Organisation Information - Elite Guard [Schutzstaffel (SS)]
The SS remained insignificant until 1929, when it was placed under the command of Heinrich Himmler. After the "Night of the Long Knives" and the purge of the SA, the SS became independent, gained control over the national police forces and expanded into a massive organisation.
Members of the SS were picked for their mental and physical adeptness and were recognised as the "elite" within the Nazi Party. A member had to have finished his twenty-first year and undergone a long probationary period of eighteen months. During this period, the candidate was tested rigidly to observe how well he lived up to the tests of faith, honour, and unconditional obedience.
The SS was in reality a complex political and military organisation made up of three separate and distinct branches, all related but equally unique in their functions and goals.
The Allgemeine-SS (General SS) was the main branch of this complex organisation, and it served a political and administrative role with the Third reich and captured lands.
The SS-Totenkopfverbande (SS Deaths Head Organisation) performed security duties at concentration camps and also formed fighting units assigned to the Wehrmacht for active service.
Waffen-SS (Armed SS) formed from the SS-Verfungstruppe after the Campaign in France in 1940, the Waffen-SS would become an elite military formation of nearly 900,000 men and 38 divisions including the well know units of Das Reich and Adolph Hitler Leibstandarte. The Waffen SS built a formidable reputation for bravery and skill during the war.
Waffen SS units would spearhead some of the most crucial battles of WWII while its men would shoulder some of the most difficult and daunting combat operations of all the units in the German military. When operating within the sphere of the German Wehrmacht (Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine) it came under the direct tactical control of the OKW, although strategic control remained within the hands of the SS.
Dagger Information - SS Honour Dagger
This dagger was adapted in 1936 for presentation to SS members who had been recognized for special achievements.
The dagger was based upon the 1933 standard service dagger. The top and bottom cross guards were decorated with oak leaf patterns and silver plated. A silver plated tang nut was used to secure the blade.
The blade could be either Damascus steel are polished steel. The Damascus blade had a raised SS motto which was gold plated. At each end of the Damascus blade was a raised, gold plated oak leaf. The reverse of the Damascus blade had a raised, gold plated makers mark.
The scabbard fittings were either decorated with a raised oak leaf pattern or a simple groove which traced the scabbard fitting profile.
The scabbard was made form steel and covered with black leather.
The dagger used the standard SS hanger but did not have a Portapee for wear.
The dagger is extremely rare and is greatly reproduced.