Wear of Uniform and Equipment
Bekleidung und Ausrüstung
By Erich Tobey--edited by Marsh
One of the first events that started the transition from German civilian to Landser, was the issue of common military uniforms and equipment. The following regulations govern the actual wearing, or carrying, of some of the more common items of uniform and equipment used by the German soldier. For a correct impression, the proper wearing (and upkeep) of these items is as important as the authenticity of the items themselves--Learn the German names!
- M.43 Einheitsfeldmütze--One finger above the right ear, and two fingers above the left ear. The side flaps are not to be unbuttoned unless so ordered. The traditional "pinch" in the crown is optional, but very common (see note below**).
- M.38 Feldmütze--(Early war cap). Three fingers over the left ear, two fingers over the right and one finger over the right eyebrow. The Kokarde is centered with the nose. The M-38 should be pinched together at the top, not pulled down so that it looks like a "feldgrau-fez!" A safety pin can be used to pin the crown of the hat together, just like they did "back then!"
- Schirmmütze (Peaked Cap)--Worn square and level on the head with the lower edge even with the eyebrows. The Kokarde was to be centered on the face. If you have looked at photos of German Soldiers who are wearing a Schirmmütze, you will notice that this is seldom done. Usually, the Schirmmütze is cocked over to the right just like the Feldmütze. Sometimes in fact, it was cocked over and down so far, that one could barely see the wearers eyes!
**Something that should be added here, is that during recruit training, the German soldier wore a Schirmmütze and had it ingrained into him not to touch the bill of his cap. Instead he was taught to hold the cap by the crown. This also comes from the fact that the Feldgendarmarie would come down hard on you if there was even a smudge on the brim. This habit naturally was carried over to the Feldmütze, and this is actually the reason most soldiers' hats had that pinched look at the top.
- Stahlhelm (Helmet)--To be worn square on the wearer's head and not pushed back, riding on the neck and exposing the forehead. The liner is to be one finger above the eyebrows, with the chinstrap firmly in place but not tight enough to cause discomfort.
- Feldbluse (Tunic)--The proper fit of the tunic should have a collar which would fit two of the wearers fingers in it. When the wearer sits, there should be no strain on the waist or chest buttons.
- Feldhosen (Trousers)--When worn with ankle boots, the extra material over the calves is pulled inward at the inseam and folded forward before being secured by the Gamaschen. Typical fit should be very loose in the legs and will not bind when the wearer does a deep-knee bend.
- Schnürschuhe und Gamaschen (Ankle boots and Gamaschen)--Boots to be proper fit for any outdoor footwear. Should be properly blackened and greased. Gamaschen to be worn with buckles on the outside of the leg with the straps pointing rearwards. The bottom of the Gamaschen shall cover the top of the boots.
- Marschstiefel (Marching boots)--Fit snugly around the ankle without pinching the ankle, and loose in the calf to prevent cutting off circulation.
- Mantel (Greatcoat)--When worn, it is to be buttoned-up all the way to the top.
- Koppel mit Schloß (Belt and Buckle)--The belt will not sag or hang loose when equipment is suspended from it. The buckle will rest slightly above or over, depending on the size of the soldier, the bottom tunic button. The center of the buckle will be centered with the row of buttons.
- Seitengewehr und Koppelshuhe (Bayonet and Frog)--Will hang two fingers width to the front of the left rear belt support hook on the tunic.
- Patronentaschen (Ammo Pouches)--Worn with the inside edges of the pouches in line with the inside edges of the tunic pockets, but not more than three finger widths away from the edge of the belt buckle, again this depends on the size of the soldier.
- Brotbeutel (Breadbag)--Worn on the right rear hip, usually with the right loop just to the right of the right rear belt support hook. The left loop should be in about the center of the back. Again this depends on the size of the soldier.
- Gasmaske und Trägbuchse (Gaskmask can)--Shoulder strap to be worn over the right shoulder and the belt hook over the rear of the belt in a comfortable position.
- Feldflasche mit Trinkbecher (Canteen and cup)--Worn hooked to the right side (front loops) of the breadbag.
- Koppeltragestell (Y-Straps)--Rear strap to be in the center of the back, hooked to the belt. D-Rings are to be on upper rear of shoulders, O-Ring to be in upper center of back. Front straps and hooks should be adjusted to fit comfortably and insure that the rear of the straps sit flat. Secondary straps when not hooked to pack should be tucked under primary strap and belt.
- Zeltbahn (Shelter Quarter/Poncho)--Strapped to D-rings on the Y-straps, on the Sturmgepäck or on center rear of belt. May also be attached to bicycle.
- Kochgeschirr (Messkit)-- Strapped sideways, lid to the right, on the Sturmgepäck (often seen strapped with the lid up). Or... strapped right-side-up through O-ring on Y-Straps, with an optional horizontal strap that goes around mess kit and rear strap. When worn without Y-straps, the messkit is strapped onto the left side (rear loops) of the breadbag.
- Spaten mit Tasche (Small Shovel with Carrier)--For basic impression the kleines Spaten is worn. On left side of body, with bayonet hung between the straps. If using the folding shovel, the bayonet is hung forward of the strap and with the scabbard through the loop.
- Soldbuch (Paybook)--Habitually carried in the left breast pocket of the tunic.
- Erkennungsmarke (Dogtag)--Worn on a cord around the neck, or carried in a private-purchase pouch which was also hung from the neck.
- Hemd (Shirt)--The collar on the shirt may be worn outside of the tunic collar only when ordered to be worn that way by the ranking man.
- Unterhosen (Drawers)--There are two loops on the inside of the trousers which slip through the tapes on the outside of the sides of the drawers. In this fashion, the drawers (which do not have elastic in the waist and are not sturdy enough to be held up by buttoning them tightly) are prevented from sliding off the waist.
- Socken (Socks)--Worn either under the Fußlappen, or by themselves. Under garrison conditions, holey socks are Streng Verboten!
- Fußlappen (Footwraps)--Worn either over the socks, or by themselves. These were favorites of the veterans, some of whom preferred them over socks. Unfortunately, it takes some skill to wrap them around your feet correctly to prevent pressing creases into your flesh.
- Aufshiebeschlaufen (Shoulder Bd. Slides)--Worn slid over the regular shoulder boards, pushed all the way out to the fold of the board, and with the cypher facing away from the soldier.