Offizier uniforms

A look at some of the typical uniforms worn by the soldiers of the Grossdeutschland division and modelled by our members. Also included on this page are some of our alternative impressions. These have been researched and in some cases custom made by tailors following original photographs as they are often not availble through the usual suppliers.

Please click a link to find out more about the unifroms of the enlisted men and the Offizier-Klasse.

WW2 german Army enlisted mens uniformsWW2 german officer uniforms

 

Sk.Dfz.222 Armoured car crew September 1939 - Neil Barlow

Armoured car crew - Poland 1939

This Leutnant of the Aufklärungs-Abteilung wears the distinctive black uniform of all Panzer and Armoured Car crews during the campaigns in Czechoslovakia, Poland and France.

Black was used so that oil and other stains associated with working with armoured vehicles would not show up. Black was also the traditional colour of Frederic the Great's Prussian Hussars, meaning this uniform was following a Cavalry tradition dating back to the mid 18th Century.

On his head he wears the Panzer beret or 'Schutzmütze'. Introduced in 1934 and phased out in 1941, the beret's interior was made from hard rubber, to protect crew members heads whilst moving about in the cramped environment of an armoured vehicle. It was covered on the outside by black wool.

The double breasted, high waisted tunic is piped with golden yellow Waffenfarbe to show his branch of service, and the collar patches bear the familair death's head or 'Totenkopf' which was another throwback to the cavalry units of the Prussian Army. He also wears his recently awarded iron Cross Seccond class and a ribbon bar indicating his participation in the Anschluss and Czechoslovakian campaigns and 4 years military service. On his waist is the P-08 Luger pistol and the cross strap which would ultimately be phased out after the Polish campaign.

The loose fitting trousers featured an internal belt to eradicate the need for braces and are bloused over the top of his marching boots which were cut with a shorter shaft than the boots worn by Infantry soldiers.

Wehrmacht Chaplin

Wehrmacht Chaplin

An unusual uniform, as most do not realise that military chaplains existed within the structure of the Third Reich. In 1933, a Concordat between the Nazi Party and the Vatican agreed that the clergy were to be exempt from conscription in Germany; except in a state of General Mobilisation. In this event most found themselves ‘inducted for pastoral work with the troops or into the medical corp’* (Deutsche Rote Kreuz).

The role of the Army Chaplain (Heerespfarrer), or Padre (Feldgeistliche) was not too much dissimilar to the duties they had perticular to their denomination in civilian life, conducting services of Mass, Communion, Marriage, Funeral, etc. though as previously stated, most of there time and duties were with the medical corp.

Shown here is a Senior Army Chaplain (Heeresoberpfarrer) in service uniform.


Uniform

Visor Cap (Schirmütze) - Standard Officer M38 or M43 issue. Notable differences are Violet piping on the crown and, top and lower of the blue/green banding. Cap cord and buttons are Silver/white to signify rank (as Chaplain). Silver/white National Emblem, and white metal Gothic Cross (Gotisches Kreuz).

Tunic (Feldbluse) - Standard Officers field grey issue. Differences are that no shoulder straps were worn. Collar patches were also of officers quality, the backing felt being of violet, instead of the standard blue/green, and the Litzen also being violet.

Trousers – M36 pattern standard field grey issue. Straight leg.

Boots – Standard issue marching boots (in the field). Ankle boots/shoes on official business.

Around the neck, each chaplain wore a gold cross on a long gold chain. The style of cross was again peculiar to there own denomination. In addition, during services, a Stole was worn. This was of non-standard issue, as they were often items bought along of local pastoral issue.

Another of the notable items of insignia is the armband. This is of white cloth, with a 7cm thick violet band around the centre. Central to this is the international emblem of the Red Cross, thus signifying that wearer is a non combatant.

*References and quote; German Military Chaplains in World War II, by Mark Hayden.

Grossdeutschland Combat Leutnant – Rzhev 1942

Combat Leutnant – Rzhev 1942

As the war on the Ostfront ground on and casualties amongst the Offizier Korps increased, many officers took steps to make themselves less conspicuous whilst on active duty. The Leutnant we have here has just returned from a reconnaissance patrol on foot. As you will note there is little difference in his attire, than that of an enlisted man. Rather than wearing a private purchased tunic, the Leutnant has drawn an enlisted man’s tunic and added a double hook dark green collar along with his officer’s insignia. In addition to this, he is wearing a pair of enlisted men’s trousers and marching boots, rather than the usual breeches and riding boots.

He has also altered his field equipment to make sure he doesn’t stand out by exchanging his MP40 for a K98, as can be seen by his ammo pouches. Of particular interest are his private purchase Y-straps of the cavalry style that were favoured by officers on the front. These Y-straps differed from the enlisted man version as they do not have straps to attach an a frame to. He is also wearing an enlisted mans belt and buckle however his map case is still made from the brown leather that was exclusive to members of the Werhmact Offizier Korps.

Grossdeutschland Offizier 1942

 

Grossdeutschland Offizier 1942

As well as having field uniforms, German officers would also have a privately purchased dress uniform for dress occasions. Each serving officer would receive a monthly uniform allowance of 8.60 Reichsmarks whilst in the rear lines and 13.60 Reichsmarks whilst at the front. Here we can see this officer has purchased a tailored m36 tunic with French cuffs which has been fitted and the skirt raised to give the illusion of increased height. With privately purchased uniforms, officers often took steps to make their uniform more fashionable, as we can see here with the 30s style close spearpoint collar.

The officer also has purchased a pair of steingrau or stonegrey breeches, which by 1942 were a symbol of status indicated one had been in service during the early stages of the war when they were commonly issued. The Leutnant is wearing his Schirmutze with Aufklarings piping and is private purchase doe-skin
gloves.

 

Grossdeutschland Leutnant on the Estern Front - neil barlow

Leutnant - Autumn 1942

Our Leutnant of the newly formed Aufklärungs Abteilung Großdeutschland carries some of the common peices of equipment and wears the classic field uniform of all lower ranked Offiziers of the German Army.

Uniform:
Model 35 Stahlhelm
Tailored M36 'Feldbluse' (tunic) with high neck, French cuffs, sewn in shoulder straps and wire bullion insignia
Custom made Stiengrau breeches
Long shaft riding / field boots
Gabardine side cap (tucked in belt)

Equipment:
6x30 Deinstglas Binoculars
Private purchase grey moleskin gloves
MP40 spare magazine pouch
MP40 sub-machinegun
Gas mask tin and gas cape pouch (worm across chest)
Leather map case
Brown belt with 2 pronged buckle

 

Grossdeutschland Rittmeister-Winter 1942

Rittmeister-Winter 1942

As Autumn gave way to Winter, the men of the Wehrmacht had to once again resign themselves to the freezing temperatures of the Russian Front as offenisve operations once more ground to a halt. The Sixth Army faced it’s end in the bitter fighting at Stalingrad and GD were pressed into action in the Luchessa Valley, fighting in the Rzhev area.

Although better prepared for the harsh conditions than during the Winter of 1941, men still made modifications to their standard uniforms to try and keep warm. Over the top of his regular field uniform our Rittmeister wears the standard M40 greatcoat which has had a rabbit fur collar added to it for extra warmth and protection from the elements. On his head he wears the Pelzmütze fur hat. This hat started life as a standard army issue overseas cap to which the Kompanie tailor has added rabbit fur fold down flaps to cover his ears and a piece on the front for additional warmth. Embedded into this is the silver national emblem.

On his hands he wears the standard Officers Moleskin gloves and around his neck are his 10x50 Deinstglas service binoculars.

 

Grossduetschland offizier wearing Our Offizier wears:
Alter Art Feldmutze (Crusher cap), Wettermantel' overcoat - Neil Barlow

Offizier - Spring 1943

After a short but victorious campaign around Kharkhov, GD were placed into a long period of rest and refitting.

Our Offizier wears:
Alter Art Feldmutze (Crusher cap)
Rubberised cotton 'Wettermantel' overcoat
10x50 'Diesntglas' Service Binoculars
Offiziers belt with 2 pronged buckle
Grey suede gloves
Offiziers marching boots
He also carries his wooden map boad

Grossdeutschland Rittmeister - Kursk, Summer 1943

Rittmeister - Kursk, Summer 1943

From March to June the Grossdeutschland Division underwent a long period of re-fitting and reorganisation in preparation for the big Summer offensive of the year ‘Operation Zitadelle’ (Kursk).

Weather swung from one extreme to another and our Offizier has once again paid a visit to the Kompanie tailor to have this bespoke summer tunic made for him as regulation dictated that Offiziers should not only wear a tunic at all times, but have it closed around the neck. Cut from the abundant supplies of captured Russian Plash-Palatka canvas rain capes, these tunics followed the same basic design as the official field tunics, but many Officers had modifications added to suit their individual taste.

This cool, lightweight tunic features an 8 button front and slash pockets which hark back to old Cavalry tunics. It also features sewn in shoulder straps, the standard French cuffs and badge cloth collar as seen on the M36 and prewar tunics. The material was prone to fading, so green, brown and bleached out examples are all common.

On his head he wears the Alter Arte (Cusher cap) with a standard issue pair of dust goggles fixed to it.


Grossdeutschland Leutnant - Summer 1944

Leutnant - Summer 1944

The German tunic underwent many changes during the war, the most dramatic was the adopting of a shortened tunic known as the M44. Brought in under AHM. 603 the new tunic was in essence a shortened M43 tunic however it was a radical break away from tradition German uniforms of the past. As well as only having two external pockets, the tunic had only a minimal liner, only two belt hooks and did not have a collar hook, meaning it was often worn with an open collar.

As well as a tunic, a new set of trousers were produced which also proved to be a break from the norm. The Feldhose 44 had two flapped pockets on both the front and back and also featured a button down pocket for a field dressing. As well as ankle ties the trousers also allowed the wearer to opt for either a belt or braces.

Despite the austere nature of the new uniform, they proved to be very practical, especially for members of vehicle crews and surprisingly officers. Here we see a recon officer in the M44 uniform. Due to the difficulty and cost in purchasing a high quality tailored uniform at this late stage of the war, many officers simply drew enlisted men’s uniforms from the stores and had them altered or simply applied officer quality insignia, like we see here.

Although he has opted for the late war uniform, he has retained his officer’s boots as a symbol of his status. 

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