This is a German RAD man's cap badge which still retains its original markings and maker mark on the back of it the badge is in relic condition but solid and is near complete but missing it's pins other then that very nice condition battlefield find.The cap badge was recovered from a field near Trun, which we think was a pit dug by the allies where lots of German equipment was thrown in and buried after the battle, Falaise Pocket in France 1944. A nice relic from the Normandy battlefield.
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The RAD was classed as Wehrmachtgefolge (lit. Defence Force Following). Auxiliary forces with this status, while not a part of the Armed Forces themselves, provided such vital support that they were given protection by the Geneva Convention. Some, including the RAD, were militarised.
During the early war Norwegian and Western campaigns, hundreds of RAD units were engaged in supplying frontline troops with food and ammunition, repairing damaged roads and constructing and repairing airstrips. Throughout the course of the war, the RAD were involved in many projects. The RAD units constructed coastal fortifications (many RAD men worked on the Atlantic Wall , laid minefields, manned fortifications, and even helped guard vital locations and prisoners.
The role of the RAD was not limited to combat support functions. Hundreds of RAD units received training as anti-aircraft units and were deployed as RAD Flak Batteries. Several RAD units also performed combat on the eastern front as infantry. As the German defences were devastated, more and more RAD men were committed to combat. During the final months of the war RAD men formed 6 major frontline units, which were involved with serious fighting. On the western front RAD troops were used as reinforcements to the 9th SS Engineer Abt (SS-Captain Moeller) in the fighting to retake the northern end of the Arnhem bridge from British Paratroopers under Col. Frost. This action was during Operation Market-Garden in September 1944. It was noted that the RAD troops had no combat experience. SS-Captain Moeller's report concluded: "These men were rather sceptical and reluctant at the beginning, which was hardly surprising. But when they were put in the right place they helped us a lot; and in time they integrated completely, becoming good and reliable comrades." Losses for these troops were in the hundreds.