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.

 

Grossdeutschland Feldwebel - Autumn 1939 picture copyright Neil Barlow

Feldwebel - Autumn 1939

As Germany crossed the border into Poland this Feldwebel wears the typical unifom of the 'Early War Period', consisting of:

Uniform:
M35 Stahlhelm with breadbag strap used for camouflage
M36 Feldbluse (tunic) - note the characteristic bottle green collar and Kragenbinde collar liner
NCO's pebbled aluminium belt buckle and belt
M36 Steingrau trousers
Marching (jack) boots

Equipment: (Front)
Torch (fixed to shoulder board)
Rubberised Gascape pouch worn across the chest
6X30 Dienstglas (binoculars)
MP34 Ammunition pouch
Maschinenpistole 34 (MP34 submachine gun)
MP34 Bayonet
Entrenching tool

Equipment: (Back)
MP34 Cleaning kit
Gasmask tin
Rolled up Zeltbahn shelter quarter
Mess tin
Breadbag
Water canteen

Stick grenade (tucked in boot)

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.

WW2 German Enlisted mans & NCO'S Drill & Work uniform (Drillich/Arbeitsbluse) Summer HBT uniform

EM/NCO'S Drill & Work uniform (Drillich/Arbeitsbluse)

Prior to the start of World War 2 and until the existing stock ran out, the off white denim drill & work uniform was issued to all recruits as part of their basic equipment.

The tunic (Drillichrock) and trousers ((Drillichhose) were easily washable and were issued as a fatigue uniform with the intention of keeping the soldiers woolen service uniform in good condition. Produced from an unbleached denim or herringbone twill material, they were intended for use during activities such as work details, weapons cleaning, drill practice and so on. They featured two patch pockets on the jacket, five buttons to the front and a collar hook which was to be kept closed at all times. To complete the look, an M34 side cap and equipment belt was also worn. The trousers also had two pockets built into them.

During warmer spells, these loose fitting, shapeless jackets and trousers were favoured by troops in the field and used as an un-official Summer uniform. Due to the impracticalities of white in the field, a 'reed green' model came into production during the French campaign, which was eventually replaced mid war by the denim or 'HBT' field uniform which was produced in the same material, but based on the woolen service tunics with 4 pockets with flaps, insignia and shoulder straps.

Grossdeutschland Kradshutzen - Summer 1941 in Kradmantel picture copyright Neil Barlow

Kradshutzen - Summer 1941

As German forces crossed the start line into Russia and Operation Barbarossa got underway this motorcycle soldier wears clothing typical of the period, consisting of:

M35 Stahlhelm
Private purchase goggles
Kar98 rifle slung across shoulder
The rubberised 'Kradmantel' motorcyclists coat (worn in foul weather)
Gasmask tin with Gas cape pouch attached (worn across the chest for the comfort of the pillion passenger)
'Got Mitt Uns' buckle and belt
Kar98 ammunition pouch

P38 side arm
Marching (jack) boots

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.

GD Schütze Eastern Front 1941

GD Schütze Eastern Front 1941

Typical of what was worn in the early stage of the war on the Ostfront - this Schütze wears the following kit:

Uniform:
M40 helmet
M40 'Feldbluse' (tunic)
M40 trousers
Marching (jack) boots

Equipment: (Front)
Leather Y-Strap support braces, webbing belt and Gott Mit Uns buckle
K98 ammo pouches
Gas cape pouch (worm across chest)
The standard issue K98 Mauser bolt action rifle

Equipment: (Back)
K98 bayonet
Straight handle entrenching tool
Gasmask tin
Breadbag
Water canteen
A-frame with bag
Rolled up Zeltbahn shelter quarter
Mess tin

 

WW2 German MG34 Gunner - Russian Front Winter 1941 picture copyright Neil Barlow

MG 34 Gunner Eastern Front 1941

Our gunner wears kit typical of the first winter spent by GD in Russia. It was thought by High Command that German Troops would be holding and refittiing in cities by this point in the Barbrossa campaign - not counting on a Winter war the Wehrmacht was initially ill prepared for fighting in tempeartures dropping to -40 degrees or more. Due to the lack of warm winter clothing, soldiers had to improvise with camouflage schemes and make the best of what was available, he wears:

Uniform:
White washed M40 helmet
M40 Greatcoat with a torn bedsheet over the top used as make shift camouflage
Marching (jack) boots

Equipment: (Front)
Army issue Grey Scarf
100 round belt of ammunition for the MG
Rubberised Gascape pouch worn across the chest
Leather Y-Strap support braces, webbing belt and Gott Mit Uns belt buckle
Maschinengewehr 34 (MG-34 machine gun & 50 round drum magazine)
Hardshell P38 holster & P38, secondary weapon
MG34 gunners tool pouch

Equipment: (Back)
A-Frame and small equipment bag
Wool Blanket
Mess tin
Rolled up Zeltbahn
K98 bayonet
Straight handle entrenching tool
Gasmask tin
Breadbag
Water canteen

Grossdeutschland Wachtmeister Autumn 1942 picture copyright Neil Barlow

Wachtmeister - Autumn 1942

As Russian troops massed on the the join of the Vasuga and Volga rivers, Grossdeutchland were thrown into the battle to hold the nearby town of Rzhev at all costs.

Uniform:
M42 Stahlhelm covered in mud for camouflage
M40 Feldbluse (tunic)
NCO's pebbled aluminium belt buckle and belt
M40 Feldgrau trousers
Marching (jack) boots

Equipment: (Front)
Bandage worn around the neck (to prevent collar rubbing)
Torch (fixed to shoulder board)
Carl Zeiss 6X42 (binoculars)
MP40 Ammunition pouches
Maschinenpistole 40 (MP40 submachine gun)
Kar98 Bayonet & Entrenching tool


Equipment: (Back)
Y-Straps
A-Frame and small equipment bag
Rolled up Zeltbahn shelter quarter
Short wire cutters
Gasmask tin
Mess tin
Breadbag
Water canteen

Map case

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.

 

WW2 german wearsWaffenrock, NCO's bayonet knot & Schirmmutze picture copyright Neil Barlow

Unteroffizer in parade uniform

As an alternative to the Waffenrock, this Unteroffizer wears the 'other ranks' field tunic. These tunics were available to buy as a private purchase item and were of a better quality material and finish than the service uniforms issued by the Army.

They featured French cuff's (ideal for carrying weekend passes in) and a more pointed and deeper collar that the regular service tunic. It was however made from the same material as seen on the M36 tunic.

Insignia was Officer quality with the collar litzen, breast eagle and script on the cuff title all woven aluminium wire onto wool.

He also wears awards including the Ostmedaille ribbon from his second button hole, Infantry assault badge and War Merit Cross. Across his right shoulder can also be seen his Army Marksman Lanyard.

He also wears his pebbled aluminium belt buckle bearing the 'Gott Mit Uns' motif, black leather belt, ceremonial bayonet and as an indication of his rank he wears the NCO's bayonet knot which is attached to the bayonet frog (see inset picture).

On his head he wears the Schirmmutze which was made from the same material as the service tunics and piped (in this case yellow) to show the soldiers branch of service. The caps had a shiny black peak and chin strap and featured the national emblem and cockade in white metal.

The outfit is finished with M36 pattern Steingrau trousers and boots.

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

Armoured Car Crew

Armoured Car Crewmember - Spring 1943

Most German Panzer Divisions employed reconnaissance units in one form or another and the Grossdeutschland Division was no exception. Typically the vehicles used for this role included the light 4-wheeled Sd.Kfz.222 and the 8-wheeled heavy Sd.Kfz.231, 232 and 233 series cars. Lightly Armoured in comparison to their Panzer counterparts, instead gaining the advantage of speed and manoeuvrability since engaging the enemy is not a prerequisite of the reconnaissance unit’s role.

Like all Armoured Car Crewmembers this Schütze of the 1st Schwadron Kradschutzen Battalion GD (1./Kradsch.Btl.GD) is authorized to wear the Heer Black Panzer Wrap uniform or Sonderbekleidung with his reconnaissance status being denoted by his golden yellow Waffenfarbe (piping) that symbolizes his historical links to the old Hussar Cavalry traditions. His headgear is the M34 Feldmütze enlisted man’s overseas side cap with the Soutache piping again in golden yellow. No webbing is required or practical for that matter in the tight confines of his Armoured Car; however a Walther P38 sidearm is carried for personnel protection seen here in a leather holster. His low boots are of the Panzerwaffe issued rubber-soled type with no metal studs to aid grip on the sloped armoured hull. He is seen here carrying supplies for his Car to replenish used fuel stocks and ammunition for the 2cm KwK38 Flak Cannon in the form of spare magazines held in the metal transport case.

By spring 1943 Grossdeutschland’s Divisional status was upgraded to that of a full Panzer Grenadier Division in time for the Kursk summer offensive. The squadrons of the Kradschutzen Battalion GD were increasingly deploying heavier Armoured Cars and Sd.Kfz.250 half-tracks, thus now in its true reflection their designation was changed to that of a Panzer Aufklaerungs- Abteilungen (Pz.Aufkl.Abt.GD). Interestingly the 250 half-track crewmembers in the 2nd Squadron were only authorized to wear the standard Heer field grey uniforms unlike their kamaraden here in the 1st Squadron.

Illustrated in detail; Sonderbekleidung or Heer black Panzer Wrap uniform featuring golden yellow Waffenfarbe of the Recconnissance troop. With it is a 20 round magazine for the 2cm KwK38 Flak Cannon. Although originally intended as an Anti-Aircraft weapon it was soon found to be a formidable weapon in the ground support role and fitted to many Armoured Cars. Along side this is a portable paraffin fuel heater for vehicles for use in cold weather and the standard sidearm the Walter P38 9mm semi automatic pistol.

Obergefreiter Wachtregiment Berlin / Grossdeutschland - Autumn 1943

Despite the restrictions imposed by the treaty of Versailles, on June 24th 1921 the Reichsheer founded the Kommando der Wachtruppe. The guard troop consisted of 7 infantry companies, later expanded to 8, was tasked with ceremonial duties such as guarding the Chancellor’s office and the offices of the Army High Command. As they were the Army’s premier representational unit, it was made up from the very best soldiers from the German army and their standards of drill and dress were of the highest order.

In recognition of the unit’s elite status, each soldier bore a gothic “W” on his shoulder boards and received an extra Groschen (silver penny) per day by way of duty. On June 12th 1939, the Wachtregiment Berlin changed its name to Infanterieregiment Grossdeutschland, with this the elite unit we all know came into existence.

Despite the strains of war on the German economy, the Wacht Regiment Grossdeutschland still maintained an impeccable standard of dress. Here we see an Obergefreiter of the aforementioned unit who despite being issued the later M43 tunic has managed to smarten the tunic with the addition of green felt to the collar and early war insignia. The gothic “W” was replaced with the “GD” shoulderboards by order on the 6th of October 1942.  As well as this he has been very lucky in managing to obtain a set of marching boots or “Knobelbecher” (Dice shakers) as the men often referred to them. Despite the strict regulations, such attempts to smarten up the late war tunics were common place  in an effort to maintain the prestige of the Wehrmacht.

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.


Schütze Rifleman Ost-Front: Winter 1943-44

Schütze Rifleman Ost-Front: Winter 1943-44

Here we have a classic depiction of a typical Wehrmacht ‘Schütze’ rifleman and member of the Panzergrenadier Division ‘Grossdeutschland’ as he appears on the Ost-front during the harsh Soviet winter of 1943-44. He’s wearing the by now standard Wehrmacht issued 'Wintertarnanzug' camouflaged padded parka, hood and trousers set, currently reversed to the white-snow side for the wintry conditions.

Ordinarily these garments would be seen camouflaged side out to suit the cold autumn/spring environment and feature either a simple mouse grey finish or the now classical Splinter-A pattern camouflage outer. However for the Germans in these snowy conditions, the major problem encountered with these types of garments comes with heavy soiling to the white reversible side with the consequential loss of the camouflage effect and the laundry issues associated with washing and drying these heavily padded garments in winter! The Soviet’s used simple single layer white pull-over snow suits to get round this problem which are simple to clean or replace entirely in the field. The Germans themselves later realised these mistakes and issued their own pull-over white snow suits and with some padded set manufactures foregoing the white side altogether for a non-reversible grey rayon lined sets.
Our featured grenadier is armed with the universal Mauser k98 7.92mm bolt action rifle, a rugged and robust weapon in even in the most untrained hands, worn here with the standard three pocket leather ammunition pouches set.

Uniform:
M42 'Stahlhelm' (Helmet) White washed
M40 'Feldbluse und Hosen’ (Tunic & Trousers)
Low ankle boots with canvas gaiters
Grey knitted Woollen Gloves
'Wintertarnanzug-Tarnungs Jacke' in Splinter-A (Padded Parka)
'Wintertarnanzug-Tarnungs Hose' in Splinter-A (Padded Trousers)
'Wintertarnanzug-Tarnungs Kopfhaube' in Splinter-A (Padded Hood)

Equipment: (Front)
Leather Y-Strap support braces, (Koppeltraggestell für Infanterie)
Leather Equipment belt and 'Gott Mit Uns' belt buckle
Mauser K98 rifle
K98 Leather ammunition pouches (Patronentaschen 98K)

M1928 Stick grenade (Stielhandgranate M24)

Equipment: (Back)
Gasmask tin and gas cape pouch (attached) (Gasmaske M30 mit Blechbüchse)
Zeltbahn-31 Splinter A; Rolled up Shelter quarter
k98 bayonet on leather frog (Seitengewehr 98K mit Seitengewehrtasche)
1st Pattern Entrenching tool (Schanzzeug mit Trager)
Mess tin (1931 Kockgeschirr)
Breadbag (1931 Brotbeutel)
Water canteen (1931 Feldflasche und trinkbecher)

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. 

Grossdeutschland Grenadier Eastern Front: Winter 1944-45

GD Grenadier Eastern Front: Winter 1944-45

Typically by this late stage of the war on the Ostfront- this veteran GD Panzer Grenadier is armed with the Sturmgewehr 44 (assault rifle) firing a shorter 'Kurz' 7.92 x 33 cartridge and a Panzerfaust 60 disposable anti tank weapon, issued as part of the Wehrmacht's latest weapon developments program in an attempt to boost the firepower of the individual Soldat. He also wears improved winter garments 'Wintertarnanzug' designed to protect him from the harsh winter conditions common to the eastern front, which feature by this late stage in the war the Wehrmacht latest camouflage pattern 'Sumpfmuster-44' (marsh-pattern) on a non-reversible grey rayon lined padded parka and trousers.

Uniform:
M42 'Stahlhelm' (Helmet) with raw edge
M43 'Feldbluse' (tunic)
M43 Keilhose (trousers)
Low ankle boots with canvas gaiters
'Wintertarnanzug' in Sumpfmuster-44 (Padded Parka)
'Wintertarnanzug' in Sumpfmuster-44 (Padded Trousers)

Equipment: (Front)
100 round steel cased ammunition belt for the MG42
Leather Y-Strap support braces,
Leather Equipment belt and 'Gott Mit Uns' belt buckle

StG 44 Canvas ammunition pouches
K98 bayonet on leather frog
M1928 Stick grenade

Equipment: (Back)
Canvas combat Rucksack to carry personal belongings with correctly placed Gasmask tin and gas cape pouch (attached)
Rolled up Zeltbahn shelter quarter
Mess tin
Breadbag
Water canteen

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