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Wehrmacht dress & general tunics

At the opening of the 20th Century, the major European armies were still clad in the traditionally bright coloured uniforms that had been developed between the Middle Ages and the end of the 19th Century. By the end of the First World War, however, British scarlet tunics had given way to khaki, as had Belgian black; French red pants had given way to the more neutral horizon-blue, and the German Army had firmly established its soldiers in Feldgrau (field grey) - actually a warm shade of green. The German Army went through many uniform styles during the First World War, and these served as the model for further development between the wars. By 1939, two major types of dress uniform were prevalent, and the Feldbluse (Field Blouse) was firmly established as field wear.

The Dienstrock was Introduced for wear in the Reichswehr during the short lived Weimar era. Replaced by the Feldbluse in 1935, it was given (like many uniform components) an unspecified wearing out period, though it was restricted to walking out and dress wear rather than field wear. This was a high quality garment made of fine gabardine wool in blue-grey.

Parade tunic - Dress tunic.

The M35 Dress Tunic was introduced for all ranks in June 1935 for wear as walking out and parade dress with the piped stone grey long pants. Nice quality, field-grey wool/rayon blend construction tunic features an eight button front closure with dual metal hooks and eyes at neck. Tunic has no exterior pockets. Tunic has ornamental wool waffenfarbe down the full length of the left front closure panel and from the waistline to the bottom edge of the right front closure panel, around the top edge of the simulated French cuffs, at the forward edge of the lay down collar and either sides of the reverse tail skirt vent. Simulated French cuffs and lay down collar are both constructed of dark blue/green badge cloth. Blue/green badge cloth cuffs feature dual machine woven silver/aluminum litzen on vertically rectangular waffenfarbe wool bases with a button to the top of each. Top edges of simulated French cuffs have wool waffenfarbe piping. Tail skirt vent has two sets, of vertical, parallel, ornamental buttons to each side and two belt ramp buttons to top edge. Interior is fully lined in grey rayon with off-white striped sleeves. Lining has a horizontal slash pocket to left breast and two vertical slash pockets to reverse of tail skirt vent. Manufacturing of the waffenrock was discontinued in 1940.

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Officer Parade waffenrock (pic) Officer sword "Prinz Eugen"

The only item that was worn purely for display purposes was the aiguillette. Manufactured from silver cording, it was worn only by Army officers, officials and Generals on certain ceremonial occasions. The adjutant's aiguillette, considered a mark of office, was simpler in design, and was made of dull silver cord. Both were worn suspended from the right shoulder, carried across the right breast of the uniform and held in position under the tunic flap by the second button down from the tunic collar

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Officer Dress waffenrock. The same as above, but with straight stone grey trousers and low dress shoes instead of stiefel (war-time picture)

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Oberfeldwebel artillery waffenrock. Note that he wears an officer schirmmütze which was a common usage for senior NCO


White summer tunic
weisser Rock neuer Art

General-officers had a variety of warm-weather clothing that could be worn. There were two types of Summer Jacket, which were available to all officers for wear as a Walking-Out uniform or as Mess Dress. The New Style Summer Jacket was white, with deep turn-back cuffs and a high neck turndown collar. There were two box pleated pockets with three-point flaps on the chest and two box pleated patch pockets with slanting pocket flaps on the skirt. There was a single row of eight buttons down the front and two on the back set at waist level, and buttons on the pocket flaps. Only shoulder straps were worn, and the eagle-and-swastika on the chest was of the pin-on type, and removeable. Unlined interior has small reinforcement panels to the reverse of each front pocket top edge and a small horizontal slash behind the left hip pocket for the dagger/sword hangers. The new pattern white summer tunic introduced on July 9TH 1937 to replace the earlier Reichswehr pattern white summer tunic. These white summer tunics were an optional uniform item for Officer’s and were only intended to be worn between April 1ST and September 30TH, as a walking out uniform, Informal dress, or for viewing or participating in certain sporting events.

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Officer summer dress with stone grey stiefelhose (war-time picture) (pic2) The officer of a pioneer regiment wears the dagger attached on a cross belt.

The Old Style Summer Jacket was similar, but had no turn back cuffs and two slash pockets and only six metal buttons down the front. These jackets were only to be worn from 1 April to 30 September. Both versions were seen throughout the war. During the Balkans campaign, the standard tunic was worn. When serving in North Africa and later in the Mediterranean, the standard tropical tunic was worn. It should be noted that Feldmarschall Irwin Rommel wore a privately purchased M1940 tropical field tunic; this was not a widely-available garment.

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General officers 1939-1945

Service dress

General officers were allowed a degree of latitude in their choice of service dress. The most commonly seen was the officers' version of the M1933 tunic. Of much finer quality, and often of private purchase, the most notable feature was a set of turned-back cuffs, which reached to mid-forearm. (These cuffs were often used as a convenient form of extra "pockets". Papers that were thin enough were often tucked into the cuffs, rather than tucked in a pocket or held in the hand.) General-officers had a bright gold bullion or golden-yellow hand-embroidered thread breast eagle-and-swastika on dark green facing cloth on the right breast. The collar insignia were on a bright red facing cloth, in bright gold bullion or hand-embroidered thread. (After 1939, they were in matt yellow yarn picked out in dark yellow or buff thread). Gilt buttons were used on all pockets. As well, General-officers sometimes wore the M1937 officers "piped field tunic". This was of the same cut as the M1935, but with the edges of the jacket front, collar and tops of the turn-back cuffs piped in the wearer's waffenfarbe.Also seen were the M1920 or M1928 service tunics, with respectively six and eight buttons, diagonally flapped concealed hip-pockets and Waffenfarbe piping in the same manner as the M1937.

Trousers or riding breeches were worn with all versions of the tunic (though most seem to have preferred breeches and riding boots). A very distinctive "broad red stripe" was worn on both breeches and trousers. The stripe was in fact made up of two strips of red material each 33mm wide stitched along the outer leg, and positioned 4mm away from, and on either side of, a single line of red piping 2mm thick set into the seam of the trousers or breeches. Officers were required to wear the M1934 belt with "Sam Browne"-type shoulder strap. Both were a light reddish brown, with a thin line or groove pressed around the edge of the belt and shoulder strap. The buckle was open-faced with two prongs, in matt aluminum. The two-piece shoulder strap was 1 inch (25 mm) wide and fitted with a hook at both ends; these attached to two stud-secured leather belt loops with "D" rings positioned on the belt at the left front and the right rear, with the strap running over the right shoulder. Though principally ornamental, the belt did serve to support any attached equipment, usually a sidearm (pistol, dagger or sabre) and map case in either black or reddish brown leather. During the Polish campaign and after, officers were known to dye these belts black in an effort to make themselves less conspicuousAs the war progressed, some General-officers, particularly those commanding front-line divisions, began to make changes which made them look more like their men. The M1943 and, to a much lesser extent, the M1944 tunics were worn by General-officers, though with the gold shoulder straps. (Some also did away with the distinctive collar patches, some did not.) The M1944 tunics worn by General-officers were generally of private manufacture, and of much higher quality. There were also some variations, such as a fly front and pointed flaps added to the pockets. As well, the standard infantry equipment was also worn. General-officers had three types of headgear to choose from, which seem to have been worn indiscriminately in the front lines The officers peaked cap (Schirmmutze) seems to have been the most widely worn. This was a conventional peaked cap with a shiny black leather peak and leather chinstrap. The crown was field-grey, the band dark green. Gold piping followed the crown seam and both top and bottom edges of the band. A gold metal straight-winged spread eagle and swastika emblem was pinned to the front of the crown; below it on the band was a white metal oak leaf wreath surrounding a raised, painted metal cockade. (From 1 January 1943, these were replaced by an identical version in gold.) For officers, the leather chinstrap was replaced by a double cord in heavy plaited gold cord and small gilt cap cord buttons.

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TThis general officer has the field tunic with stone grey trousers and red lampassen. The schirmmütze is of the ealier type with the silver cocarde and eagle instead of the later golden version. (war-time picture)

There was also the "old style officers cap" (Offizierfeldmutze alterer Art). It was of similar shape to the peaked cap, but noticeably smaller in outline. This soft and battered-looking cap was quite popular. It had no chinstrap or cords, though officers occasionally added the gold cords. The peak was either of unstiffened black leather or – less commonly – covered in field-grey cloth. It is not known how widely this was worn. Less commonly worn was the sidecap (Feldmutze). This was of field-grey with a turn-up all round, the upper edge of the turn-up being "scooped" at the front. On the front of the crown was a small version of the breast eagle in gold on green. Below this was a roundel or cockade in (from the outside in) red, white and black, woven on a dark green diamond-shaped backing. Usually an inverted-V (^) of piping in the Waffenfarbe was sewn to the turn-up, enclosing the diamond and butting its upper edges; the lower "legs" of the (^) extended down to the bottom edge of the cap. Gold piping was sewn round the edge of the crown and along the edge of the cut-out "scoop" in front of the turn-up section.

The standard-issue stahlhelm was worn when in the front lines. However, a special lightweight version was available for wear on ceremonial occasions. This was made of light metal, and were deemed suitable for wear by elderly officers.


The Generals' greatcoat was identical in cut to that of the officer's greatcoat, but of much finer quality. It was double-breasted, of field-grey cloth with a dark green falling collar, and reached to the mid-calf at least. All buttons were in gilt metal, and the lapels of the coat were folded back to reveal bright red facings. There was a cloth half-belt with two buttons in the rear of the waist, and a central rear vent, hidden in an inverted pleat, which reached from collar to hem. There were two slanted slash pockets just below the waist, with rounded flaps. The cuffs had deep turn-backs. Uniform shoulder-straps were the only insignia worn. As well, General-officers also wore a grey-green leather greatcoat, usually purchased privately. Details varied from manufacturer to manufacturer. Also, a variety of animal-skin greatcoats and fur-lined greatcoats were worn during the winter.

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Generals' greatcoat with gilt buttons and bright red lapels. The schirmmütze has according the 1943 regulations a gilt band, gold metal straight-winged spread eagle and a gilt metal oak leaf wreath surrounding a raised, painted metal cockade. (war-time picture)


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