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M1940 German Greatcoat
The German greatcoat evolvedthrough the war with economy measures meaning it lost the dark green facings but gained a deeper collar, two side pockets, a thick hood made of recycled blanket wool and many having additional lining
Picture provided by Epic Militaria ((c)2010), with thanks.
Garrett E Eriksen examines uniforms and gear worn by the Red Army and Wehrmacht at Stalingrad.
The rest of this article can be found in the December 2017 issue of The Armourer.
The Battle of Stalingrad is near mythical in its status as a decisive battle during World War II. Any history buff worth their salt has, at the very least, heard of this battle if not learnt it as a standard part of understanding the turning point that lead to the end of WWII and Nazi military might. Even though the battle itself was fought over a period of about six months, from 23 August 1942 to 2 February 1943, much of the heroic Red Army mythos is tied up in the events that happened at the Stalingrad, and especially at the Red October tractor factory. In fact, the victory at Stalingrad would be more than just a military victory for the Soviets it would also be a morale victory for troops and the common working man, as well as the women and children, and many others, who fought to defend not only the factory but Stalingrad itself. Civilians and soldiers alike were called upon to help resist the oncoming Nazi war machine and this has created a very interesting field for the collector who is interested in, or who focuses on, Stalingrad.
Soviet soldiers rushing a German position at Stalingrad, 1942
On one hand we have the Wehrmacht, with their highly distinctive uniforms and gear (although at this late stage in the war the German military was suffering economically and as a result the quality of uniforms and gear overall decreased – though many soldiers either inherited or still had better quality gear and uniforms from earlier in the war, though well-worn.) Under the Wehrmacht were the Hungarian, Italian and Romanian troops. For this article, we won’t be looking at their uniforms but it is worth noting their presence for potential collections, and historical accuracy, nonetheless. On the other hand, we have the Red Army – in many ways the exact opposite in terms of uniform design in the sense that where the Nazi military had sleek and exceptionally idiosyncratic designs, the Red Army went for a less-is-more approach, focusing on a more practical and minimalist end to the uniform (though this was unlikely to have been a specific choice and rather a result of economic considerations for outfitting such a large army.) This is evident in records of the deployment of weapons to soldiers that many Red Army soldiers were sent into battle with minimal equipment, or even without rifles, but rather carrying spare ammunition for those that did have weapons.
Under the Red Army were a hastily assembled militia of men and women from in and around Stalingrad, as well as children! Some in the militia were equipped with Red Army uniforms, but many simply wore the regular civilian clothing they had. A collector may go so far as to seek out civilian clothing of the time for their collection, though this article will focus primarily on the uniform of the Red Army.
Russian children machine gunners preparing to defend Stalingrad, 1942
Osprey, Men-at-Arms #316 The German Army 1939-45 (2) North Africa & Balkans (1998) OCR 8.1
© Copyright 1998 Reed Consumer Books Ltd All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study. research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act, 1988. no part of this publication may be reproduced. stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
electrical, chemical, mechanical, optical, photocopying, recording or otherwise,
This book would not have been possible without the generous help of many people, especially Mark Axworthy, Dusan Babac and friend, Philip Buss MA, Josef Charita, Carlos Caballero Jurado, Brian Davis, the late Dr. Friedrich Herrmann, David Littlejohn, Pierre C.T. Verheye and Stephen Andrew, not forgetting David Crook, Seph Nesbitt and David Marshall. The author would like to thank his family, Heather, Alexander and Dominick, for their continued support and encouragement.
without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Enquiries should be
addressed to the Publishers.
Filmset in Singapore by Pica Ltd
This book is respectfully dedicated to my late father, War Substantive Lieutenant William Rowland Thomas, Royal Fusiliers, and the late Oberfeldarzt aD. Dr. Med. Friedrich Herrmann, formerly of 198. Infanteriedivision and the Bundeswehr - two men from whom I have learnt a lot.
Printed through World Print Ltd.• Hong Kong Editor: Sharon van der Merwe
Designer: Alan Hamp For a catalogue of a/l tilles published by Osprey Military please write to:Osprey Marketing. Reed Books. Michelin House. 81 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RB
Publisher's Note Readers may wish to study this title in conjunction with the following Osprey publications: MAA 311 The German Army 1939-45 (1) Blitzkrieg MAA 24 The Panzer Divisions MAA 34 The Waffen-SS MAA 124 German Commanders of WWII MAA 213 German MP Units MAA 139 German Airborne Troops MAA 282 Axis Forces in Yugoslavia Elite 34 Afrikakorps Elite 63 German Mountain and Ski Troops 1939-45
Artist's Note Readers may care to note that the original paintings from which the colour plates in this book were prepared are available for private sale. All reproduction copyright whatsoever is retained by the publisher. All enquiries should be addressed to: Stephen Andrew, 87 Ellisland, Kirkintilloch, Glasgow G66 2UA The publishers regret that they can enter into no correspondence upon this matter.
GERMAN ARMY1939-1945 (2) NORTH AFRICA & BALKANS
THE CONTEXT OF THE NORTH AFRICAN AND BALKAN CAMPAIGNS he Franco-German armistice of 25 June ] 940 made Germany master of Western Europe. Hitler first considered an invasion of Great Britain in autumn 1940, then scheduled Operation Barbarossa, the conquest of the European part of the Soviet Union, for May 1941. Anxious to emulate Hitler's successes, the Italian dictator Mussolini embarked upon unnecessary military adventures in North Mrica and the Balkans, which forced Hitler's intervention, diverting and depleting precious German resources, and a six-week postponement of Barbarossa. This contributed to German defeat on the Eastern Front and Germany's collapse in May 1945.
T A member of the Africa Corps, in bleached M1940 tropical field cap and M1940 tropical shirt, stencils the Corps tactical si9n to a lorry door with white paint. (Josef Charita)
The Quality of Army Units
On 31 July 1940 Hitler began to prepare for Barbarossa. Now the combat area dictated the quality of army divisions that were used: those in North Mrica were generally makeshift units, reflecting the low priority of that theatre the forces committed to Operation Marita- the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece - were front-line divisiohs earmarked for Barbarossa. They were replaced by second-line units with limited mobility and combat potential, firstline units making limited appearances in the Balkans un til August 1943 and the arrival of the formidable 2 Panzer Army. The Development of Army Units in North Africa and the Balkans From 5 October 1941 the Panzer group was upgraded to a Panzer army. Mountain corps
were formed after September 1940 and motorised corps were redesignated Panzer corps after June 1942. Reserve corps were formed after September 1942 for reserve divisions of units training in occupied countries. First-line infantry divisions generally retained their 1939 organisation until 1942, often adding a reinforcement battalion to allocate reinforcements. To raise morale all infantry regiments were redesignated Grenadier regiments on 15 October 1942 and the Rhodes garrison was designated an 'assault' division on 31 May 1943. The 22 Airlanding Division was an infantry
Part of an armoured engineers' section line up for the attack. They are wearing helmets (first issued in late 1941 to front-line troops) with hessian covers held in place by bread-bag straps, M1940 tropical field tunics, tropical breeches and 1st pattern M1940 tropical high-boots. Note the equipment of the machine gunner (right), the hessian bags for grenades and assault equipment, and the spare LMG ammunition boxes. (ECPA)
unit with airborne training, while the 'Africa' designation renected reduced organisation or 'non-standard' personnel - German ex-French foreign legionnaires or 'disciplinary' personnel convicted of petty offences but considered redeemable they were also used for manning fortress units for static guard duties in Greece. 'Special purpose' (z.b.V.) referred to a staff controlling heterogeneous units. On 13 April ]941 '700-series' infantry divisions that were only 8,000 strong were formed from second-line troops for occupation duties. There were two infantry regiments, which lacked heavy equipment, an artillery battalion, reconnaissance, engineer and signals companies and minimal logistical support. On 1 April 1943 these divisions, along with light infantry divisions (formed in December ]940 for combat in hilly terrain) and selected reserve divisions, were reorganised as rifle (Jager) divisions with younger personnel and M1939 infantry organisation, but with only two rifle regiments. From ] 942 territorial rifle units were gradually redesignated security units. The most important field unit controlled by Army Intelligence (Abwehr) was Brandenburg Commando Regiment 800 (Lehr-Regiment Brandenburg z.b. V.800). On 20 November 1942 it was redesignated Special Unit (Sonderverband) Brandenburg, with five regiments and a signals and a coastal commando battalion on 1 April 194
it was redesignated the Brandenbu-r:liDivision and on 15 September 1944 it became the Brandenburg Mechanised Division. Sonderverband 287 and 288 were mixed regiments of specialist troops originally organised for commando operations in the Persian Gulf, then reassigned for conventional warfare. Sonderverband 287, formed on 4 August 1942, fought in the Caucasus with two mechanised battalions, a signals battalion AT, armoured reconnaissance and engineer companies, assault artillery and rocket projector batteries and a supply unit. From 2 May 1943 it served in Yugoslavia as 92nd Motorised Regiment. Sonderverband 288, formed on 24July 1941 with a staff (HQ, armoured reconnaissance and Arab companies) and eight independent companies (sabotage, mountain, motorised rifle, MG, AT, AA, engineers and signals), fought in North Afi-ica it became Mechanised Regiment Africa on 31 October 1942. The 1941 Panzer division organisation differed from that of 1939 by having one Panzer regiment and two motorised rifle regiments. By August 1941 all mobile divisions had converted to Panzer divisions, and on 5 July 1942 motorised rifle regiments in Panzer and light Africa divisions were redesignated mechanised (Panzergrenadier) regiments. On 24 March 1943 the motorcycle reconnaissance battalions became armoured reconnaissance battalions with armoured cars, motorcycles and jeeps. Divisional Fusilier battalions were partly bicycle-equipped infantry introduced on 2 October ] 943, replacing dis-
banded divisional reconnaissance battalions, and 'AA' battalions continued cavalry traditions. In March 1940 anti-tank assault-gun batteries were formed, and on 10 August 1940 they were grouped into battalions, each with 31 self-propelled guns. Army anti-aircraft artillery battalions were introduced in February 1941, with three batteries of 8.8cm an ti-aircraft guns as an ti-tan k guns. Supply services were co-ordinated by the divisional supply (Nachschub) officer, in October 1942, redesignated the divisional supply commander, controlling the motor-transport and fuel-supply columns (from 25 November 1942 grouped into a motor-transport company), horse-drawn transport columns (from 15 November 1943 grouped into a com pany), workshop company and supply company (later battalion).
A Leutnant commanding an assault engineer platoon. Note the MP38/40 canvas ammunition pouches, the M1924 stickgrenades and the MP40 submachine gun slung over the shoulder. The officer has retained M1935 continental officers' field collar-patches and has covered his helmet with a rough hessian cover. (Friedrich Herrmann)
The increasing demands on manpower forced the recruitment of foreign nationals. 3rd Bn Sonderverband 287, the GermanArab instruction battalion (Deutsch-Arabische Lehrabteilung), was formed on 12January 1942 and fought in Tunisia. On 22 ovember 1942 the Vichy-French Phalange Africaine (African Phalanx) was formed in Tunisia, and in March 1943 its 220 personnel fought with 334th Infantry Regiment in Tunisia. On 9 January 1943 the 'German-Arab Troops Command' (KODAT) , also called the 'Free Arabian Legion', was established in Tunisia eventually it comprised one Moroccan, one Algerian and two Tunisian limited combat value battalions with German cadres. In Yugoslavia three 'Croatian Legion' infantry divisions were formed to fight Tito's Partisans: the 369th 'Devil's Division' on 21 August 1942 373rd Tiger Division' on 6 January 1943 and 392nd 'Blue Division' on 17 August 1943. On 12 September 1941 a force of White Russians, eventually five regiments strong and designated Russian Corps, fought in Serbia. German-Arab Infantry Battalion 845, formed on 5 June 1943 from 3rd Bn Sonderverband 287, served in Greece and Armenian Infantry Battalion 1/125 fought in Albania with 297th Infantry Division. In September 1943 perhaps the most exotic formation of the Second World War, the 1st Cossack Division, arrived in Croatia with 2nd Panzer Army. Formed in occupied Poland on 4 August 1943 from units who had fought with the Germans on the Eastern Front, it comprised a German cadre commanding two cavalry brigades with two Don, one Siberian, one Kuban and two Terek cavalry regiments, one artillery regiment and divisional support units. Attached to LXIX Corps in eastern Croatia on anti-partisan duties, the division achieved an unenviable reputation among the civilian population.
A Protestant divisional chaplain conducts a graveside funeral
THE STRATEGY IN NORTH AFRICA
service, with Rommel standing behind him. He wears the M1940 tropical field uniform and, as a Protestant, a plain chest-cross. He has no shoulder-boards on his M1940 tropical tunic but has retained continental collarpatches. The pith helmet, of limited value in combat, was more common behind the lines on formal occasions. (ECPA)
he Italian 10th Army advanced from Cyrenaica (north-east Libya) into Egypt, only to be forced back into Tripolitania (north-west Libya) by the First Offensive from the British imperial garrison. Hitler decided to send a small expeditionary force to bolster Italian forces by blocking the Allied advance and prevent an Italian collapse in Libya. Encouraged by initial successes, the German commander, Generalleutnant Erwin Rommel, dreamed of occupying Egypt and advancing into the Middle East, linking up with a victorious German thrust through Southern Russia into Iraq and Iran, and threatening British India. However, with the steady Allied build-up his forces (four divisions in Libya) made even the official obj ctive un realistic. Rommel was constrained by permanen t shortages of fuel, supplies and reinforcements much of it had to be brought by ea from Japles to Tripoli, across the western Mediterranean, which was patrolled by British forces. The Build-up in North Africa
The contingent which disembarked at Tripoli on 14 February 1941 became the 5. Leichte Division (5th Mobile Division) on 18 February. It had Panzerregiment 5 with 120 tanks (instead of 44 in the usual battalion), 3rd Reconnaissance Bn, 39th Anti-Tank Bn, 1/75 Artillery Bn (instead of a regiment) and motorised divisional support units 1/83 Medical Company, 4/572 Field-Hospital, 309th Military Police Troop and 735th Field Post Office, but no engineers or signals. To this were added 2nd and 8th Machine-Gun
battalions in an infantry role, 606th AA Company with 8.8cm anti-aircraft guns, and 606th Anti-Tank Battalion to form a division strong in tanks and anti-tank guns but weak in infantry. In August 1941 it became 21. Panzerdivision, with Panzerregiment 5, 104th Motorised Rifle (later Mechanised) Regt, 155th Artillery Regt, 15th Motorcycle Reconnaissance Regt and divisional support units (anti-tank bn, engineer bn, signals bn, supply bn, medical company, field hospital, MP troop and field post office). On 19 February 194] it constituted the first unit of the German Africa Corps - Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK) - under Rommel, officially subordinated to the Italian 'Armed Forces High Command North Mrica'. On 1 September 1941 the DAK - eventually comprising 15th, 21st Panzer, 90th Mrica and 164th Light Mrica Divisions, and one to three Italian corps - became Panzer Group Mrica on 30 January 1942 Armoured Army Africa on 1 October 1942 German-Italian Armoured Army and on 22 February 1943 1st Italian Army under the Italian General Giovanni Messe. On 14 November 1942 HQ Nehring (Stab Nehring), which on 19 November was redesignated LXXX Corps and on 8 December, 5th Armoured Army, was formed for operations in Tunisia with three German divisions. Combining with 1st Italian army it formed Army Group Mrica on 22 February 1943. Rommel's First Offensive
On 23 March 1941 Rommel launched his First Offensive with 5th Mobile Division and three Italian divisions, storming EI Agheila and advancing through Cyrenaica, before halting on 27 May at Halfaya ('Hellfire') Pass, just inside Egypt. On 30 April 15. Panzerdivision arrived with Panzerregiment 8, 15th Motorised Rifle Brigade (104th and 115th regiments), 33rd Field Reinforcement Bn, 33rd Artillery Regt, 33rd Motorised Reconnaissance Bn and divisional support units, plus 15th Motorcycle Reconnaissance Bn and 2nd Machine-Gun Bn, all motorised. By April 1942 15th Motorcycle Reece Bn and 104th Motorised Rifle Regt had left, and 115th Motorised Rifle Regt and 2nd MG Bn had formed 115th Mechanised Regt, joined by 200th Light Infantry (later Mechanised) Regt. In August 1941 the Mrica Special Purpose Division was assigned to Rommel. Formed on 26 June 1941 from 361st Reinforced Infantry Regiment with former foreign legionnaires and 155th Motorised Rifle Regt (both units redesignated Light Infantry in April 1942 and Mechanised in July 1942), the division was renamed the 90th Light Africa Division on 26 November, adding 580th Mixed Reece Company, 361st Artillery Bn, 900th Engineer Bn and 190th Signals Company. In April 1942 it was renamed 90th Light Infantry Division. On 26 July it was
June 1941. Genera/major Alfred Gause, just appointed liaison officer to the Italian High Command in North Africa, consults with two Italian officers. He correctly wears generalofficers' continental shoulde. boards and colla. patches on his M1940 tropical field tunic, but has unofficially pinned a gold metal breast-eagle to his white tunic. He wears a Knight's Cross. (Friedrich Herrmann)
renamed 90th Africa Division and expanded, adding 200th Mechanised Regt, 190th Artillery Regt, 190th Panzer Bn, 90th Armoured Reece Bn, 190th AT Bn plus motorised divisional support units. Rommel's Second Offensive
On 18 ovember 194] the British 8th Army commenced its Second British 'Crusader' Offensive into Cyrenaica, forcing Rommel back into Tripolitania. He halted at EI Agheila on 31 December. There, on 21 January 1942, Rommel launched his Second Offensive, penetrating 250 miles into Egypt before stopping at EI Alamein. In July 1942 the hard-pressed Rominel received reinforcements, when the Crete Fortress Division was flown in and reformed on 15 August as a mechanised unit-164th Light Africa Division with 125th (in 1943 Mechanised Regt Africa), 382nd and 433rd Mechanised regts, 220th Artillery Regt, 164th Armoured (1943, 220th Motorised) Reconnaissance Bn and motorised divisional support units. The Final Retreat Through Libya
An Oberleutnant of an anti-tank battalion - he has retained the 'P' branch symbol - in a M1940 tropical field tunic with unofficial continental M1935 collar-patches and breast-eagle and the
On 23 October 1942 a total of 230,000 Allied troops advanced from El Alamein, forcing back Rommel's 100,000 men (four German and 10 Italian divisions). The German-Italian Armoured Army retreated through Libya, eventually halting on the Mareth Line, 100 miles inside Tunisia, on 15 February 1943. On 19 February Rommel routed US Army forces at the Kassarine Pass before handing over to Generaloberst von Arnim and returning to Germany.
wears captured British anti-dustgoggles on his M1940 tropical peaked field cap with officers' aluminium pipings. He carries the powerful 10x50 binoculars with the protective lens-lid in place (ECPA)
On 8 November 1942 an Anglo-American expeditionary force landed in Morocco and Algeria. They had advanced to within 50 miles of Tunis when, in late ovember, the 10. Panzerdivision reached Tunis as part of LXXXX Corps (later 5th Armoured Army). This unit had Panzerregiment 7, 10th Mechanised Brigade (69th, 86th Mechanised regts), 10th Armoured Reece Bn, 90th Armoured Artillery Regt, 302nd AA Bn and motorised divisional support units. It was joined in late December 1942 by 334th Infantry Division (formed 25 November with 754th and 755th Grenadier regts, 756th Mountain Regt, 334th Artillery Regt and divisional support units). Then, in late March 1943, 999th Africa Division arrived. Originally formed as a brigade on 6 October 1942 and expanded to a division on 2 February 1943, this unique formation, with all its subunits carrying the 'black number' 999, was composed of disciplinary troops led by regular officers and NCOs. Organised as an infantry unit, the division comprised 961st-963rd Africa Rifle regts, 999th Artillery Regt, 999th Armoured Reconnaissance Bn and divisional support units. 5th Armoured Army also included the 21. Panzerdivision transferred
from the DAK, the scratch 'Manteuffef mixed division, two Luftwaffe antiaircraft divisions and other German and Italian units. It broke out of the Tunis bridgehead in November 1942, and by February 1943 had established a 40-mile deep defensive line around Tunis. However, on 20 March the British 8th Army broke through at the Mareth Line, and on 12 May Von Arnim surrendered in Tunis.
ARMY UNIFORM IN NORTH AFRICA Tropical Uniform Production
In July 1940 the Tropical Institute of the University of Hamburg designed a tropical uniform based on items used by German colonial troops until November 1918. By December 1940 the uniforms were in full production, with more than enough supplies to equip the 5th Mobile Division and 15. Panzerdivision, who were deployed to Libya from Fe bruary 1941. Most items of the M1940 tropical uniform were manufactured in ribbed heavy cotton twill or cotton drill. The prescribed colour was 'light-olive', a greenish sandy brown known as 'khaki' in Great Britain and 'olive-drab' in the United States and contrasting with the plain sandy brown or 'tan' of Navy M1941 and Luftwaffe M1941 tropical uniforms. Consistent production of this shade was not achieved until 1941, and in ]940 it could vary from dark-greenish brown through dark brown to sandy brown. The M1940 tropical greatcoat was manufactured in deep chocolate brown wool. Unlike the continental feldgrau (greenish-grey)
Perhaps nostalgic for his pith helmet, this Africa Corps soldier eating from his mess-tin has against regulations pinned the pith helmet's Wehrmacht eagle badge to his M1940 tropical field cap, which still shows the branch colour facing-cloth chevron ordered removed on 8 September 1942. Such customising was comparatively rare in North Africa. (ECPA)
A mixed police patrol through the bazaar of Derna, Cyrenaica: two German Feldgendarmerie NCOs (front and back left) patrol with a Libyan Zaptie (front right) and Italian carabiniere (back right). The Germans wear M1940 pithhelmets, tropical shirts and shorts and 1st pattern M1940 tropical ankle-boots and the MP duty gorget. (Brian Davis Collection)
clothing, almost all tropical uniform items were standard issue for officers and men. The M1940 tropical uniform proved very popular, and In 1943 its wear was extended to the southern European theatre. Army personnel were forbidden to wear feldgrau continental, or navy, Luftwaffe or Italian tropical uniform items, but shortages of supply, especially in North Africa, and individual preference, particularly among sen ior officers, subverted this regulation. Halfaya Pass, July 1941. Men of the 1st Bat1allon, 104th
Motorised Rifle Regiment, 15th
Panzer Division, parade to receive decorations. Note the M1940 tropical peaked field caps (several already bleached white), tropical shirts and shorts, and the grim-faced informality of the parade, suggesting men who had just fought a hard bat1le. (Friedrich Herrmann)
Regulations issued on 28 December 1939 which simplified the orders of dress during wartime also applied to orth Africa. The Formal Ceremonial, Informal Ceremonial, Parade, Reporting, Undress and Guard uniforms were abolished, leaving all ranks with four orders of dress: for formal and semi-formal occasions, the Service Uniform or Walking-Out Uniform for training or barracks duties, the Service Uniform for combat, the Field Uniform. The Fatigue Uniform for work details was not worn in North Africa. Officers' Tropical Service Uniform
This uniform consisted of the tropical pith helmet or peaked field cap, field tunic, shirt, tie, pullover, greatcoat, belt, pistol and holster, and breeches or shorts with high-boots, or long trousers with ankle-boots. The M1940 standard tropical pith helmet was manufactured in pressed cork covered in Iight-olive, later tan, canvas with a brown leather chin-strap. A black-white-red diagonally striped national shield was fixed on the right side and a silver-white Wehrmacht eagle on the left, in stamped brass (later in stamped aluminium, as ordered in 1934 for the steel helmet). The M1942 tropical pith helmet, in seamless pressed midolive felt, introduced in late 1942, did not see service in North Africa. Captured British helmets and French or Dutch helmets commandeered after the 1940 Blitzkrieg campaign, were also worn, and the pith helmet was less popular with the troops they preferred the tropical peaked field cap, but often retained the pith helmet for more formal occasions. The M1940 standard tropical peaked field cap, introduced in mid 1941, was made of light-olive ribbed heavy cotton twill and styled on the M1930 feldgrau mountain cap, but with a longer peak, a false flap and no buttons. Insignia comprised a machine-woven bluish-grey thread eagle
and swastika on a rust-brown shaped backing. Below this was a machinewoven black (outer)-white-red thread national cockade on a rust-brown diamond backing, enclosed by a branch colour facing-cloth chevron, point up (abolished on 8 September 1942). General-officers wore a gold artificial silk chevron. Officers wore a 3mm aluminium (gold for generalofficers) cord piping around the crown and on the front scallop of (or right around) the false flap. Some officers unofficially retained the M1935 continental eagle and cockade in bright aluminium or aluminium bullion on bluish dark-green facing-cloth. This cap became the most distinctive and prized uniform item worn by the DAK Prolonged exposure to the harsh tropical sun bleached it to an off-white colour, and it was worn with pride as the badge of the Mrica Corps 'old sweat'. The M1940 standard tropical field tunic in light-olive ribbed heavy cotton twill was based on the M1933 field tunic for NCOs and men, with plain cuffs, five (sometimes four) light-olive sprayed pebbled front buttons and four patch pockets with scalloped flaps and pleats, but adding an open collar and fashioned lapels. The M1942 tropical field tunic, seen after October 1942, omitted the pocket pleats, while the M1943 tunic, manufactured too late for the North Mrican campaign, had straight pocket flaps and no pleats. Some officers wore privately purchased tunics and a few sparred the stylish Italian tan sahanana tropical field tunic. A machine-woven bluish-grey thread eagle and swastika on a rustbrown shaped backing (a larger version of the one on the field cap) was worn above the right breast-pocket of the tunic, with the swastika often overlapping onto the pocket-flap, although many officers unofficially retained the M1935 continental matt aluminium braid breast-eagle with
December 1941. Exhausted troops of 5th Mobile or 21st Panzer Division, forced back to EI Aghella again, manage grim smiles for the camera. They wear bleached M1940 tropical peaked caps or helmets, M1940 tropical field tunics, breeches and 1st pattern M1940 tropical highboots. The uncomfortable ties have been discarded and sometimes replaced by more practical civilian scarves. (ECPA)
A Specialist 2nd Lieutenant - a Sonderliihrer Z - presumably acting as an Italian interpreter, has an animated conversation with an Italian lieutenant. He wears a bleached M1940 tropical peaked field cap, M1940 tropical field tunic with continental
Sonderliihrer shoulder-straps and collar-patches (introduced 21 March 1940) and wears the
'AFRIKAKORPS' cuff-title. (Friedrich Herrmann)
a bluish dark-green facing-cloth backing. Two machine-woven bluish-grey guards' braids, each a rust-brown braid centre-stripe and dividing-stripe, were sewn directly to the collar of the field tunic. Continental field quality shoulder-boards were worn. Many, if not most, of/icers unofficially adopted the more distinctive M 1935 continental bluish dark-green facing-cloth collar-patches with two matt aluminium guards' braids, each with a branch coloured silk embroidered centre-cord. On the tunic general-officers wore matt gold sprayed buttons and the traditional M 1927 continental collar-patches introduced on I August 1927. The latter comprised the matt yellow yarn two-leaf All Lm"isch design on a bright-red facingcolour patch. Unofficially most also wore a continental bright or matt gold thread breasteagle on a bluish dark-green facing-cloth backing. The M1940 standard tropical shirt was manufactured in light-olive cotton drill with four small composite fibre front buttons and two breastpockets with pleats and scalloped flaps, each secured by a light-olive painted pebbled button. Ex-French Army M1935 khaki tropical shirts, with their distinctive button-down collars and three front buttons, were also worn until the end of 1942. When the shirt was worn as the outer garment, continental field quality shoulder-boards were fixed to the shoulders using detachable light-olive painted pebbled buttons. The M1940 standard tropical tie, also in light-oIive cotton drill, was usually discarded on active service and was omitted if the officer wore collar decorations. The M 1940 standard olive-brown wool pullover, with a roll-neck or turtle-neck, was worn under the field tunic. The M1940 standard tropical greatcoat, essential for freezing desert nights, was manufactured in deep chocolate brown wool in the cut of the M1935 Jeldgrau field greatcoat, with two rows of six matt Jeldgrau buttons, a back half-belt secured by two buttons, turn-back cuffs and continental field quality shoulder-boards and a divided back seam. General-officers had matt gold pebbled buttons, leaving the top two buttons open to show bright-red facing-cloth lapel-linings. Other officers entitled to collar decorations also left these buttons open. Officers also wore the leather greatcoat. The M1940 officer' tropical belt was in heavy olive-green canvas with a circular aluminium buckle painted olive-green featuring an eagle and swastika in an oak-wreath, but most officers chose to retain their brown leather continental belt with an aluminium two-claw open buckle. A P08 Luger, P38 or Walther PPK pistol was usually carried in a brown leather holster. The M1940 standard tropical breeches were manufactured in lightolive ribbed heavy cotton twill with a concealed integral belt. General-officers retained their traditional 2mm piping down the outer seam, flanked on each side by a 4cm stripe, all in bright-red facing-cloth.
The breeches were worn with M1940 1st pattern standard tropical highboots in light-olive canvas, with brown leather toe, instep and inner ankle reinforcements, and black laces. These were superseded in mid1941 by the 2nd pattern, extending the leather instep and a slightly shorter 3rd pattern, introduced in late 1941, extended the leather toe and the instep. Some senior officers, including Rommel, favoured black leather continental high-boots. The M1940 standard light-olive ribbed heavy cotton twill tropical long trousers proved more practical than the breeches, and troops often added tapes to allow the trouser-bottoms to be pulled tight over the ankles. General-officers wore bright-red trouser-stripes The trousers were worn with M1940 1st pattern standard tropical ankle-boots, also in light-olive canvas, with brown leather toe and instep reinforcements and black laces. The 2nd pattern, introduced in late 1942, also extended the leather toe and instep reinforcements. M1940 standard tropical light-olive ribbed heavy cotton twill shorts could also be worn, either with tropical high-boots or with M1940 lightolive knee-socks and tropical ankle-boots. Other Ranks' Tropical Service Uniform
Other ranks (except senior NCOs) omitted the officers' pistol but otherwise wore much the same uniforms as officers there were slight differences, usually regarding tlle quality of the insignia. They wore issue uniforms and insignia, and unlike officers enjoyed less latitude in adopting unofficial insignia and retaining continental uniform items and insignia. Rank insignia will be considered separately. Other ranks wore the same tropical pith helmet, hirt and tie, breeches, trousers, shorts, knee-socks, high-boots and ankle-boots as officers, but they did not wear cord pipings on the MJ 940 tropical peaked field cap. COs wore 9mm wide copper-tan aluminium diamond-pattern collar-braid on the field tunic but none on the tropical greatcoat, which was the same cut as for officers. The other ranks' M1940
September 1942. Generalfeldmarschall Rommel's successor as commander of Panzer Army Africa, General der Panzertruppen Georg Stumme, inspects installations in Tobruk harbour. Stumme wears a privately purchased M 1940 tropical field tunic and breeches with general-officers' trouserstripes, and sun-goggles on his continental M 1935 service cap. His aides on the right wear M1940 tropical peaked field caps and M1940 tropical field tunics, but the officer far left has shortened his bleached field tunic. (Friedrich Herrmann)
23 October 1942, the day of the Allied offensive at EI Alamein. Major Briel (left), commanding
Panzergrenadierregiment 200 of 90th Africa Division, in a battered helmet and M1940 tropical field tunic with unofficial M1935 officers' continental collar-patches and a German Cross medal talks to fellow officers. His right hand is bandaged. Note the M1940 tropical anklets worn by the middle officer. (Friedrich Herrmann)
tropical belt was in heavy olive-green or light tan canvas with a square aluminium buckle painted olive-green featuring an eagle and swastika in a ring with the motto' GOIT MIT UNS (God is with us) and oak leaves. Officers' Tropical Walking-Out Uniform
This uniform consisted of the tropical pith helmet or peaked field cap, field tunic, shirt, tie, greatcoat, and breeches or shorts with high-boots, or long trousers with ankle-boots. It was identical to the Service Uniform, except that no belt, pistol or holster was worn. For more formal occasions some senior officers preferred a privately tailored uniform, a superior quality field tunic with turn-back cuffs and continental collar-patches and breast-eagles, grey suede gloves, and trousers with black continental leather lace-up shoes. Against regulations, the M1935 saddle-shaped feldgrau officers' peaked cap was sometimes worn, and some general-officers had a tropical peaked cap made, with superior quality light-olive cloth replacing the feldgrau tricot. Other Ranks' Tropical Walking-Out Uniform
Other ranks wore the same uniform as officers with other ranks' insignia, but with the M1940 other ranks' tropical belt and the continental ML936 marksman's lanyard, as modified in 1939. This consisted of a matt aluminium plaited cord with an aluminium Wehrmacht eagle above crossed swords on a shield, all in a small wreath, with one to three aluminium acorns (miniature artillery shells for gunners) designating Awards 2-4. Awards 5-8 had a larger wreath Awards 9-12 had the same badge in gilt. The lanyard was suspended from the right shoulder-strap and hooked to the first tunic button. Officers' Tropical Field Uniform
All officers wore the tropical pith helmet or peaked field cap (later the
Early 1943. A German Oberfeldwebel of Sonderverband 287 on the cadre of an Arab
KODAT battalion. He wears an M1935 helmet, M1940 tropical field tunic with copper-tan NCO collar and shoulde. strap braids, bright aluminium rank pips and the Orientkorps arm-badge that was also worn by Sonderverband 288. (Friedrich Herrmann)
steel helmet), field tunic, shirt, tie, pullover, greatcoat, belt, and breeches or shorts with high-boots, or long trousers with ankle-boots. Helmets were not general issue in North Africa until early 1943, although mechanised infantry, anti-tank troops and engineers had acquired them by late 1941. The M1935 helmet and the M1942 helmet (introduced on 1 August 1942) had a silverwhite Wehrmacht eagle on a black shield - usually stencilled - on the left side. Most soldiers painted their helmets roughly with pale yellow, mustard-beige or orangetan vehicle-camouflage paint, sometimes mixed with sand they often painted over the shield. The DAK vehicle sign, a white palm-tree and swastika, was sometimes painted unofficially on one side of the helmet. Sand-bag hessian provided practical helmet camouflage. Officers other than infantry platoon-leaders carried a pistol and holster and 6x30 black binoculars in a smooth brown leather or bakelite case. Infantry platoon-leaders were gradually issued equipment in a modified tropical version for North Africa, and often painted metal fittings with sand-yellow camouflage paint. They wore the other ranks' M1940 olive-green canvas belt and M1940 olive-green canvas tropical infantry support Y-straps with feldgrau or olive-green painted aluminium fittings supporting two sets of three M1938/40 feldgrau canvas ammunition pouches for the MP38 or MP40 sub-machine gun on the front hips. Also worn on the left front hip was the brown or black leather M1935 dispatch-case, the 84/98 bayonet in a black scabbard in a M1940 olive-green or tan canvas tropical bayonet-frog. The M1940 folding entrenching tool was worn on the left back hip, and the M1941 brown or tan canvas tropical bread-bag and two M1931 brown feltcovered canteens with M1940 olive-green or tan tropical canvas straps and aluminium cup were worn on the right back hip. Webbing supported the M1931 mess-tin, which had M1940 olive green tropical canvas straps and a M1931 camouflage shelter-quarter on the upper back. A feldgrau canvas strap positioned the anti-gas cape, with a tan-coloured canvas cover strapped to the M1930 or M1938 gas-mask on the lower back. Binoculars, compass, signal whistle and field flashlight were also worn. All members of armoured and motorised units were issued ZeissUmfJral sun goggles, and some personnel - notably Rommel - sported captured British models. Other Ranks' Tropical Field Uniform
Other ranks wore the same uniform as for officers, with other ranks' insignia. In a ten-man infantry section, the section leader, usually an Unteroffizier, wore platoon-leader's equipment. The deputy section-leader and the five riflemen carried standard riflemen's equipment. This con-
sisted of a tropical belt and tropical V-straps supporting two sets of three light-brown pebbled leather rifle-ammunition pouches (or, more commonly, continental black pebbled leather pouches, sometimes painted sand-yellow) on the front hips. On the left back hip was the bayonet, scabbard and tropical bayonet-frog and entrenching-tool on the right back hip the tropical canteen and bread-bag on the upper back the mess-tin and shelter-quarter on the lower back the gas-mask on the upper chest the anti-gas cape. Zeiss-Umbml sun-goggles were also widely worn. The First Gunner - the machine gunner of the three-man light machine gun team - wore the tropical belt, with a P08 Luger or a P-38 pistol in a black holster on his left front hip and a continental black leather spares pouch on his right front hip. The Second Gunner - the replacement machine gunner - wore standard rifleman's equipment, with a pistol and black leather continental holster on his left front hip instead of ammunition pouches, and four 50-round ammunition drums, a 300-round ammunition box, and a sheet-metal barrel protector with one or two spare barrels. The Third Gunner wore standard riflemen's equipment and carried two ammunition boxes. Tunisia, January 1943. An Arab soldier of 3rd Battalion, Sonderverband 287, also called the German-Arab Instruction Battalion (DAL), on guard duty. He wears a plain M1935 steel helmet, M1940 tropical field tunic with white branch colour shoulder-straps, and the Free Arabia arm-badge also worn In Greece in 1943 by 845th German-Arab Infantry Battalion. (Brian Davis Collection)
Tank crews' Tropical Uniforms
The M1934 black tank-erew uniform was impractical for orth Africa, so tank crews wore the standard M1940 tropical uniform. However, all members of the three Panzer regiments - 5th, 7th and 8th, including attached administrative officials (and Assault Gun Battery 287) - pinned aluminium skulls detached from black collar-patches to the lapels of their tropical field tunics. The M1940 standard tropical tank-crew field cap (effectively the M1940 tropical peaked field cap without the peak) was the same design as the M1934 2nd pattern feldgrau other ranks' field cap. Made of lightolive cotton twill it had the same insignia - eagle and swastika, cockade and, until 8 September 1942 a pink (for Panzer troops) branch colour facing-eloth chevron, with aluminium cord piping for officers. This cap substituted for the pith-helmet, which was unsuitable for the confines of an armoured vehicle, but it was superseded by the tropical peaked field cap. Some armoured personnel retained the black continental tank crews' M1940 officers' or other ranks' field cap, against regulations. Special Uniforms and Insignia for Other Branches
Cadre officers, NCOs and men of the 999th Africa Division wore standard tropical uniforms and full insignia, but the disciplinary troops omitted all insignia and wore the M1940 other ranks' tropical belt with a plain pebbled disc on the belt buckle.
Brandenburg units, reporting to Army Intelligence (Abwehr) , continued to wear German or foreign uniforms or civilian clothes, depending on their mission. Sonderverband 287 and 288 wore standard tropical uniforms with the appropriate branch colour pipings. Early in 1942 an unofficial bronze version of the Orientkorps (Oriental Corps) vehicle-sign was pinned to the left breast-pocket, replaced in late 1942 by a cloth badge worn on the right upper sleeve - a machine-woven yellow rising sun behind a white palm tree, swastika and laurel wreath on a dark bluish-green oval, with a machine-embroidered version on dark bluish-green facing-eloth for the tropical greatcoat. The two mountain units in North Africa - 756th Mountain Regiment and 2nd Company, Sonderverband 288 - both in Tunisia in 1943, wore standard tropical field uniform, often with tropical breeches, continental brown or black leather studded climbing ankle-boots and puttees. Troops carried the standard continental M1931 tropical greenish-khaki canvas mountain rucksack and wore the M1939 mountain cap-badge - a white (later grey) aluminium Edelweiss with a stem, two leaves and gilt (later yellow) stamens on the left side of the tropical peaked field cap, and the M1939 mountain arm-badge - a machinewoven white Edelweiss with yellow stamens and a light-green stem and leaves within a mouse-grey rope wreath on a dark-green (later feldgrau) facing-cloth oval, on the right upper sleeve. The M1940 tropical motorcyclists' greatcoat wa a copy of the M1934 continental rubberised coat manufactured in dark olive tan ribbed heavy cotton twill. It was also worn by vehicle drivers and some officers, who preferred it to the heavier woollen overcoat. Some personnel of the 33rd Divisional Reconnaissance Battalion, probably only former officers and COs of 6th Cavalry Regiment, wore the matt aluminium 'Schwedt Eagle' (also called the 'Dragoon Eagle') 'tradition badge' on the front of the M1940 field cap and peaked field cap. Assault engineers were issued the M1940 tropical A-frame made of olive-green or tan canvas straps to carry the engineers' assault pack, with the mess tin and shelter-quarter strapped to the upper back, a light-olive canvas equipment bag strapped to each front hip or two light-olive canvas equipment bags hanging around the neck they carried the bayonet, scabbard and bayonetfrog and entrenching-tool on the left back hip, and one or two water-bottles, the bread-bag and wire-cutters in a black leather case. Military police wore the normal tropical uniform with continental insignia. This comprised the police arm-badge, a machine-woven or embroidered orange eagle and black swastika in an orange wreath (in hand-embroidered alu-
Tunisia, January 1943. New recruits to an Arab KODAT Battalion on parade, wearing M1935 French Army tunics and leather field equipment, with German helmets and armbands. The German cadre NCO wears regulation M1940 tropical field uniform. (Friedrich Herrmann)
minium thread for officers) on a feldgrau backing, often omitted in the field. They had a machine-woven aluminium Feldgendarmerie on a brown sleeve-title edged in aluminium yarn (later machine-embroidered in silver-grey yarn) on the left cuff, and, on duty, the matt aluminium gorget. In shirt-sleeve order, only the gorget was worn. The uniforms and insignia of army officials, including chaplains and Sonderfuhrer, will be covered in Volume 3.
UNIFORMS AND INSIGNIA OF FOREIGN VOLUNTEERS
The German cadre and the Arab personnel of Sonderoerband 287 (including the German-Arab Instruction Battalion) and 845th Infantry Battalion in Greece wore the normal tropical uniform (with infantry white branch colour pipings) with, on the right upper sleeve, a shield featuring a white, red, black and green Iraqi flag with 'Free Arabia' printed in Arabic and German. Arab personnel on labour duties wore a white turban. Arabs of the KODAT battalions wore the French continental M1935 khaki field uniform and brown leather equipment with a German helmet and, on the right upper sleeve, a white armband with' 1m Dienst der deutschen Wehrmacht' (attached to the German Armed Forces) introduced on 1 October 1941. The Phalange Africaine added a French tricolour helmet badge and an axe badge on the right breast-pocket. German tropical uniforms were issued for combat.
Tunisia, April 1943. Mechanised infantrymen from 15th Panzer Division, probably from the 115th Mechanised Regiment, taken prisoner at the Battle of Gabes Gap. Their expressions at the prospect of captivity vary from relief (third left), through trepidation (right) to dejection (second left). The troops wear M1940 pleated pocket or M1942 pleatless pocket tropical field tunics and M1940 tropical canvas belts and V-straps. (Brian Davis Collection)
RIGHT Tunisia, April 1943. An officer taken prisoner by British 1st Army at Medjez-el-Bab marches into captivity. He wears the M1940 tropical peaked field cap with the branch colour chevron removed (according to the Order of 8 September 1942). He wears M1935 continental field collar-patches, and the Iron Cross 1st Class and the silver General Assault Badge. (Brian Davis Collection)
For a detailed description of ranks, responsibilities and rank insignia (see MAA 311 German Army 1939-1945 (1) Blitzkrieg). General-officers, field officers, captains and subaltern wore the same field quality rank insignia as on their continental Jeldgrau uniforms on the tropical field tunic, shirt (when in shirtsleeve order), greatcoat and motorcyclists' greatcoat. All COs and men wore light-olive heavy cotton twill (olive-brown wool on the greatcoat) rounded shoulder-straps, with branch colour piping. NCOs added 9mm copper-tan aluminium diamond-pattern collar-braid with, where appropriate, continental 1.8cm, 2cm or 2.4cm wide bright aluminium pips. A HauptJeldwebel/ Hauptfeldwebeldiensttuer wore two tropical NCO braids on the cuff of the field tunic and greatcoat. Men's rank insignia consisted of arm chevrons made of tropical NCO braid combined, where appropriate, with an embroidered silver-grey or aluminium thread pip, on a light-olive ribbed heavy cotton twill triangle or disc. On 22 August 1942 new rank insignia was prescribed for the left upper sleeve of the M1940 tropical shirt of officers and COs. It consisted of green and golden-yellow insignia on a black rectangle, but its relative unpopularity and supply problems suggest only limited use in orth Africa. It will be described in detail in Volume 4. Branch Insignia
The German soldier's main branch of service was indicated by a branch colour. Since, with the exception of general-officers, the collar-patches on the tropical uniform did not show the branch colour, branch affiliation was ofIicially restricted to the ofIicers' shoulder-board underlay, other ranks' shoulder-strap piping and, before 8 September 1942, the branch colour facing-cloth chevron on the M1940 peakless and peaked field caps. M1940 tropical shoulder-straps for junior COs and men were manufactured without branch symbols or unit numerals. OfIicers and senior COs removed unit numerals from their shoulder-boards and shoulder-straps but often retained their gold-coloured galvanised, lacquered grey aluminium or zinc alloy branch symbols, such as the gothic 'P' for anti-tank units. Symbols and numerals could be worn when in rear areas or on rare leave-trips to Gel·many.
Units in North Africa contained a high percentage of mobile units, so the white branch colour, principally worn by the infantry and therefore the most common colour in Europe, was comparatively rarely encountered. Motorised rifle regiments, who wore a gothic 's' ymbol, unit numeral and the Panzer pink branch colour, were ordered, with effect from 25 September 1939, to drop the'S' and adopt a grass-green (wiesengriin) branch colour. This was retained on 5 July 1942, when motorised rifle and light infantry were redesignated as mechan ised regimen ts. Individual divisional reconnaissance (DivisionsJusilier) battalions derived from former cavalry regiments wore cavalry golden-yellow instead of white. Africa Corps Cuff-Titles
Tunisia, May 1943. These prisoners of war wear mountain puttees and ankle-boots instead of the unpopular tropical high boots. Note the continental M1935 bluish dark-green facingcloth shoulder-straps worn by the man first left, and the expressions of grim resignation. (Brian Davis Collection)
On 18 July 1941 a cuff-title was pre cribed for all army personnel with two months service in the DAK, extended on 4 ovember to all Panzer Group Africa personnel. Its wear was confined to orth Africa and was rarely worn in the front line it was permitted on continental uniforms when on leave in Germany. The cuff-tille, worn on the right cuff of the tropical field tunic and greatcoat, had a machine-woven white or bright aluminium 'AFRIKAKORPS' on a dark-green doth background with a machinewoven white or bright aluminium inner border and a light-tan dOtll outer border. In spring 1941 a few troops had briefly worn an unofficial version, with a white embroidered 'AFRlKAKORPS' on a black woollen cuff-title, with a white embroidered edging for officers. The official cuff-title was replaced on 15 January 1943 by the 'AFRIKA' cuff-title, a brown ochre fine wool title with a silver-grey cotton thread 'AFRIKA' flanked by two palm trees and edging worn on the left cuff of all tunics and greatcoats. It was awarded to personnel wounded in North Africa or with six months combat duty there (four with honourable service in April and May 1943 in Tunisia, or three if incapacitated by tropical disease). On ly a few troops received the ti tie before the German surrender in Tunis.
THE STRATEGY IN THE BALKANS
On 28 October 1940 Mussolini invaded Greece from Albania. However, damaging Greek counter-attacks, the British occupation on 31 October of strategically vital Crete (which threatened Rumanian oil-fields that were vital for the German war-machine), the arrival of a 53,000-strong Allied 'W' Force in Greece on 7 March 1941 and a pro-Allied military coup in Yugoslavia on 27 March forced Hitler to activate Operation Manta to prevent Greece and Yugoslavia aiding the Allies.
The Invasion of Yugoslavia
German forces comprised 2nd Army (Ceneraloberst von Weichs), with four corps - L1, L1I, XXXXVI Panzel XXXXIX Mountain - and most of 12th Army (Ceneralfeldmarschall List), wi th five corps - XVIII Moun tain, XXXX Panzer with XI, XIV Panzer and XXXXI Motorised Corps in 1st Panzer Group (Ceneraloberst von Kleist). These forces totalled 24 divisions: eight infantry, seven Panzer, four mountain, two motorised, one light infantry and two 55 motorised, assisted by Italian and Hungarian units. The invasion commenced on 6 April. The 2nd Army reached Zagreb on 10 April, Belgrade on 12 April, Sarajevo on 16 April and Dubrovnik on 17 April. 1st Panzer Group's XI and XIV Panzer Corps captured Nis on 8 April and Belgrade on 12 April, meeting XXXXI Motorised Corps advancing from Rumania. XXXX Panzer Corps and elements of XVllI Corps occupied Yugoslav Macedonia, taking Strumica on 6 April, Skopje on 7 April and Monastir on 9 April before pivoting southwards towards Greece. The 30 Yugoslav divisions were easily defeated by German Blitzkrieg tactics. In the north some Slovene and Croatian units refused to fight, but Serbian divisions in the south counterattacked briefly into Ttalianheld AJbania. On 17 April the Yugoslav High Command surrendered, but many troops joined Nationalist Chetnik and later Communist Partisan guerrilla forces. The Invasion of Greece
The Greek Army comprised 21 divisions in 1st (Epinl ) Army, 2nd (Eastern Macedonian) Army and with the troops of 'w' Force. On 6 April the German 12th Army's XXX Corps advanced into
Yugoslavia April 1941. Troops manhandle a 37mm anti-tank gun along a country road. They wear M1935 and M1940 field tunics and full field equipment. Note the MP38 submachine gun and the MP38/40 canvas ammunition pouches carried by the Unteroffizier section-leader on the left. (Private Collection)
western Thrace against Greek 2nd Army, taking Xanthi on 9 April. By 4 May they had occupied the Aegean islands. On 9 April XVIII Mountain Corps stormed the Metaxa Line in Greek Macedonia and advanced through eastern Greece, reaching Larisa on 19 April. XXXX Panzer Corps pushed through western Greece, taking Kozani on 14 April and Ioannina on 20 April, forcing the outflanked Greek 1st Army to surrender on 23 April, then pursuing 'w' Force, taking Lamia on 20 April, Thermopylae on 24 April and Athens on 27 April. On 30 April the Peloponnese were secured and 'w' Force had evacuated to Crete. The German invasion of Crete - Operation Merkur (Mercury) - commenced on 20 May 1941, when the Lujtwaffe7th Air Division parachuted onto Crete, and from 22 May 5th Mountain Division and 6th Mountain Division's 141st Mountain Regt were flown in by glider. The 41,500 Allied defenders fought tenaciously, but on 1 June the Germans secured the island. Yugoslavia April 1941. A Gefreifer dispatch-rider poses on his motorcycle. He wears the M1935 field tunic with feldgrau M1940 shoulder-straps and M1936 rank-chevrons, and carries a leather dispatch-case. (Private Collection)
The Occupation of Yugoslavia
In mid:June 1941, after eight weeks' pacification duties, German 2nd and 12th army divisions transferred to the Eastern Front. Hitler divided YUgoslavia among his Italian, Hungarian and Bulgarian allies, establishing a Serbian government under Commander Serbia in Belgrade, and supporting a Croatian state that covered Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
German occupation troops were limited to LXV Corps in Belgrade, redesignated Serbia Command on 1 May 1942, South-East Military Command on 13 August 1943 and finally Army Section Serbia on 26 September 1944, before abolition on 27 October 1944. In October 1942 Croatia Command (on 8 July 1943 redesignated LXIX Reserve Corps and on 20 January 1944 LXIX Corps) co-ordinated German security duties in Croatia and Bosnia, while Syrmia Command, formed January 1944, controlled east Croatia. During the 39Jf-month occupation, from mid:June 1941 to 4 October 1944, when the Balkan theatre merged with the Eastern Front, German forces and their Italian, Bulgarian, Croatian and Serbian allies undertook 13 major operations. These were initially against Chetnik and Partisan guerrillas but following the Italian Armistice of 8 September 1943, they were also against Italian and, after the Bulgarian defection of 10 September 1944, Bulgarian forces. As guerrilla activity intensified, the average number of German divisions increased from four in 1941 to five in 1942, 9
in 1943 (when four corps of 2nd Panzer Army - XV, XXI Mountain, LXIX Reserve and 1Il SS Panzer- arrived on 8 September 1943 to disarm the Italian Army and oppose an anticipated Allied landing) and 12 in 1944. By 4 October 1944, 24 German divisions had served in Yugoslavia: 13 infantry, one light infantry and two reserve (six reorganised as rifle divisions) three Croatian legion infantry one mountain one Cossack two SS mountain and one SS mechanised.
Yugoslavia, April 1941. Both soldiers wear M1935 field tunics. The Gefreiter (left), probably a section-leader (Gruppenfiihrer), wears a silver wound-badge (3-4 wounds) and MP38/40 canvas ammunition pouches and carries an MP28111 Schmeisser submachine gun. The Oberschiitze has M1940 feldgrau shoulder-straps and carries a set of rifle ammunition pouches and an LMG spares pouch. Both have M1924 stick-grenades in their belts. (Private Collection)
In mid:June 1941 German 12th Army divisions in Greece transferred to the Eastern Front, leaving most of Greece to Italian control, the Bulgarians in western Thrace and German forces in Athens, eastern Macedonia (with Salonika), the GrecoTurkish border region, western Crete and some islands. 12th Army HQ in Athens (from October 1941 Salonika), also called Commander-in-Chief South-East, under Generalfeldmarschall List, controlled XVIII Mountain Corps, with 164th Infantry Division and 125th Independent Infantry Regt in Salonika, 5th Mountain Division on Crete, 6th Mountain Division in Athens and 65th Corps in Serbia and Croatia. With minimal Greek guerrilla activity in 1941, the Germans concentrated their forces on Crete, withdrawing 5th and 6th Mountain divisions and reorganising 164th and 713rd Infantry divisions as Crete Fortress Division. In August 1942, 22nd Airlanding Division arrived on Crete, allowing Crete Fortress Division to transfer to North Mrica. In 1943 the threats posed by Greek Nationalist EDES and Communist ELAS guerrilla forces, along with the Italian armistice and a possible Allied landing, forced a reorganisation. On 1 January 1943 the 12th Army became Army
Group E, under Luftwaffe Generaloberst Lohr (from August 1943 restricted to Greece), reporting to Army Group F in Belgrade, under GeneralfeldmaTSchall von Weichs. Athens was garrisoned from January 1943 by 11 th Luftwaffe Field Division Rhodes from May by Rhodes Assault Division eastern Greece and the Peloponnese from June by LXVIII Corps (117 Rifle, 1 Panzer divs) and western Greece from September by XXII Mountain Corps (104th Infantry, 1st Mountain divs). From January 1944, 41st Fortress Division, with 22 '999' fortress battalions of disciplinary troops, guarded the Peloponnese, and the Crete garrison was reorganised as 133rd Fortress Division. In August 1944 LXXXXI Corps was formed in Salonika, with fortress brigades to supervise Army Group E's retreat into Yugoslavia. This was completed by 2 November 1944, leaving the island garrisons to surrender in May 1945. Elements of the Rhodes Assault Division joined the new Brandenburg Mechanised Division in Belgrade on 17 October 1944. An officer wearing the M1934 old-style field cap, M 1935 officers' field tunic showing the officers' collar-patches and a M1940 other ranks' greatcoat with feldgrau collar, worn open to display the Knight's Cross. Note the standard 6x30 binoculars. (Friedrich Herrmann)
The Occupation of Albania
On 9 September 1943 the 2nd Panzer Army's XXI Mountain Corps occupied Albania with IOOth Rifle and 297th Infantry divisions, disarming the Italian garrison and attacking Albanian Communist UNCS guerrillas. 100th Rifle Division left in March 1944, and was replaced in June by the Albanian 21st SS Mountain Division. On 29 November XXI Corps evacuated to Yugoslavia.
ARMY UNIFORM IN THE BALKANS The April 1941-0ctober 1944 Balkan Campaign overlaps with the campaign on the Eastern Front, to be covered in Volumes 3 and 4. Therefore, only specific Balkans developments will be considered here. Some of the uniform is covered in more detail inVolume 1. Many troops wore combinations of new and old uniforms and insignia. This was the result of a bewildering succession of regulations and official orders to replace insignia only when worn out combined with supply difficulties - especially to isolated field units - and the soldier's individualism, sentimentality and inclination to retain better quality, more attractive items which suggested long battle experience. Furthermore, uniforms and insignia suffered a progressive deterioration in quality during the war years, and the OKH prescribed ingenious modifications to counteract this inevitable trend and to adapt to conditions unforeseen before 1939. Orders of Dress
Following the regulations of 28 December 1939, Army personnel wore the Service Uniform,
ARRIVAL IN AFRICA, FEBRUARY-APRIL 1941 1: Generalmajor, 5. leichte Division, Tripoli, Tripolitania, March 1941 2: Hauptmann, Panzerregiment 8, Agedabia, Cyrenaica, April 1941 3: Obergefreiter, Kradschiitzenbataillon 15, Tobruk, Cyrenaica, April 1941
CYRENAICA AND WESTERN EGYPT, MAY-NOVEMBER 1941 1: Oberschutze, Maschinengewehrbataillon 2, Tobruk, Cyrenaica, May 1941 2: Schutze, Panzerjagerabteilung 33, Halfaya Pass, Egypt, May 1941 3: Unteroffizier, Pionierbataillon (mot.) 900, Fort Capuzzo, Cyrenaica, November 1941
EGYPTIAN FRONTIER BATTLES, NOVEMBER 1941-0CTOBER 1942 1: Leutnant, Aufklarungsabteilung (mot.) 33, Gambut, Cyrenaica, November 1941 2: Hauptfeldwebel, Panzerregiment 5, Tobruk, Cyrenaica, May 1942 3: Gefreiter, leichtes Infanterierregiment 361, Bir Hacheim, Cyrenaica, May 1942
BATILE OF ELALAMEIN. OCTOBER 1942 1: Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, Deufsch-italienische Panzerarmee, EI Alamein 2: Unteroffizier, Panzergrenadie"egiment 115, Kidney Ridge, Tel el Aqqaqir 3: Oberkanonier. Artillerieregiment 155, Kidney Ridge, Tel el Aqqaqir
TUNISIAN CAMPAIGN, JANUARY-MAY 1943 1: Waffenoberfeldwebel, Panzergrenadierregiment 200, Kasserine Pass, February 1943 2: Feldwebel, Gebirgsjagerregiment 756, Longstop Hill, February 1943 3: Schutze, Afrika-Schiitzenregiment 961, Fondouk, March 1943
INVASION OF YUGOSLAVIA AND GREECE, APRIL-MAY 1941 1: Feldwebel, Panzerregiment 33, Nis, Yugoslavia, April 1941 2: Obergefreiter, Infanterierregiment 330, Zagreb, Yugoslavia, April 1941 3: Gefreiter, Gebirgsjiigerregiment 100, Maleme Airfield, Crete, 21 May 1941
OCCUPATION OF YUGOSLAVIA, APRIL 1941-0CTOBER 1944 1: Schiitze, Landesschiitzenbataillon 562, Belgrade, Serbia, January 1942 2: Oberstleutnant, Grenadierregiment 370 (kroatischesJ, Gorazde, Eastern Bosnia, May 1943 3: Starshiy Prikasni, Don-Kosak Reiterregiment 1, Petrinja, Croatia, May 1944
OCCUPATION OF GREECE AND ALBANIA, APRIL 1941-NOVEMBER 1944 1: Unterarzt, Sanitatskompanie 11104, Agrinion, Greece, October 1943 2: Gefreiter, Grenadierregiment 65, Kos, Greece, October 1943 3: Obergefreiter, Grenadierregiment 522, Tirana, Albania, March 1944
Yugoslavia, April 1941. An LMG section-team fire their MG34 from a tripod. Note the camouflaged helmet covers. (Brian Davis Collection)
The first gunner of a Section LMG team is carrying his MG34 light machine gun in the approved fashion. He wears the M1935 field tunic with M1938 standard collar-patches and M1940 shoulder-straps. He has draped camouflage netting over his helmet. Note the absence of field equipment or Y-straps. (Brian Davis Collection)
Walking-Out Uniform, Field Uniform or Fatigue Uniform. The Fatigue Uniform will be considered in Volume 3. The difficulties of fighting in the hot climate of southern Europe prompted the OKH in 1943 to prescribe the M1940 Tropical Uniform which had proved so successful in North Africa for wear in Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Rumania during the summer months (which were vaguely described as 'the hot season'). This meant that effectively each order of dress had a winter and a summer version, but many personnel wore a combination of continental and tropical uniforms. Officers' Service Uniform
A member of the Feldgendarmerie on traffic duty brandishing a control baton. He wears the M1934 rubberised field greatcoat for motorcycle crews, the M1935 steel helmet with feldgrau woollen toque pulled over his ears, the other ranks' M1935J belt, a P38 hardshell holster and the MP duty gorget. (Brian Davis Collection)
This uniform, which underwent comparatively few changes during the war years, consisted of a service cap, field tunic, field greatcoat, breeches and high-boots, gloves, and a belt with pistol and holster. In summer officers' tropical service dress could be worn. The M1935 officers' peaked service cap was manufactured in Jeldgrau (greenish-grey) tricot or 'Eskimo' material, with a cap-band in bluish darkgreen 'facing-cloth' that was finely woven to give an appearance of a thin felt. There were branch colour facing-cloth pipings, a plain black peak and matt aluminium wire chin-cords. A M1935 bright aluminium eagle and swastika was worn above a stamped bright aluminium national cockade in an oak-leaf wreath. General-officers had gold-coloured metallic woven cord cap-pipings and gold or yellow artificial 'celleon' wire woven chin-cords, and from 16 November 1942 they had cap-badges in gilded aluminium. However, many generals, against regulations, preferred hand-embroidered bright gold bullion badges on a bluish dark-green facing-cloth backing. The M1933 officers' field tunic, finally modified in 1935, was manufactured from superior quality feldgrau cloth with five matt-grey painted pebbled buttons, four patch pockets, turn-back cuffs and a bluish darkgreen facing-cloth collar. All insignia was field quality and consisted of: a M1935 officers' breast-eagle in matt aluminium thread on a bluish darkgreen facing-cloth backing M1935 officers' bluish dark-green facing-cloth collar-patches with hand-embroidered, hand-woven or machine-embroidered matt aluminium guards braids, each with a branch colour silk-embroidered centre cord and rank insignia on shoulder-boards. General-officers had a dress-quality bright or matt gold thread or golden-yellow 'celleon' hand-embroidered breast-eagle and bright-red facing-cloth collar-patches with the gold two-leaf All-Larisch design. On 19 July 1940 Hitler revived the Generalfeldmarschall rank with an unprecedented promotion of 9 Generals, and from 3 April 1941 a Generaifeldmarschallwas ordered to wear collar-patches with a bright-gold wire embroidered three-leaf All Larisch pattern.
Oberleldwebel Wriedt, RKT (Ritterkreuztrager - holder of the Knight's Cross), talks to admiring Hitler Youths. He wears the M1930 mountain field cap with M1939 Edelweiss cap-badge on a light-green branch colour facing-cloth backing favoured by Austrian mountain troops. He wears a M1935 field tunic with M1935 collar-patches with Iightgreen centre stripes, and M1935 pointed shoulder-straps. He displays the Knight's Cross, Iron Cross 1st Class and Infantry Assault badge. (Brian Davis Collection)
Some officers, especially general-officers, retained the six-buttoned M1928 or even the eight-buttoned M1920 service tunic, removing the front piping, or the M1937 officers' piped field tunic with field quality insignia. To counteract the deteriorating quality of the officers' field tunic, the number of front buttons were increased from five to six on 26 May 1941. The M1935 feldgrau officers' field greatcoat had a bluish dark-green facing-cloth collar. General-officers left the top two buttons open to show bright-red facing-cloth lapel-linings. From 9 May 1940 the bluish-dark-green collar was to be manufactured in feldgrau uniform cloth, but this order was usually ignored. The plain stone-grey officers' breeches, with general-officers adding bright-red (staff-officers crimson) facing-cloth pipings and broad stripes, were manufactured in feldgrau from 9 May 1940. The black high-boots, usually made of softer leather than riding boots, were retained, as were the grey suede gloves. The brown leather M1934 officers' belt had a matt aluminium buckle, or matt gilt for general. On 20 September 1939 the cross-belt was abolished for all officers below general-officer rank in the field army and from 29 November 1939 for all army officers. Many officers unofficially wore captured enemy officers' brown leather belts. Officers wearing the Tropical Service Uniform as summer service dress sometimes wore the M1935 service cap and added bluish darkgreen collars and M1935 collar-patches and breast-eagles to the M1940 tropical field tunic. Other Ranks' Service Uniform
The Service Uniform for technical and senior COs and many junior NCOs consisted of the service cap or field cap, field tunic, field greatcoat, trousers and marching-boots, a black belt with pistol and holster, and grey suede gloves. Other junior NCOs and men wore the field cap only, and a bayonet and scabbard instead of the pistol and holster. The other ranks' M1935 service peaked cap, in feldgrau tricot, had a black patent leather or vulcanised fibre chin-strap. The M1935 other ranks' field cap was manufactured in feldgrau cloth with, from 5 February 1939, a silver-grey machine-embroidered eagle and swastika on a bluish dark-green backing and a national cockade on a bluish dark-green rhomboid. Both these were changed on 4 June] 940 to mouse-grey on feldgrau backing. The cockade was enclosed by a 4mm woollen branch colour chevron point-up, which was abolished on 7 July 1942. The' M1942 other ranks' field cap will be described in Volume 3. The M1935 other ranks' field tunic, manufactured in feldgrau cloth with a bluish dark-green facing-cloth collar and matt-grey painted pebbled buttons, had plain cuffs and other ranks' field quality insignia.
The M1937 silver-grey embroidered breast-eagle had a bluish dark-green backing on 5 February 1939 the embroidery changed to silver-grey. The bluish dark-green facing-cloth M1938 'standard braid' collar-patches, introduced on 26 November 1938, had two Jeldgrau braid guards braids, each with bluish dark-green braid centre stripes and dividing-stripe. COs wore 9mm wide bright aluminium diamond-pattern yarn braid, introduced on 10 September 1935, or silver-grey artificial silk braid, on the front and lower edge of the field tunic collar. The M1935 rounded bluish dark-green facing-cloth shoulder-straps with branch colour facingcloth piping around the outer edges, worn on the field greatcoat, were adopted for the field tunic on 26 November 1938, replacing the M1935 pointed bluish dark-green facing-cloth shoulder-straps without branch colour piping. On 25 April 1940 NCO collar and shoulder-strap braid was changed to mouse-grey artificial silk or cellulose-fibre wool. On 9 May 1940 the bluish-dark green facing-cloth collars and shoulder-straps of the M1935 field tunic were replaced by Jeldgrau uniform cloth to form the M1940 field tunic. Also on 9 May 1940, a second pattern 'standard braid' collarpatch was introduced, this was made up of two Jeldgrau braid guards braids, with mouse-grey braid centre-stripes and dividing-stripe, sewn on to aJeldgrau uniform cloth patch or, as from 1941, sewn directly on to the collar. From 4June 1940 the breast-eagle was manufactured in mouse-grey machine-embroidery on a feldgrau uniform cloth backing. These changes, implemented late in 1940, were evident in the Balkans from April 1941. On 26 May 1941 the number offront buttons increased to six to compensate for deteriorating quality. The M1942 and M1943 field tunics will be described in Volume 3.
1942. Four officers of a divisional staff demonstrate the variations possible with the officers' field tunic. The officer 1st right wears the eight-button modified M1920, the officer 2nd right the five-button M1935, the two on the left the six-button M1941. Note the variations in collarshape, and the spurs worn by the second right officer. (ECPA)
After 9 May 1940 the bluish dark-green collar of the M1935 other ranks' field greatcoat was manufactured in Jeldgrau uniform cloth, and the plain trousers, designed to be worn with braces, were changed from stone-grey to Jeldgrau cloth. On 26 August 1943 M1943 trousers were introduced with belt-loops, and on 9 ovember 1939 the black leather marching-boots were shortened to 32-34cm to save material. The other ranks' M1936 black leather belt had a dull aluminium (smooth sheet steel from about 1941) pebbled buckle with the Wehrmachl eagle in a wreath with the 'GOTT MIT UNS motto. The holster was black leather. The 84/98 service bayonet was carried in a blued steel sheath suspended from the belt by a black leather bayonet-frog. Officers' Walking-Out Uniform
This uniform consisted of the peaked service cap, field tunic, field greatcoat, breeches and highboots, or long trousers with ankle-boots, and gloves. It was identical to the Service Uniform except that it was worn without a belt, pistol or holster. Many officers wore the M1937 piped field tunic. The trousers were changed from stone-grey to Jeldgrau cloth after 9 May 1940, and then on 26 August 1943 the M1943 trousers were introduced. The ankle-boots were actually black lace-up shoes. Other Ranks' Walking-Out Uniform
Other ranks wore the peaked service cap, field LUnic, field greatcoat, long trousers with ankleboots, black leather belt and the marksman's lanyard. NCOs wore grey suede gloves junior NCOs and men wore the bayonet, scabbard and bayonet knot. In summer the other ranks' Tropical Walking-Out Uniform was worn. Officers' Field Uniform
In the field all army officers except platoon-leaders wore the standard steel helmet or officers' field cap, field tunic (with the field greatcoat if ordered), brown belt, breeches and riding-boots, grey suede gloves, pistol, holster and 6x30 binoculars. The M1935 and the M1942 standard steel helmets were painted matt greenish-grey with roughened surfaces following the order of 21 March 1940. They had a silver-white Wehrmachl eagle on a black shield on the left ide, abolished on 28 August 1943. The peakJess flapped M1938 officers' new-style field cap, wa made of Jelllgrau cloth with aluminium thread pipings. An aluminium wireembroidered national cockade, enclosed by a branch colour facing-cloth chevron, was worn below a machine-woven or hand-embroidered bright aluminium thread eagle on a bluish dark-green facing-cloth backing.
Crete 1941. This colonel commanding the 100th Mountain Regiment, 5th Mountain Division, wears a theatrical aluminium wire cap-eagle on his M1930
feldgrau mountain cap and a similar breast-eagle on his M1940 tropical field tunic. Note the unofficial, but universal, M1935 officers' continental colla. patches and the bar to his First World War Iron Cross 1st Class on his left breast-pocket. (Friedrich Herrmann)
General-officers wore gold thread plp1l1g and a gold artificial silk chevron from 16 November 1942 they wore the eagle and swastika and cockade in hand-embroidered gold thread. On 7 July 1942 all officers were required to remove the chevron. The M1943 standard peaked field cap will be described in Volume 4. The M1934 old-style field cap, officially abolished on 1 April 1942, continued to be manufactured for officers and NCOs after that date. It was actually the officers' service cap without the metal crown stiffener, chin-cords and buttons. It had a soft black patent leather peak and a bright machine-woven aluminium thread eagle and swastika, cockade and wreath, all on a bluish dark-green facing-doth backing. Some officers unofficially added the service-cap's matt aluminium wire chin-cords. From 31 October 1939 all officers below general-officer in combat units were ordered to wear the other ranks' field tunic, trousers and marching-boots with the black leather belt, but many officers continued to wear their M1935 field tunic or modified the other ranks' tunic, adding officers' roll-back cuffs, collar-patches and the bluish dark-green officers' collars. In the summer months the officers' tropical field uniform was worn. Platoon leaders wore the same field equipment as in North Africa, but retained continental items such as the brown or black leather belt, black leather M 1939 Y-straps, black leather bayonet frog, M1931 olivegreen or tan canvas bread-bag and M1931 canteen tropical items may have been used in summer.
Crete, 1941. A German motorcycle combination in tropical summer uniform passes a group of Italian Fascist Youth. The motorcyclists wear sandcamouflaged steel helmets, M1940 tropical shirts and trousers and tropical canvas Y-straps. The vehicle is a Ziindapp KS 750cc heavy motorcycle. (Josef Charita)
Other Ranks' Field Uniform
The field uniform consisted of the helmet or field cap, field tunic, field greatcoat, plain trousers and marching-boots. NCOs had grey suede gloves. Many NCOs wore the M1934 old-style field cap. The M1943 peaked field cap will be described in Volume 4. Other ranks carried the same equipment as in North Mrica, but with continental instead of tropical variants. In summer the other ranks' field uniform was worn. Tank Crews' uniforms
The M1934 special black tank crew uniform (which by May 1940 was also worn by artillery, signals and (until 1941) engineer units in Panzer divisions) consisted of the M1940 officers' or other ranks' black peakless field cap, with the branch colour chevron (removed 10 July 1942), the M1934 and M1936 black tank field jacket and trousers, grey shirt, black tie and black lace-up shoes. In summer tank crews wore the M1940 u'opical field uniform, sometimes with M1934 black piped pink collarpatches and skulls. Some general-officers in Panzer divisions, corps, groups and armies unofficially wore the black uniform with general-officers' insignia, and many officers continued to wear the M1935 feldgrau officers' service cap. The M1943 peaked black field cap will be described in Volume 3. In 1942 the jacket and collar were shortened slightly to save material, and the collar piping was abolished. In 1943 the buttons closing the M1936 jacket were reduced from four to three, and the three left-lapel buttonholes to one.
Yugoslavia, 1942. 1vo members of a German tank-crew (top far left and front second left) pose in front of their ex-French Army Hotchkiss H-39 light tank with Chetnik guerrillas with whom they have concluded a local truce and anti-Partisan pact. The crewman at the front wears the standard black uniform but his companion appears to have added a black collar and collarpatches to the M1933 Austrian Army field tunic. Note the bravado of the guerrilla (front far left) as he alms his submachine gun at the cameraman. (Du
An Unteroffizier in an other ranks' M1940 field tunic indicates something to two officers also wearing the same model tunic but with M1935 officers' collar-patches. (Friedrich Herrmann)
The special feldgrau field uniform for armoured reconnaissance, assault artillery, armoured engineers (after 1941) and other units will be described in Volume 3. Special Uniforms and Insignia for Other Branches
The Rifle (Jager) Divisions and independent rifle battalions (but not rifle battalions in infantry regim
nts) - lightly equipped mobile troops organised for hilly terrain not requiring the specialist skills of mountain divisions - were (on 2 October 1942) issued mountain troops' uniforms with the light-green branch colour and M1939 feldgrau mountaintrousers, grey ankle-puttees and mountain-boots. Three bright aluminium or dark aluminium zinc oak leaves were worn on the left side of the mountain cap and a machine-embroidered or woven badge with three light-green oak-leaves on a bluish dark-green or feldgrau oval edged in green, grey or white rope on the right upper sleeve. The Grossdeutschland Motorised Regiment, fighting in Belgrade in April 1941, adopted (7 October 1940) a new black cloth cuff-title with a hand- or machine-embroidered aluminium thread cursive 'Grossdeutschland' and edging. Uniforms and Insignia of Foreign Volunteers
Personnel of the Croatian Legion divisions wore a straigh t-sided red and white chequerboard shield stencilled to the left side of the steel helmet, and a machine-woven or machine-embroidered black-edged curved heraldic shield with 'HRVATSKA' (Croatia) in red (this word was deleted
by German cadre personnel) above a chequerboard, on the left or right upper sleeve of the field tunic and greatcoat. Veterans of the Croatian Legion, formed in July 1941, wore a silver-grey metal laurel linden leaf on the right breast-pocket. The 1st Cossack Cavalry Division wore German cavalry uniforms with regimental fur caps, reinforced riding-breeches and the Burlw cloak. On 18 March 1944 the lance-design collar-patches and modified Russian Tsarist rank insignia were replaced by German insignia. The Russian Corps in Serbia wore modified Tsarist Russian uniforms and insignia, changing on 30 November 1942 to German uniforms and insignia without any distinguishing unit badge. The 845th German-Arab Infantry Battalion wore German uniforms and insignia with the 'Free Arabia' badge of Sonderverband 287 on the right upper sleeve. In June 1943 287th Assault Gun Battery, formerly in Sonderverband 287, joined 1st Tank Bn, Rhodes Assault Division, its personnel still wearing Panzer lapel skulls and the Orientkorps arm-badge on their tropical uniforms. Armenian Infantry Battalion 1/125 personnel wore special collar and shoulder-strap insignia (introduced in August 1942 and replaced on 18 March 1944 by German insignia) and a machine-woven or machineembroidered black-edged curved heraldic shield with 'ARMt:Nf.t:N'in golden-yellow or white above red, blue and golden-yellow bars, on the left upper sleeve.
Yugoslavia, 1942. The four-man crew of a 7.Scm new-style field cannon 16, a revamped First World War model - shell a village suspected of harbouring guerrillas. Note the Unteroffizier gun-commander far left. The men have M1940 field tunics and the minimal field equipment normally worn by artillery crews in combat. (Private Collection)
General-officers wore dress-quality plaited shoulder-boards with two gold bul1ion or goldenyel10w 'celleon' thread cords and one bright flat aluminium braid central cord on a bright-red branch colour facing-cloth backing. A Generalfeldmarschall had silver-crossed marshal's batons other general-officers had 3-0 German silver or white aluminium plated pips and branch insignia. From 3 April 1941 al1 three cords of the Generalfeldmarschall were in brigh t gold or goldenyellow'celleon'. Field-officers wore two 5mm wide matt aluminium braids on a branch colour facing-cloth backing and 2-0 gold-coloured galvanised or lacquered grey aluminium or zinc alloy pips and branch insignia. Captains and subalterns wore the same insignia on two 7-8mm wide matt aluminium (later feldgrau braid) braids placed side-by-side on a branch colour facing-cloth backing. Senior NCOs wore 3-1 grey aluminium or zinc al10y pips and branch insignia on M1935 bluish dark-green facing-cloth or M1940 feldgrau uniform cloth shoulder-straps piped in branch colour facing-cloth and edged on all sides by 9mm wide mouse-grey artificial silk or cellulose-fibre wool diamond-pattern yarn braid. A Hauptfeldwebel / Hauptfeldwebeldiensttuer wore two NCO braids on the cuff of the field tunic and greatcoat. Junior COs wore the same shoulder-straps and braids as senior NCOs, with the Unterfeldwebel wearing braid around the shoulder-strap and the Unteroffizieromitting braid across the base of the strap. Men wore the same shoulder-straps and shoulder-slides as junior NCOs, insignia and M1936 NCO-braid rank chevrons and embroidered silver-grey or aluminium thread pips on a triangular (circular for Obersoldat) backing of bluish dark-green facing-cloth (changed on 9 May 1940 to feldgrau uniform cloth) and in black cloth for the black tank uniform. Branch Insignia
From 1 September 1939 all units of the Field Army (but not the Replacement Army) were ordered, for security reasons, to remove or conceal branch symbols which identified more closely than the branch colour the type of unit, as well as the unit identifYing numerals on their shoulder-boards and shoulder-straps. Officers and senior NCOs tended to retain their branch symbols. From 24January 1940 shoulder-straps for junior NCOs and men were, with the exception of elite formations such as GrojJeutschland, manufactured without branch symbols or unit numerals. Removable feldgrau shoulder-slides, with branch colour wool or cotton yarn or flat thin yarn embroidered chain-stitch branch symbols and unit numerals, were issued for wear in rear areas or on leave. Engineers' black and medical corps' dark-blue insignia omitted the former white chain-stitch outline.
Two officers on the Aegean island of Leros,.in summer uniform, with M1940 tropical peaked field caps with aluminium officers' piping and the branch colour chevrons removed, M1940 tropical field tunic with unofficial M1935 continental collar-patches and M1940 tropical trousers. (Josef Charita)
RIGHT Yugoslavia, 1942. The crew of a 20mm anti-aircraft gun
pose with their weapon. The officer has the M1934 old-style field cap, M1935 field tunic and unidentified light-coloured breeches and high-boots. The 2nd left soldier wears the M1940 greatcoat with M1935 shoulderstraps and carries a field flashlight with clear, red and green lenses. The 2nd right soldier has the M1940 greatcoat with M1935 shoulder-straps. The 1st right soldier has a M1935 greatcoat with bluish dark-green collar. (Private Collection)
Insignia as for soldat Accepted for offICer-training. Undergoing 4 months basic training as conscript in a Replacement Army Battalion
Fahnenjunker - branches except below Fahnenjunker (1m San. Korps) - Medical Corps Fahnenjunker Om Vet. Korps) - Veterinary Corps Fahnenjunker (1m Ing. Korps) - Engineer Specialists
Insiania as GefreitBr plus junior NCO's bayonet-knot Accepted for officer-training. Undergoing 5 months advanced training as conscript in a Replacement Army battalion
Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter Fahnenjunker-Gefrater
Insignia as Unteroffizjec plus unofficial serVor NCO's White metal unit insignia Attending 2 month course at military schOO (Kriegsschule)
Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier- branches except below Fahnenjunker-Oberjager - Rifles Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier Om San. Korps) - Medical Corps Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier Om Vet. Korps) -Veterinary Corps Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier (im Ing. Korps) -Engineer specialists
Insignia as Unterfeldwebel plus senior NCO's whjte melal unit insignia Passed out from military school. Attending 4 month course at Arm of Service school, Medical, Veterinary or Engineering academy
Fahnrich Fahnrich Fahnrich Fahnrich
Insignia as Oberteldwebel plus officer's uniform Passed out from Arm of Service school or passed the Rnal Professional Examination at the Medical, Veterinary or Engineering academy. Serving 2 months in a field unit before promotion to officer
Oberfahnrich - branches except below (no symbol) Unterarzt - Medical Corps (silver aesculapius) Unterveterinar - Veterinary Corps (silver snake) Oberfahnrich Om Ing. Korps) - Engineer specialists (No symboQ Oberfeuerwerker (mit bestandener OffiziersprOfung) - Ordnance (silver cogwheel)
- branches except below Om San. Korps) - Medical Corps (im Vet. Korps) - Veterinary Corps Om Ing. Korps) - Engineer specialists
- branches except below (im San. Korps) - Medical Corps (im Vet. Corps) - Veterinary Korps (im Ing. Korps) - Engineer specialists
TABLE 2 INSIGNIA OF GERMAN ARMY OFFICER CANDIDATES 30 JANUARY 1940 - 9 MAY 1945 Rank insignia
Insignia as Soldat 120 10 42 double looRl-
SchOtze etc (OB) - all branches except below SchOtze etc (SOB) - Medical Corps SchOlze etc (VOB) - Veterinary Corps
Accepted for officer-training. Completing 4 months basic training in a Replacement Army unit and 1 month with a
Insignia as Gefre/ter (20 10 42 double looP) Accepted for officer-training. Undergoing 2 months platoon commander training with a field army unit
Gefreiter (OB) - all branches except below Gefreiter (SOB) - Medical Corps Gefreiter (VOB) Veterinary Corps
losignia as Uoteroffiz/er 120 10 42 double loop) Beginning an officer-candidate course, or professional
Unteroffizier (OA)/Fhj. Unteroffizier - all branches except below Oberjiiger (OA)/Fhj. Oberjiiger - Rifles Offizieranwiirter (W)/Fahnenjunker (W) - Ordnance Corps Fahnenjunker (im San. Korps) - Medical Corps Fahnenjunker (im Vet. Korps) - Veterinary Corps
studies at the Medical or Veterinary Academy
losignia as Eeldwebel (20 10 42 double loop) Completing an officer-candidate course before promotion to officer, or after 3 months study at the Medical or Veterinary Academy
Feldwebel (OA) /Fhj. Feidwebel all branches except below Wachtmeister (OA)/Fhj. Wachtmeister - Cav, Artillery etc Fahnenjunker-Feldwebel (im San. Korps) - Medical Corps Fahnenjunker Feldwebel (im Vet. Korps) - Veterinary Corps Fahnenjunker-Feuerwerker - Ordnance Corps
Insignia as Oberteldwebe! (20 10 42 double straQJQQp) Former Oberfeldwebel etc attending an officer-candidate course before promotion to officer
Oberfeldwebel (OA)/Fhj. Oberfeldwebei - all branches except below Oberwachtmeister (OA)/Fhj. Oberwachtmeister - Cav, Artillery etc Fahnenjunker-Oberfeuerwerker - Ordnance Corps
losignia as Stabsfeldwebel 120 10 42 double loop) Former Stabsfeldwebel etc attending an officer-candidate course before promotion to officer
Stabsfeldwebel (OA)/Fhj. Stabsfeldwebel all branches except below Stabswachtmeister (OA)/Fhj. Stabswachtmeister - Cav, Artillery etc
Fahnenjunker-Stabsfeuerwerker - Ordnance Corps
lJJ.slgnia as Oberfeldwebel plus officer's uniform Passed the Preliminary Professional Examination at the
Medical, Veterinary or Engineering academy. Serving some months in a field unit before resuming studies
Insignia as Oberfeldwebel plus officer's unjform
Passed an Officer-Candidate course, or the Final Professionai Examination at the Medical, Veterinary or Engineering academy. Serving 2 months in a field unit before promotion to officer
Feldunterarzt- Medical Corps (25.7.40) (silver 'A') Feldunterveteriniir - Veterinary Corps (6.2.42) (silver 'A') Fahnenjunker-Ingenieur - Engineer specialists (7.11.40) (silver cogwheel)
Oberfiihnrich - ail branches except below (1.7.43) (no symbol) Unterarzt - Medical Corps (silver aesculapius staff) Unterveteriniir - Veterinary Corps (silver snake) Oberfiihnrich (W) - Ordnance Corps (16.7.43) (no symbol) Feldingenieur - Engineer specialists (7.11.40) (silver cogwheel)
OTHER INSIGNIA Officer and NCO Candidates
Until 29 January 1940 a soldier applying for training as a regular (aktiv) officer undertook basic training at a local Replacement Army unit, before attending an all-arms military school- Kriegsschule- as a cadet. There he began to wear the branch colour and uniform of his destined branch, A cadet for a combat arm then joined a specialist 'arm of service' school Waffenschule - while medical, veterinary or engineering cadets attended a professional academy, then spent a period with a field unit as a Probationary 2nd Lieutenant (Oberfiihnrich) before being commissioned, From 30 January 1940 officer training was accelerated and senior NCOs could become officer candidates. A candidate (from 1941 known
as a cadet) moved directly from basic training to a WaJfenschule, which in 1942 was called an officer candidate school (Schule fur Offizieranwarter) and on 28 April 1943 became a cadet school (Schule fur Fahnenjunker) or to an academy before commissioning. In order to alleviate the shortage of specialist officers in field units, partly qualified medical, engineering and veterinary candidates would interrupt their academy studies for service with a field unit as a field probationary 2nd LieutenantFeldunterarzt etc. In July 1943 the OberJahnrich ran k was restored for combat anns. The officer candidate ranks and insignia from 1939-40, only slightly different from ordinary NCOs and men, are shown in Fig. 1. After 30 January 1940 ordinary ranks were introduced, suffixed (OB) - Offizierbewerber (officer applicant) for men's ranks and (OA) - OffizieranwiiTter (officer candidate), after 1941, with the cadet - Fahnenjunker - prefix for NCO ranks. After 1940 officer candidate insignia was indistinguishable from that of ordinary troops, and so on 20 October 1942 all candidates and cadets added a double loop of NCO braid to their shoulder-straps (see Fig. 2). NCO candidates (Unteroffizieranwarter, on 10 November 1943 redesignated Unteroffizierbewerber or NCO applicants) were trained at army CO schools and wore a single loop of NCO braid on their shoulder-straps. Trade Badges
On 22 December 1920 a range of trade badges were introduced for NCOs and men who had passed specialist courses. These technical personnel, corresponding to British technical warrant officers and NCOs, were an essential part of a modern mechanised army. The trade badge was worn on the right cuff of the field tunic and the greatcoat and consisted of a gothic letter or symbol on a circular cloth badge (from 20 December 1920 in golden-yellow wool or silk or gold wire on Jeldgrau facing-cloth, from 10 September 1935 on bluish darkgreen facing-cloth and from 9 May 1940 on feldgrau uniform cloth, although on black cloth for the black tank crew jacket). Trade badges for tropical uniforms were in golden-yellow wool on light-olive heavy ribbed cotton twill for the field tunic, and in olive-brown wool for the greatcoat. The trade badges worn during the Second World War are illustrated in Fig. 3. The regulations of 15 August 1939 prescribed a 3mm bright aluminium hand-embroidered cord inner edging for qualified NCOs occupying a specialist post at regimental or battalion HQ. Qualified COs not yet in post, and qualified men in post, wore the badge without the edging. By 1943 many badges were also produced with a 2mm aluminium cord outer edging, as worn by Luftwaffe specialists.
Serbia, spring 1944. A Hauptmann wearing the M1934 old-style officers' field cap and M1935 field greatcoat, carrying issue 6x30 binoculars, with his battalion's senior NCOs. Note the bright aluminium collar and shoulder-strap braid worn by the Feldwebel on his M1940 field tunic with M1935 bluish darkgreen shoulder-straps. (Private Collection)
TABLE 3 GERMAN ARMY TRADE BADGES 15 AUGUST 1939 - 9 MAY 1945 Ranks
NCOs run regt & bn smithies assisted by men. 15.8.39: NCOs - edging on badge when in post. none if awaiting posting. Men - no edging
Stabsbeschlagmeister, Oberbeschlagmeister, Beschlagmeister: Beschlagschmied .. unterwachtmeister/ unteroffizier/ stabsgefreilerl obergefreiterl gefreiterl oberschutze etcl schutze etc
(Regular) Stabsfeuerwerker, Oberfeuerwerker,
Feuerwerker, Unterfeuerwerker, Feuerwerkerunteroffizier
Heavy weapons, ammunition & equipment commissioning, inspection & administration at army,
0Nar Sub. 20.2.40) - Stabswachtmeisterl Oberwachtmeisterl Wachtmeister ('feldwebel')1 Unteroffizierl Stabsgefreiterl Obergefreiterl
corps, div. HO. 15.8.39: Regulars - edging on badge when in post, none if awaiting posting. 20.2.40: Regulars - edging, War Sub - no edging
Trade Hufbeschlagpersonal (farrier NCOs & men) Inf, cay, recce, art, terr. rifles,
(Regular Artificer NCOs) Soldaten im Feuerwerkerdienst 0Nar Sub. Artificers) Corps of Artificers
Gefreiter. im Feuerwerksdienst 31.7.44 - 'wachtmeister' ranks only
Schirrmeister (Regular Technical NCOs)
Kriegsschjrrmeister 0Nar Sub.Tech. NCOs)
Funkunteroffiziere (Signals NCOs)
Unteroffiziere im Funkmeisterdienst 0Nar Sub. Signals NCOs) All branches Brieftaubenmeister (Pigeon Post NCOs) All branches Sanitutsunterpersonal (Medical NCOs & Men) Medical Corps
Waffenunteroffiziere (Regular Armourer NCOs)
Waffenmeisterdienst 0Nar Sub.Armourer NCOs)
Inf, cay, Panzer, armd inf, recce, AT, art, smoke. eng, sigs, MP, terr.rfles, sec Wallmeister (Defensive Line NCOs)
Engineers Festungswerkfeldwebel (Fortifications Sgts) Engineers
(Regular) Stabsfunkmeister, Oberfunkmeister, Funkmeister, Funkunterfeldwebel ('wachtmeister'),
Funkunteroffizier 0Nar Sub.18.8.43) - Stabsfeldwebel/ Oberfeldwebeil Feldwebel ('wachtmeister)1 Unteroffizier . im Funkmeisterdienst
Equipment maintenance at Regt, Bn, HQ. 15.8.39: Regulars - edging on badge when in post, none if awaiting posting. 7.8.41: edging for peacetime qualified, none for wartime qualified. 8.7.43: War Sub. - braid bar Signals maintenance at Regt, Bn. HQ 15.8.39: Edging on badge when in post. none if awaiting posting 18.8.43: Regular - edging, War Sub. - no edging
Stabsbrieftaubenmeister, Oberbrieftaubenmeister, Brieftaubenmeister, Brieftaubenunterfeldwebel/
Pigeon post duties at Regt & Bn HQ 15.8.39. Edging on badge when in post, none if
Sanitats . stabsfeldwebell hauptfeldwebell oberfeldwebell feldwebell unteroffizierl stabsgefreiterl obergefreiterl gefreiterl obersoldatJ soldat
Medically qualified orderly 15.8.39: Edging on badge for NCOs, none for men 31.12.43 edging for all ranks
(Regular)Waffenstabsfeldwebel, Waffenoberfeldwebel, Waffenfeldwebel, Waffenunterfeldwebel ('wachtmeister'
Infantry weapons maintenance at Regt & Bn HQ 15.8.39: edging on badge when in post, none if awaiting posting 18.12.40: Regular - edging, War Sub. - no edging
in cav, reece, art, smoke, sigs) , Waffenunteroffizier 0Nar Sub.18.12.40) Stabsfeldwebell Oberfeldwebel/ Feldwebell Unterfeldwebel ('wachtmeister')1
Unteroffizier. im Waffenmeisterdienst
Wallstabsfeldwebel. Walloberfeldwebel, Wallfeldwebel, Wallunterfeldwebel, Wallunteroffizier
Workshop supervisor at Regt & Bn HQ 15.8.39: edging on badge when in post, none if awaiting posting
Festungswerkstabsfeldwebel, Festungswerkoberfeldwebel, Festungswerkfeldwebel
Fortifications construction at Regt & Bn level 15.8.39: edging on badge when in post, none if awaiting posting 11.3.41, anti-gas equipment maintenance at Regt & Bn HQ 26.8.43: Regular - edging 26.2.44: War Sub. - no edgirrg (From 25.9.43 GU) 18.11.43. Equipment maintenance at Bn HQ Regular: edging on badge for peacetime qualified,
Gasschutzunteroffiziere (Regular anti-Gas NCOs) Uffz. im Gasschutzdienst 0Nar.Sub.anti-Gas NCOs) All branches
(Regular) Stabsfeldwebel, Oberfeldwebel, Feldwebei, Unterfeldwebel ('wachtmeister') Unteroffizier 0Nar SUb.26.2.44) Stabsteidwebel/ Oberfeldwebell Feldwebel/ Unterfeldwebel ('wachtmeister')/ Unteroffizier. im Gasschutzdienst
Geratfeldwebel, Geratunterfeldwebel, Geratunteroffizier. (' . wachtmeister' in artillery) + (HK)-garrison, 0NG)-weapons & anti-gas
These titles were associated with any rank:
1.6.43, for motor and tank maintenance, repair &
Kraftfahrzeugl Panzer. wart II - Mechanic 2 Kraftfahrzeugl Panzer. wart I - Mechanic 1 Handwerker - Craftsman, Vorhandwerker - Chargehand
offiziere (HKI WG) (NCO Quartermasters) inf, armd.inf, art Kraftfahrzeug- und Panzerwilrte (Motor & Tank
mechanics) Armd and motorised units Panzerfunkwarte (Armd signals mechanics)
Armoured units Nachrichtenmeehaniker
Stabsschirrmeister, Oberschirrmeister, Schirrmeister, Schirrunterfeldwebel/ Schirrunterwachtmeister, Schirrunteroffizier (Ch)-smokel anti-gas, (EP)-railw.eng, (F)-Horse trans, (Fz) -Ordn, (K)-Mot, (P)-Eng, (Sch)-Searchlights
(Signals mechanics) All branches
none for wartime qualified
Mech.2 - no piping: Mech.1 - pink piping: Craftsman silver piping: Chargehand - gold piping
(The title Panzerfunkwart was associated with any rank)
24.1.44 for signals equipment operation & maintenance in armoured units (gold piping)
(The title Nachrichtenmechaniker was associated with any rank)
10.5.44 for signals equipment mechanics: Edging on badge for NCOs, none for men
TABLE 4 SELECTIVE LIST OF BRANCH AND UNIT INSIGNIA OF UNITS IN NORTH AFRICA AND THE BALKANS 14 FEBRUARY 1941 - 4 OCTOBER 1944 Units
Other distinctions (comments)
Libya, Egypt, Tunisia 14.2.41 - 12.5.43
General Officers (Generale)
Larisch patches. red stripes
General Staff (Generafstab) officers
crimson stripes 3 Army Group (Heeresgruppe) Staffs
3 Armoured Army (Panzerarmee) Staffs
2 Armoured Group (Panzergruppe) Staff
1 Reserve (Reservekorps) Staff
XI, XXX, 1I-1I1, LXV. LXVIII, LXIX, LXXXXI LXIX
1 Motorised Corps (Korps (mot.)) Staff
5 Mountain Corps (Gebirgskorps) Staffs
3 Armoured Corps (Panzerkorps) Staffs
Edelweiss badges. Mountain cap
Combat Troops - Infantry (Infanterie) 26 Infantry (fnfanterie) Division Staffs
M1940 German Greatcoat - History
As a successor of the Minensuchboot 1935 the MBoot 40 showed some design similarities, but was of a different origin. Since the Minensuchboot 1935 was quite complicated and expensive to build a, the new class of ships was based on the last mine hunter design of World War I, the "MBoot 16". The result was a ship that was about 10% less capable than the Minensuchboot 1935, but only took half effort to build.
Like its predecessors, those boats were not used for mine hunting alone, but were also used for escort duties and other types of operations. With its coal fired boiler this ships could even be operated then the fuel supplies of the Kriegsmarine had reached a critical level.
Of the 131 boats build - most of them in Dutch shipyards - 63 were lost during the war. 30 were taken over by the Soviets, 25 by the USA and 13 by the British. The ships used by the Soviet navy were used until the 1960, most of them in the Baltic Sea, five of the ships formerly took over by the USA were given to the new formed Bundesmarine in 1957.
The last active ships in this class are four vessels of the Romanian navy that were still in service as corvettes in 1994 (Demokratia , Descatusaria , Desrobrea and Dreptatea ).
Until the late 1930s, Soviet divisional artillery consisted of 76.2 mm guns, designed to use the same model 1900 cartridge case, complemented by 122 mm howitzers. The reason for continued reliance on the 76.2 mm caliber was that the USSR had a large supply of 76.2 mm ammunition, some delivered during World War I and also possessed suitable manufacturing equipment. Various improvements in metallurgy, chemistry and ordnance design allowed the production of guns such as the USV and the ZiS-3, which were superior to the older ones in many respects, being lighter and featuring modern split trail carriages. However, all these improvements could not remedy the inherent weakness of the existing high-explosive shell. The 76.2 mm caliber was chosen by the Russian Imperial Army prior to the trench warfare era for its sufficient shrapnel performance but high-explosive shells of the caliber contained a relatively small amount of explosives (typically some 600-700 grams) that were only moderately effective against field fortifications.
Work on 95 mm guns Edit
The decision to initiate development of larger caliber divisional guns was made in the second half of 1937.  Late that year the 95 mm was proposed. On 10 March 1938 the Main Directorate of Artillery (GAU) initiated work on a 95 mm divisional gun at the Kirov Plant and the No. 92 Plant. The former quickly abandoned the development, but the UZTM Uralmash production facility swiftly joined the program. Both guns were supposed to have a companion piece in the form of the 122 mm howitzer.
The UZTM project, U-4, used the same carriage as the 122 mm howitzer U-2 but the development was never completed. At the No. 92 Plant, the team headed by V. G. Grabin developed a gun designated the F-28, based on the carriage of the F-25 122 mm howitzer. The first prototype was ready in December 1938, even before the project was officially approved by the GAU on 23 March 1939. The F-28 reached ground trials on 12 February 1940. However, in the spring of 1940 all work on the 95 mm pieces was canceled due to a decision to adopt even larger calibers for divisional artillery.
Work on 107 mm guns Edit
The GAU decided to start working on a 107 mm divisional gun in the autumn of 1938. The reason typically cited for this decision was the reluctance to introduce a new caliber, such as 95 mm. The 107 mm was used by both the Russian Imperial Army and the Red Army Soviet industry manufactured both guns and ammunition, so the transition from 76 mm guns would be simpler and cheaper. One problem of using such a large caliber was the significant increase in weight. However, it was deemed possible to develop a powerful 107 mm gun in the same weight category as the 4-ton 152 mm howitzer M1938 (M-10), which, when adopted in 1939, was considered sufficiently mobile for a divisional piece.
In 1940 the GAU already had another incentive in the form of intelligence reports (which were incorrect) about the Wehrmacht adopting new tanks with thicker armor. The head of the GAU, Grigory Kulik, questioned the ability of the existing 45 mm anti-tank and 76 mm divisional artillery to fight these new vehicles. This concern eventually led to the adoption of much more powerful 57 mm anti-tank and 107 mm divisional pieces by the Red Army. These new guns were not designed to fully replace the 45 mm and 76 mm weapons, but to complement them.
On 14 October 1938, the No. 172 Plant received a technical requirement for a 107 mm piece. The gun was developed in three variants, designated M-25, M-45 and M-60. The first two utilized the carriage of the M-10 howitzer the prototypes successfully passed trials, but the new M-60 was preferred. Initially, the M-60 was also being developed in two variants, which differed in the arrangement for transportation - in one variant, the barrel was pulled back, while in the other the upper carriage was rotated 180 degrees. Of these, the former was selected. On 13 December 1939 the prototypes reached ground trials, which continued until 23 April 1940. After some improvements, the gun successfully passed army trials between 11 and 25 October 1940 and was adopted as the '107 mm universal high power divisional gun M1940'.
After the cancellation of the F-28 project, the design bureau of the No. 92 Plant also worked on a 107 mm gun. Late in 1940 the plant produced a ZiS-24 prototype, featuring a very long 73.5 caliber barrel placed on the carriage of a 152 mm howitzer-gun M1937 (ML-20). While very powerful, the gun was also very heavy and expensive, and the project was abandoned. Later the same design bureau worked on another 107 mm gun, which combined the carriage of a M-60 and a barrel with identical ballistics to the ZiS-6 anti-tank gun. After the outbreak of the German-Soviet War the project was canceled.
There was also an attempt to develop a casemate gun based on the M-60. The technical requirements were approved on 27 July 1940. The design bureau of the No. 352 Plant worked on the project from 22 September. This project, too, was canceled due to the outbreak of the war. 
The gun entered production at the No. 352 Plant in Novocherkassk and at the No. 172 Plant. The former contributed 25 pieces in 1940 and a further 101 in 1941.
Soon after the outbreak of the German-Soviet War, production ceased for the following reasons:
- A shortage of artillery tractors with sufficient power meant divisional artillery would have difficulty in transporting the heavy gun level artillery was disbanded with the disbanding of rifle corps
- No immediate need for a heavy gun with good anti-tank performance was perceived
- The gun was complicated to produce and demanding to maintain
- In the extreme circumstances of 1941, the Soviet Union did not have any spare industrial capacity for the M-60.
The barrel consisted of a loose liner and jacket which was screwed into the breech the breechblock was of the interrupted screw type, borrowed from the 122 mm howitzer M1910/30. The variable length recoil system consisted of a hydraulic recoil buffer and hydro-pneumatic recuperator. The gun was fitted with segment-type elevation gear and screw-type traverse gear. The carriage was of the split trail type, with trolleybus-type wheels and rubber tires. To protect the crew from small arms fire and shell fragments, a shield was fitted.
In the traveling position, the barrel was pulled back. Short-distance movement with the barrel in the original position was permitted, as long as the speed did not exceed 6–7 km/h. 
Despite being developed as a divisional gun, the M-60 was never used by Red Army rifle divisions. In 1941, M-60s served in anti-tank artillery brigades according to the official organization, these consisted of two regiments, each with a battalion of M-60s, (12 pieces) and two battalions of 85 mm anti-aircraft guns, with both types of weapons employed as heavy anti-tank guns. In practice, most of the brigades never received their 107 mm guns. These brigades were disbanded in late 1941 and the surviving M-60s were used in independent 12-gun battalions. 
In 1943 rifle corps were reintroduced. Corps artillery regiments received most of the surviving 107 mm guns, along with 122 mm guns and 152 mm howitzers in total, each regiment had 16-20 pieces. 
Since the M-60 was a limited production weapon, reports about its actual use in combat are rare. Some saw action at the Battle of Kursk, with Central Front forces.  Six M-60s were used during the liberation of Sevastopol in 1944.
A few pieces were captured by the Wehrmacht they were designated 10.7 cm K 353(r) by the Germans.
A surviving piece can be seen in the Artillery Museum in Saint Petersburg.
The German attack in 1941 led to a situation in which the Soviet Union had neither the requirement for a weapon like the M-60 nor the industrial capacity for its production. As a result, only a limited number of pieces were supplied to the Red Army.
The M-60 was the last 107 mm piece adopted by the Red Army. Although in 1943 another 107 mm gun, the 9S-1, was developed, it never reached production. Until the end of the war, the divisional artillery continued to rely on 76 mm guns (in conjunction with 122 mm howitzers), while larger formations employed heavier, more powerful weapons such as the 122 mm A-19. When a need for a very powerful anti-tank gun was identified later in the war, the 100 mm BS-3 was developed. Unlike the M-60, the BS-3 used fixed ammunition, resulting in a better rate of fire the BS-3 was also lighter (3.6 tons) and had a shorter deployment time because its barrel was not pulled back for transportation. However, the use of fixed rounds - and a limited assortment of 100 mm ammunition - made it less useful as a field gun. In 1945 another weapon intended for a similar role was adopted, in the form of the 85 mm gun D-44.
For the sake of comparison, the standard German 105 mm gun, the 10.5 cm sK 18, had similar characteristics. It somewhat surpassed the M-60 in range (19 km, or 21 km for a modernized K 18/40), but was much heavier at about six tons. The German gun also fired a somewhat lighter (15 kg) shell. 
Another comparable weapon was the British BL 4.5-inch Medium Field Gun. Although much heavier than the M-60, it fired a 25 kg projectile to nearly 19 km.
The M-60 fired separately loaded ammunition, with the propellant charge in the cartridge. Projectiles used by the older M1910/30 could be utilized, but with a different cartridge case and propellant charge. Three different charges - full, first and second - were used.
The explosion of the OF-420 shell, with the fuse set to the fragmentation action, resulted in damage to 90% of targets in the 6 to 14 meters area and to 50% of targets in a 20 to 42 meter area. When the fuse was set to high-explosive action, the shell created a hole 1–1.5 m in diameter and 40–60 cm deep in average soil.
The shrapnel shell contained more than 600 bullets, and covered an area about 800 m long and 45–50 m wide. 
M1940 German Greatcoat - History
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- Germany, Kriegsmarine. A Rare Admiral’s Leather Greatcoat
This item is part of eMedals Presents A Finely Curated Selection of German Awards . Click Here to view all items in this collection.
(Kriegsmarine Ledermantel). A well-preserved Kriegsmarine Captain's leather greatcoat. Of two-piece construction, it consists of a multi-piece dark grey leather exterior shell, featuring a wide collar which transitions into double-breast flaps. Each shoulder is adorned with a board, constructed of cardboard-reinforced dark blue wool and bearing four bands of interwoven silver aluminum wire piping. Each board is pinned with two gilded rank pips, with three constructed of zink and one magnetic metal replacement pip. Measuring 40 mm (w) x 105 mm (l), the boards are secured in place by an integrated machine-stitched loop at the outer edge, and by a gilded aluminum button on the inner edge, itself featuring a raised fouled anchor. The cuff of each sleeve is rolled up to a depth of 150 mm and secured in place by a machine stitching around the circumference.
Dual diagonal side pockets are located near the beltline, and open with reinforced flaps. The breast flaps are closed with dual vertical arrangements of six gilded bronze buttons on each side meeting analogous reinforced buttonholes on the opposite flap. Bearing raised fouled anchor designs, all buttons are maker marked on the reverse with the logo of F.W. Assmann & Söhne, Lüdenscheid. Completing the exterior of the shell is an integrated belt located at the reverse, consisting of two leather straps, one bearing dual buttons, of identical construction to the former, meeting two reinforced buttonholes on the analogous strap. A grey rayon liner fully encompasses the interior, with two interior pockets located at the upper breast flaps, opening with leather-reinforced horizontal slits, with an additional smaller slit at the lower left breast flap for the accommodation of a dagger hanger. The interior seam of the shell retains 29 functional magnetic metal snap buttons meeting an equal number of studs emanating from leather straps on the interior. The snap buttons accommodate a removable original dark grey wool interior liner, similarly bearing an equal number of studs for secure attachment to the coat. Notably, this original matching liner features leather reinforced slits which allow the wearer to access all of the shell pockets when it is in wear. Fully unmarked, the coat measures approximately 510 mm across the shoulders, with an arm length of 640 mm and an overall body length of 1290 mm. Minor issues consistent with age and field use are evident, including slight material fatigue to both the leather and fabric elements, along with the replacement of some buttons with period correct pieces. Near extremely fine condition.
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Our price is lower than the manufacturer's "minimum advertised price." As a result, we cannot show you the price in catalog or the product page.
You have no obligation to purchase the product once you know the price. You can simply remove the item from your cart.
M40 greatcoat - good for wearing in the winter?
Post by Hartmann1943 » 05 Feb 2010, 21:41
Without shoulderboards and insignia of course. will i get strange looks?
How strange, will people throw eggs at me?
Is it good, suitable for winter conditions? against the cold etc, will it be a hassle with all the buttons?
These are Pirchens right? why is the M40 a different color?
Re: M40 greatcoat - good for wearing in the winter?
Post by cruff » 05 Feb 2010, 21:55
Re: M40 greatcoat - good for wearing in the winter?
Post by svennex » 05 Feb 2010, 23:02
I have a Chen M42 that i use for work (i work on a farm) and it works quite well. But keep 4 things in mind.
1: Unless it's for city or costume use only. You will probably have to shorten it.
2: In freezing cold, it's not warm enough if you wear it over just a shirt.
3: Despite getting a size 52(the largest), I found that the collar was way too tight on mine(i have a 47cm neck).
4 :While it's listed as being "field grey", The M42 i got is actualy a completly different shade. I suspect that it's made from Chen's "late war" wool but not listed as such.
Re: M40 greatcoat - good for wearing in the winter?
Post by jjprzewozniak » 05 Feb 2010, 23:46
Wear whatever the hell you want.
But. why would you specifically want to wear a 1940s German army overcoat as your everyday coat anyway? You can go to any thrift or surplus store and find an equally warm (if not warmer) coat what makes you want to wear a German WWII one?
Re: M40 greatcoat - good for wearing in the winter?
Post by Hartmann1943 » 06 Feb 2010, 00:01
svennex wrote: I have a Chen M42 that i use for work (i work on a farm) and it works quite well. But keep 4 things in mind.
1: Unless it's for city or costume use only. You will probably have to shorten it.
2: In freezing cold, it's not warm enough if you wear it over just a shirt.
3: Despite getting a size 52(the largest), I found that the collar was way too tight on mine(i have a 47cm neck).
4 :While it's listed as being "field grey", The M42 i got is actualy a completly different shade. I suspect that it's made from Chen's "late war" wool but not listed as such.
Thanks for answering!
1 i do understand, i have expected that it might be a bit long.
2. how about a t-shirt and sweater under?
jjprzewozniak wrote: Wear whatever the hell you want.
But. why would you specifically want to wear a 1940s German army overcoat as your everyday coat anyway? You can go to any thrift or surplus store and find an equally warm (if not warmer) coat what makes you want to wear a German WWII one?
Re: M40 greatcoat - good for wearing in the winter?
Post by jjprzewozniak » 06 Feb 2010, 02:13
Remember that just because someone doesn't throw eggs at you doesn't mean they don't recognize the coat and think you're some kind of neo-nazi. If you can live with that, by all means.
Cool and sharp as it is, I usually try to avoid any personal adoption of ANY styles emblematic of an evil empire. Reenacting is one thing, but romanticizing is another--tread softly, for your sake.
Re: M40 greatcoat - good for wearing in the winter?
Post by kalupo » 06 Feb 2010, 05:47
For the past 2 years I've worn an SS General's overcoat I got from Stahladler, so I suppose it's one of Chen's coats, and it's gabardine, not wool but it's warm enough on its own right to stand up to Canadian winters, so I'm sure the wool overcoat would be more than sufficient.
I have, over the course of the two years I've worn it, got probably somewhere in the range of
100 comments from different people. The most common one is "what kind of coat is that?" followed by "that is a beautiful coat". My ex didn't like it, she called it a "nazi coat", but I've never had any problems wearing it (lol with leather gloves, and jackboots why not) and nothing but compliments or complimentary curiosity about it. One older gentleman even shook my hand and told me how nice it was to see a young man dress so well.
The average person doesn't know anything about military uniforms and probably only could identify an article as "nazi" or "german" if it had a red swastika armband attached to it.
The military look is also very big and enjoyed a resurgence a year or so ago so it's common to see double breasted overcoats or military cuts and colours on people.
UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE VOLKSSTURM
UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT Uniform and equipment were regulated by the afore-mentioned order No. 318/44 “Every kind of uniforms and weatherproof sports and working clothing” was permitted, with emphasis on durable shoes and greatcoats. The Gauleiter was required to provide “all dispensable stocks” of uniforms, i.e., uniforms of branches, etc., of the Party. The brown (in various shades) Party uniforms were to be re-dyed into a “color usable in the field,” i.e., some shade of field-grey. Branch colors or other identifying insignia were not introduced. Common insignia for all Volkssturm soldiers was an armband bearing the inscription “Deutscher Volkssturm-Wehrmacht,” which was to be issued by the Reichsfuehrer-SS, to be worn when performing duty as a member of the Volkssturm.
Equipment was restricted to “the most necessary items.” As minimum equipment possession of a rucksack or backpack, blanket, field bag, messkit, canteen, cup, knife, fork and spoon was considered essential.
All Volkssturm soldiers, regardless of rank, were compelled to provide for their individual uniforms and equipment. The consequence was a wide variety of Wehrmacht uniforms, worn especially by retired officers, of uniforms of all branches, etc., of the Party, and of civilian garments, but with the armband as the only common identifying insignia. Any variety of clothing was the usual order of the day for training. For battle employment more uniform clothing was issued, usually consisting of re-dyed Party uniforms or of Wehrmacht uniforms – the latter often out-modelled or even no longer serviceable uniforms.
Medical service was regulated by order No. 393/44 of the Party Chancellory, dated 9 November 1944. All members of the medical service had to wear the army-style red cross armband on the left upper sleeves.
A large variety of armbands used to identify members of the Volkssturm have been identified in photographs. A black/white/red armband was the most common pattern, and probably the official one. Many different patterns were placed into actual service, probably due to supply shortages of the official pattern, and were often of local production. The usual manner of the left lower sleeve. Locally produced armbands varied in color and measurements, and were in all cases of the printed variety.
The official pattern armband was a printed black/white/red band measuring 7 cm wide. The basic band was with a 1.2 cm wide red border stripe top and bottom, a 3.5 mm wide black stripe, a 2.5 mm wide white stripe on each outer edge of a 3.4 cm wide black center stripe. On the wide black field was the inscription “Deutscher Volkssturm/Wehrmacht” in Latin capitals measuring 1.3cm high, and in two lines. On either side of the white inscription was a white national emblem of the “Reichsadler” pattern, i.e., with outstretched wings measuring 2.9 cm wide. The heads of the eagles varied, with both looking to the right, to the left, outward or inward – even without eagles. The wing pattern of the eagle also differed, e.g., rounded or straight ends.
Other variations existed. A variety of materials were used such as rayon, silk, cotton, and even linen tablecloth! Even the “Deutsche Wehrmacht” in black on a yellow field (and variants) as prescribed for wear by civilian Wehrmacht employees was also worn.
Rank insignia were introduced by order No. 318/44. Rank insignia of the Wehrmacht pattern were substituted by an entirely different system of rank identification modeled after the rank system utilized by the branches of the Party. The collar insignia, identical to those in use by the SS and NSKK, took the form of a black rhomboid measuring 5 cm in size, bearing one to four aluminum-colored pips according to the rank appointment, and sewn onto both corners of the collar of the tunic and greatcoat. For want of collar patches (or collar tabs), the pips were sometimes affixed directly onto the collar in the same pattern as prescribed for the collar patch. Collar patches have been observed piped with a twist aluminum cord or unpiped.
The rank insignia were as follows: Volkssturmmann = no pips Gruppenfuehrer = one pip centered Zugfuehrer, Waffenmeister (Ordnance master) and Zahlmeister (Paymaster) = two pips diagonally near the forward lower and rear upper corners Kompaniefuehrer, Ordonnanceoffizier and Adjutant = 3 pips diagonally as above Bataillonsfuehrer = four pips positioned in each corner. The collar insignia were worn in a mirror image.
Medical personnel ranks were established in accordance with order No. 393/44 dated 9 November 1944 as follows: Sanitaetsdienstgrad (Medical Sergeant) = 1 pip Bataillonsarzt (Battalion Medical Officer) = 3 pips and a caduceus of white metal to the rear of the patches.
Gorget “PANZERWARNDIENST” (Tank Warning Service) was a special gorget bearing the inscription “PANZERWARNDIENST” stenciled in luminous paint on a breast plate in the form of the standard Feldgendarmerie (Military Police), and with a political national emblem at the top has been attributed to Warning Organization” during the closing months of the war. The existence of western frontier of the Reich) and a specimen of the gorget found in Prague would tend to verify such an organization.
By order No. 358/44 of the Party Chancellory, dated 30 October 1944, all Volksturm battalions recieved colors. As the colors had to be supplied by the Party, they were of the basic Party form, i.e., black swastika on a white circular field on a red field. “With regard of local traditions” and by decision of the Kreisleiter, colors of the various branches and institutions of the Party were to be bestowed, not only the colors of the local branches.
All battalion colors had to bear the black patch on the lower inner corners, displaying the number of the respective region of the battalion, e.g. /115,” of the district, with letters measuring 6 cm high, done in machine embroidery. The patches with the name of the local branch and respective number which were positioned at the upper inner corners of all Party colors were retained.
INSIGNIA OF “STANDSCHUETZEN” BATTALIONS
Local rifle associations known as “Standschuetzen” existed in northern and southern Tyrolia and in Vorarlberg, all provinces of the pre-1918 Austrian Empire. According to century old traditional prerogatives, the Standschuetzen were called up for the defense of their home country in case of war, and had the status of a territorial militia. For example, in 1915 after Italy declared war on Austria by attacking Tyrolia, the Standschuetzen were mobilized to defend their mountain frontiers since nearly all the regular Austrian forces were engaged on the East Front fighting the Russians. The Standschuetzen were regarded and organized as rifle clubs or associations during peacetime, and did not have any specific military training. In rememberance of the old traditions, the Volkssturm units of Tyrolia and Vorarlberg were bestowed the name “Standschuetzen,” and recieved special identification badges worn on the left upper sleeve. The Edelweiss insignia of the type worn by mountain troops was often worn on the left side of the mountain cap.
The badge was a dark green cloth diamond measuring 10.5 cm high and 7.5 cm wide. A red stylized Tirolian eagle was at the top, below which was the designation in lime green “STANDSCHUETZEN/BATAILLON/(location name)” in three lines. A white or yellow border outlined the diamond shape. The machine embroidered insignia were worn on the upper left sleeve. The following towns thus far have been found bearing the Standschuetzen distinctive – (southern Tyrolia): MERAN, BOZEN, BRIXEN, SILANDER, (northern Tyrolia): INNSBRUCK, SCHWAZ, REUTTE, KUFTSTEIN, IMST, (Vorarlberg): DORNBIRN and BREGENZ. Positive evidence exists that members of the standschuetzen wore unit insignia on the right collar and ranks insignia on the left. The unit designation was machine-embroidered in lime green on a dark green wool rhomboid. In addition to the specimens encountered, yet another has been found bearing the designation “LI/11.” It should be noted that, following standard German military practice, the Roman numeral indicates a battalion and the Arabic numeral indicates a company. It is interesting to note that the significance of the collar patches being green rather than black was due to the fact that these units were raised by the Police and not by the Nazi Party.
The Freikorps Sauerland was established by order of the Gauleiter of Gau Westphalia-South even prior to the constitution of the Volkssturm, albeit by preliminary staff work and by selection of suitable cadre personnel. After official constitution of the Volkssturm, it was fully established and incorporated into the Volkssturm, comprising several battalions and, as exception of the general rule, even regimental staffs. For every district, only one battalion was raised. This and the order to accept only volunteers indicate the idea of an elite status within the Volkssturm.
All units of the Freikorps were issued field grey or brown uniforms, the latter presumbly stocks or cloth from the Organization Todt or those from the Reicharbeitdienst (“RAD”). However, other uniform parts were said to have been used. Special insignia were established by the Gauleiting consisting of a white cuff title bearing the inscription (in black?) “Freikorps Sauerland” and a sleeve insignia was sometimes worn as a decal on the left side of the steel helmets.
The sleeve badge was printed on thin white cloth. The bluish-green shield measured 6.3 cm in height and 5.6 cm in width, and was rounded below with straight lateral and upper edges, bordered by black, white and black stripes of 1 mm each. The center displayed a white circle of 4.5 cm in diameter, with a black “mobile” swastika with three blue-green oakleaves (3 x 2.7 cm) shaded in black and with white center ribs. Between the circle and the lower edge was the white, semicircular inscription “Sauerland” in Gothic letters.
The Volkssturm was to strive for unity in headdress caps in the style of those worn by the army and political visorless garrison caps (Einsatzmuetze der NSDAP) similar to those worn by the SA-Wehrmannschaften and NSKK were most often used. A national emblem was worn on the front of the headdress. According to photographic evidence of Volkssturm personnel, the most common caps in use were the Army Mountain Troops caps that are commonly and loosely referred to as the “M-43” by collectors. Hitler Youth, Luftwaffe, Organization Todt, various Party organizations, and even civilian versions of the Mountain Troop’s cap were used as well. A combination of Army and Luftwaffe cloth and metal cap insignia were utilized. Even NSDAP insignia consisting of the Party eagle and cockade were used from the Political Leader’s visored dress caps and found on the “M-43” style and overseas caps. Volkssturm officers also used the “M-43” style caps as well as surplus Army officer’s visored field (M-34 “crusher style”) and dress caps. Pre-, Early-, and Late-war styles of the Army and Luftwaffe overseas cap were found to be extensively used as well. It is also important to note that not all “M-43” style caps and other headdress necessarily have had to have insignia, for many Volkssturm members were photographed without any insignia!
Helmets utilized by the Volkssturm came in all shapes and sizes. The most common were the Wehrmacht steel helmets from the M35 to M42 series, however, those from the Great War were used as well, such as the M1916 and M1918 steel helmets. Helmets from the civilian and civil organizations were used as well. These ranged from the Luftschutz “Gladiator Style” to fire and police helmets. Early on in the War the Luftschutz (Air Raid Warning Service) began utilizing captured enemy helmets, the most common being the French “Adrian” style and the Soviet M1936 and M1940 helmets. By the latter part of 1944 these captured stocks of the Luftschutz were later transferred to the Volkssturm to compensate for the dwindling supply of Wehrmacht steel helmets Many helmets didn’t bear any insignia except those previuosly used by another organization, such as the Luftschutz, fire/police, and Wehrmacht. Some Volkssturm formations had their unit designations painted directly onto their helmets. The shortages of war deemed that an enormous variety of headdress was worn by the Volkssturm. It can be literally said that anything was possible regarding what sort of uniform was worn.
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The use of insignia of organizations that have been banned in Germany (like the Nazi swastika or the arrow cross) may also be illegal in Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, France, Brazil, Israel, Ukraine, Russia and other countries, depending on context. In Germany, the applicable law is paragraph 86a of the criminal code (StGB), in Poland – Art. 256 of the criminal code (Dz.U. 1997 nr 88 poz. 553).
Dutch Netherlands Klewang Naval Cutlass: A Brief Photographic History, Identification Maker Marks of Hembrug and Vince and Unmarked Milsco M1941 Klewangs, Technical Information, Price and Availability on the Netherlands Dutch Klewang Cutlass or Klewang Marechausse Models M1898, M1911, M1940, M1941 and the WWII Japanese "Heiho" Which was a Re-used Cut-Down Klewang Call The Pirate's Lair @ 540-659-6209
Above photo is of a U.S.-manufactured Dutch Klewang M1940 designed after the European-manufactured M1898/M1911 models. The M1940 was manufactured in the U.S. by Milsco (Milwaukee Saddlery Company) beginning in 1940 and had an unmarked blade. The European models M1898/M1901 were manufactured in Solingen, Germany and Hembrug, Netherlands. Additiionally in the early 40's both Milsco and another a U.S. company named Vince supplied only the Klewang blades for the Dutch to be used as replacement blades in the Dutch East Indies. These blades were assembled with hilts, grips, and guards both in the Netherlands and mainly in the Dutch East Indies as replacement blades to the M1898/M1901.
There is hardly a difference between the various models of Klewang over it's 50 odd years of production by the various manufacturers and the pattern has stayed virtually the same. All Klewang models had a pierced hilt cup and clipped tip. The European models used a wooden grip while the U.S.-made Milsco used a black plastic-like bakelite grip.
Additionally, there are to be found square "notches" cut into the pierced cups of the hilt on all models except the M1941 where there are no notches and the pierced cut-out have smooth rounded edges, the blades on this particular model will have Vince or Milsco stamped onto the ricasso. However there is a slight difference in the size of notches found on a European-made Klewang vs. a non-marked M1940 Milsco-made Klewang. The notches found on the middle aperture of the pierced cup of a European model are 1/16" while the same notches found on the middle apperture of a Milsco are 3/16" - a substantial difference in determining provenance. Also there is the size of the pommel screw: on the Milsco-produced model it is 3/8" while on a European-model it is 1/2", another substantial size difference when determining provenance.
After the Netherlands couldn't fullfill its' contract to Milsco in 1941, having been overun by the Germans, the U.S. Navy purchased the excess inventory of cutlasses and then sold them after the war as Navy surplus. It appears that Milsco had shipped a number of these M1941 Klewangs to the Netherlands East Indies just prior to or right after the outbreak of WWII. Many of these post-WWII Klewangs ended up being used in the East Indies during the colonial uprising.
To the left is a photo of the Dutch Korp Marechausees in 1901 after the capture of a fort at Aceh, East Indies. Note the soldiers carrying the M1898 Klewang.
To the right is an M1898 Model Klewang Cutlass and Scabbard, European-made with maker mark of Hembrug. The Klewang was named after the native name for their sword-machete like weapons that they used in the jungle as both a weapon and tool.
The Klewang certainly has that piratey look (and feel) with the notched false top edge and falchion blade style. As discussed on another page the U.S. Navy modeled it's M1917 naval cutlass from the Dutch Klewang. Oddly enough the Dutch Klewang M1898 Cutlass was not produced specifically for the Dutch Naval Forces but for the Netherlands East Indies troops and police! But it certainly is a kewl enough cutlass, and at least the United States Navy thought the same.
It's unclear whether there really was a European manufactured Klewang model M1911. What is clear is that the German company Solingen first manufactured the M1898 Klewang for the Dutch in it's earliest development as there are some Klewangs with the maker mark "solingen" clearly appearing on the ricasso of the blade.
It seems that shortly after production began in Solingen the Dutch government moved the production of the M1898 Klewang Cutlass to Hembrug in the Netherlands where it was manufactured into the 1920-1930's. Most of the M1898 Klewangs bear the maker mark Hembrug, which appears exactly like the Solingen with the exception of the maker mark.
Photo to the left is of a Dutch M1898 Cutlass with a Humbrug maker mark stamped on the blade. Photo on the right shows an M1898 Cutlass with a Solingen maker mark stamped on the blade. They certainly do look the same.
The above photos clearly show the two different maker marks and completely substantiate the change in manufacturing venue for the Klewang M1898 model of cutlass.
As previously mentioned, at the outbreak of WWII the Dutch Government contracted out to Milsco, a U.S.-based company, to produce the Klewang for them for shipment to the Netherland East Indies. Milsco slightly changed the technical specifications of the M1898 Klewang using a plastic bakelite handle (the latest technology at the time) instead of wood handle, it put a squared notch into the pierced cup hilt whereas the European manufactured pierced basket cup was completely smooth, rounded. It has been reported that Milsco made upwards of 30,000 Klewangs for the Dutch Government. (SEE BELOW)
Note the step notches in the pierced up apertures on the right, while the basket apertures on the left and right photos are smooth and rounded. The bakelite grip and notched pierced cup apertures are the major differences between the US and European made models of Klewang.
(Both the M1898 and M1941 model Klewangs should not be confused with the U.S. Navy's M1917 Naval Cutlass which was modeled after the Klewang. The US Navy's M1917 Cutlass has an etched cross-hatched riveted wooden handle along with the initials USN prominently displayed on the ricasso of the blade. Plus it has a closed basket hilt just like its predecessor the M1860 which it replaced.)
Just prior to WWII both the Dutch government and it's U.S. supplier shipped varying quantities of the Klewang Cutlass to the Dutch Army located in the Netherland East Indies in the South Pacific. The Japanese captured these islands at the very outset of WWII and some of the weapons found that they put to use were the Klewang Cutlass, which has been termed the "Heiho".
Photos show captured Japanese "Heiho" Klewang's.
Photo on the left shows a US Marine holding a captured Japanese Klewang that was not "cut down" to make it a Heiho cutlass.
The "Klewang Heiho": The above two photos on the right show what has been termed the "Klewang Heiho". After the Japanese invaded and captured the Dutch East Indies they found hundreds if not thousands of the Klewang's which they confiscated. To make them usable for their needs the Japanese cut off the hilt's cup and D-guard turning them into more of a machete to help clear the jungle. While not terribly rare they are around and many people think they are "fakes" but they are not.
Notice the Klewang in the web belt of the US marine in the photo to the right. Some WWII collectors of Japanese militaria have stated that the black leather bag seen attached to the Marine's web belt in front of the Klewang is actually a Japanese cartridge holder!
Another 1943 photo of two Netherland East Indie Dutch troops cutting up some coconuts. Note the soldier on the right cutting his coconut with a "Klewang Heiho" cutlass!
Below are Technical Characteristics, Measurements, and Specifications of the M1898 and M1941 Model Klewang's:
|Dutch European-made M1898 / M1911 Klewang||Specifications||Additional Information|
|Overall Cutlass Length (blade tip to pommel):||29"||The Klewang has a very distinctive look.|
|Blade:||Sweeping Falchion, Single Large Wide Fuller||False Edge has Clipped, Distinctive Point|
|Blade Length (point tip to quillon):||24 5/8"||The technical characteristics are very exact|
|Blade Width (at ricasso):||1 1/4"||Thickness and tolerances are very exact|
|Weight (in Scabbard):||2 lbs, 6 oz||Scabbard is Brown Leather|
|Weight (cutlass only):||2 lbs||Weight and balance are very standard|
|Grip||Rivted Wood||3 Rivets, Smooth Non-Hatched Grip|
|Hilt||Single Piece Iron, Pierced Basket Cup||Apertures are Rounded, No Bushing between Hilt Guard and Blade|
|Pommel||Utilitarian Screw||Knuckle Guard and Tang Secured with Single Screw|
|Maker Markings - Ricasso:||Solingen or Hembrug||Very early models were made in Solingen.|
|Markings - Reverse Ricasso:||Crown over an E||Models with Hembrug maker mark|
|U.S. Manufactured M1941 Klewang||Specifications||Additional Information|
|Overall Cutlass Length (blade tip to pommel):||29 3/4"||Similar to Dutch manufactured Klewang|
|Blade:||Sweeping Falchion, Single Slim Fuller||False Edge has Clipped, Distinctive Point, Heavily Blued|
|Fuller Length||14 3/4"||Provides strength and balance|
|Fuller Thickness||1/4"||Provides strength and balance|
|Blade Length (sword tip to hilt guard):||24 3/8"||Similar to the Dutch produced cutlass|
|Blade Width (at ricasso):||1 3/8"||Similar to the Dutch produced cutlass|
|Blade Thickness (at ricasso):||1/8"||Similar to the Dutch produced cutlass|
|Weight (cutlass only):||2 lbs||Similar to the Dutch produced cutlass|
|Grip||Riveted Bakelite||3 Rivets, Smooth, Black Non-Hatched Grip|
|Hilt||Single Piece Iron, Pierced Basket Cup||Notched Apertures, No Bushing Between Guard and Blade|
|Pommel||Utilitarian Screw||Knuckle Guard and Tang Secured with Single Screw|
|Maker Markings:||NONE||M1941 Klewangs Had No Markings Whatsoever Anywhere|
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