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This web site displays a collection of "patches" or shoulder sleeve insignia (their official name) which were used by the United States Armed Forces during the period of the Second World War. For the most part the creator of this site gathered them in his youth from veterans and surplus stores during the 1950s and 1960s. The collection is not totally complete, but is nearly so. Most of the patches are originals; however, in a very few cases early post-war reproductions of rare patches are show in place of missing originals. With the size of the images scaled down to allow faster loading, the details that distinguish these reproductions from originals are not that apparent. The creator of this site is always interested to learn additional information about some of the more unusual patches the the Second World War. The backgrounds of many of the unofficial patches worn by soldiers have yet to be documented by collectors.
Patches were an Army insignia for the most part. The Marine Corps did use them, but discontinued their use after the war. The Navy was never partial to shoulder sleeve insignia and has its own traditions with respect to insignia. In a limited number of cases Naval personnel wore insignia in the fashion of shoulder sleeve insignia. Material on other naval insignia appear in the section on other insignia.
Please see the separate discussions on the history of insignia and the origin of shoulder sleeve insignia. Since originally creating this site I have added material that expanded it beyond what was planned. In addition to what might be called patches I have added material on other cloth and metal insignia, service ribbons, medals, qualification badges and even uniforms. I have also begun to add a few technical discussions of issues such as dating patches to period and variations in manufacture.
People are interested in value of collectibles and I am happy to report that despite their wealth of history, these patches are of limited monetary value. Hundreds of thousands of them were made and distributed and most are "worth" only a few dollars. Only a small number of particularly scarce ones have any great value. History not monetary value should be the focus of a collector.
The above patch is that of the Third Armored Division and belonged to my next door neighbor, Francis (Bud) Lemmon of the 45th Armored Medical Battalion. He was among the many fine veterans of the Second World War I was privileged to have known.