Before the German Army ever stepped foot in North Afrika, the German High Command realized that involvement in the region would happen more likely than not. The Tropical Institute of the University of Hamburg led the design for the new tropical uniform. What came out of the trials was advice to create a uniform well suited for the harsh arid regions in North Afrika.
The following are items approved by the unit for use in the optional Afrika (1941-1943) impression. The following come from a list of items in the Soldbuch issued to units heading to Afrika. Some items have been left out. Items with missing vendor links means that so far there are no reproductions available.
Afrika Impression (1941- 1943)
Uniforms, Headgear, etc.
HELMET (STAHLHELM)- M1935, M1940… (Original shell or postwar M55 helmet shell that has the correct vent holes installed, reproduction liner, and chinstrap. Single Army decal allowed. Tri- colored decal not allowed. You may buy a reproduction shell ONLY if your hat/helmet size is a 60/68. Otherwise, you must buy an original shell. Should be painted tan/mustard either with a brush or paint sprayer. Some members of the unit are also able to restore helmets if you find one on ebay in your size.
FIELD CAP (FELDMUETZE MIT SCHIRM)- Pith Helmet (TROPENHELM-Italian, British, or German for rear duty),Tropical M40, or Tropical Overseas Cap with light green soutache and correct tropical insignia.
TUNIC (FELDBLUSE) - 1st Pattern, 2nd Pattern, -or- (3rd pattern accepted only in very late Afrika themed events)... Must have correct tropical breast adler and litzen. Lost Battalions tropical tunics are acceptable ONLY if you are 5'6" or shorter due to pattern issues.
TROUSERS (FELDHOSEN)- Tropical Trousers (LANGE HOSE), Tropical Breeches (STIEFELHOSE) or Shorts (KURZE HOSEN) for rear duty.
SUSPENDERS (HOSENTRӒGER)- Can be reproductions, originals, civilian types, post war. Really anything goes as long as it is period. Period being 1930’s-1940’s. Most times suspenders are not necessary for tropical uniform wear.
SERVICE SHIRT (HEMD MIT KRAGEN OLIV) - Tropical service shirt with pockets or without.
FOOTWEAR (SCHUHZEUG)- Low Boots Model 1937 (SCHNUERSCHUHE, SCHWARZ) , Tropical Low Boots (SCHUUERSCHUHE MIT ST. BL.), or Tropical High Boots(SCHNUERSTIEFEL). Regular low boots must be the pre/early war type with half hooks and half eyelets. If you do not buy the best the first time on anything else, make sure this is the item you do buy the best on.
SOCKS (SOCKEN GRAU) - Any correct period military style sock or with white rings is okay and any style of post war foot wraps.
NECK-TIE, OLIVE (SCHLIPS OLIV)-Tropical Service Tie
UNDERSHIRT, MESH (UNTERHEMD)
EQUIPMENT BELT (KOPPEL) Tropical web belt preferred, leather belts are sometimes encountered. MEASURE THE AREA AROUND YOUR NAVEL BEFORE BUYING!
BELT BUCKLE (KOPPELSCHLOSSER)- Pebbled Aluminum or Steel (painted correct feldgrau color), original or reproduction. If you have any questions regarding the authenticity of a belt buckle, ask one of us and we will guide you in the right direction
CARTRIDGE POUCHES (PATRONENTASCHEN)- Original or reproduction. Originals are preferred or correctly converted post war models or correct reproductions from At The Front. (Brown K98 pouches ARE NOT 'DAK' pouches, Black pouches only.)
BREADBAG (BROTBEUTEL)- Original or reproduction. Tropical bags preferred. Only originals or correct reproductions from At The Front are allowed. Bags with dividers, leather on button holes, and flat tip ends are not allowed.
FIELD CANTEEN- TYPE 31 (FELDFLASCHE 31) --OR-- FIELD CANTEEN, LARGE, w/ DRINKING CUP (FELDFLASCHE GROSS MIT TRINKBECHER) Includes: STRAP, COVER, FLASK, and METAL CUP (Not smaller cup)- Original or reproductions. It is suggested that you purchase an original cover, original/repro cup, repro straps, and original/post war flask. Original leather (especially on canteen straps) is extremely brittle and WILL fall apart on you during battles. Post war BW, BGS metal cups are allowed if painted correct color.
MESS KIT (KOCHGESCHIRR) - Original or Post war allowed, originals preferred. Post war tins are allowed, but will not be incorrect types. Must have correct height, color, bales, and handles. Ask the Authenticity Officer to learn how to spot a correct post war tin, or make one.
GAS CANISTER (TRAGEBUSCHE)- Original or Post War. (Reproductions NOT allowed.) Must be painted correct color and not appear to be 65+ years old. If using a Post War can, any post war markings on exterior must be removed (usually they will have the makers name ‘Auer’ embossed on the top part of the canister. Can be easily removed with Dremmel tool.
SHOVEL (SCHANZZEUG/ KLAPPSPATEN)- Original or post war (exact copies only) flat shovels.
SHOVEL COVER- Straight shovel cover. Tropical covers were not made so don't buy anything with that description.
BAYONET (SEITENGEWEHR)- Original or reproduction. Clean originals preferred… again we can’t be looking like we just stepped out of the dump. Bakelite or Wooden handles.
BAYONET FROG (SEITENGEWEHRTASCHE)- Dismounted, mounted, or tropical variations, does not especially matter.
MESS KIT STRAP- Original, Post War, or Reproduction. Leather or tropical type. Originals and post war variants can be found more often than not. Reproductions are done well too. Make sure any originals or post war straps have strong leather.
Y STRAPS (TRAGEGESTELL) Leather or Tropical. Many reproductions are not correct so please contact us before buying. Must have no stitiching around rivet if buying the leather type. Leather Y-straps only good for early Afrika 1941 events.
TENT QUARTER (ZELTBAHN) - Original or Reproduction. No Sturm replicas. SM Wholesale copies (not the reversed pattern) are preferred when buying reproductions.
ZELTBAHN ACCESSORIES (Consists of: 3 poles, 1 rope, and 4 pins.) Ideally 4 men with 4 Zeltbahns would come together and split a tent and would put their kit together. This may not happen on the field always in reenacting so it would be wise just to have the entire kit. You can find post war poles or originals...they are identical.
GAS MASK (GAS MASKEN)- Rubber or Cloth mask.
GAS CAN ACCESSORIES - (Consists of: SPRING, CLEANING CLOTH, LOSANTIN CONTAINER, SPARE LENSES)
EATING UTENSILS (ESSBESTECK) - Original or Reproductions. (‘Officer’ Cutlery sets NOT allowed).
BLANKET (MARSCHDECKE) - Reproduction or Post War variant. Most reproductions are okay and there are some post war (or even WWII blankets from other countries like Italy) that are acceptable.
K98 CLEANING KIT (REINIGUNGSGERӒT 34)- Original or pre-war kits. ABSOLUTELY NO POST WAR KITS ALLOWED. Originals can be found for under $50 on eBay in various conditions and the pre-war kits (same as early war kits just without markings) can be found at IMA-USA.com for around $20.
I.D. DISK w/ CORD -
FAT LARD CONTAINER (FETTBUESCHE)
IDENTITY TAG W/ CORD (ERKENNUNGSM. MIT SCHNUR)
DUST AND SUN GOGGLES (STAUB- UND SONNENBRILLE)
CLEANING BRUSHES (SATZ REINIG- BUERSTEN)
NECKERCHIEFS (HALSTUCH AUS ROHFIEDE)
TROPICAL SUITCASE (TROPPENKOFFER)