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Thread: Why Death's Head for the ϟϟ?

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    Why Death's Head for the ϟϟ?

    I have to ask the reasoning behind Death's Head being used as a insignia by the SS? Why did they use it and where was its origin first?

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    There is some wikipedia stuff on it:

    Origins
    Use of the symbol as a military insignia began with the cavalry of the Prussian army under Frederick the Great. Frederick formed Husaren-Regiment Nr. 5 (von Ruesch), a Hussar regiment commanded by Colonel von Ruesch. These Hussars adopted a black uniform with a Totenkopf emblazoned on the front of their mirlitons and wore it on the field in the War of Austrian Succession and in the Seven Years' War.

    In 1808, when the regiment was reformed into Leib-Husaren Regiments Nr.1 and Nr.2, the Totenkopf remained a part of the uniform. During the Napoleonic Wars, when Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, was killed in battle, his troops changed the colour of their uniforms to black, with a Totenkopf on their shakos in mourning their dead leader (Other sources claim that the "Black Brunswickers" were so equipped while Friedrich Wilhelm of Brunswick lived, as a sign of revenge on the French.[2]


    August von Mackensen, German field marshal.[edit] 20th century
    [edit] Germany
    The "death's head" continued to be used throughout the Prussian and Brunswick Armed forces until 1918, and some of the stormtroopers that led the last German offensives on the Western Front in 1918 used Death's Head badges.[3]

    The Totenkopf was used in Germany throughout the inter-war period, most prominently by the Freikorps. In 1933, it was in use by the regimental staff and the 1st, 5th, and 11th squadrons of the Reichswehr's 5th Cavalry Regiment as a continuation of a tradition from the Kaiserreich.

    The Totenkopf was also used as the unit insignia of the Panzer forces of the German Heer (Army) during the Third Reich era, and also by the Panzer units of the Luftwaffe, including those of the elite Fallschirm-Panzerdivision HG[4].


    Junkers Ju 88 of Kampfgeschwader 54 (KG 54) in France, November 1940Both the 3rd SS Panzer Division of the Waffen-SS, and the World War II era Luftwaffe's 54th Bomber Wing Kampfgeschwader 54 were given the unit name "Totenkopf", and used virtually the same graphic skull-crossbones insignia as the SS units of the same name..........


    source
    weel nich will dieken dej mot wieken

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    Das Totenkopf

    Or the Death's head has long been used in the military and is still used today. Originally, it was the symbol of the cavalry along with their black uniforms (this color was chosen so that dirty uniforms were not apparent while on parade) under Freidrich the Great. The SS just simply borrowed it, as well as certain U.S. infantry regiments during the Civil War that were recruited from among the "German" population. Especially in Cincinnati and New York.

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    So, it's a Germanic symbol, would you say?

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    The Deaths Head - or Skull and Crossbones, goes back a long way.

    It was the Templar Marine Battle Flag until they were outlawed in the 14th Century. Some say the use of the same flag in the following centuries by "Pirate ships" was a continuation of the struggle between the outlawed Templar fleet and the powers then in command of Europe.

    Further, there are a great deal of concepts symbolically attached to the skull and crossed thigh-bones, which touch on Alchemy, Hyporborea, Root Races and such material.

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    It was used a long time in the german military.

    Whether other than german military used it is not known to me.

    the german Totenkopf doesn't not have the bones underneath the skull but behind it. Additionally the Totenkopf usually looks to the left or right not frontal.

    The Jolly Roger has been in use in other countries or other groups.

    I think it was to shock other armies.

    My guess is that it comes from the celtic customs to cut the head off of a slain opponent and hang it around the neck. Later it was placed to decay in front of the house or a visible place.

    Most likely the shock effect was the most important part. 'To strike fear into the hearts of the enemy'

    There are some test that shock increases adrenaline and fear. In martial arts it is proven if you scream at your opponent and make clear you kill him he is certainly weaker. The hits are weak the reaction are not as astute.

    So it might have a combat background.

    Psychologically it might show your enemy that you kill and his death is near, which should bring him into flight mode.
    weel nich will dieken dej mot wieken

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    I remember reading somewhere it was used as a Catholic symbol by German troops but I just can't remember where I read that.

    Although I think the SS took it directly from the old Free corps.


    Here is picture of the Free corps from the 1920's
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    I was always under the impression that the Prussian regiments first used it on their headgear as far back as the early 1700's..i could be mistaken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TommyAtkins View Post
    I was always under the impression that the Prussian regiments first used it on their headgear as far back as the early 1700's..i could be mistaken.
    You are correct. It was first used by Prussian Cavalry see below -




    The earliest reference that I can find to its use is in 1740 at the funeral of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I. An embroidered death's head in silver was used on the black funeral drapings. In his memory, the Leib Husaren Regiments Nos 1 and 2 were formed and given the totenkopf symbol on their black uniforms. Their regimental song, which was used by the Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler goes -

    In black we are dressed
    In blood we are drenched
    Death's Head on our helmets
    Hurrah! Hurrah!
    We stand unshaken!

    The Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler first wore a totenkopf in 1923, using army surplus insignia. The symbol was then adopted by the SS proper.

    For a more detailed history, see Robin Lumsden's "The Black Corps A Collectors Guide to the History and Regalia of the SS".

    The totenkopf differs from other skull and crossed bones insignia in that the bones are placed directly behind the skull.

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