This was posted in another forum before but maybe it's of interest for some collectors here as well...
In 1962, 7 years after the formation of the new German armed forces (Bundeswehr), colored shoulder sleeve insignia were introduced for wear on army uniforms. Obviously influenced by U.S. Army shoulder sleeve insignia these new "Verbandsabzeichen" were released for wear on the left shoulder of the grey army dress uniform (Dienstanzug).
While colored and subdued shoulder sleeve insignia and pocket patches are worn on field uniforms of all military branches since the 1980's latest, the wear of SSI on dress uniforms is limited to grey army uniforms strictly. In addition army personnel wears these SSI on the grey/blue coats (latest pattern with double button row). They are not worn on shirts, blousons, gala dress and grey/blue coats with covered button row.
In general Verbandsabzeichen are made of woven cotton. These woven variants are officially issued and are worn by all ranks. Officers and NCO can purchase hand embroidered (bullion) variants for their uniforms. A third variant does exist as well: Machine embroidered SSI were made from the early 1960's until the 1980’s. They do not exist for all units but still can be found occasionally.
Hand and machine embroidered SSI can be found as "Lurex" variants as well. Lurex is a british brand name. In this case used by collectors for SSI with glittering golden or silver surface/heraldic elements.
A total of 165 different Verbandsabzeichen was released since 1962. A large amount of manufacturer's errors and color variants exists as well but I'll focus on the standard SSI first and foremost.
Some examples: SSI of the former Artillery School:
Left: Woven SSI
Center: Machine embroidered SSI
Right: Hand embroidered SSI
Appearance of the SSI on a soldiers uniform
Left: Subdued unit SSI (former Artillerieschule) on field dress (Feldanzug)
Center: Hand embroidered SSI on dress uniform (Dienstanzug)
Right: Woven SSI on coat (Mantel)