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Black Afrika Cuff Title


Hi Gents, the days passing by and a lot of things happened in the world of collecting. Surfing trough the different areas of WAF, GCA and MFF I found very interesting items. Some are so interesting, that I asked the collectors if I can use the material for the BLOG…..Sometimes I get an answer and sometimes not. As you might know I am a little bit into cuff titles. On the MFF submerged a picture with a soldier wearing a special version of the Afrika cuff title on his sleeve. That one was the missing link….. I have that Afrika cuff title version in one of my books (and in my collection). Till that day there was no picture of that special cuff title on a uniform available and so nobody was sure if it was for tank crews or not. I asked the owner of the picture, Max Miller, if I can use it in my blog and he gave me a thumbs up!!

But let`s step back to the standard Afrika version first:

The cuff title Afrika was awarded by the Wehrmacht in World War II. It was founded by Adolf Hitler on January 15th, 1943. The cuff title Afrika should not be confused with the sleeve stripe „Afrika Korps“, which was awarded as a sign to all members of the German Afrika Korps.

Afrika Cuff Title Collection Author

Creation date Army: January 15th, 1943

Creation date Navy: December 29th, 1942

Creation date Air Force: Jan. 28th, 1943

The cuff title Africa was awarded approximately 30,000 times. The awarding authority began from the battalion commander and the next higher ranking officer.

Afrika Cuff Title Standard Version Collection Author Backside

Closing date for the ceremony was  October 31st, 1944.

3.1 Background


In February 1941, the German Afrika Korps (DAK) was formed in Libya within  the “Operation Sunflower”. The DAK was created to stabilize the recent African campaign of the Italian troops and support them against the British army. From 1941, to October 1942, the DAK got hold of large parts of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. After that the DAK was stopped and driven back to El Alamein. In January 1943, the DAK had to clear Libya under the pressure from the Allies.The last German units in Africa capitulated May 13th, 1943.

Afrika Cuff Title Standard Version on Tank Tunic Collection Dirk Schneider


Basically the cuff title Africa could awarded to members of the armed forces, after the ceremony provisions of January 15th,  1943.  Soldiers who served  directly in the air, on land or at sea in Africa. Even members of the “Heeresgefolges” or in the immediate order of the army employed persons, also non-Wehrmacht soldiers who report to the Air Force or were active in their immediate contract, could be awarded.




– Duty for six months on African soil

– Wounded in this operation

– Illness  which led to the loss of full or conditional ability to serve in the tropicsice.


The same rules are applied in the Navy as in the army. For the crews of ships:

At least six months of operations at sea from bases in Africa.

Air force

For the Air Force were the same rules as in the Navy applied.

1st change of the provisions ceremony (Army on May 20th, 1943/ Air Force  on  July 1st, 1943). Members of the Army Group Africa, who took part in the final battle on African soil, on May 6th, 1943 honorably, the cuff title Afrika could be awarded after four months of service in Africa.


2nd change of the award provisions (December 14th, 1943)

The cuff title Afrika could now be awarded regardless of the operating time, provided that the soldier himself earned a bravery award during the fighting in Africa such as the Iron Cross, German Cross in Gold, mention in the Honor Roll,…

The cuff title (approximately 450 mm by 36 mm) was made of camel hair fabric. The lettering Afrika was mounted in white rayon embroidery centered. It has been enclosed on the top and bottom of the sleeve a strip of white is also about 3 mm wide strand. The cuff title Afrika was worn on the left forearm above the cuff.

Here it comes !

Afrika Black Cuff Title on Luftwaffen Tunic Collection Max Miller

Finally we have the proff with the help of Max Miller that the black Afrika cuff title was a version used by the Luftwaffe and not by tank crews. An we have also proof that is a time period cuff title. Against the regulations but anyway used by some soldiers of the Luftwaffe.

Afrika Cuff Title Black Version Collection Author


Black Afrika Cuff Title Collection Author Close Up

Sometimes it takes a little bit time but if you stay on it, some mysterys will be solved

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Cuff Title Marinehelfer Kriegsmarine

Hi Gents,

still quiet times for collectors due to the nice weather. But as a real collector you check your collection from time to time to see what you really have (sometimes it happened to me that I search for whatever and open a drawer in my home office…..between some paperwork, pictures and ribbons suddenly you see something and wow didn`t know that I HAVE SUCH THING ,-).

That way I checked my cuff title collection and saw my latest acquisition (almost forgotten). It was a cuff title of the Kriegsmarine. The name on it is “Marinehelfer” which means helper of the Germany navy.

Marinehelfer cuff title unworn

Here we have a picture so you can see what it is. A blue woven title with the name “Marinehelfer” on it.

Let’s see who had this one on his uniform and what was the task of the owner back in the days of War.


Historical background:

The HJ naval helper “ HJ-Marinehelfer” were underage auxiliaries of the German Navy, who were used during the Second World War in the active weapon service. The specific form of organization emerged from the previously established units of the “HJ-Luftwaffenhelfer”, so-called “Flakhelfern”.

Marinehelfer cuff title 1
Marinehelfer cuff title backside

These units were not subordinate to the Luftwaffe despite their common origin. This not only concerned the training and education times during the ordered compulsory service on the weapon, but also involved a wide range of tasks to combat sea targets. Naval aides were under the exclusive command of the navy. In contrast to the “Luftwaffenhelfern”, which were used according to the locations of their respective anti-aircraft batteries exclusively in the Reich territory, covered the operational area of ​​the naval aides almost the entire coastal region of the German Reich and the occupied areas with a total of almost 3000 kilometers in length. At the end of the war, naval aides were deployed in combat with Allied ground forces.

Marinehelfer Group Picture

The available information was taken from the leaflet, which was given to the helpers with their summoning order at the same time. It applies to both naval and air force helpers. The same applies to the also used internal document on the use of air force helper (file reference 11 b no. 1/43), since the instructions there were also applied to the naval aides.

Let’s have a look at the daily routine of a “Marinehelfer”

The day always started with the same ritual, the morning appeal, for the naval helper (and Air Force helper). They had to compete in uniform outside their accommodations and then marched closed in the group to the roll call. It was always a flag of the Hitler Youth to carry. During the march the usual battle songs were sung together with a marching band. With the song „Holy Fatherland“ the appeal was then opened. In the following reading by the site leader then the new order of the day was announced and ended with further songs.

School attendance
The “HJ-Marinehelfer” were not permanently deployed to their anti-aircraft positions, but, like their fellow HJ Air Force volunteers, had to attend school at least 18 hours a week, which was led by their old teachers, but only after a 4-week training session. The school took place in the immediate vicinity of the “Flakstellung”, mostly in makeshift barracks. In practice, however, the school operation was sometimes impossible, especially after flak missions at night, which could sometimes last into the morning. The hours after that, the naval aides first had to clean the anti-aircraft weapons and wait for the next mission.

Marinehelfer of the HJ

Also during the day, as the duration of the war worsened, there was an air-raid alarm and the few remaining time apart from the maintenance of the weapons, the naval helpers used to sleep and rest or even for combat exercises. The lessons were carried out until the adolescent had passed his matriculation examination, with simpler evaluation standards than with a regular school leaving certificate. Sixth grade students who had been drafted as flak helpers in March 1943 were dismissed from school with a diploma.

Indoor service and leisure activities
The internal service was rather barren for most “HJ-Marinehelfer”, although until 21.00 clock permission prevailed. In addition to the school, maneuvering exercises and the hours-long compulsory weapons cleaning, there were always numerous air raid alarms, so that the “HJ-Marinehelfer” had very little time to pursue any meaningful leisure activities. The aspirations of the Reich Youth Leadership, the rest of free time with sporting exercise, etc. filled, were nullified by the everyday service at the gun again. Thus, the Reich Youth Leadership provided at least for the supply of literature or provided, if not available, people’s receivers for radio broadcasts and music.

Marinehelfer on duty

Orders and decorations
The “HJ-Marinehelfer” and the “Flakhelfer” were honored with the following awards:
• Flak Badge (Luftwaffe)
• War Badge for the Naval Artillery (Kriegsmarine)
• War Merit Cross (1939) II. Class with swords
• Iron Cross 2nd Class
• Wound Badge (1939)
In addition, there were loud eyewitness reports and public commendations in front of the assembled team, so for example, a “HJ-Marinehelfer” firing at a fighter plane and it was shot down, he got a bar of chocolate. Occasionally, however, there were also certificates of recognition by the commanders.


Interesting to know is that there are also cuff titles “Marineoberhelfer” and “Marinehelferin”.

After 13 month of service as a “Marinehelfer” you could get a promotion to “Marineoberhelfer”. Just a recognition of service time but not a higher rank than the “Marinehelfer”.

A “Marineherlferin” was a female helper to the Kriegsmarine. They received various specialized training, as there were: air traffic, radio, telex and telephone service, the list probably does not even cover all training directions. So there was no active weapon duty. Actually sort of “NH des Heeres” in the Army or “Blitzmädel” of the Luftwaffe.



Thanks for reading, please help the blog to get more readers and more writers……Let the other collectors know what you can find here.


Take care



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Cuff title Großdeutschland

Hello Collectors,

Today I like to show you a cuff title from the Grenadier Regiment “Großdeutschland” which grew up to Division size in May 1942.

Cuff Title Großdeutschland front view

Cuff titles from special units were worn on the right side of the uniform. Remember the combat cuff titles like Afrika, Kreta, Metz 1944 and Kurland were worn on the left side of the uniform sleeve!

This one you see here came from a soldier who died in 1944 on the eastern front.  In his estate were only this cuff title and the letter to his father from the unit commander that his son died for the fatherland.

Cuff Title Großdeutschland front view

We see here a hand embroidered cuff title, black doeskin with aluminum thread letters in sütterlin writing on it. The upper and lower border is named soutache.  This soutache is also made from aluminum thread and woven by machine in an opposite direction, meeting in the middle of the border / soutache.

Cuff Title Großdeutschland size high

The cuff title is about 32 mm high and 375 mm long. The soutache is 3 mm strong. The letters are in different sizes, so you cannot compare one and another Großdeutschland cuff title…hand embroidered make that impossible. On the backside the cuff title is closed by a up and down stiching with a black thread. This will prevent the backside to open up and it is easier to sew it to the uniform. If you carefully open the backside, you will see a fabric backing which stabilized the letters.

Cuff Title Großdeutschland size soutache

Introduced on October 11th, 1940 this is the most common version. There are several font types and production variants.

I would also like to lay an old fairy tale to rest. This variant is popularly dubbed as the „exemplary officer“ cuff title and is offered commercially as such to maximise profits. It was by no means only for officers…….the hand-embroidered version was worn by all ranks, as evidenced by a large number of examples either handed-down or shown in photos.

Here some facts about the wording in the institution which you can find  in the excerpt from the Army-Prescription-Journal on 10.11.40 / 59th Issue:

„Cuff title of the Inf.-Rgt. Großdeutschland and Führer-Begleit-Bataillon

Instead of the cuff title as described in H.-V.-Bl. (Heeres Verodnungs Blatt ) 1939, Part B / S. 179 No. 271 para. 1c2, a 3.2 cm wide cuff title of black cloth with GROßDEUTSCHLAND in German cursive hand embroidered with aluminium thread is introduced for the Großdeutschland infantry regiment and for the army units of the Führer-Begleit-Bataillon. A sample of the cuff title will be sent separately.

The cuff title shall be worn as before on the field jacket, tunic and coat.

After the troops have been supplied with the new cuff title, the previous cuff title must be removed.

Cuff Title Großdeutschland Letter in Sütterlin
Cuff Title Großdeutschland Soutache


I hope you got a little inside view of the field “cuff titles” and the next time you have a Großdeutschland CT in hand, you know how to look at it !

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Cuff title Geschwader General Wever

Hello Collectors,

today I like to show you a cuff title of the Luftwaffe. It came from a little grouping of a Luftwaffe soldier. He had the Iron Cross 2nd class, the wounded badge in black and a radio operator badge.

Cuff title Geschwader General Wever / Ärmelband Geschwader General Wever
Cuff title Geschwader General Wever

No papers or pictures from his active duty.  I can`t remember when I bought that for my collection but that’s also years ago. You see the normal deep blue (sort of navy blue) wool construction with machine embroidered script in “Gothic” style.

Cuff title Geschwader General Wever / Ärmelband Geschwader General Wever
Cuff title Geschwader General Wever

Threads are in white/grey and open back. Not hand made with silver/aluminum wire threads like the version for officers. They folded top and bottom over and stiched it with blue thread to the reverse. A textbook example without any doubt. Length 51 cm and 3,5 cm wide.

Cuff title Geschwader General Wever / Ärmelband Geschwader General Wever
Cuff title Geschwader General Wever
Cuff title Geschwader General Wever / Ärmelband Geschwader General Wever
Cuff title Geschwader General Wever
Cuff title Geschwader General Wever
Cuff title Geschwader General Wever

This cuff title was never on a uniform.  Maybe the soldier got three of them for the uniform and put only two of them on his jacket.

To the history of the Geschwader General Wever:

The Geschwader General Wever, (General Wever Squadron), Commemorative Honor cuff title was one of a series of commemorative honor cuff titles introduced by the Luftwaffe to honor fallen comrades and heroic pilots of WWI.

Cuff title Geschwader General Wever / Ärmelband Geschwader General Wever
Cuff title Geschwader General Wever

The Geschwader General Wever cuff title was introduced on June 4th, 1936 for wear by all personnel serving with Kampfgeschwader Gotha, (Bomber Wing Gotha). The cuff title was to be worn by all ranks on the lower right sleeve of the service tunic and officers were also authorized wear of the cuff title on the lower right sleeve of the flight blouse and the optional white summer tunic.

Cuff title Geschwader General Wever / Ärmelband Geschwader General Wever
Cuff title Geschwader General Wever backside

Officer’s cuff title were produced in hand embroidered silver/aluminum wire threads while EM/NCO’s were produced in machine embroidered silver/grey threads. During the war Kampfgeschwader Gotha was re-designated Kampfgeschwader 253, then Jagdgeschwader 131 and finally Kampfgeschwader 4, but personnel retained the right to wear the cuff title.

Wever died in an airplane crash on June 3rd 1936.

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