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Basic Combat Equipment


Gas mask - cases & gas sheets
gasmaske - blechbüchse & gasplanebeutel

Even after the threat of gas had long subsided, the gas mask canister was retained and used to carry extra rations (i.e., wine, schnapps, tabbaco etc.) Three models of gas mask canisters were used by the Germans, the primary difference being the depth of the lid. They consisted of a robust, rather heavily-fluted steel canister with a hinged lid. The lid was held closed by a spring-loaded latch fitted with a web pull strap. Below the lid, on the right side in relation to the latch, were two small brackets to which an adjustable web carrying sling was fastened. In line with these, at the canister's bottom edge, was a third bracket with a short web support tab and belt hook. Issued in field grey, it was not unusual for them to be painted different colours in the field; various shades of green, brown and tan (especially in North Africa, along with sand colour). They were sometimes painted white or whitewashed in the winter.

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Gasmask and canister for continental use Canister painted in 3-color sheme

The normal method of wear for infantrymen prescribed that the case be positioned over the bread bag (worn on the right rear) just below the belt, with the lid to the wearer's right, though it was common for it to be worn with the lid to the left. The sling was worn over the left shoulder and adjusted to maintain the case in an almost horizontal position. The short support tab near the bottom end was hooked to the belt between the bread bag's left loop and centre support tab. Machine gunners wore the lid facing left; drivers and motorcyclists wore the canister horizontally on the chest with the shortened sling around the neck and the lid to the right. (In practice it was worn whichever way was most comfortable.)

The gas sheet was a treated protective fabric or paper sheet intended to protect an individual from blistering agents such as mustard gas ( its only practical use became as a field shroud for front-line dead). Regulations, however, required it to be carried, so it was retained. The sheet was originally carried in a small dark bluish green rubberized fabric pouch. Tropical versions were in a tan colour. From 1942-43 they were also made in field grey and olive green untreated linen. The pouch's flap was secured by two small snaps, each with a pull-tab; on the back were two small fabric loops.

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First pattern gas sheet Second pattern gas sheet

The pouch was worn on the gas mask case sling, over the chest, secured by the loops on the back. This caused it to bounce around, so it was often reversed and worn between sling and chest. A more popular method was to secure it to the gas mask case with rubber bands or small leather or web straps. Orders prohibited this practice, as the pressure of the bands or straps eventually damaged the sheet. In December 1942, the canister sling's free end was extended through its upper bracket and fastened to the belt support tab's bracket. This provided a strap running the length of the case to which the gas sheet pouch could be attached to the back loops.

Tent quarter

The M1931 tent quarter (or Zeltbahn ) was a triangular, water-repellent cotton gabardine twill multi-purpose shelter, ground cloth and rain cape. On one side was printed a dark pattern, with a light pattern on the other side, both generally referred to as the "splinter" pattern. many late-war tent quarters were printed with the dark pattern on both sides. A limited number of reed green or light tan (both sides) were issued for use in North Africa, but the Continental version was widely used as well. The Zeltbahn was also issued in SS-pattern camouflage

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Heer zeltbahn in splinter pattern The triangular shape and tent stakes + rope

The triangle measured 203 cm (about 6 ft. 7 in) on each side, with the base measuring 250 cm (about 8 ft. 2 in). The ends appear to have been "squared off to a depth of one inch. On the short edges were 12 buttonholes and buttons; these were used for attaching additional tent quarters to construct various sized tents. On the base edge were six small grommets, through which a drawstring was passed, and buttonholes; well above the buttonholes were six buttons. The buttons and holes at the base were for fastening the tent quarter around the wearer's legs when used as a rain cape (though this rarely appears to have been done). In the centre was a slit, closed by two overlapping flaps, for the wearer's head; when originally adopted, a pointed detachable hood was issued, but this was soon deleted. In each corner of the triangle was a large grommet for tent stakes or rope.

The tent quarter could be carried by attaching it to the support straps, combat pack, or back of the belt. There was a severe shortage of replacement tent quarter in 1944 and issue was limited to selected field units. Limited use was made of captured equivalent shelter quarters and capes, especially square light olive drab Soviet models, with or without hoods.

Gloves & mittens

The soldier was equipped with gray wool gloves for protection against cold hands. As with the socks the size is indicated with white rings near the edge. After the first devastating winter in Russia the German army began development of heavy, padded, reversible winter uniforms which included mittens and was introduced for wear in late 1942. Standard issue, padded, water proofed, cotton/rayon construction, reversible winter mittens, featuring the screen rolled, splinter pattern camouflage in shades of tans, brown and green, to one side and white to the other side. Mittens have the addition of a non-padded trigger finger to each.

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Gray wool gloves with size rings Fieldgray wool mittens
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HBT mittens Motorcycle mittens

Pilot/aircrew flight gauntlets
Flugzeugführer/ Flugzeugbesatzung handschuhe

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Luftwaffe pilots and aircrew personnel utilized a wide variety of gloves and gauntlets as an integral part of the protective flight gear. The gloves/gauntlets were manufactured in wool and leather and came lined and unlined and they even had an electrically heated pattern.


Scarve & toque
sjaal & balaclava

The knitted toque was a basic winter issue item and was designed to fit snugly to be worn under the steel helmet in the field. Grey knitted wool/rayon blend open ended "tube" style toque with folded over hemmed ends. One end of the toque would be pulled over the head and secured around the neck while the other end would be secured around the wearers face

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Scarves with blue stripe balaclava

Dust goggles

Wind protection goggles came in a wide variety of models and styles and were utilized by assorted personnel for protection from the elements.

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Originaly intended for U-boat use General use (grey leather) General use (brown leather)
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Used by pilots and motorcyclists Afrika Korps celluloid goggles (4 in a bag) Mountain trooper goggles
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Early Wehrmacht (Reichsheer) motorcyclist goggles Early Wehrmacht (Reichsheer) motorcyclist goggles

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