Uniforms, Insignia, and Individual Equipment


1. General

a. PREWAR DEVELOPMENTS. In peacetime the German Army provided its personnel with both a service and a field uniform. The service uniform is an extremely gaudy form of dress. Its purpose was to promote enlistments, and to induce soldiers to vie for the various embellishments awarded for skills, service, and rank. The field uniform was designed to retain these advantages as far as possible, while at the same time providing a practical field uniform. Its designers bore in mind considerations of comfort (fit, warmth in cold weather, coolness in hot weather, body ventilation), utility (adequate pockets, and support for individual equipment, arms, grenades, and ammunition), and security (relative inconspicuousness in different seasons and in different types of terrain). Because of anticipated strategic and production conditions, economic factors had great influence on the field uniform. In particular, the necessity of stockpiling wool and cotton against probable wartime shortages caused the Germans to mix about 30 per cent of rayon with the wool of the uniform cloth. So carefully was this material prepared that the resultant uniforms suffered little actual loss of thermal efficiency and wearing quality.

Armored and mountain troops were provided with special uniforms, while special clothing items were furnished personnel engaged in various other special tasks or on duty in unusual weather conditions. Nevertheless, prior to 1939, there was a remarkable degree of standardization in German Army uniforms, and an equally remarkable emphasis upon retention of traditional features and appurtenances designed to improve individual morale and to cultivate arm and unit esprit de corps.

b. WARTIME DEVELOPMENTS. The prolongation of the war into 1942 resulted in a need for simplification of the field uniform, and in the use of a poorer quality cloth. By the winter of 1943-44, the average wool content of the field uniform cloth had sunk to approximately 50 per cent, with some uniforms dropping as low as 40 per cent. The wool itself was of low quality because it had been re-worked. These recent field uniforms present a shoddy appearance even when new; they also have very poor thermal insulation, and when wet lack strength. The press of economic conditions resulted in the introduction on 25 September 1944 of an entirely new field uniform--the Model 1944. This uniform will replace that designed in 1936 as stocks of the latter are exhausted. The new field uniform is designed to conserve resources and to permit production by relatively unskilled labor.

As the quality of the uniform has decreased, the German High Command has sought to bolster morale by exploiting to the utmost the esteem-building effect inherent in badges, awards, decorations, and arm bands, as well as marks of special units, rank, and specialty. German troops have prized these various symbols so highly that they usually wear them on the field of battle, even though personal security is compromised by nullification of protective coloration, by permitting the singling out of key or expert personnel by enemy observers and snipers, or by facilitating the operations of Allied intelligence. Indeed, such has been the disregard for security on the part of noncommissioned officers and men that they have worn silver instead of dull gray insignia whenever the former has been procurable.

Further recent developments include the provision of additional special uniforms required by the development of specialized troops and the necessity of campaigning under unforeseen conditions of extreme heat and cold. The service uniform has been confined to officers already owning them, officer candidate battalions, higher staffs in the rear, permanent parties of service schools, and similar personnel.


2. Service Uniform

a. GENERAL. Whereas many armies have both dress and service uniforms, in the German Army the service coat (Waffenrock) and trousers serve as the basis for the following varieties of dress:

(1) Gesellschaftanzug. This is the dress uniform, which in turn is divided into grossen (ceremonial) and kleine (ordinary) Gesellschaftanzug. Long trousers and high black shoes always are worn with this type of uniform. Officers may wear white jackets during appropriate seasons.

(2) Ausgehanzug. This is a type of uniform which might be termed "walking-out dress". In the peacetime Army, it was a most important uniform, since it gave noncommissioned officers and enlisted men an opportunity to display themselves while on pass. It includes service cap, service coat, long piped trousers, high black shoes, and black belt with saber (for senior noncommissioned officers) or decorative bayonet (for junior noncommissioned officers and men) . Decorations and awards may be worn, together with a colored tassel on the sword or bayonet. For officers and senior noncommissioned officers, this tassel indicates rank; for others, it indicates by its color the wearer's unit within the regiment.

(3) Meldeanzug. This uniform, much like "walking-out dress", is worn on minor occasions.

(4) Dienstanzug. This is the service dress proper, worn when attending classes, on duty in an office, or performing other duties not calling for the field uniform.

(5) Paradeanzug. This uniform is similar to "walking-out dress", but resembles the field uniform in that steel helmet, boots, and (for enlisted men) cartridge pouches are worn.

b. SERVICE COAT. The service coat (Plate I), which forms the basis for all these uniforms, is highly decorative. The same basic formfitting coatis used for all ranks. The base color is the warm, field green known to the Germans as "field gray" (feldgrau) . Collar and cuffs are covered with a dark bluish-green imitation velvet, which also appears as the base for any sleeve insignia that may be worn. The front edge of the eight-button coat opening, the lower edge of the collar, and the upper part of the cuffs are piped in the color of the wearer's arm. Fancy silver patches with buttons are worn on the cuffs. These patches, together with the collar patches, are each mounted on a velvet base dyed in the color of arm. Noncommissioned officers wear silver braid on the upper edge of collar and cuffs, and around the shoulder straps. They therefore present an even gaudier appearance than commissioned officers. Officers and noncommissioned officers of the Reichswehr may wear Reichswehr coats with proper insignia as service dress (Plate II). These coats also are worn sometimes in the field. Though service coats are of wool, officers may have cotton ones privately tailored for summer wear.

Figure 1.--Army national emblem, worn on the right breast of the field and service coat and on the front of caps. The eagle is silver or gray, on a dark green background. The background is black for the black uniform. Navy personnel wear a similar gold eagle.

c. SERVICE TROUSERS. The service trousers or breeches made of bluish-gray wool cloth, are piped along the sides in the color of arm. On both sides of this piping General Staff and general officers add a broad stripe in the proper color. Officers may wear service breeches in the field.

d. SERVICE CAP. The service cap is similar to the U. S. Army service cap, but is upswept to give the wearer the appearance of height. The visor is black, with a silvercorded chin strap for officers, and a black leather strap for noncommissioned officers and men. The cap band is of dark, bluish-green imitation velvet (blue-gray for Sonderfuhrer), piped top and bottom in the color of arms. Piping also appears around the crown of the cap. The cap cover is field-gray. The national emblem (an eagle, stylized differently for the different Armed Forces and Party organizations), and below it the national colors (black, white, and red) surrounded by oak leaves, are worn on the cap front. Officers often wear service caps in the field.

3. Field Uniform

Since anticipated economic conditions precluded the provision of both service and field uniforms for all German Army personnel, the German Army field uniform was designed to perform the dual purpose of field and service uniform. It therefore retains as many of the morale-raising features of the service uniform as possible. In


wartime, the field uniform is worn in combat and on all occasions except those that call for a fatigue or work uniform. As the war has progressed, the number of embellishments worn on the field uniform has tended to increase, except where economic conditions have interfered. The field uniform includes the following components (some of which have undergone changes during the war as noted):

a. HEADGEAR. (1) Steel helmet. The present steel helmet, M1935, is used by all branches of the German Armed forces, although some World War I helmets as well as Czech and Italian helmets still are in use. The M1935 is a smaller and lighter version of the World War I German helmet, from which it can be differentiated by the absence of facepiece lugs which characterized the old helmet. It comes in five basic sizes, which weigh from 1.8 to 2.7 pounds. Two ventilation holes are furnished at the sides. The suspension consists of an adjustable, leather-padded, spring-aluminum band, secured at the sides and rear of the helmet by three cotter keys. The chin strap is leather. Prior to the war, the national colors were worn on the right side of the helmet and the national emblem on the left side. These emblems are no longer worn.

(2) Old-style field cap. The old-style field cap (Plate I) is of field-gray wool-rayon cloth. It is cut similarly to the U. S. WAC garrison (oversea) cap, except that the turn-up is scalloped downward in front. This scallop is provided so that the eyes are left uncovered when the turnup is lowered to protect the neck and ears. The front of the cap is decorated with the national emblem and the national colors. An inverted "V" in the color of arm at one time enclosed the national colors. Officers wear silver braid around the top of the crown and along the edge of the scallop (Plate II). The cap is designed to be worn under the steel helmet.

(3) M1942 field cap. The M1942 cap is an early type of field cap, tried out in 1936, and reissued in 1942 as a new type. It resembles the old-style field cap, except that the turn-up is buttoned in front (Plate III). The turn-up flaps may be buttoned across the chin.

(4) M1943 field cap (Einheitsmütze). In 1943 a visored wool-rayon cap was introduced (Plate II) for all types of troops. Like the mountain cap and M1942 field cap, the turn-up

Figure 2.--Field Cap M1942
Figure 2.--Field Cap M1942.
The mountain cap and the Field Cap M1943 may be worn with the turn-down buttoned across the chin.
The toque is shown worn under the cap.

Figure 3.--Believed to be the M1944 Field Uniform coat
Figure 3.--Believed to be the M1944 Field Uniform coat.
The material incorporates a large amount of rayon.


Figure 4.--Latest type of field uniform trousers with built-in cloth belt, known as Rundbundhosen
Figure 4.--Latest type of field uniform trousers with built-in cloth belt, known as Rundbundhosen.
The belt buckle shown is that of the Waffen-SS.

may be used to protect the ears and back of the neck, with the buttoned flaps securing across the chin. The turn-up feature is unhandy and ineffective, even if the winter wool toque is worn underneath the cap. National emblem and colors are worn as on the other types of cap.

(5) Toque. A wool-rayon knit toque is issued to protect the head and neck in cold weather. It may be worn under the cap or helmet (Figure 2). This toque is not a balaclava helmet, but consists of an unshaped sleeve with neck and face openings.

b. BODY CLOTHING. (1) Coat. The coat (Feldbluse) has appeared in several models.

(a) Prewar coat. The prewar coat was designed to be as handsome as possible, while at the same time providing a comfortable, practical, field coat affording maximum security and utility. Four pleated patch pockets are provided, with an inner pocket along the lower part of the right front flap for the first-aid kit. The gray-painted, stamped metal buttons are quickly removable, and are standard for all Armed Force uniforms. The sleeve ends are split so that they may be buttoned fairly snugly around the wrist. The collar is built like the collar of a U. S. shirt, except that it is stiff and is worn without a tie. Until 1943 the coat collar was protected by a sweat band (Kragenbinde) which buttoned to the inside of the collar. The coat collar was designed to be worn closed, although the collar hooks and top coat button might be freed in the field. Support for personal equipment is furnished by two adjustable metal belt holders in both front and rear. These coats were furnished with dark, bluish-green, imitation velvet collars and shoulder straps. Similar material was used as a backing for the national emblem worn on the right breast (often mistaken for an aviator's wings), and for chevrons and specialty badges.

Officers' prewar field coats are similar to those for noncommissioned officers and men, except that cuffs are worn. Officers, however, may wear the issue coat with proper insignia. General officers wear gold buttons and a gold national emblem. Chaplains' coats always have been distinguished by lack of shoulder straps. Since officers purchase their uniforms privately, some officers have acquired cotton field uniforms of field-gray color for summer wear.

(b) Wartime changes. As mentioned above, material shortages and production difficulties resulted in a lowering of the quality of the coat material. Besides the shoddy appearance of the newer coat, the most noticeable differences are the


Figure 5.--Field gray uniform for crews of self-propelled guns.
These units now wear death's head collar patches.

absence since mid-1943 of pocket pleats, and the use of straight-edge instead of pointed pocket flaps. The color of the cloth also tends towards a gray rather than a warm green. (Compare in Plate I the private in field uniform, who wears the prewar coat, with the first sergeant in mountain uniform, who wears the later type of coat.) Necessity finally has compelled adoption of the Model 1944 coat (see Figure 3), the main apparent differences of which are tailoring modifications permitting the use of less skilled labor and the conservation of materials.

(2) Trousers. (a) Prewar trousers. Until 1943, full trousers of the same field-gray material as the field uniform coat were issued to the German Army. Suspenders are used with this type of trousers which have two sets of suspender buttons sewn in place. Many of these trousers have reinforcements in the seat. Many have semi-breeches legs, so that the leg ends easily may be fitted into the marching boot. Two slanting buttoned front pockets, a buttoned hip pocket, and a watch pocket with ring are provided. The trousers may be tightened at the waist by means of two tapes and a metal buckle in the rear.

(b) Belted trousers (Rundbundhosen). In 1943 the German Army was issued field uniform trousers with built-in cloth belt after the style of Afrika Korps clothing. The decision to drop suspender trousers was governed by two considerations: the impracticability of suspenders when only shirt and trousers are worn, and the inconvenient and, under combat conditions, dangerous necessity of removing the coat and battle equipment to let down the trousers. These trousers are still cut high. Like ski or mountain trousers, the legs are tapered to fit into leggings or shoe-tops.

(3) Overcoat. The double-breasted six-button, wool-rayon overcoat is standard for all ranks, except that general officers wear gold buttons and have red lapel facings (and administrative officials in general-officer grades wear dark green facings). Collars, once of dark, bluish-green imitation velvet, now tend to be plain field-gray wool. The coat, which is cut narrow at the waist, flares at the bottom, and has two side slash pockets. The ordinary leather belt may be worn, run through slits on the side so that it runs inside the rear of the overcoat without interfering with the cloth belt at the back. Overcoats have degenerated in quality of material in the same manner as the field coats.


Figure 6.--Cotton- or linen-twill fatigue and work uniform in the cut of the field uniform coat.

(4) Sweater. A light-weight wool-rayon, V-neck sweater always has been furnished as part of the field uniform. It is worn under the coat. A green band around the neck distinguishes Army sweaters; Air Force sweaters have a gray-blue band.

(5) Gloves. A pair of field-gray knit wool-rayon gloves is furnished in the winter with the field uniform.

(6) Underwear. (a) Prewar type. The type of Army underwear issued until 1943 consists of a long-sleeved undershirt and long underdrawers, worn in all seasons. They are made of medium-weight, tricot (machine-knit) cotton cloth, which gradually has incorporated increasing amounts of rayon. Since the war began, an increasing proportion of Army underwear has been dyed green for camouflage.

(b) 1943 shirt. In 1943 the collarless undershirt was replaced by a green tricot combination shirt-undershirt with collar and two buttoned breast pockets. The shirt remains a pullover type. The collar obviates the need for a sweatband inside the coat collar. When worn with the coat collar closed, the shirt shows slightly above the edge of the coat collar. When the coat is worn with the collar hooks and top button open, the shirt collar is worn outside the coat collar (see the 1st sergeant in mountain uniform, Plate I). The provision of a fairly presentable shirt-undershirt makes possible a coatless summer uniform.

c. FOOTGEAR. (1) Footwraps and socks. The German soldier is furnished with long, wool-rayon socks and with footwraps. The latter are of the best quality wool or of cotton flannel, cut in large squares. One square is wrapped around each foot over the socks before the shoe or boot is put on. Boots are fitted to two pair of socks, or one pair of socks and one pair of footwraps.

(2) Jack boots (Marschstiefel). Short boots have been the traditional footgear of German soldiers for centuries. This type of footgear, however, both requires an inordinate amount of leather and causes unnecessary wear on the heel during the march. The traditional marching jack boot therefore has received much adverse criticism in the German military press. By 1941 its use was limited to infantry, engineers, and motorcyclists. Issue finally has been completely suspended, although existing stocks will be used up.

(3) Anklet leggings. Short leggings worn with high shoes now replace the jack boot. The leggings are of cotton or linen duck, with the lower edge rimmed with leather. Each legging is secured on the outside with two leather straps with metal buckles.


(4) High shoes (Schnürschuh). High laced leather service shoes have always been part of the field uniform issued by the German Army. They now replace the boot entirely, instead of serving as alternate footgear.

d. FATIGUE OR WORK CLOTHING. Prior to the war and during its first 2 years, individuals might be issued both a work suit and a fatigue suit with the field uniform. Generally only one was issued each man, the work suit being reserved for those with heavy tasks, such as motor maintenance. Both are cut in the same style, but the work suit is of unbleached linen woven as herringbone twill, while the fatigue suit is of a lighter linen herringbone twill dyed a rush green (Plate II). In 1943 a fatigue coat, cut in the style of the field uniform coat, was issued. This latter type, often of a cloth containing a high percentage of rayon, may serve as a summer uniform.

e. ISSUE. The field uniform as described above is issued to all troops except those requiring special uniforms or special clothing issue because of unusual tasks or because they are expected to operate under abnormal terrain or weather conditions.

4. Special Uniforms and Clothing

Special clothing issued to German Army troops varies from minor changes or additions to the field uniforms, to uniforms of completely different cut, color, and material.

a. BLACK UNIFORM. Prior to the war, a black uniform was furnished crews of German Army tanks and armored cars. This uniform, which has undergone slight changes, now is worn by crews of "Elephants", by tank-destroyer and assault-gun crews in Panzer and Panzer Grenadier divisions, and by tank and armored-car crews.

(1) Headgear. (a) Beret. Until the winter of 1939-40, troops wearing the black uniform wore a black beret, which served as a crash helmet. This helmet type of headgear proved unnecessary.

(b) Black field cap. During the winter of 1939-40, a black, wool-rayon field cap, in the style of the old-style Army field cap, replaced the black beret.

(c) 1934 black field cap (Einheitsmütze). Simultaneously with the introduction of the field-gray Einheitsmütze for the normal field uniform, the black uniform received a similar visored cap in black cloth. Insignia and braid for officers follow the field-gray cap pattern.

(2) Body clothing. (a) Coat. The black, double-breasted, wool-rayon coat issued with the black uniform is known as the "field jacket" (Feldjacke). It is illustrated in Plate II. Recent jackets lack the piping on the edge of the collar, and some may have large pockets on the left breast. The coat is made of the same quality of wool-rayon cloth as the field uniform. It is dyed black to conceal dirt and grease stains. A metal death's head is worn on each collar patch.

(b) Trousers. The black, wool-rayon trousers of the black uniform are referred to as "Field trousers" (Feldhosen). They resemble the later type of normal field uniform trousers in cut, with ski-pant legs. They are fitted with tapes, however, so that they may be bound to the leg at the ankle.

(c) Underwear. Underwear consists of long drawers and a collared tricot shirt-undershirt with black necktie. Until 1944, this shirt was gray. Issue since that date has been green, and therefore identical with underwear for the normal field uniform.

(d) Two-piece coverall. For camouflage purposes, for a summer uniform, and for a work garment a two-piece coverall of rush-green cotton or rayon is issued. It is cut identically with the black wool uniform.

(3) Footgear. Standard black service shoes, long socks, and footwraps are worn. The use of boots with the black uniform is contrary to German regulations.

b. FIELD-GRAY UNIFORM FOR ARMORED-VEHICLE CREWS. A wool-rayon field-gray uniform, identical in cut with the black uniform, was issued in the spring of 1940 to crews of assault guns. This uniform is worn by the crews of the assault guns and tank destroyers of infantry, light infantry, and mountain infantry divisions. The uniforms bear a death's head on each collar patch. Crews of armored trains and of self-propelled infantry and antiaircraft guns wear the same uniform with the usual field uniform collar patches (Plate II). A two-piece, rush-green coverall, identical with that issued to troops wearing the black uniform, also is issued to those wearing the field-gray uniform for armored-vehicle crews.

c. MOUNTAIN UNIFORM. The mountain uniform is similar to the normal field uniform with the following exceptions:


Figure 7.--White cap cover for the mountain cap.

(1) Cap. The visored mountain cap, derived from the visored Austrian cap of the last war, is the original model for the M1943 Einheitsmütze. The mountain cap may be distinguished by a metal Edelweiss sewn to the left side of the cap (Plate I). A white camouflage cap cover is furnished with the cap.

(2) Coat and overcoat. Field uniform coats and overcoats are worn, but are embellished by an Edelweiss on the upper right sleeve (Plate I).

(3) Windjacket. The mountain windjacket is a light, double-breasted, long jacket of olive-colored, windproof, water-repellent duck (Plate II). This is less common now than the parka, which appears to be superseding it.

(4) Sweater. The mountain sweater, heavier than the normal field uniform sweater, has a turtle neck for added warmth.

(5) Trousers. Baggy trousers, designed and fitted so as not to bind the mountaineer at any point, are provided German mountain troops. These trousers are of the usual field-gray, wool-rayon cloth. Their ski-pant bottoms tie with tapes at the ankles. Special mountain suspenders are issued with these trousers.

(6) Parka and over pants. Until 1942, a white parka was issued on the basis of 10 per cent of unit strength. By the time of the Caucasus campaign, a new and improved type of parka, with overpants of the same material, was furnished to mountain divisions. The parka is reversible, with a tan and a white side, and is distinguished by three buttoned breast pockets. The cloth is unusual in that the rayon fibers are designed so that some provide strength, while others swell when wet. The swelling action renders the garment water-repellent to a high degree. When dry, the fiber shrinks, permitting proper ventilation through the garment. The objective of the designers was to avoid the accumulation of sweat, which, if the wearer should rest after heavy exertion, would cause undue dampness and cooling and result in colds, pneumonia, and frostbite.

(7) Canvas overmittens. These mittens with leather palms are furnished in addition to the field uniform wool gloves to provide extra insulation against cold and to keep the wool gloves dry.

(8) Ski-mountain boots. Heavily-hobnailed, high laced shoes are provided as ski-mountain boots.

(9) Leggings. Until October 1944, short, wrap leggings of field-gray wool, such as those used by Austrian mountain troops in World War I, were standard for German mountaineers. Now these are being replaced by the canvas leggings issued with the normal field uniform.

(10) Rock-climbing shoes. High climbing shoes with rope or felt soles are issued when necessary.

(11) Camouflage clothing. Prior to 1941, white parkas or white suits were issued to mountain troops for operations in snow-covered regions. The present mountain parka and windproof trousers have a tan and a white side.

d. SPECIAL CLOTHING FOR MOTORCYCLISTS. Motorcyclists receive as supplementary clothing a raincoat; a pair of goggles; a pair of gauntlets; and, in winter, an extra sweater, wool oversocks, and a special coat. The gauntlets are of overcoat cloth with trigger finger, and may have leather palms. The footless oversocks come up high on the leg. The raincoat is a special, long, rubber coat, designed to be buttoned in a variety of ways to improve protection and to facilitate operation of the motorcycle (see motor vehicle coat in the color plates). This rubber coat also may be worn by drivers of light vehicles. In winter, a surcoat may be furnished--a heavy wool garment cut like the overcoat, but sufficiently large to be worn over all clothing including the overcoat. Recent surcoats have wool hoods.


Drivers of all types of vehicles receive motorcyclists' gauntlets, and for cold weather the surcoat. Drivers of horse transport also receive felt over-boots with wooden soles.


f. SUMMER UNIFORM. Prior to 1941, no uniform for field summer wear was issued. Since that date, uniforms developed for the Afrika Korps have been made available to troops operating in arid and tropical climates, such as prevail in Italy, Greece, the Crimea, and the Kuban delta. Mention already has been made of the adaptation of the normal field uniform and normal fatigues as a summer uniform. The summer field uniform proper includes the following items:

(1) Headgear. The first Afrika Korps troops were provided with tropical helmets and khaki cotton field caps in the cut of the old-style field uniform cap. These soon were replaced by a visored khaki cotton field cap copied from the mountain cap.

(2) Body clothing. Body clothing consists of loose-mesh rayon or cotton undershorts and short-sleeved undershirt; a two-pocket, grayish-green or khaki cotton shirt carrying shoulder-strap insignia; and khaki shorts or long trousers with built-in cloth belts. Though shirtsleeves may be the uniform of the day, a roll-collar, V-necked, khaki coat is furnished. In spite of cotton shortages, the coat and trousers continue to be of good quality cotton twill. Since late 1942, however, the four pleated pockets of the coat have been modified in the same fashion as those of the normal field uniform coat. The cotton twill breeches furnished in the very early days of the Afrika Korps are worn only by those still possessing them.

(3) Footgear. Desert boots with cloth tops are no longer necessary, but still may be encountered. High brown leather shoes are now the standard wear. Wool socks, rather than foot-wraps, are worn.


(1) Pre-1941 winter clothing. Prior to the winter of 1941-42, the German Army made little provision for winter warfare. Mountain troops were the best equipped to fight under conditions of extreme cold and snow; the remainder of the Army received special clothing only for special missions and duties, as noted above. Sentries were the only soldiers, besides drivers and motorcyclists, who received specially designed clothing. To them were issued surcoats and felt overboots, or, if the latter were lacking, straw overboots. Ordinary troops wore the wool toque, gloves, sweater, and overcoat in winter.

(2) Post-1941 winter clothing. As soon as the necessity for great quantities of winter clothing became obvious, the German Army attempted numerous improvisations based on many varieties of civilian, military, and captured clothing. Even

Figure 8.--Improvised winter clothing
Figure 8.--Improvised winter clothing. The ordinary overcoat has been wrapped around the legs and the lower part of the coat bound with strips of cloth secured by cords.


Figure 9.--Padded coat and trousers worn under the new winter uniform
Figure 9.--Padded coat and trousers worn under the new winter uniform.

Figure 10.--The toque
Figure 10.--The toque. Two toques are shown, one colored white to show the manner of wearing two in extreme cold.

though a standard winter uniform was developed in 1942 and issued for the winter of 1942-43, stocks have been inadequate. The necessity of providing heavy winter clothing for other than combat troops has required continued improvisations. These include rabbit-fur jackets and vests, as well as sleeveless and sleeved pile jackets of rayon known as "breastwarmers". Soviet pile caps and felt boots often are used. For sentries and others who are compelled to remain fairly motionless in the cold, overcoats and surcoats with extra linings are available. Heavy sheepskin surcoats, originated by the German Air Force, also may be used. However, a most important development is the new winter uniform.

(3) New winter uniform. The new winter uniform is designed to provide a comfortable combat uniform giving freedom of movement and use of equipment, yet offering protection against extreme cold and overheating during periods of exertion. The uniform is worn over the normal field uniform. Cartridge pouches are worn on the normal leather belt, under the skirt of the parka. This feature aids in providing essential body ventilation to prevent the accumulation of sweat. Several clips of ammunition are kept available in the parka pocket. The hooded parka has a waist belt, bottom drawstring, and double-buttoned flaps up the front that provide a windproof


Figure 11.--Improvised camouflage coat in the cut of the Army field uniform coat
Figure 11.--Improvised camouflage coat in the cut of the Army field uniform coat. The cloth is taken from shelter duck material of an Italian shelter half.

closure. A toque is worn under the steel helmet, and when the wind is strong, a stiff, felt face mask may be fitted. The trousers have two side pockets, and fairly short legs. These legs fit over special, white, rayon-canvas boots which have fabric soles and three-layer walls. The latter may be stuffed with straw or paper as added protection against cold and moisture. Since these boots are not suited for mud conditions, ski-mountain boots or felt boots with leather soles and facings may be used instead. The parka, toque, and trousers are issued in three weights. The most common is the medium weight, in which the material consists of two layers of windproof cloth with a rayon-wool interliner.

Figure 12.--New winter uniform with mottled side out
Figure 12.--New winter uniform with mottled side out.


Figure 13.--Flak personnel in summer uniform
Figure 13.--Flak personnel in summer uniform.

The windproof cloth has the same water-repellent features as the latest mountain parka. Since the complete uniform contains only 9 per cent wool, the clothing is heavy for its warmth, and therefore not as efficient as the Germans had planned. The uniform originally had a white and a field-gray side, but by 1943 the need for better camouflage had become so apparent that a mottled design was substituted for the field-gray. Two designs of mottle are used-- one is that of the normal shelter half, and the other is that of the Army camouflage jacket (Plate II). Both types are in use. To facilitate recognition, cloth bands in the color of the day may be buttoned to the sleeves of the parka.

h. CAMOUFLAGE CLOTHING. The original prewar issue of a camouflage shelter half proved insufficient for the camouflage of individuals. After considerable improvisation on the part of field units, particularly in Italy, a standard Army light-rayon camouflage jacket (Plate II) was issued and put into use in 1943-44. Various types of field-made jackets, using German and Italian shelter halves, are widely employed. Snipers may wear complete camouflage suits, including face masks. Headgear camouflage often


is improvised, since the Army did not provide a standard camouflage helmet cover until the issue of the camouflage jacket. But a very practical elastic band to fasten camouflage materials to the helmet was furnished to all troops. Camouflage clothing is usually organizational, and is issued to snipers, personnel of outposts, and like troops.


1. General

German Army insignia are intended to establish clear differentiation between ranks and types of service, and at the same time to encourage individual combat efficiency and proficiency in military arts. Direct appeal is made to vanity and to the human tendency to show off military prowess as expressed in terms of insignia and decorations. Many of these insignia are based on traditional German military insignia selected from units famous in German popular and military history.

2. Insignia of Rank

Insignia of rank mainly are determined by shoulder-strap devices (Plate IV and V). While there are many minor complexities having to do with fine differentiation among various ranks, services, and functions, these do not concern the average case. A clear distinction is made among commissioned officers (Offiziere), noncommissioned officers (Unteroffiziere), and enlisted men of various grades (Mannschaften). Because of the importance of noncommissioned officers in combat and on the drill field, they are accorded special distinguishing marks beyond the normal insignia of rank. Along the lower edge of their coat collar they have a silver or gray braid .4 inch wide. First sergeants, as senior company or battery noncommissioned officers, wear two bands of similar braid on each coatsleeve. Distinction is made between the upper three and the lower two grades of noncommissioned officers. The former are known as Portepeeunteroffiziere; the latter as Unteroffiziere ohne Portepee. The former are entitled to special considerations and privileges, as are the first three grades of U. S. Army noncommissioned officers. These include wearing on certain occasions an officer's saber

Figure 14.--Tank destroyer uniform of the Hermann Goering Division
Figure 14.--Tank destroyer uniform of the Hermann Goering Division
(shoulder insignia of rank is missing on the uniform shown).


and a tassel known as the Portepee, hence the title. Fatigue clothing carries the type of noncommissioned-officer insignia used on Reichswehr uniforms.

3. Insignia of Arm and Specialty

In order to clarify an individual's duties, to afford easy recognition of line troops, and to avoid jealousy arising from rapid promotion of qualified specialists, the German Army has made a somewhat ill-organized effort to distinguish line personnel of the arms; personnel of special and administrative services, and personnel of both preceding categories who are so proficient or qualified that rapid promotion to suitable rank is necessary. The first group wear insignia of the line arms (normal insignia of rank and of arm); the specialists and administrative officials tend to be designated by varied insignia (usually by introducing a basic dark-green color); the third group (Sonderfuhrer) wear modifications of normal insignia. Sonderfuhrer insignia for line duty is shown in color plates; insignia for Sonderfuhrer of the Corps of Administrative Officials is somewhat similar as regards the collar patch, but the shoulder strap is more difficult to differentiate. In peacetime and during the early part of the war, further differentiation was made to indicate reserve officers, Landwehr officers, officers recalled to active duty, and officers over the retirement age who might be required from time to time for consultation.

4. Fourrageres

All German officers are entitled to wear the fourragere shown on the officer's service dress in Plate II. Adjutants wear a single cord. The adjutant's fourragere must not be mistaken for one of the 12 grades of marksmanship awards (Plate VII), and 1st sergeant in service dress (Plate I). The marksmanship awards sometimes are worn in combat.

5. Use of Numbers and Letters on Shoulder Insignia of Rank

Although the wearing of numbers and letters furnishing unit identification is forbidden in forward areas, German soldiers do not always observe this regulation. Soldiers of the Field Army, however, usually wear such identification in the form of slip-over cloth strips, with the numbers running across the shoulder strap with the length of the strip. In rear areas, numbers are worn as shown in Plates IV and V. Arabic numerals indicate the number of the regiment or battalion to which the wearer belongs. Enlisted men and the lower two grades of noncommissioned officers wear numbers in the color of their arm; other noncommissioned officers wear silver numbers, as do officer candidates. Officers wear gold numbers. Letters may be combined with Arabic numerals. In some cases (See Plate VI), these indicate units of special arms or of special branches of arms. In other cases, the letter D and an arabic numeral indicate division headquarters personnel. Since regulations have changed frequently since 1939, the system of identification by numbers and letters is difficult to follow without the aid of complex guides.


1. General

Although many items of uniforms and clothing of special Air Force design are provided, many items are procured from the Army in suitable colors. There is not, however, the degree of standardization in Army and Air Force clothing that would appear desirable, particularly in view of the number of Air Force ground troops performing the same functions as comparable Army troops. This is especially true in regard to the uniforms provided for Africa, and now used as summer field uniforms. Characteristic of most Air Force uniforms is the gray-blue color of much of the uniforms and equipment. Comments made on the decline of cloth quality in Army uniforms are equally applicable to Air Force uniforms.

Figure 15.--Air Force national emblem
Figure 15.--Air Force national emblem,
worn on the right breast of coats, overcoats, jackets, jump suits, and summer shirts.


2. Uniforms

a. SERVICE AND DRESS UNIFORMS. The German Air Force no longer has service uniforms, except for a white summer coat and a dress mess jacket for officers, and a service coat for generals. A service coat for all personnel was already in the process of being replaced in 1939. This coat (Tuchrock) resembles the present uniform coat (Waffenrock), except that it is not designed to be buttoned up to the neck. (Compare the private's and the colonel's coats on Plate VIII.)

b. NORMAL FIELD UNIFORM. (1) Headgear. The Air Force field cap (Fliegermütze) is a simple wool-rayon cap similar in cut to the present U.S. WAC garrison cap. The national colors are worn below the national emblem. Officers wear silver braid around the edge of the turn-up. The Army Einheitsmütze, in Air Force color and with proper insignia, has begun to replace the Fliegermütze. The Army M1935 steel helmet, painted gray, is issued when required.

(2) Body clothing. (a) Coat. The standard Air Force coat (Waffenrock) is a five-button coat, designed to be worn either with the collar closed at the neck, or as a roll-collared, V-neck coat with the collar hook and top button open (Plate VIII). Four pleated patch pockets are furnished, with the national emblem appearing over the right breast pocket. Two adjustable metal belt holders of Army style are located toward the sides of the uniform. The sleeves end in large cuffs. The collar at one time carried piping on the lower edge in the color of the arm. Though this feature was discontinued in 1940, such coats still may be found. Insignia of rank are worn on the shoulder and on patches located on the ends of the collar. In 1944 this coat was issued in cotton-rayon instead of wool.

(b) "Flight blouse" (Fliegerbluse). Air Force troops more commonly wear a short, cuffless, fly-front, wool-rayon jacket with slash pockets (Plate VIII). The jacket's collar may be worn open or closed. Belt holders, insignia, and piping (if the latter is worn) are placed as on the coat. The jacket is intended for crews of aircraft, and therefore is designed so that there will be no buttons, patch pockets, or cuffs to catch on projecting parts of aircraft interiors. The jacket is sufficiently convenient and smart-looking, however, to be popular with all Air Force troops.

(c) Trousers. The gray-blue, wool-rayon, Air Force trousers are similar in cut at the waist to Army suspender trousers. Air Force trousers, however, are always slacks, and are not fitted with narrow or ski-pant bottoms except in the case of mountain trousers.

(d) Shirt. Gray shirts of mottled gray-blue thread are worn with black tie. The shirts may be fitted with shoulder straps to indicate rank.

(e) Underwear. Army underwear is worn.

(f) Sweater. The Air Force sweater is identical with the Army's, except that the colored band at the neck is Air Force gray-blue.

(g) Overcoat. A blue-gray version of the Army overcoat is worn. Patches are placed on the collar. First sergeants wear their sleeve bands (Plate VIII).

(3) Footgear. The Air Force uses Army-type jack boots, shoes, socks, and footwraps. Leggings, when used, are Army leggings dyed blue-gray.

c. MOUNTAIN UNIFORM. Normal Air Force uniforms are combined with Army issue, properly colored when necessary, to make up mountain clothing (Plate VIII). The Waffenrock and mountain trousers are used, together with blue-gray, ankle-wrap leggings: and ski-mountain boots. The Air Force mountain cap, which had but one button securing the turn-up in front, largely has been replaced by a cap in the style of the Army mountain cap. Army Edelweiss badges may be worn.

d. FATIGUE AND WORK SUITS. Flak crews and aircraft mechanics may be furnished with a cotton-linen-rayon, herringbone twill, black or dark blue-gray coverall with fly front (Plate IX). Two-piece work suits of various colors are also used (Plate X).

e. SUMMER UNIFORMS. Air Force issue resembles that of the Army both in history and in the nature of the items provided, except for slight modifications in all pieces of clothing. Peculiar to the Air Force are bright aluminum, built-in trouser belt buckles, and the long, baggy trousers with ankle buckles illustrated in Plate IX. As in the case of the Army, the tropical helmet no longer is worn except by those who still retain the original issue. The Air Force national emblem appears on all coats and shirts.

f. PARACHUTE TROOPS UNIFORMS. Parachute troops are issued several distinctive items. They are:

(1) Helmet. The parachute helmet, resembling a cut-down version of the M1935 steel helmet, is fitted with large sponge-rubber pads and leather suspension shaped to the skull.


(2) Jump suit. The older types of jump suit-used in 1939-40 were of the pullover, coverall variety. The present types button up the front like coats, and have snap closures to secure the bottom tightly around the legs--a feature borrowed from the older types. Ample zipper-closed pockets are provided. The material is a light shelter duck, originally olive in color ( IX), but in present versions always mottled. The present jump suit, like older types, is worn over the wool or summer uniform, but can quickly be removed.

(3) Camouflage jacket. Usually peculiar to parachute troops (and worn by the 1st Parachute Division during the Battle of Cassino-- hence the appellation "Green Devils") is a greenish, mottled camouflage jacket about the length of the jump suit. This is a fly-front, cotton, herringbone twill garment with two pockets (Plate IX).

(4) Footgear. Several types of jump boots have been issued. The earlier types laced along the sides and had heavy corrugated-rubber soles. Later types resemble the U.S. parachutist's boot. In battle, Army-type high service shoes may be worn.

g. WINTER CLOTHING. The Air Force uses the Army winter uniform, and improvises in the same way as the elder service. Often worn by Flak sentries in very exposed positions is the very heavy sheepskin surcoat shown in color plates. This coat may be worn by the entire gun crew, if necessary. It is, however, too heavy for infantry combat use.

h. UNIFORMS OF THE Fallschirmjäger-Panzer Division Herman Goering. This division follows unusual practices in the issue of uniforms and insignia. The collar patch is white for all ranks, while the color of the shoulder strap varies according to type of service. Tank crews and crews of self-propelled guns wear Army black or field-gray jackets and field trousers, but with Air Force insignia.

3. Insignia

Air Force insignia are extremely complex. There are four systems of indicating rank: that used on the shoulder straps and on sleeve chevrons; that used on the collar patch; that used on flying suits; and that used on both sleeves of the motor vehicle coat and on fatigue coveralls. The collar patches of noncommissioned officers' overcoats, and their coat collars, are edged with silver braid in the manner of Army noncommissioned officers' coats. The awards for combat flights (see color plates) easily may be mistaken for pilots' insignia because of their shape. The pilot's insignia, however, is worn as a metal or cloth badge on the lower left breast, whereas the awards for combat flights are worn above the left breast pocket. Not illustrated under awards in the color plates is that for night fighters, which consists of the award for fighters with a black instead of a silver winged arrow. Air Force personnel are awarded marksmanship badges of a design similar to that of Army awards. Other fourrageres are worn, indicating commissioned rank, adjutant, or merely length of service.

Figure 16.--National emblem of the Armed Party Elite Guard (Waffen-SS)
Figure 16.--National emblem of the Armed Party Elite Guard (Waffen-SS).
This emblem is worn on the left sleeves of coats, overcoats, and jackets,
and appears either on the front or on the left side of caps.


1. Uniforms

The Armed Elite Guard (Waffen-SS) has followed the Army closely in the provision of uniform clothing. When first sent into the field, Waffen-SS units were distinguished in part by the type of roll-collar V-neck coat shown in Plate XVIII. Also distinctive were their camouflage jacket (Plate XVIII), and their brown shirts with black ties. For some time stocks of the SS coat have been practically exhausted, and Army coats have been used. Army shirts also are issued. There remain slight differences between the high grade shelter-duck, water-repellent, windproof SS camouflage jacket and the similar Army jacket; the SS jacket has two slant, buttoned pockets at its side in later versions, and a different camouflage pattern.

A new Waffen-SS uniform is a linen-cotton, herringbone twill, two-piece suit (Plate XIX).


SS regulations forbid wearing insignia on the collar of this uniform, but troops have shown an increasing tendency to include all possible insignia devices. However, no insignia are worn on the one-piece tank coverall (Plate XVIII). In general, Waffen-SS uniform clothing differs from that of the Army only in respect to the above items, and in the more complete authorized issue to Waffen-SS troops. Moreover, when complete issue cannot be made, the Waffen-SS troops always receive fuller issue than their Army neighbors. Waffen-SS troops now also receive the army winter uniform, which replaces the special SS pullover parka illustrated in Plate XIX.

2. Insignia

Waffen-SS troops wear shoulder insignia of rank similar to those of the Army, but wear collar patches of the General-SS. The sleeve insignia of rank, worn on camouflage jackets, coveralls, and similar clothing, is the same as that worn by corresponding Army grades. The grades of snipers' badges, shown in color plates, are issued to Waffen-SS as well as to Army personnel. Rifle regiments of SS-Police divisions wear collar patches similar to those worn by officers and men of the Army. The distinctive insignia of the Waffen-SS is the national emblem worn on the upper left sleeve. Noncommissioned officers wear silver braid along the edge of the collar in the manner of Army noncommissioned officers.

3. Uniforms and Insignia of the Security Service of the Waffen-SS

This uniform consists of the ordinary SS field uniform with Police shoulder straps to indicate rank, SS collar patches, and an SD badge (for Sicherheitsdienst) on the lower left sleeve.

Figure 17.--Waffen-SS camouflage jacket with buttoned pockets
Figure 17.--Waffen-SS camouflage jacket with buttoned pockets.

Figure 18.--Uniform of the Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst) of the Waffen-SS
Figure 18.--Uniform of the Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst) of the Waffen-SS.


German decorations for valor consist of the various grades of Iron Cross shown on Plate XXII, together with the Honor Roll Clasp. In actuality, iron crosses of the first and second classes may be allotted in bulk to combat units, whether or not the personnel are individually deserving of such decorations. At one time there appeared to be some plan on the part of German authorities to keep locations of the various types of decorations, combat service, and ordinary service, and ordinary service awards distinct and recognizable as such even to the relatively uninitiated. In brief, this plan seemed to be to locate campaign and ordinary service awards above the left breast pocket in the form of ribbons, with participation in notable campaigns indicated by badges on the sleeve. Combat and wounds would be indicated by badges of bronze, silver, and gold located on the left breast, while actual decorations


Figure 19.--German Air Force officers wearing decorations and awards
Figure 19.--German Air Force officers wearing decorations and awards.

would be worn as ribbons in the buttonhole, at the neck, or in the form of the easily recognizable actual metal medal pinned on the uniform. This rule holds as a rough guide, but there are many exceptions, notable among which are the various foreign ribbons for valor worn with other ribbons above the left breast pocket. Marksmanship awards are worn in the form of fourrageres across the right breast.

The German Armed Forces place much emphasis on the morale effect of the various decorations and awards, the numbers of which are almost incredibly large because of the authorization of the wearing of Nazi Party and Police badges, as well as foreign decorations and those of minor German states under the German Empire. Much of the paper-work of the German Army is concerned with the awarding of various types of medals and badges and their certificates. The German troops themselves prize these honors highly, and wear them on the field uniform even in combat.



1. General

There are a host of puppet and auxiliary forces and semi-military organizations which may take part in combat alongside the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Included among these are the various units raised from former citizens of the Soviet Union. While many of these troops were intended to have insignia peculiar to their organization, it has not been possible in practice to manufacture and issue the necessary uniforms and insignia. The insignia for these forces may be grouped into three sets: those for the Eastern Legions (Ostlegionen), those for the Russian and Ukrainian Armies of Liberation (with rank insignia after the Russian style), and those for Cossack units. In practice, German Army uniforms and insignia often are used. Military organizations with uniforms and insignia also were formed from men recruited from the former Baltic states. A Czech puppet Army, with its own uniforms and insignia, also exists. The Italian Republican Army also may use German uniforms and Waffen-SS insignia, although Italian Republican insignia may be worn on German-made uniforms. Women's uniformed auxiliary forces include signal services for the Army, Navy, and Air Force; antiaircraft personnel for the Air Force; and remount units for the Army. Such personnel have uniforms, insignia, and titles of rank peculiar to their organizations. Many uniformed Party organizations of a semi-military nature exist, as well as Frontier (Customs) Guards, Railway Police, State Railway Personnel, the Forestry Service, and other uniformed state organizations. Uniforms and insignia of several of the more important auxiliary organizations serving with the armed forces are briefly described below. These organizations usually wear an arm band inscribed Deutsche Wehrmacht when in forward areas. The Germans state that such arm bands indicate that the wearers are members of the German Armed Forces.

Figure 20.--Labor Service private (left), sergeant (center), and general officer (right)
Figure 20.--Labor Service private (left), sergeant (center), and general officer (right).

Figure 21.--Uniform of an enlisted man of the German State Police
Figure 21.--Uniform of an enlisted man of the German State Police.


2. Volkssturm Uniforms and Insignia

The German Volkssturm has no authorized uniform or insignia except for an armband variously stenciled Deutscher Wehrmacht or Deutscher Volkssturm with Wehrmacht directly underneath the upper two words. These bands may be in a variety of colors: black letters on red or white cloth, or white letters on yellow cloth. Clothing is issued according to what is available in the area. Volkssturm personnel are reported to be unwilling to fight if furnished only with armbands for fear of being arrested as franc tireurs. Efforts have therefore been made to provide Army issue when possible. This issue is supplemented by captured clothing: Italian, Czech, French, and so on. Uniforms of Nazi party organizations may also be worn. It is reported that personnel with civil and party uniforms such as street car crews, zoo keepers, postmen, SA men, etc. will have such uniforms dyed military field gray. The only known insignia of rank is the following:

German Rank English Equivalent Collar Patch Insignia
Volkssturmmann No pips
Gruppenfuhrer Squad Leader One pip
Zugfuhrer Platoon Leader Two pips horizontally
Waffenmeister Ordnance Officer Same as above
Zahlmeister Paymaster Same as above
Kompanieführer Company Commander Three pips diagonally
Ordonnanzoffizier Administrative Officer Same as above
Adjutant Adjutant Same as above
Bataillonführer Battalion Commander Four pips in square

3. Labor Service Uniforms and Insignia

Members of the Labor Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst, or RAD), wear uniforms with chocolate-brown collars. The coats generally are cut in the style of the Army field uniform coat. The rank insignia resemble and roughly follow those of the Army, although distinctive titles are employed. A stylized spade is used for the cap badge, and appears on the belt buckle.

4. Police Uniforms and Insignia

German State Police uniforms may readily be differentiated from Army uniforms by proper identification of the Police coat. This coat has four patch pockets, the lower two being pleatless (Fig. 21). The frontal closure is secured by eight buttons. Both collar and cuffs are brown in color, the latter each bearing two buttons. While the collar insignia for lower ranks resemble those of the Army, the collar patch rectangle is surrounded by a silver cord. However, police officers of general's rank wear collar patches (color plates), since they hold ranks in both SS and Police. Field and company grade police officers wear shoulder straps and collar patches similar to equivalent Army ranks, and are addressed by Army titles of rank. A national emblem similar to the sleeve insignia for Army Military police (color plates) is worn on the upper left sleeve, but no other national emblem is worn on the coat. This emblem is repeated on Police caps. The back of the police coat has a decorative double fly embellished with four buttons.

Figure 22.--Company commander of the Volkssturm
Figure 22.--Company commander of the Volkssturm.
The overcoat is the standard Army issue, worn with the field cap M1943.
The man at right wears an Italian Army overcoat.



1. Field Equipment

a. BELT. The German soldier habitually wears his belt, with or without field equipment. Normally the enlisted man wears a black leather belt, but a web belt goes with the tropical uniform. The belt always is worn with a steel buckle bearing the branch of service emblem. All ground forces of the Army (Heer) have a buckle embossed with a circular crest in the center of which appears an eagle. The circle is formed by the words "Gott mit uns" above the eagle and a wreath below. The Air Force (Luftwaffe) buckle carries an eagle in flight with a swastika in its claws. The figure is encircled by a wreath. The Armed Elite Guard (Waffen SS) buckle bears an eagle whose outstretched wings extend across the top of the buckle. The words "Meine Ehre heisst Treue" make a nearly complete circle below the eagle's wings. The bird rests on another smaller circle which bears a swastika. Officers wear brown leather belts with a simple tongue-and-bar type buckle. In the field the soldier carries his cartridge pouches, bayonet, entrenching tool, and "bread bag" suspended from this belt. When not wearing field equipment he wears the belt and buckle alone. Metal hooks in the field blouse help hold the belt in place.

Figure 23.--Field equipment of the German infantry soldier (front view)
Figure 23.--Field equipment of the German infantry soldier (front view).
The cartridge pouches on the belt are partially held by leather suspenders. The "bread bag" and canteen with cup are carried on the right hip, and the entrenching tool and bayonet are carried on the left hip. The "bread bag" is hung on the belt, and for demonstration purposes is shown further forward than usual.

b. CARTRIDGE POUCHES. The usual German cartridge pouch is made of leather. It has three separate pockets, each holding 10 rounds of rifle ammunition in two clips. The uniform belt slips through loops on the back of the ammunition

Figure 24.--Field equipment (rear view)
Figure 24.--Field equipment (rear view).
Messkit, shelter quarter, and a small bag (concealed under the shelter quarter) are strapped to the combat pack. The canteen hangs from the "bread bag." (Mounted troops carry the canteen on the bread bag's right-hand fittings). The upper end of the metal gas mask carrier is suspended by a sling over the shoulder, while the rear end is hung on the belt.


pouch, which also has a ring into which the cartridge belt suspenders may be hooked to help support the equipment worn on the belt. Normally two pouches are worn, one on each side of the belt buckle, allowing the rifleman to carry 60 rounds of ammunition. However, soldiers who are not expected to use a great deal of ammunition receive only one pouch, and a leather loop with a ring is substituted for the second pouch to hold the cartridge belt suspenders. Other types of cartridge carriers include submachine-gun ammunition pouches, engineer assault pack pouches, and bandoleers. The submachine-gun pouches, now usually made of webbing, hold six clips. They are about 9 inches long and are carried in a manner similar to the ordinary pouch. The 120-round bandoliers, usually of camouflage pattern, are worn by paratroops slung across the chest. They are held in place by loops slipped over the belt. Medical soldiers receive single-pocket, leather, first-aid pouches which are somewhat deeper and about two-thirds as wide as the ordinary cartridge pouch.

c. ENTRENCHING SHOVEL. Although some of the old-style German entrenching shovels, which are like the old U.S. army shovel, still exist, most German troops are equipped with the standard folding shovel, similar to the ssup>1/2 1/2-inch pointed steel blade hinged to an 18-inch wooden handle. The hinge is provided with a threaded plastic nut which locks the blade in any one of three positions: in line with the handle for use as a shovel, at right angles to the handle for use as a pick, or folded back against the handle for carrying. A leather case for carrying the shovel is suspended from the cartridge belt on the left hip. Since the shovel serves as an adequate pick, few entrenching pick-mattocks are used.

d. BAYONET FROG. The bayonet hangs from the cartridge belt in a leather frog just ahead of the folding entrenching shovel or directly over the old-style entrenching shovel. A loop on the shovel case holds the scabbard in place.

e. BREAD BAG. The German soldier carries the bread bag (Brotbeutel) on his right hip, suspended from the belt. This duck bag holds toilet articles, the field cap when not worn, a towel, and other necessities of the combat soldier. Dismounted personnel carry the canteen snapped into the left hook on the flap of the bread bag. It is held securely in place by slipping the strap which runs around the canteen through the loop on the lower part of the bread-bag flap. Mounted personnel carry the canteen on the right side of the bread bag. Formerly a special strap was used more frequently to allow the bread bag to be slung over the shoulder.

Figure 25.--Parachutists bandolier, holding 120 rounds of ammunition in rifle clips
Figure 25.--Parachutists bandolier, holding 120 rounds of ammunition in rifle clips.

f. CANTEEN. The canteen, which holds nearly one quart, has a felt cover. The canteen cup, either round or oval, is strapped upside down over the mouth of the canteen. The first of these German canteens were made of aluminum, but about 1942 a few were made of a plastic impregnated wood and recent ones have been made of enameled steel. Mountain troops receive a slightly larger canteen. Special medical canteens are issued to medical troops.

g. GAS MASK. The only other item which commonly is suspended in part from the belt is the gas mask in its metal carrier. The top of the carrier is held by a strap which runs around the right shoulder. The bottom is hooked to the back of the belt. Paratroops receive a special fabric


gas-mask carrier to reduce the danger of injuries in landing.

2. Combat Equipment

a. CARTRIDGE-BELT SUSPENDERS. There are a number of different types of leather cartridge-belt suspenders issued to German troops and webbing counterparts for use with the tropical uniform. The commonest of these are the infantry suspenders. These are issued to combat troops of infantry divisions who also receive the combat pack and the Model 39 haversack. The infantry suspenders consist of straps with hooks on the front to attach to the cartridge pouches and a single broad hook in back, which is slipped under the cartridge belt. D-rings on the back of the shoulder straps may be used to hold the top of the combat pack, the haversack, or other equipment. The bottom of these suspenders are held by auxiliary straps riveted to the suspenders in front just below the shoulders. Other common types include officers' cartridge-belt suspenders and cavalry suspenders.

b. COMBAT PACK. The normal infantryman's combat pack is a webbing trapezoid with a removable bag buttoned to the bottom. A single strap on the top half of the web frame is used to attach the mess kit and two straps at the bottom hold the shelter quarter, tightly rolled, over the small bag. There are hooks at all four corners so that the combat pack may be attached to the infantry cartridge-belt suspenders. A small pocket on the inside of the bag flap holds the rifle-cleaning kit. Normally the tent rope, one day's iron rations, and a sweater are carried in the bag. However, many times the rope, tent pole, and pins are carried rolled inside the shelter quarter. If necessary a horseshoe roll of overcoat or possibly a blanket may be attached to the combat pack by three straps, which run through the rectangular eyelets on the top and on each side of the pack.

c. MESS KIT. The mess kit, formerly aluminum but now made of enameled steel, is usually carried on the combat pack, although it is sometimes attached to the bread bag in the same way as the canteen. Similar to the Russian and Japanese mess kit, it consists of a kind of deep pot with a cover which may be inverted for use as a plate.

d. SHELTER QUARTER. The German shelter quarter serves both as a tent and as a poncho. It is highly water-repellent duck cut in the form of an isosceles triangle about 6 feet 3 inches along the base and 8 feet 3 inches along the other two sides. There are buttons and buttonholes on all three edges. The shelter quarter is covered wit a camouflage mottle, either the characteristic army camouflage pattern or the usual Waffen SS pattern. Some have different patterns on each side, greens predominating on one side and browns on the other. Each soldier also is issued two tent pins and one tent-pole section for use when the shelter quarter is made into a tent. Ordinarily four men pitch their sections together to make a small pyramidal tent, but other combinations are possible, the most common of which are eight- and 16-man tents. The eight-man tent is constructed by erecting two three-sided pyramids and buttoning an inverted shelter half in the space between them. The 16-man tent is made by joining four of the long sides of the eight-man tent. A regular, four-section, pyramidal tent is erected on this base. This tent stands over 9 feet high. Worn as a poncho, the shelter quarter provides good protection from rain because of its excellent water-repellent property. The soldier's head can be thrust through a slit with the narrow point of the triangle in front. The two rear points are brought forward and buttoned together. Slits are left open for the arms, around which the poncho drapes almost as if it has sleeves. Motorcyclists can fasten the shelter quarter around the thighs.

Figure 26.--Four shelter quarters pitched as a pyramidal tent
Figure 26.--Four shelter quarters pitched as a pyramidal tent. These carry the Waffen-SS camouflage pattern.

3. Other Packs

a. MODEL 39 HAVERSACK. Troops to whom the combat pack is issued also receive the Model 39 haversack. This square-shaped canvas pack, reinforced with leather, has no attached shoulder


straps. It is attached to the infantry cartridge-belt suspenders by four hooks like those on the combat pack. Service shoes, twill trousers, a set of brushes, and other necessary items are carried in the main section of the pack. Towel, socks, sewing kit, and shirt are carried in the flap pouch. The tent-pole section and two tent pegs are carried at the top of the pack between the main pouch and the flap pouch. The overcoat or a blanket may be carried on the pack in a horseshoe roll. If for some reason both the haversack and the combat pack have to be carried at the same time, the combat pack is hooked into the rings on the upper edge of the haversack flap and secured by the button stap on the flap.

Figure 27.--The shelter quarter worn as a poncho
Figure 27.--The shelter quarter worn as a poncho. A Waffen-SS quarter is shown.

b. MODEL 34 HAVERSACK. An older type of haversack still being issued to some German soldiers is the Model 34. This is similar to the Model 39, but is intended to carry all the soldier's equipment.

c. MOUNTAIN RUCKSACK The duties and equipment of mountain troops require a more versatile pack than the haversack. The mountain rucksack is a large olive-drab sack with attached shoulder straps. There is a large pocket on the outside below the cover flap. Leather loops facilitate attaching articles to the outside. The rucksack rests lower on the back than the haversack.

d. Luftwaffe RUCKSACK. The design of the Luftwaffe rucksack is similar, though not identical, to that of the mountain rucksack. The chief difference is in color: the Air Force rucksack is blue-gray.

e. TROPICAL RUCKSACK. The tropical rucksack is simpler than the mountain and Luftwaffe rucksack. Hooks at the corners snap into rings on the cartridge belt suspenders.

f. ARTILLERY RUCKSACK. Artillerymen receive the artillery rucksack, consisting of a full marching pack and a combat pack.

g. SADDLEBAGS. Until July 1944 a pair of saddlebags was issued to each mounted soldier, but since then saddlebags are considered organizational equipment. It is probable that the supplies of the old Model 34 now are nearly exhausted. It is being replaced by large and small saddlebags. The large saddlebag is the "horse" pack. Its contents include mess kit, horseshoe, eight nails, four calks, calk fastener and hoof cleaner, surcingle, curry comb, horse brush, and pail. The small saddlebag, carried on the right just behind the rider, carries the soldier's personal


equipment. Sweater, iron rations, rifle-cleaning kit, toilet articles, tent rope, shoe-cleaning gear, and towel are carried inside the bag, while the shelter quarter is strapped to the outside. Fifteen rounds of ammunition are carried on the cover flap. This small saddlebag may be used as a combat pack if the rider must dismount. The hooks on the four corners snap into the rings of the cavalry cartridge-belt suspenders. The mess kit is removed from the large saddlebag and strapped to the outside of the small saddlebag when it is used as a combat pack.

h. ENGINEER ASSAULT PACK. One engineer assault pack is authorized for every five combat engineers. It is used with the infantry cartridge-belt suspenders and consists of a canvas pack worn on the back and two canvas pouches used in place of the regular cartridge pouches. Two smoke pots are carried in the top of the pack and a 3-kilogram boxed demolition charge in the bottom. In addition, the mess kit, which fits in a special pocket, and shelter quarter are carried in the pack. The pouches hold egg-shaped grenades with rifle ammunition in side pockets. There is a special pocket on the right pouch for a gas mask without carrier. The men to whom this assault pack is issued also receive Model 39 haversack.

4. Special Mountain Equipment

Special equipment issued to German mountain troops is very similar to civilian mountaineering equipment. Manila rope about 1/2 inch in diameter is issued in 100-foot lengths for mountain climbing, but it, of course, serves many other purposes. The equipment of German mountain troops also includes ice axes, 10-point crampons which are strapped to boots for better traction on ice, pitons, snaplinks, steel-edged mountain skis with Kandahar type bindings, and small oval snowshoes. Small, light-weight, A-shaped tents are issued to mountain troops. Red avalanche cords, avalanche shovels, and avalanche probes are provided for rescue work.

5. Special Winter Equipment

Ski troops in flat country are issued lighter skis than those given mountain troops. Their skis are not steel-edged and have a special binding designed for cross-country travel. This binding clamps securely to a metal plate screwed to the bottom of a special wooden-soled canvas over-boot. Since all the plates are the same size, the

Figure 28.--A Waffen-SS mountain sergeant teachesthe use of ice ax and crampons
Figure 28.--A Waffen-SS mountain sergeant teaches the use of ice ax and crampons while simulating the descent of an ice slope. The crampons are strapped to ski-mountain boots.

Figure 29.--German pack frames for heavy weapons specially designed for the loads they are intended to carry
Figure 29.--German pack frames for heavy weapons specially designed
for the loads they are intended to carry.


binding fits all men, making the skis interchangeable. Small sleds, known as akajas and looking like small 7-foot, flat-bottomed canoes, are used to transport supplies and heavy weapons and evacuate wounded across snow. There are three types: the double-end boat akaja, the weapons akaja, and the plywood akaja. Also, other types of sleds are improvised.

6. Miscellaneous Equipment

a. DISPATCH CASE. Platoon and squad leaders, master sergeants, messenger carriers, and similar personnel wear a black leather dispatch case on their belts. Previously this case was issued to a greater number, but in 1943 the issue was restricted to conserve leather. A leather map case with a plastic window fits inside the dispatch case. Several pockets are sewn on the front of the case to accommodate seven pencils, rules, map-reading instruments, and other equipment.

b. PACK FRAMES. Pack frames, which are used by German troops to carry heavy weapons and other heavy or clumsy loads, particularly in difficult terrain, are somewhat similar in appearance to the metal tube frames sometimes used with frame rucksacks. There is no universal type but rather special ones for each type of load with special tubes and shelves to accommodate the particular type of equipment carried.

c. GOGGLES. The commonest German goggles are the plastic-lens folding type, made with both clear and amber lenses, one of each type frequently being issued to each man. These are the "sun and dust goggles" which are issued to all members of motorized or mechanized units except vehicle drivers and motorcyclists, who receive a heavier model with smoke-colored lenses and leather, synthetic rubber, or felt frames.

The heavier goggles are also issued to some antiaircraft gunners and sometimes to mountain troops, although mountain troops frequently get the plastic goggles.

d. FORK-SPOON. A combination aluminum fork-spoon is issued to each German soldier. The handles of the fork and spoon are riveted together so that when extended the fork is on one end and the spoon on the other, but when folded the handles lie together and the tines of the fork rest in the bowl of the spoon. Since the over-all length folded is only 51/2 inches, this combination utensil is easily carried. It is much simpler and lighter than a combination strainless steel knife, fork, spoon, and sometimes can-opener issued to German troops during the African campaign.

Figure 30.--Fuel tablet stove (Esbit Kocher) in half-open position
Figure 30.--Fuel tablet stove (Esbit Kocher) in half-open position.
When closed, the box of Esbit fuel tablets fits inside and is fully protected against breakage.

e. RATION HEATERS. A small gasoline stove, weighing a little over a pound, is issued to special units such as mountain troops who must operate under difficult conditions but keep a high degree of mobility. This stove works by burning vaporized gasoline, but it has no pressure pump. Pressure is built up by heating the burner with gasoline or fuel tablets burnt in a small cup below the tank and maintained by the heat generated by the stove itself. More widely issued are fuel tablets, the commonest of which is Esbit: tablets of hexamethylehe tetramine. The fuel is packed in a paper carton which is carried in the fuel-tablet stove (Esbit Kocher). In the carton there are four cakes of five tablets each, one or more of which may be broken from the cake and and burned at a time. This fuel is extremely efficient. The fuel-tablet stove is made of three sections of zinc-coated steel. Two identical sections, which form the cover in the closed position, and the sides and mess kit support in the two open positions, are attached to a third section, by a grommet hinge. This third section is a shallow pan on which the tablets are burned. Dimples in the metal at appropriate positions hold the stove in either the closed, half-open, or open positions.


German Army Uniforms: Plate I German Army Uniforms: Plate II Plate III: German Army Uniforms  Plate IV: German Army: Insignia of Rank (Officer/NCO)
Plate I: German Army Uniforms Plate II: German Army Uniforms Plate III: German Army Uniforms Plate IV: German Army: Insignia of Rank(Officer/NCO)
Plate V: German Army: Insignia of Rank (Enlisted Men) Plate VI: German Army: 
		Colors of the Arms Specialist Insignia: (Officers and NCOs) Plate VII: German Army: Speciality Badges (NCOs and Enlisted Men) Plate VIII: German Air Force Uniforms
Plate V: German Army: Insignia of Rank (Enlisted Men) Plate VI: German Army: Colors of the Arms Specialist Insignia: (Officers and NCOs) Plate VII: German Army: Speciality Badges (NCOs and Enlisted Men) Plate VIII: German Air Force Uniforms
Plate IX: German Air Force Uniforms Plate X: German Air Force Uniforms Plate XI: German Air Force: Insignia of Rank (General Officers) Plate XII: German Air Force: Colors of the Arms and Services
Plate IX: German Air Force Uniforms Plate X: German Air Force Uniforms Plate XI: German Air Force: Insignia of Rank (General Officers) Plate XII: German Air Force: Colors of the Arm and Services
Plate XIII: German Air Force: Insignia of Rank  Plate XV: German Navy Uniforms Plate XVI: German Navy: Insignia of Rank for Blue and White Uniforms
Plate XIII: German Air Force: Insignia of Rank Plate XIV: German Air Force: Badges of Specialty Plate XV: German Navy Uniforms Plate XVI: German Navy: Insignia of Rank for Blue and White Uniforms
Plate XVII: German Navy: Field Gray Uniforms Plate XVIII: Amed Elite Guard (<i>Waffen-SS</i>) Uniforms Plate XIX: Amed Elite Guard (<i>Waffen-SS</i>) Uniforms Plate XX: Amed Elite Guard (<i>Waffen-SS</i>): Colors of the Arms
Plate XVII: German Navy: Field Gray Uniforms Plate XVIII: Amed Elite Guard (Waffen-SS) Uniforms Plate XIX: Amed Elite Guard (Waffen-SS) Uniforms Plate XX: Amed Elite Guard (Waffen-SS): Colors of the Arms
Plate XXI: Amed Elite Guard  (<i>Waffen-SS</i>): Insignia of Rank  (NCOs) Plate XXII: German Decorations and Awards Plate XXIII: German Decorations and Awards Plate XXIV: Ribbons for Valor and Service
Plate XXI: Amed Elite Guard (Waffen-SS): Insignia of Rank (NCOs) Plate XXII: German Decorations and Awards Plate XXIII: German Decoration sand Awards Plate XXIV: Ribbons for Valor and Service


Table of Contents
Previous Chapter (8) Next Chapter (10)

Transcribed and formatted by Patrick Clancey & Larry Jewell, HyperWar Foundation