Some collectors criticize the term "theater-made" since the United States was also considered to be a theater of operations but it is generally understood to indicate a patch made outside of the continental United States, often in limited numbers. Logically, one would expect locally manufactured patches might exist for units serving within that particular theater and not for those serving on the other side of the world.
The U.S. Army in the European Theater of Operations was the end of a long supply line and insignia did not have a high priority. As a result certain insignia were locally produced for units in theater. In many cases these were ones approved later in the war for which an existing stockpile had not been created in the United States and worn on uniforms prior to and during deployment overseas. Most of the ETO insignia were English made since the continent was largely occupied by enemy forces. The next most common county of origin is Italy, which had an allied presence in the south since 1943. Surprisingly France is poorly represented even though allied forces were present on its soil for nearly a year at the end of the war.
|SHAEF||8th Air Force||9th Air Force||European Civil Affairs|
|Engineer Amphibian Units||HQ ETO Communication Zone||HQ ETO U.S. Army|
Right Arm (Former Unit)
|HQ ETO U.S. Army|
Left Army (Current Unit)
|U.S. Strategic Air Force Europe||Airborne Troop Carrier|
The English made 8th has shorter wings than the typical U.S. machine embroidered variety.
|Red Ball Express|
Screen Printed on Satin
(Courtesy Chris Slaff)
|Bullion 5th Army||4th Ranger Battalion|
No "th" after number
The situation in asia was similar to Europe except that in most counties (Australia the exception) manufacturing relied more on hand labor than machinery. The resulting insignia are among the most interesting of the theater made examples.
|5th Air Force||Far East Air Force||1st Marine Amphibious Corps|
(Courtesy: Scott Smith)
The 1st Marine Amphibious Corps Parachute Battalions shoulder sleeve insignia has an unusual machine woven (BEVO-like) construction.
|10th Air Force||China India Burma Theater|