Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch



Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch

As Hermann Goring’s deputy and State Secretary, Milch was instrumental in the emergence of the Luftwaffe from the ashes of WWI.  His administrative and organizational skills made the Luftwaffe the most powerful airforce in the world, and kept it in survival mode when all around him were destroying it with their incompetence.


Like all of the senior leadership in the Third Reich, Milch had to deal with the conflicting responsibilities of power, and incompetent officers that Hitler was so fond of surrounding himself with to keep any one man from obtaining too much control and constantly battled with Generals and industrialists over aircraft production and design.


While Milch had limited experience as a field General, he was picked by Hitler to command the withdrawal of the 6th Army from Stalingrad.  The attempt was futile, but for Milch it was further evidence that the lack of competent leadership in the upper echelons of the Third Reich were losing the war for Germany.


Many items from the Milch estate have surfaced in recent years and have provided collectors with a virtual cornucopia of unique, high ranking militaria to both acquire and admire, some of which is depicted below and in other sections of the site.






Milch’s Insignia Grouping

(Wolfe-Hardin collection)



Generalfeldmarschall Milch’s shoulderboards and collar tabs as removed from one of his uniforms.






Tunic size shoulderboards in regulation all gold bullion cord with the smaller, silver batons attached.



Close-up of the highly detailed, smaller sized Luftwaffe pattern batons in the Luftwaffe pattern with alternating iron crosses, wehrmacht eagles and Balkan crosses. 




Collar Tabs


Generalfeldmarschall collar tabs of typically encountered construction with a mixture of bullion eagle and wreath, aluminum thread batons and celleon piping around the edge.



Close up of the detailing of the baton embroidery, which shows evidence of fraying from wear, handling and storage.





Additional Milch Insignia Items


An absolutely stunning example of the finest quality of embroidery that was afforded by some of the higher ranking individuals in Germany.  This breast eagle for the white tunic is perfectly embroidered and is an early example with the drooping eagle tail.





The reverse of the above eagle shows the attachment snaps that made the insignia removable for easy washing of the white tunic.




Yet another finely executed example of an early droop tail eagle for the white tunic.



A single shoulderboard, in a larger size, which Milch was known to have worn on tunics (as well as the smaller tunic size boards).  This example has the larger sized aluminum batons.  To explore the various Luftwaffe variations in shoulderboards and baton sizes, visit the Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall Insignia page, where all the various examples are examined in detail, and many additional pieces of GFM Milch’s insignia are shown.



Close up detail of the large aluminum batons.  Note that they were placed on the board upside down.  While technically incorrect, this has also been observed on other documented Generalfeldmarschall uniforms and insignia.  Evidently the adjutants did not always get the batons correctly attached to the shoulderboards.



 Another single example of Milch’s collar tabs, this one again constructed with celleon edge piping, the batons in fairly pristine condition.