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Kampfgruppe Steiner

A multi-impression Heer unit representing the German soldat in WWII

The Feldbluse, one of the three most iconic symbols of the Wehrmacht's military might ( next to the infamous 'Jackboot' and Stahlhelm), was developed in order to bring the 'Deutsche Soldaten' into the 20th century as a modern soldier. At no other point in time had any army successfully merged both functionality and appearance into one uniform. The Feldbluse became the first patch pocket tunic with a turn down collar introduced by the German army thus bringing tradition, morale, and military ritual into the life of the ordinary German soldier.

The first Feldbluse, the 1933 model, was derived from old Prussian traditions and orders placed by the Imperial Reich in the First World War. The color of the German tunic, Feldgrau, had been in place since 1907 after being officially adopted on July 26th, 1910. (This color should not be confused with the later war color of field gray but a 'light green' or, 'vert-de-gris', the, "deragotary term coined by the occupied French". [1] ) Contrary to post modern thought on the German uniform, the first color of the tunic's turn down collar was actually the same as the rest of the uniform. It was not until the 1935 update to the uniform that this was changed to the iconic bottle green color.

After a few internal changes were introduced (which will be discussed below in detail), the tunic that reenactors and many collectors have come to identify as the first tunic of the war, the 1936 model, was issued. The collar color was changed to a dark bluish green in the 1935 model and continued on into the 1936 model. This remained the standard until sometime in the beginning of 1940 the collar was changed back into a feldgrau color, like its predecessors the 1933 and 1934 models. After a year of combat in Poland, France, and the Low Countries, the German High Command stipulated a change in uniform production to better camouflage their troops. All other aspects of the tunic remained the same until 6 buttons were added to the 1941 model.

During the Spring of 1942 the box pleats were deleted bringing the 1942 model into existence. The internal features of the tunic were also changed from the removable internal suspender system to a permanent system sewn on near the belt hook holes. The following Spring of 1943 saw the deletion of the scalloping on the pocket flaps. The pocket flaps then became a square shape to ease the problem of a wartime economy and production time.

Finally, the tradition of the 1933 uniform dissapeared almost entirely as the German army developed the 1944 model tunic. The 1944 model was simply a shortened 1943 model tunic, but even the Imperial order from 1910 was changed as the color of feldgrau changed into a brown olive color. It looked very similar to the British Battledress and new (at the time) American 'Ike' Jackets, but was not necessarily adopted primarily because of the fashion of the time. It can not be ignored that the tough economic situation was most certainly one of the largest contributors to the drastic change in appearance that the Feldbluse encountered.

Although the service life of the Feldbluse was restricted to the small life of the Third Reich, its impact on the morale of the soldiers who wore it, the soldiers who fought against it, and the governments who tried to suppress it can not be forgotten. 

References


[1] Huart, Laurent, and Jean-Philippe Borg. Feldbluse, The German soldier's field tunic 1933-45. Paris: Histoire & Collections , 2007. Print.

Below are the updates, changes, and features that were found on each type of tunic.


Photos courtesy of F. A. Reynolds. 

M1933

  • Officially adopted on April 1st, 1933.
  • Collar hooks usually made from a yellow metal.
  • 5 buttons, usually painted grey-green and made from nickel.
  • 2 rear belt hooks with permanent cloth tabs sewn on.
  • Collar color is feldgrau, same as the tunc itself.
  • No internal suspender system.
Click HERE for bigger pictures.

M1934

  • HM 34 No. 136. Order for use of the field tunic as a walking out garment is issued. Several important modifications or precisions occur.
  • November 1st, 1934. Belt hook system is replaced with 4 belt hooks and an internal suspender system to distribute weight more evenly.
  • December 10th, 1934. Feldgrau collar is replaced by a fine cloth collar of dark Feldgrau.
  • Waist ties to ensure a better fit are added.
  • November 1934, Suspender hooks introduced.
    HM
  • HM
  • 34 No. 136 also defines the set of issue for NCOs and privates. Issued with four tunics numbered and ink-stamped I to IV.
I. Field Tunic stored for mobilization by the unit (without collar insignia or shoulder straps.)
II. Parade or walking out tunic.
III. Service tunic destined for use in ceremonial circumstances.
IV. Service tunic destined for everyday service.

Click HERE for bigger pictures.

M1935

  • September 10th, 1935. HV 35 No. 505 stipulates dark feldgrau collar is replaced by a dark bluish green cloth.

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M1936

  • September 10th, 1935. HV 35 No. 505 stipulates dark feldgrau collar is replaced by a dark bluish green cloth.

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M1940

  • Dark bluish collar cloth is deleted and a collar made from feldgrau (same as tunic) is reintroduced.
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M1941

  • May 26th, 1941. A 6th button is added to the front of the Feldbluse.

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M1942

  • Box pleats are deleted from uniform.
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M1943

  • Scalloped flaps are deleted from uniform.

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M1944

  • October 21st, 1944. Adoption of new uniform.

  • AHM No. 603 made the official color of the Feldbluse into olive- brown from feldgrau.
Click HERE for bigger pictures.

Depot Stamps and Size Markings, what they mean!

Those pesky stamps! Many a reenactor I ask have no clue what they mean. Here are four examples of original stamps from the collection of F. A. Reynolds.

All measurements are in Centimeters naturally.

(TOP LEFT) - Height of the bust. ----------------------------------- (TOP RIGHT) - Neck size.

----------------------------(MIDDLE/ CENTER) - Chest measurement.-------------------------------

(BOTTOM LEFT) - Length of the garment. (BOTTOM RIGHT) - Length of the sleeves.


The letter and number at the very bottom are the acceptance stamps. For example: M39 on very right means Munich clothing depot 1939. 

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