn—on D-ring are slid on the belt for fastening the 2.4cm wide shoulder belt which is 2.5mm thick. The manufacturing style and material used was as described earlier. Between the sliding clasp and the snaphook on the shoulder belt, a small leather slide was positioned. This slide was 1.2cm wide and was sewn together on the back with two stitches. The earliest shoulder belts were also backed, and the fittings were not pebbled (as yet).
Early belts often had a small piece of natural colored leather, approximately 17.0 cm long and 2.0cm wide, sewn onto the inside middle-back of the belt. The ends of this piece of leather are almost as wide as the inside belt width. Over this, a smaller form of slide was fastened which prevented the shoulder belt from moving out of position. These belts were costly and for this reason most often a belt with adjustable slides was chosen. To protect the tunic from buckle-keeper damage, a "Rockschoner" (also known as"Schlossunterlage") was available. It consisted of a piece of leather (approximately 6.5 x 4.5cm) which fit over the belt. This protective device was meant for belts of enlisted ranks but was often worn by leaders of various organizations.
Per Reichsjugendfuhrer orders, some additional ranks were introduced and rank designations changed with the April 20, 1937 entry. These individuals were permitted to wear the leader’s belt and buckle: HJ-Hauptbannfuhrer and DJ-Hauptungbannfuhrer (formerly DJ-Gebietsjungvollgfuhrer). Simultaneously, all leaders (Bannfuhrer through Stabsfuhrer) were the HJ-Fuhrerkorps which was the official name for the leadership corps and staff (Note: this should not be confused with the HJ-Fuhrerschaf who were mid-level leaders). The mid-level ranks, Gefolgschafisfuhrer through Oberstammfuhrer, were not permitted to wear the leader’s buckle. This was changed, however, in late 1938. The Fuhrerschaft and Fuhrerkorps system was also changed once more at a later date.
The most striking change for the DJ organization was the abolishment of their buckle with rune device by an order published on June 4, 1937. The regular HJ buckle was to be worn instead, while the DJ buckle was allowed for wear until December 31, 1937. Manufacturers and retailers had already been informed of this regulation as early as late fall 1936. Those manufacturers who had large stocks of DJ buckles found it impossibleto sell them all before the December1937 deadline. It had not been the intention of the Reichsjugendfurung to cause loss of money or materials by means of scrapping the buckles. On the other hand the numerous DJ members were not forced to buy a new 4.5cm HJ buckle either. With some thought the solution was simple. A HJ inset could be soldered directly over the rune and then the buckle could be renickled. This process was carried out by three firms from Ludenscheid during the months of March and April 1938. Smaller size DJ buckles or those with varying runes were not to be part of this altering process. These smaller buckles were referred to as Kinder-kappelschldsser (buckles for children) and were never considered a regulation size.
The three firms to receive the above contract were:
HJ areas 1-9: EW. Assmann & Sohne.
HJ areas 10-17: C.Th. Dicke.
HJ areas 18-26: Overhoff & Cie
Orders dated September 30, 1938 radically changed the recently initiated HJ and DJ uniform regulations. This was due to a general re-organization to be in effect on October 1. Specific orders listed what would be worn and when the enlisted ranks, plus low and mid-level leaders would wear the summer service dress, were the guard unit Wachgefolgschaft "Baldur von Schirach" and professional drivers in the service of the HJ organization. Additional orders were issued for the Naval -HJ (which included a so-called Fahrtenanzug worn by DJ members dur-ing a transitional period), extra summer and winter uniforms for the Motor—HJ known as Fuss- and Fahrdienstanzug (worn when on foot or when driving), and for the Flieger—HJ known as the Fussdress. The term Flugdienstanzug (dress for flying) was used instead of Fahrdienstanzug. All of the above orders did not, however, affect the wear of the HJ buckle with black belt and shoulderbelt.
Simultaneously with the above orders a significant addition was also announced. Now, a brocade belt was authorized for wear by higher-ranked leaders. HJ leaders who wore aluminum wire embroidered shoulder straps were to wear an aluminum brocade belt and aluminum leader’s buckle. Those with gold wire embroidery wore a gold brocade belt with gold leader’s buckle. This HJ brocade belt may have been initially thought of as a form of award for services rendered to the organization in February 1938 when von Schirach announced special schooling for the HJ-Fuhrerkorps. During the next few months plans were initialized and in May and June of 1938 the brocade belt was informally wom by HJ leaders during visits abroad, notably in Italy.
Wilhelm P.B.R. Saris assisted by Jeff Hammond,"Hitler Youth, Belts and Brocades (1926-1945) Part II", The Military Advisor, 2001