For enlisted men service Litzen were machine-woven in silver-grey rayon; officers' were embroidered more elaborately in white silk or aluminum thread, and were somewhat larger to match their higher collars.
Non-commissioned officers (Unteroffiziere) wore standard enlisted collar patches but were distinguished by a strip of 9mm silver-grey diamond-woven rayon braid (Tresse) sewn around the collar's front and lower edges, except on the dress Waffenrock where the Tresse was bright aluminum and encircled the collar's upper edge.
By 1938 the fast-growing Heer had found that it was impractical, for the enlisted field uniform, to manufacture and stock a multitude of collar patches in assorted Waffenfarben which also had to be sewn on and frequently changed by unit tailors.
Accordingly, new universal Litzen were introduced with the Litzenspiegel and Mittlestreife woven in dark green to match the backing patch, and which could be applied at the factory; Waffenfarbe was now displayed on the shoulder-straps, which simply buttoned on and were easily switched.
There were few alterations and adjustments made as the Army grew from a limited peacetime defense force of 100,000 men to a war-fighting force of several million men.
In North Africa, AFV crews wore the same tropical uniform as the other branches, including collar Litzen; many tankers however pinned their Totenkopf badges to their lapels. They ranked from Hauptmann im Generalstab (captain) through Oberst i. On division staffs they held the position of Ia (operational chief of staff) or Ib (chief of the rear echelon).Another version appeared with the advent of the Model 1944 Field Blouse, which used a triangular backing for speed and simplicity of manufacture.Very late in the war some Hoheitszeichen were simply printed on thin fabric.The German Army of the Nazi era inherited its uniforms and rank structure from the Reichsheer of the Weimar republic (1921–1935), many of whose traditions went back to the Imperial Army of the German Empire and earlier.The Reichsheer was renamed Wehrmacht Heer in May 1935.On olive tropical uniforms the collar patches were tan with dull grey-blue Litzen for all personnel; officers again sometimes added their green Kragenpatten.