Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Displaying Your Uniforms

Displaying uniforms on mannequins can be accomplished cheaply. For years I have made my own. They can be done simply or as elaborately as you desire. The following "recipe" details how to construct a torso form. Once you have made one form, as many as you need can be easily duplicated.

The materials needed are; an old T—shirt, a bowl of water, a sponge, several rolls of craft gum tape about 2" wide (the kind that needs to be moistened in order to adhere) , a pair of large sharp scissors, and one other person to help. One of the two people needs to be the size that will fit into the uniform(s) you intend to display. Select a T-shirt that is about a size smaller or that fits tightly on this person. As a substitute I have used the knit material applied under body casts. You need a source for medical supplies of a friend at a hospital for this, but it does work better.

Place the T-shirt on the person acting as a model. Cut several strips of gum tape about two feet in length. This can be done before hand as you will eventually need quite a lot.

Have the model stand very still, arms slightly raised. This position will have to be held, within reason, for about 30 minutes. Wet a strip of tape and begin applying across the shoulders like cross-straps, moving towards the arms but not past the end of the outer shoulder. Other strips are then wrapped around the waist and stomach like belts. Finally, shorter vertical strips are applied to front, rear and sides. Build up about three layers overall. By the time you are working
on the last layer the earlier applications will be fairly stiff. At this point, using the scissors cut the T-shirt and tape vertically from the spine up to the base of the neck and as carefully as possible help the model pull backwards out of the now "stiff" form. Once free of the form, use additional tape to seal the cut. Note that at this point the two edges of the cut can be overlapped to create a more slender figure. Additional layers of tape should be applied over the entire form, particularly on the shoulders to strengthen the structure. Arm and neck openings can also be neatly finished with small pieces of tape. I usually take flour and water and strips of newsprint to paper mache a layer inside the form as this gives extra hardness. However, more applications of tape will accomplish the same thing. How far you wish to take it from this point is up to you.

The simplest mount for the torso is to make an "I" with a piece of 1" dowel and a shoulder width piece of two-by-four. The structure can be mounted in a piece of board for a stand. Using the same basic "I", some 1" by l" furring strips of wood, some nuts and bolts, and a Styrofoam head you can even turn the torso into a very complete mannequin. But that’s another story.

Scott Pritchett, "Uniform Displays", Der Gauleiter, 1990

Labels: ,

Monday, January 26, 2009

Heargear of the RAD

From 1932 until 1933, the FAD (Freiwilliger Arbeitsdienst- Voluntary Labor Service) wore a World War 1 period NCO or officer's visor cap with an earth-brown top piped in red, and a dark brown band. The visor was of the same color material with a raised protective ridge along its leading edge. The hat was generally worn with a leather chinstrap. However, on occasion, officers were noted wearing a silvered chincord with matching side buttons. NCO ranks wore a black leather chinstrap with metal fittings painted in black enamel. The insignia consisted of a standard cockade in the national colors (black-white-red). The center of this cockade was of red wool, bordered by an aluminum circle and having a serrated outer rim of black plastic or celluloid. This was pinned through the band and had centered above it the FAD badge-a spade flanked on each side by barley stalks. This badge was either of a silver color or made out of naturally colored aluminum metal.

In 1933, following the NSDAP'S assumption of power, the newly titled Labor Service (NS-Arbeitsdienst) introduced a more modern visor cap. This new cap had the traditional political pattern "saddle" form and consisted of a brownish blended woolen top and mounted on the center seam a silver metal-colored early style political eagle with black highlighted swastika. The hat band was of dark brown wool and had the national cockade pinned to its front. The piping colors matched either the top or the band depending on their location. The hat bill was in brown leather or fiber with the customary raised ridge along its edge. The whipcord indicated rank levels: a black Army-style leather chinstrap with lacquered metal fittings and side buttons was used to indicate ranks from Truppfuhrer to Oberstfeldmeister; a twisted silver whipcord was used for officers ftom Arbeitsfuhrer to Oberarbeitsfuhrer; and gilt chincord was used to designate the ranks of Arbeitsdienst-Inspektur to Staats-sekretar.


In 1933 a completely new type of cap was introduced for enlisted personnel and NCO ranks. It was a soft cap done in brownish blended wool, including the bill, and is often known as the "Robin Hood" cap. The hat body had a slight crease in the center of the crown and there were also creases in front of each of the sides, as well as a small circular metal air vent (sometimes two) in the hat body. The hat piping was the same color as the hat body and mounted along the leading edges of the cap's sides. The same piping, located approximately one inch (64 mm) from the edge of the visor, ran parallel to its leading edge. The hat band, in a darker brown wool was partially exposed where the side edges of the cap parted in the front.

The new insignia used on this cap consisted of a redesign of the original FAD silver metal badge, ie. a shovel instead of a spade (superimposed on two barley shafts the latter flanking it on the left and right of the shovel,) The swastika was black with a white outline and the edges of the shovel were outlined in red.

The popularity and unique form of this cap in RAD ranks led to its adoption in 1935 by the officer personnel. Differences existed in both piping and emblem manufcture to designate officers from other ranks. The RAD badge remained the same for enlisted and NCO ranks up to the rank of Obertruppfuhrer, while officers' badges were enameled. After 1935, non-officer ranks also wore black piping on the bill and side panels. Officers from the ranks of Unterfeldmeister to Oberarbeitsfuhrer had silver aluminum piping and gilt was used for the ranks of Generalarbeitsfuhrer to Reichsarbeitsfuhrer.

The above style headdress could also feature the unit or traditional badges of the RAD, which could be worn by all rank levels and were issued in stamped metal or enamel and worn on the left side panel of the cap.

RAD facilities, as with most other political organizations, had their own guards or doorkeepers. The headdress of these personnel consisted of a visor cap with an earthbrown woolen top and a dark brown band and with no piping. They took an Army style black leather chinstrap with metallic fittings and buttons also painted the same color. The visor was of black fiber and the insignia was composed of a national cockade on the band and with the standard RAD emblem pinned through the center seam.


The FAD style overseas cap was of a brown blend of wool with no piping and the only insignia, a national cockade.

Prior to the outbreak of the war, an overseas cap was used by personnel of the RAD which could be worn with the working as well as with the service uniforms. The standard RAD insignia of painted metal for enlisted ranks and enameled for officers was worn on the front of the cap where the side panels were joined. Tne piping colors were regulated by rank and ran the full length of the side edges of the cap. Black piping was used by ranks of Unterfeldmeister to Arbeitsmann: Oberstarbeitsfuhrer toFeldmeister ranks had silver piping; general officers adopted gilt piping.


An Austrian forage or M-43 style hat of earth-brown wool was also used during the war years by all ranks of the RAD. Its piping color followed the organizational levels described above with regard to the overseas cap and encircled the entire paneled edge of the cap. The ear flaps were secured in the front of the cap by two aluminum pebbled metal buttons. The RAD insignia was centered above the buttons on the upper cap body.


During the war, all female members of the RAD wore a brimmed hat of blended brown felt. The band was of a light grey silk to which was pinned an insignia consisting of a swastika superimposed on two barley stalks and circled by an oval. This emblem was silver-colored aluminum for lower ranks and gilt for officers.

Tom Shutt,"Dress and Field Service Hats of the Third Reich", Vol.1, H.S.M. Publications, 1981

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Heer Tropical Tunics

Hearing Bone Twill Tunic

The drill uniform was first introduced on April 1, 1933. It was made of linen, which is made from the flax plant, with what is known as a herring bone weave, hence H.B.T. It was originally worn for barracks square drill duties, indoor duties, at the firing ranges and for basic combat training.

It came with and without bottom on-flapped patchpockets. The buttons could be removed by use of 'S' rings. No shoulder straps or eagle emblem were worn with the tunic. It was issued in a white or natural color.

As a result of favorable responses from the troops, on February 12, 1940, a more practical reed green uniform was issued and the tunic was soon being mass produced for the front troops. It was identical in cut and style as the wool field blouse and was worn with rank insignia, national emblem and for the N.C.O., tresse.

It had two flapped top and bottom pockets. The buttons were detachable but later pieces may have the buttons sewn on directly to the tunic. It was lined with a silklike material, possibly rayon, and had various reinforcement on the inside of the tunic.

The 1st model had four pleated pockets with pointed flaps. It was well made and differed from the tropical tunic in that it could be buttoned all the why to the top and had a hook and eye on the collar. It also had buttons on the inside of the collar for wearing a neck liner.

The second and third model tunics, though identical in design, went through the same pocket conversions as its tropical counterparts.

Front view of a herring bone twill first model tunic. The example is in prime condition with original eagle, collar tabs and N.C.O. tresse. It has pleated upper and lower pockets and a six button front. The breast eagle was applied above the pocket flaps, this being a distinction when compared to actual AK tunics.

J.R. Figueroa, "Tropical Uniforms of the German Army and Airforce in W.W.II", Author published, 1993

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Reich Ministries

The uniform for officials of the ministries of the Reich was awarded, by an edict of the Fuhrer, on March 30, 1933. The officials of the highest Reichs and State administration were obliged to appear in uniform when they were present during state occasions or similar events at which they would serve as representatives of their office. One exception to this was that officials who belonged to Party organizations were permitted to wear the N.S.D.A.P. uniform, upon permission being granted by the Deputy Fuhrer through the Ministry of the Interior. Officials could also appear in uniform on non-official occasions such as during private or social events. The highest Reichs administration, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finance, determined exactly which officials would be permitted to purchase a uniform. The officials of the following departments here to receive a uniform:

I. Highest departments of the Reich. Prussian State Ministry, Prussian Rnance Ministry: Reich Ministers and chiefs who were equal to them, state secretaries, ministerial directors,ministerial section heads, ministerial councilors personal sides of the Reichs Ministers and state secretaries. Prussian Ministry of Finance, and also the Prussian Ministry of State were distinguished from other ministerial officials by the use of silver twisted cord piping around the collar of their tunics and greatcoats.

II. State governments (state ministries) except Prussia: State secretaries (state councilors), ministerial directors, ministerial councilors as heads of independent subdivisions.

III. Governmental departments under the jurisdiction of the Reichs Ministry of the Interior:

1. President and vice president of the Reich Department of HeaIth.

2. President of the Reichs Department for Land Survey.

3. Director of the Reichs Archives.

4. Director of the Central Locator Office for War Casualties and Graves.

5. Presidents and vice presidents of the highest administrative courts of the states.

6. Chief presidents and the city President of the Reichs Capital Berlin.

7. State Attorney Generals at the highest administrative courts of state.

8. State governors.

9. President of the Prussian Construction and Finance Agency.

10. Vice presidents of the Supreme Pressia.

11. Vice president in the office of the City President of the Reichs Capital Berlin.

12. Lieutenant state governors.

13. Vice president of the Prussian Construction and Finance Agency.

14. Provincial governors.

b) Reichs Finance Ministry:

1 . President and vice president of the Reichs Fiscal Court.

2. Chief President of Finances.

3. Presidents for Finances.

4. Heads of the Reich Schools for Finances.

5. Head of the Academy for Finances.

6. Superintendents of Revenue and Customs Offices.

c) Reich Ministry of Justice:

1. Presidents and, as far as they existed, vice presidents of the Reichs Court, the Peoples Court, the Supreme Court and Court for Patents in Vienna, the Reichs Patent Office, the State Court for Hereditary Farms in Celle and the State Supreme Courts.

2. Chief Reich Attorneys at the Reichs Court and thePeoples Court.

3. The Procurator General in Vienna.

4. Seat: Attorney General (in Austria: Chief State Attorneys)at the Supreme Coups.

5. Presidents of the State Courts.

6. Chief State Attorneys (in Austria: Leading State Attorneys)at the State Courts.

7. State Attorney General at the State Court in Berlin.

d) Reichs Ministry of Economics:

1. President and vice president of the Reichs Office of Statistics.

2. President and vice president of the Reichs Court for Economic Affairs.

3. President of the Control Beard for Private Insurance Companies.

e) Reichs Ministry for Nutrition and Agriculture:

1. President and vice president of the Reichs Court for Hereditary Farms.

2. Chief State Representative of the Ministry.

f) Reichs Ministry of Labor:

1. President and vice president of the Reichs Insurance Agency.

2. Presidents and vice presidents of the State Employment Agencies.

g) Reichs Ministry of Sclence, Education and Culture:

1. Presidents and vice president of the Reichs Institutefor Physlcs and Technology.

2. President of the Reichs Institute for Chemical Technology.

3. Curators of the universities.

4. President of the Bureau for the Testlng Of Materials.

5. Director General of the Prussian State Library.

6. Director General of the State Museums in Berlin.

7. Director of the state castles and gardens in Berlin.

8. President of the Academy of Fine Arts.

h) Reichs Ministry of Transportation:

1. Presidents and vice presidents of the Reichs Rallroad Directorates, the Reichs Railroad Construction Directorates and the Reichs Railroad Central Offices.

2. Chief Director for Construction and Directors of Constructionas heads of the chief construction administrations of the Reichs Autobahnen.

i) Reichs Postal Ministry:

1. Presidents and vice presidents of the Reichs PostalDirectorates,

2. President of the Reichs Central Postal Administration.

IV. General Accounting Office of the German Empire:President and vice president.

V. Presidium of the Reichs Parliment Director.

VI. Governor of Prussia: Director of the State Archives.

Two forms of dress could be worn by ministerial officials, and it was the responsibility of each person to inquire at the appropriate high administrative department in order to insure that all officials would be correctly dressed. For example, if an official were to attend an event sponsored by the Party, he would inquire at the highest Party office. Officials who retired from service could obtain permission from their superior department to continue wearing their uniform, but no special insignia denoted their retired status. The ministerial officials were provided with two uniforms: 1) a dark navy blue uniform, which has often been confused with the black uniform of the Foreign Office. A field grey uniform, which was also similar to the field grey uniform worn by Foreign Office officials.

The manner in which the uniform was worn denoted whether it was for a formal occasion (Service Dress 1), or an informal occasion (Service Dress 11). Service Dress I consisted of:

a) Tunic,

b) appropriate trousers,

c) greatcoat or cloak,

d) visored hat,

e) white shirt with long black tie,

f) grey or white suede gloves,

g) brocade belt,

h) dagger.

The dark navy blue uniform had a double-breasted tunic which had two rows of four embossed silver buttons. The tunic exhibited French cuffs and a pocket to each side. The flaps of the pockets were not secured by buttons, but had a loose flap. The status of the wearer was denoted by the use of sleeve insignia, collar piping, and for a time, shoulder straps. Officials of the highest state offices, the Prussian Ministry of Finance, and also the Prussian Ministry of State were distinguished from other ministerial officials by the use of silver twisted cord piping around the collar of their tunics and greatcoats.

Jill Halcomb, Uniforms and Insignia of the German Foreign Office and Government Ministries 1938-1945, Agincourt Publishers, 1984

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Leadership of the NSDAP

The Political Leadership Hierarchy and The National Socialist German Workers Party-NSDAP

The Reichsleiter

The highest body of the Party was formed by the Reichsleitern, most of whom held at the same time leading State positions. Seventeen Ministers or Reichsleitern held office, their function included, amongst others, the following:

Police and Ministry of the Interior, Propaganda, Ministry of Armaments and War Production, The Press, Finance, Justice, State Labour Service, Education of Youth, Agriculture.

Each Reichsleiter was responsible to Hitler as President, Chancellor and Leader of the Nazi Party.

Beneath the Reichsleitung the Party was organised into Gaue, Kreise, Ortsgruppen, Zellen and Blocke.

The structure of the National Socialist Party was based on forty-two Gaue (Regions) which included thirty-two in Germany proper and ten in the annexed and occupied territories. An additional Gau - the 43rd - was created to encompass those German nationals living abroad in foreign countries. This was known as the Auslandsorganization (AO).

The Gauleiter

The Gau or Region was the original basic unit of the Nazi Party's geographical organisation as well as the largest unit in the local organisation of the Party membership.

Each Gau was headed by a Gauleiter who was appointed by, and if the need arose was removed, by Hitler. The Gau was created in the early years of the Party's history and corresponded roughly in extent with the Reichstag (German Parliament) electoral districts. It had therefore a traditional as well as a functional importance. This functional importance had been increased by war-time legislation which first gave the Gauleiter the responsibility (under the Central Government) for all matters concerning the mobilisation of labour and subsequently nominated Gaue as civil defence regions, over which the Gauleiter wielded a wide and varied authority (see the section on the National Militia - the Volkssturm).

Apart from these powers, the Gauleiter was a highranking Party official who was usually also the Reichsstatthalter for a Land, and moreover controlled the Gau Wirtschaftskammer (Economic Chamber) which coordinated and supervised every form of trade and industry in the Gau. These additional responsibilities, entrusted to the Gauleiter by legislation, greatly increased the power of the Party and marked a distinct step in the gradual displacement by the Party Gaue of the traditional Linder or administrative regions.

Affiliated formations and organisations such as the SA, the SS, the Hitler Youth movement etc. had their main regional offices at Gau level and acted in close concert with the Gauleiter's office. Each of the forty-two Gauleiters worked under the direction often Landesinspekteure, nine in Germany and one in Austria. Each inspector was charged with the responsibility for carrying out Party policy within the Gaue under his direction and with supervising the work of the Party representatives in State and Provincial legislatures. These officials controlled by the central officers of the Reichsinspection constituted the liaison between the Reichsleitung and the Gaue.

The Kreisleiter

Each Gau was divided into a number of Kreise or 'Circles', each headed by a Kreisleiter. The Kreisleiter was the lowest of the paid officials of the Party. He was directly responsible to his Gauleiter and who, on the recommendation of the Gauleiter, was nominated to this post by Hitler. The Kreisleiter's office was independent of the administrative machine and he had no direct control over the Landrat (Prefect or Head of a Distict) or the Oberburgermeister of the very large town or the Burgermeister of the smaller towns, although his influence was considerable.

The Ortsgruppenleiter

Beneath the Kreisleiter was the unpaid Ortsgruppenleiter or Local Group Leader appointed to the position by the Gauleiter on the nomination of the Kreisleiter.

Each Kreis consisted of a varying number of Ortsgruppen. The Ortsgruppenleiter had control over an Ortsgruppe with a population averaging approximately 40,000 and whose territory comprised one or several Communes or, in a town, a certain district. The Ortsgruppenleiter had an office of his own and controlled up to 3,000 Party members and the organization was designed to be small enough so that he could be personally acquainted with all the members.

Most of the affiliated organisations already referred to had their lowest level representation in the Ortsgruppe and often had their local office in the Ortsgruppenleiter's headquarters.

They were expected to co-operate with the Ortsgruppenleiter who, however, had no disciplinary jurisdiction over them.

The Ortsgruppen were the smallest units in the rural areas but were sub-divided in a large metropolitan centre into Street Cells and Blocks (Zellen und Blocke).

The Zellenleiter and Blockleiter

The Zellenleiter and the Blockleiter were Party officials of the lowest rank. The latter was responsible for forty to sixty households, whether or not they contained Party members;the former controlled four or five Blocke with the assistance of Social Welfare (NS-Volkswohlfahrt -NSV) and Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront -DAF) officials.

People living in the area controlled by a Zellenleiter were encouraged to consult him, rather than higher Party officials, on any personal or technical problems. The Blockleiter was appointed to keep an eye upon the activities and political attitudes of the families under his control and to keep a card index system, containing Haushaltskarten, providing detailed information about them. Regular reports were sent from the Blockleiter to the Zellenleiter who in turn reported to his Ortsgruppenleiter and so on up through the chain of political leadership. Any unrest was dealt with swiftly and at source. Small wonder therefore that the Party found it necessary to state on repeated occasions that the Blockleiter was not employed as a Party spy.

An accurate assessment of the total membership of the NSDAP is almost impossible. By December 1943 the Party claimed that their membership included some 6,500,000 male members and 85,800 full-time officials; however a reasonable estimate of the numbers of members towards the last year of the war would have been more in the region of 7,000,000. It should not be forgotten that whilst membership of the National Socialist Party was not compulsory for the average German there were considerable advantages to be enjoyed by being a Party member. For those Germans who sought advancement in public or professional fields, Party membership was a necessary qualification for all higher governmental and professional appointments.

Brian Leigh Davis, GERMAN UNIFORMS OF THE THIRD REICH 1933-1945, Arco Publishing, 1980

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 31, 2008

Uniforms of the Reich Order Police

Tunic (Waffenrock):

The Waffenrock was of police-green wool fabric, and dark brown badge cloth collar and cuffs. The collar, top of the cuff, down the left front of the closure, and about the tail panels were piped in light green. The front was secured by eight pebbled aluminum-colored 18mm diameter buttons. The collar was secured by two or three black hooks-and-eyes. Mirror image collar patches, with the background indicating the service branch (light green for Schutzpolizei), were positioned with the leading edge 3mm back from the front collar edge. The two angled pleated patch breast pockets and two hip unpleated straight patch pockets were with scalloped flaps buttoned by 18mm diameter pebbled aluminum-colored buttons. The rear tail panels were with two 18mm diameter pebbled aluminum-colored buttons, the top two serving as belt ramps. The shoulder boards were of the sew-in or slip-on variety, and were secured by 16mm diameter buttons. In the event the shoulder boards were of the slip-on type, there was a strip of tunic fabric sewn horizontal to the sleeve headseam. The police national emblem was worn on the upper left sleeve, while any specialty insignia was worn on the lower left. Two parallel aluminum rings, each 1omm wide, worn above the top of the cuffs, indicated NCOs appointed to the position of company first sergeant (nicknamed "del' Spiess"). For details of other insignia, see the respective chapter. The cuffs were normally sewn closed at the rear seam, but tailor preference allowed for an open seam secured by the cuff buttons. With secured cuffs two 18mm pebbled aluminum-colored buttons were positioned at the rear of the front cuff panel. However, when the rear seam was open, the rear of the front panel was with two buttonholes, and the buttons were sewn to the rear of the rear panel. There was a concealed interior pocket on the left breast, and a concealed pocket at each tail panel. Size markings and possible tailor or control marks were commonly found stamped on either the right or left front interior lining.

Wartime tunics could have the side straps fitted with metal hooks passing through the side-seam opening to serve as belt ramps. A light-weight Waffenrock was also authorized for wear.

-Neck tie (Halsbinde): Black worn with white collar.

- Breeches (Stiefelhose): Standard pattern police green breeches. Riding breeches with reinforced leather seat (Reithose) for mounted personnel.

- Gloves (Handschuhe): Grey-green.

- Boots (Schaftstiefel): Black leather. Riding boots for mounted personnel.

- Spurs (Sporen): Worn by officers only in the rank of Hauptmann and above, and by all mounted officers.

- Greatcoat (Mantel): The same pattern greatcoat was worn by all ranks. Rank shoulder boards were of the sew-in variety. No collar patches or police national sleeve insigne were worn. It was of the police-green uniform cloth with brown collar piped in light green. The double-breasted coat was with two vertical rows of six pebbled aluminum-colored (gold for general officers) buttons. The concealed hip pockets were angled-slashed and had rounded unbuttoned flaps. At the left side is a slash for the sword hanger. The sleeve cuffs were indicated by a stitched seam only on privately tailored coats, and by turned-up (un-piped) cuff on issue coats. The collar was closed by a single hook-and-eye, normally backed by a piece of protective cloth. Under the left collar is a cloth tab with buttonhole, and held in place by a single green button. On the right collar was a single green button for securing the opposite tab when the collar was worn closed. At the back was a two-part cloth belt with two pebbled aluminum buttons on the horizontal. A seam ran down the center back, and with a slash from the bottom of the cloth belt down. The slash opening was secured by four evenly spaced buttons. The interior of the coat was with a concealed slash breast pocket on the left side. A large green button was sewn to the left side to secure the right side of the coat. It was quite common to find size markings and even tailor data stamped inside on the left lining fabric.

Persons authorized to wear a neck decoration were permitted to wear the greatcoat with the top two buttons unbuttoned, and the lapels folded back in order to display the decoration.Raincoats could be worn in place of greatcoats in wet weather.

- Belt (Leibriemen): Black leather with double open-claw silvercolored pebble buckle and shoulder strap for officers. Black leather with aluminum-colored box buckle and rifle three-compartment ammunition pouch on the left side, and black pistol holster on the right side. Mounted personnel were authorized to wear the mounted bandoleer. For details, see coverage of belt buckles in a later volume in this series.

- Sidearm: Sword with portepee (for details, see chapter dealing with blade sidearms in a future volume in this series). Pistol with holster (all ranks) worn on the right side.

-Medal Bar/Ribbon Bar (Grosse und Kleine Ordensschnalle): Neck orders and breast stars were also authorized for wear.

John R. Angolia and Hugh Page Taylor, "Uniforms, Organization & History of the Geman Police - Volume 1", 2004, R. James Bender Publishing


Labels: , , ,

Sunday, February 17, 2008

First Model Army Tunic

The first tropical tunic developed for the German army is what is known as the M40. The tunic was made of a high quality ribbed cotton twill material of a medium weight. It was single breasted with five front buttons, two patch style breast and two lower pleated bellows type side pockets. These were referred to as the bellows type as they grew out from the sides as they became full. All buttons seen were pebbled and were of an olive (dark green), grey or tan color, tan being the exception.

The original tunic color was an olive drab, which litterly means the green color of an olive. However, as with all dying runs, even today, there was consistency with the color on the original run, but could differ slightly, up or down, on later runs. Add to this the different manufactures. Also as with any cloth that is constantly worn, washed and exposed to a searing sun, the tunic would fade to a lighter shade.

The tunic is the most frequently seen on photos with Afrika troops, though it was used in other theatres. It had an open collar and was flared from the waist down. This gave it a smarter appearance. The front buttons were removable as they were held in place by small "S" configuration spring steel clips.

On the inside, the tunic was reinforced around the armpits and behind the top corners of the pockets. The sleeves were cuffless and had two small composite fiber buttons inside a reinforced concealed flap. The belt was held up by the help of side belt hooks which were supported by cloth straps. They were sewn inside the tunic below the armpits.

The collar tabs consisted of elongated woven patches that flared at both ends and contained three golden tan colored stripes on a light blue-grey background. The breast eagle was woven in a blue thread on a tan background. It was sewn above the right breast eagle with the lower part of the swastika stitched over the top of the pocket flap.

The following uniform is that of an officer that was slightly changed. From indications it was an officer posted to the rear and who saw no need for belt hooks and wanted to present a smarter appearance with the addition of shoulder pads. Yet it is classically a 1 st model tunic.

Front view: A 1 st model tunic with officers insignia. This tunic does not differ from the enlisted mans tunic since period officer's tunics were altered government issued tunics. Issued insignia was removed and replaced with officer quality insignia. However, officers could and did obtain tunics where insignia had not been appiied and had their private purchase insignia added. Private tailor made tunics are not included in this reference.

Typical characteristics are pleated scalloped pockets. The tunic has officer quality eagle and tabs. The shoulder boards are the sewn or type and it has a five button front. The tunics were made to be worn with an open collar and therefore, no hook and eye were attached at the collar.

J.R. Figueroa: "Tropical Uniforms of the German Army and Airforce in W.W.II", 1983. J.R. Figueroa

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 14, 2008

Uniforms of the N.S.D.A.P.

The National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) evolved from the original Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP), which was founded on 5 January 1919 in Munich. The NSDAP was the political organ which Hitler was to use to achieve total power in Germany.The political leadership (Politische Leitung) of the NSDAP was structured along para-military lines and consisted of four main levels:

Reichsleitung - subordinate directly to Hitler; the highest level of national political structure.

Gauleitung - an administrative district consisting of several Kreise, and headed by a Gauleiter (roughly equivalent to a state governor). By 1943 there were 43 Gaue.

Kreisleitung - a sub-administrative district headed by a Kreisleiter, the lowest level of paid political servants. There were 920 Kreise.

Ortsgruppenleitung - local groups as a sub-entity of the Kreise and headed by an Ortsgruppenleiter. Sub-elements consisted of Zellen (cells), and Bloke (blocks).

Hitler instituted a formal pattern of uniform rank insignia in 1933 for the political leaders to distinguish the organization and rank of the wearer. From 1933 to the introduction of new insignia in 1939, the insignia distinguished both the rank and organization.

The basis of the NSDAP was the Political Leader. Hitler was responsible for the appointment of the Reichs, Gau, and Kreis Leaders, and they, in turn, were responsible for the appointment of subordinate leaders. Dismissal from the appointed position was, likewise, the responsibility of the appointing leader.The uniforms of the political leader underwent considerable modifications over the years from 1919 to 1945. The early uniform was largely a composite of civilian and uniform clothing, but basically was made up of the brown shirt, breeches, boots, cap, and belt. It was not long before a tunic was introduced to up-grade the uniform. It was the responsibility of the political leader to purchase his own uniform. Regulations specified that if the correct uniform was not available, civilian clothes would be worn. A mixture of civilian clothes and uniform was not permitted once uniform regulations were introduced. The spread of the uniform was initially slow due to the expense. The following is a breakdown of the percentage of uniform items held by political leaders at the end of 1935: Service blouse (brown shirt) 66% Service cap (visored) 67.7% Service tunic 21 %

In May 1939 the uniform and insignia of the political leader was largely finalized. However, after the war broke out in September 1939, Hitler modified his own uniform from the political brown to a field grey, reflecting his position as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. He vowed to continue to wear this color uniform until such time that Germany was victorious.

All other political leaders retained the standard political uniform.Regulations specified that the uniforms to be worn by the political leader were as follows:

1. Service dress a. Service dress with brown shirt b. Service dress with light brown tunic c. Service dress with white tunic 2. Ceremonial dress a. Ceremonial dress with light brown tunic b. Ceremonial dress with white tunic 3. Parade dress a. Parade dress with light brown tunic b. Parade dress with white tunic 4. Walking-out dress a. Walking-out dress, single-breasted, with light brown (or white) tunic b. Walking-out dress, single-breasted white c. Walking-out dress with double-breasted, light brown (or white) tunic 5. Office dress a. Office dress with service tunic b. Office dress with white linen tunic c. Office dress with brown twill tunic.

J.R. Angolia: "Cloth Insignia of the NSDAP and SA", 1985,R.James Bender Publishing


Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Luftwaffe NCO Preparatory School

In spite of intensive recruitment for volunteers and the passing on of volunteers from the Flieger-HJ who ensured the continuation of the Unteroffizier-Korps der Luftwaffe (Airforce NCO Corps), officials of the State Ministry of Air Traffic (Reichsluftfahrtministerium) in Berlin continued to watch the development of the Heeres-Unteroffizier-Vorschulen (Army NCO Preparatory Schools, further referred to as HUVS) which had been instituted on April 1, 1940. Upon noting the initial test results obtained from these schools, it was decided that Unteroffizier- Vorschulen fur die Luftwaffe (Airforce NCO Preparatory Schools, further referred to as LUVS) should be instituted and based on the army pattern. The first LUVS opened its doors on May I, 1941 and was based upon the principles and standards of the HUVS. The first company was stationed at the city of Annaberg near the border of Czechoslovakia.

At the Inspektion fur Erziehung und Ausbildung der Luftwaffe (Inspection of Airforce Education and Training) which was led by Generalmajor Tschoeltsch, a special office was instituted and was independent in its thinking. In August 1941 the LUVS was expanded: the 1st company was enlarged, and the new 2nd, 3rd and 4th companies were stationed at Castle Hubertusburg at Wermsdorf near Leipzig under the command of Oberst Drauts.

The LUVS consisted of a staff (see below for special distinctive insignia) and 200 students. A company consisted of four platoons, two of which formed a so-called "inspection." As previously indicated, the LUVS was similar in organization to the HUVS, but with special training based on Luftwaffe needs. The goal was to prepare these students for any of the secondary Unteroffizierschulen with specific training in their later profession as flight personnel, signals, antiaircraft artillery, parachutist or ground personnel. Educators of general education were called Obelfachschullehrer. Additional technical training, such as driving of small vehicles, was not taught at the LUVS.

On November 22, 1941 the LUVS was renamed Unteroffizierschulen der Luftwaffe (Airforce NCO Schools, further referred to as LUS) in spite of the fact that the youngsters had not reached the minimum age for Armed Forces service. The commands of the schools also changed their names to Kommando der Unteroffizierschulen der Luftwaffe.l Since 1942 no new students were accepted at the airforce institution, or those of the army and navy. Annaberg/ Wermsdorf remained the only school of this type until 1942. But on April 1, 1942 new schools were instituted: LUS 2 at Stetten (Stuttgart); LUS 3 at the castle at Werneck (between the cities of Wtirzburg and Schweinfurt) and LUS 4 at Neu-Sandez in the Generalgouvernement (the Polish area). Volunteers who joined these institutions had to be at least 17 years of age.

Between January and March 1944 a number of students were transferred into the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD), but returned to Annaberg/Wermsdorf on April 1, 1944. This school was now officially designated at LUS 1 and organized just as was LUS 2, 3 and 4. The boys were "appointed" as soldiers with the rank of Airforce NCO, but the final goal of the schools was never achieved. The LUV students were put into action in late 1944 on the battlefield near Aachen (Htirtgenwald) where they suffered heavy losses. Only a few students survived the war.

Uniforms and Insignia

The uniforms worn were as those of the German Luftwaffe, but in a lighter blue. A grey-blue shirt and black tie were worn with the Waffenrock and Fliegerbluse. The collar was worn open. The collar patches were of an oblong style as used at the Lufwaffenmusikschule at Sondershausen, but in yellow and without the metal gulls as normally worn by the Luftwaffe. On the lower portion of the patch the so-called Jahrgangsabzeichen were worn, consisting of a small lace: first year one white lace; second year two; and third year three. A period photo shows two laces and a pip. The purpose of this is not known but is believed to be for Zugfiihrer. Initially, the piped shoulder straps had no number designation, but later both shoulder straps carried an Arabic number" I" embroidered in yellow. Collar patches and shoulder straps were also worn on the greatcoat.

Other basic uniform parts and insignia consisted of: a piped visored cap with regular Luftwaffe national eagle emblem and winged wreath/cockade; a field cap with regular cloth cockade and eagle emblem. They were also supplied with long trousers and probably with standard Luftwaffe equipment such as steel helmets and belts with the Luftwaffe buckle. The regular Drillich uniform was also worn. Note: a Luftwaffe eagle emblem was worn above the right breast pocket, but a cuffband, as worn by the HUVS, Heeres- and Luftwaffenmusikschule, was not instituted for the LUVS.

There was a uniform color difference for UVS 1 and 2 in contrast with UVS 3 and 4. The color for UVS 1 and 2 were of a lighter blue-grey whereas the color for UVS 3 and 4 was the regular Luftwaffe uniform color.

From August 12, 1942 the students at LUS 1, 2, 3 and 4 were authorized the wear of a grey-blue round patch with the letters "US" in matte-grey emboidery. This patch was to be worn on the lower right sleeve of the Waffenrock, approximately 1.0cm above the cuff sleeve.When the Fliegerbluse was worn it was in the same position. Students were authorized to wear this patch until they were officially appointed as NCOs. Note that the wear of this patch has not been observed in any of the available photographs.

Shooting awards (Schiessauszeichnungen), in the style of smaller lanyards worn at the HUVS, were not introduced at the LUVS, neither were the distinctive insignia (Dienststellungsabzeichen) for functions as Stuben- or Klasseniilteste (room and class students with seniority). The proper manner of addressing the students was Unteroffiziervorschiiler. It is not known why the term Jungflieger was not used, although the army used Jungschiitze and the navy used Jungmatrose. Once again, it appears that the LUS was independent in their own matters.

Officers, NCOs and enlisted ranks (known as Stammpersonal) who were assigned to an LUVS were ordered to the wear the uniform of their "old" branch. On June 30, 1941 they were authorized to wear the "UVS" cypher on their shoulder straps: for officers-gold metal; NCOs who were authorized to wear a Portepeewhite metal; all others, including NCOs who were not authorized to wear a Portepee-white embroidery. All were on shoulder straps piped with their "old" branch of color. Shoulder straps and boards could be obtained through outlets of the Kommando der Unteroffizierschulen und Unteroffiziervorschulen del' Luftwaffe at their particular Luftgaukommando. When the LUVS was renamed, a November 22, 1941 order was published which stated that the letters "UVS" were to be replaced by "US."

Research by George A. Petersen Translated by Mathieu de Wolf / Mentored by Wilhelm PBR. Saris;UNTEROFFIZIER-VOLSCHULEN DER LUFTWAFFE, The Military Advisor, Fall 2003


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The German Army Buckle

The newly introduced Heer buckle of 1935 retained the same basic design as the Reichsheer buckle, but with the introduction of the eagle clutching the swastika to replace the eagle of the Reichsheer. The eagle on the early specimen buckles faced to the viewer's right, but for some unexplained reason early in 1936 the buckle appeared with the eagle facing left. In March 1936 new regulations concerning the Reichsadler (national eagle) were introduced and in 1937 the eagle returned to the form looking right. Specimen illustrated above is the short-lived example facing to the viewer's left. Initial uniform regulations H.DV. 122 8/7 1935 required that the buckle be of a bright metal worn on a brown leather belt (the same regulations also called for a black leather belt for special occasions, but it did not further specify). It came in both the 45mm and 40mm sizes. The bright metal buckle was worn only with the parade or walking-out dress uniform.

The introductory order for the new army buckle was dated 24.1.1936 (HVBlatt 1936, Nr. 114), and further stated that the old pattern buckles (Weimar pattern) had to be used up. This use period, however, was probably short-lived because of the tendancy to show the swastika eagle as a state symbol was very pronounced. Supplement 100 of Nr. 60 of H.Dv. 122 Abschnitt A described the buckle in detail - "Dull grey buckle stamped out of light metal (aluminum alloy), 1.3mm thick, 6.4cm long and on the inner side 4.85cm wide. Stamped on the front side the Wehrmacht eagle as on the steel helmet - eagle looking to the left (to the viewer's right) - around the eagle the motto "GOTT M IT UNS" (God with us) and oak leaf branches. The color of the buckle to be the same as the color of the buttons. For privately purchased belts (lacquered or patent leather), belt buckles made of white colored aluminum alloy are allowed." The buckle described in Supplement 100 replaced a buckle of the following description -

"Dull grey buckle made of lmm thick 'neusilber,' 6.2cm long, on the inner side 4.5cm wide; shield diameter 4.2cm; Reichsadler (Weimar eagle) with GOTT MIT UNS and laurel branches. With privately purchased uniforms, a silver colored buckle." A leather "Widerhalt" (support for the right ammunition pouch) was also worn, but was discontinued, probably sometime after 1939.

It is interesting to note that, in addition to the change in the eagle, the laurel leaf wreath of the Weimar buckle was changed to oak leaves, a symbol of strength.

11(5).55c Heer: In 1936 a dull finished buckle was introduced to be worn with the service or combat uniform, but still retained the eagle facing left. However, it should be noted that the Overhoff & Cie. sales catalog dated 1935 depicted a buckle designated Dienstschloss 0718 which was finished in field-grey.

11(6).55 Heer: The Wehrmacht adler on the buckle was changed again in 1937 causing the eagle to face to the viewer's right. The bright buckle was worn with the parade or walking-out dress uniform, whereas the dull buckle was worn with the service or combat uniform. Example shown above measures 45mm.

11(7).55 Heer: Standard pattern 1937 Heer buckle with the eagle facing right, but measuring 40mm. This size buckle was only worn with the parade or walking-out dress uniform.

J.R. Angolia: "Belt Buckles & Brocades of the Third Reich", 1982.

R. James Bender Publishing

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 5, 2007

Uniforms of the Eastern Occupied Territories

Reichsministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories

The Ostministerium, or Reich Ministry of the Occupied Eastern Territories (Reichsministerium flir die besetzten Ostgebiete-RMBO), was the German governing body of the occupied Soviet territories. It was under the control of Reichsminister Alfred Rosenberg, with Alfred Meyer as his Deputy Minister.

Knowledge of the organizational structure of the RMBO is essential to better understand the rank structure. Headquarters of the Ministry was located in Berlin. Each occupied eastern area was administered by a Reichskommissariat with a Reichskommissar at its head. Each Reich Commissariat was subdivided into at least six General Commissariats (Generalbezirke), each headed by a Generalkommissar. Each Generalbezirk was in turn subdivided into districts (Kreisgebiete-up to 20 throughout the entire RMBO), each headed by a Gebietskommissar. Each district was composed of a series of villages, or Rayon, but there was no German administrative official below the district level.

The uniforms of the RMBO, like those of the Foreign Ministry, underwent continued, and sometimes radical changes.

In Order Nr. 1 dated 2 September 1941 Rosenberg specified the uniform for the general membership in the cut of the uniform be that of the official's uniform as prescribed by the Reichsgesetzblatt of 8 March 1940, but in a dark brown uniform cloth. His order directed the following:

Order Nr. 1: Concerning: Uniforms of male personnel of offices in the Occupied Eastern Territories.

Cut of the Uniform

All male personnel in occupied territories must wear uniforms of dark brown uniform cloth (giving rise to the derisive description of "The Golden Pheasants" in concurrence with the gold rank insignia). These are to be made in cut and style of the uniforms in accordance with the order of introduction of uniforms for the (Reich) officials dated 8 March 1940, Reichsgesetzblatt I p.463. Part of No. 43 of Reichsgesetzblatt 1940 part I, in which these uniform regulations were published, is added. (NOTE: The uniform pattern for 1940 was that of a double-breasted tunic.)

Personnel already sent into the occupied territories were issued uniforms of Ordensjunker (High Schools of the NSDAP) as these uniforms were available. For the same reason other personnel sent to the occupied territories in the future will be issued those uniforms. Uniforms of the new production have to be manufactured after the regulations (8 March 1940) of the uniforms of the officials.

Headgear of the new production are to be with insignia in accordance with the above mentioned regulations (8 March 1940).

All members under my authority have to wear the uniforms as mentioned in paragraph 1, above, without exception. The order of the Fuhrer for the Altreich (that territory of the Reich within the boundaries of 1939) that officials with ranks of Kreisleiter or Standardenflihrer and above have to wear their respective uniforms of the NSDAP, but not the uniforms of officials is not valid for members under my authority. (NOTE: It is interesting that Rosenberg took it on himself to countermand Bitler's order, an act that Hitler was not to allow to go unnoticed.)

Rank Insignia

Rank insignia are determined by the respective pay grades of the personnel .Shoulder boards and shoulder straps are not allowed. Rank insignia are worn on the lower left sleeve of the tunics and greatcoats. They are in gold embroidery. Rank insignia are as determined by the added summary (Annex 2).

Officials of uniform Group 1 (Reich Minister to Ministerialdirigent) wear greatcoats with lapels of dark brown velvet. Officials of the high grade, elevated and medium grade services and the employees (Angestellte) of corresponding ranks wear caps with gold cord; officials of the lower grade service, employees of corresponding ranks and personnel on salary (Lohnempfiinger-workers, etc.) wear caps with a leather chin strap.


Varying from the uniform regulations, breeches are without piping and long trousers without lateral stripes. Long trousers are with light brown lateral piping.

Belt, Pistol and Side Arms

All personnel are uniformly equipped with a leather belt (color not identified) and a pistol (thus a holster). Daggers are allowed only for those officials which were permitted to wear the uniform of officials (Beamtenuniform) according to the Uniform Regulations dated 8 March 1940.


It is intended to introduce a uniform for female members. At this time, the problem is under consideration. Orders will be issued at the proper time. (NOTE:There are no subsequent indications that uniforms for female personnel were ever introduced.)

In typical German officialdom fashion, Order Nr. 2: Zu Rk.14915 B was distributed to amplify the already clear Order Nr. 1. It again specified that "The dark brown uniform will be in cut and style of the general uniforms of officials, with corresponding insignia." That "shoulder boards are not under consideration," and that "in variance to the general regulations, the embroidery on sleeve will be in gold in lieu of silver." (NOTE: The pattern of the embroidered sleeve insignia was identical to those of the diplomatic and government officials as prescribed by the March 1940 regulations except that all pay groups prescribed to have the sleeve insignia wore that insignia in gold.)

Hitler responded "politely" to Rosenberg's "oversight" in countermanding his order. A brief letter from the Reich Chancellery was sent stating: "To the Reichsminister: The Reich Minister of the Occupied Eastern Territories issued his orders before he got knowledge of the most recent intentions of the Fuhrer. The Fuhrer wishes to see samples of uniforms and insignia before he gives his approval, and before beginning production of uniforms will be ordered. As the regulations ordered by the Reichsminister of the Occupied Eastern Territories are not in contradiction to the hitherto existing principal intentions of the Fuhrer, especially as shoulder boards are not under consideration, it is assumed that the Fuhrer will give his approval. Everything else will be left to Reichsminister." Apparently, sometime between the issuance of Order Nr. 1 and the issuance of the uniform regulations below dated 25 March 1942, Rosenberg commissioned the noted designer Egon Jantke to create uniform designs for personnel assigned to the Occupied Eastern Territories. While in an article written by him, Jantke takes all the credit for the resultant designs. It should be noted that a great deal of direction came from Rosenberg himself.

John R. Angolia: "In the Service of the Reich", R. James Bender Publishing, 1995


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Early SS Uniform

The Schutzstaffel was first organized in the early 1930's by Heinrich Himmler as Adolf Hitler's own bodyguard (Leibstandarte SS). After the SA (STURM ABTEILUNG) Blood Purge, the power of the SA was broken; and the rise of the SS began.

The early regular uniform of the SS consisted of:

A Black Coffee Can type hat, with the SS eagle insignia with the SS deaths head under it.

The early SS uniform Shirt was constructed of a rough dark gray wool or cotton cloth material. A single shoulder board was worn on the right shoulder. No Sleeve or Cuff Insignia was worn. But the regular SS Collar Tabs were worn. The buttons were pebble grained with RZM Marks.

The early SS Trousers were made of a rough dark black wool and were of the riding breech type. A black leather garrison belt with an over the shoulder strap was worn with the uniform. A black regulation tie was worn with the uniform shirt, Usually a N.S.D.A.P. Party stick pin was worn on the tie. Regulation Black riding Boots were worn with the uniform and a Regulation Nazi Party broad red arm band with a black swastika in a white circle, was worn on the upper left arm.

An SS dagger was also worn with the early Schutzstaffel Uniform. The SS dagger was worn by enlisted men and officers. The design was identical to the SA dagger with the exception of a black wood grip with SS Insignia in place of the SA emblem. The blade was etched with the SS motto (Meine Ehre Heist Treue) Translation "My Honor is My Loyalty". The enlisted man's dagger had a black leather Verttical hanger and the officer's model dagger had a double chain hanger with alternate skull and SS symbols on the hanger.


Labels: ,

Monday, September 17, 2007

Introduction to the Reich Diplomatic Service

The Reich Foreign Office

Because of the complexities brought about by the governmental structure, the interrelationship between independent ministers, and the virtually identical cut and style of the uniforms worn by the various officials; a precise understanding of the uniforms is difficult at best.

Jill Halcomb was the first to tackle this subject in her book, "Uniforms and Insignia of the German Foreign Office and German Ministries, 1938-1945". Had it not been for this work, the work that follows would have been similar to attempting to put together a picture puzzle without the picture as a guide. The uniform regulations provided by Otto Sponk concerning officials of the foreign office and the ministries were invaluable in' piecing together the intricacies among these organizations. However, these very regulations made the task, at times, even more difficult.

Selection of word description, where colors in particular were concerned, only tended to confuse the issue. For example, there was a fine-line distinction between the color black and the midnight-blue; dark brown brings to mind a chocolatebrown whereas in fact it was simply a basic brown; medium brown was more of a tan; field-grey ranged from basic grey to a brownish-grey or "earth-grey"; silver and gold referred to a color only, with silver usually being aluminum wire or silvergrey thread and gold being metallic wire or yellow Celleon; orange-brown was one of the most accurate (besides black) colors used. It is interesting to note that a concerted effort was made not to have a color in conflict with the brown color of the NSDAP, yet this orange-brown was very similar

A very basic means to define colors relative to organizations is to remember that after Hitler's visit to Rome in May 1938, and the subsequent regulations dated 30 March 1939, wear of the black uniform was restricted to the career diplomats of the foreign office, the navy-blue was worn by diplomatic and government officials (to include those assigned on temporary duty in Eastern and Western Occupied Territories), and the brown was worn by those officials assigned outside the borders of the Reich.Some other peculiarities regarding uniforms are:

1. Collar piping was not worn by career diplomats of the foreign office. It was worn by officials (except where restricted for the lowest ranks) and selected ministers.

2. Initially the buttons for all organizations were the national emblem over the oakleaves. However, when the button with the national emblem over the globe was introduced, this was restricted solely to career diplomats of the foreign office, while the earlier button was worn by all officials.

3. For a period of time previously utilized uniforms and insignia were worn simultaneously with newly introduced uniforms and insignia.

German Diplomatic History and Organization

The Reichsministry for Foreign Affairs (Reichsministerium des Auswartigen) was first established in 1871 as the Foreign Office for the newly established German Reich (Deutsches Reich) after the War of 1870/71.

The principle of "Power Politics" was established in 1866 with the defeat of Austria by Prussia. The War of 1870/71 was merely an extension of this principle in Prussia's effort at territorial expansionism. The period 1891-1900 was one of considerable overseas territorial acquisition. To 1918 there was also a massive immigration from Eastern countries to Germany to augment the waning labor pool.

With the legal election of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party in 1933 many could see the inevitability of conflict. Hitler had developed his revolutionary theories, and expounded them in his work "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle). In this work he laid the framework for "Aryan supremacy" and "Lebensraum" (living space)-both concepts wrought with conflict where Germany's neighbors were concerned. There was to develop a parallel between Germany's internal and external policies under the Nazis. This parallelism of Prussia-Germany was merged with the militaristic flavor for expansion. Hitler's own concepts in these regards allowed for the successful combination of all the necessary ingredients for territorial conflict.

Rosenberg summed up the Nazi attitude by stating" "We want to support nationism...only in those nations whose fateful developments, we believe, will not come into conflict with the views of interest of the German people... We observe that under the slogan of self-determination of nations all valueless elements could ask for freedom. All this does not concern us at all or only in so far as a farsighted German policy can use it for strengthening Germandom and the German people." The diplomatic die under the Nazis was now cast!

Shortly after his appointment as Hitler's Foreign Minister in 1938, von Ribbentrop instituted a series of internal changes in the structure of the Foreign Ministry. What evolved were two distinct groups of functionaries serving "under the same roof," but serving two different masters.

Since the government officials' duties were totally unrelated to foreign affairs, and were specifically concerned with internal government administration, and ultimately the Minister of the Interior. This situation was allowed to develop as a result of a law passed on 30 January 1934 promulgating the reconstruction of Germany. This law called for the abolition of the various state elective bodies, the transferal of sovereign power to Hitler, the subordination of the state governments to that of the Government of the German Reich, and control of the various Reich Governors (Reichsstatthalter) being placed in the hands of the Minister of the Interior.

The German policy of "equality of rights" (also addressed as "parity of rights") was largely aimed at the restrictive limitations imposed by the Versailles Treaty restricting Germany to a 100,000 man army, denying large-scale munitions and arms production, etc. Germany could not plan for expansion without the necessary military means to achieve these ends. On 16 March 1935 Germany initiated military conscription. In 1936 Germany embarked on the road to expansionism through force of arms when her army marched into the French-held Saar area of the Rhineland-an act that was preceded by a "legal plebiscite." In March 1938 German military forces marched into Austria, and in October, Czechoslovakia came under German control. On 1 September 1939, in a grave miscalculation, Hitler launched the world into world war with the invasion of Poland.

Leading up to this final act of what Hitler thought was to be the "legal" German expansionism were a series of diplomatic agreements and treaties. The German Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, traveled to Moscow to enter into a secret agreement with the Soviets that was to result in the partition of Poland. At this time a nonaggression pact was signed between Germany and the Soviet Union. In June 1941 Hitler ignored the treaty by sending his military forces across the borders of Russia. It is interesting to note that every single country invaded by Hitler had either a nonaggression pact or an assurance of peaceful intentions on the part of Germany.

With the invasion of Poland, parts of that country were incorporated into the German "Greater Reich," and the remainder established as the "Generalgovernement of Poland." As Germany expanded outward, the newly acquired conquered countries were governed as "Occupied Territories." The professional diplomats in their black or, during the war, also field-grey uniforms, and the political government officials in the orange-brown spread out among the countries of Europe and the Soviet Union. In some cases they worked closely with the pro-German leaders of these countries-Quisling in Norway and Mussert in Holland to name but two.

In 1938 Hitler made sweeping changes to the hierarchy of the diplomatic corps of the Foreign Ministry. The then Foreign Minister, Constantin von Neurath, was replaced by Joachim von Ribbentrop, Ambassador to London. He recalled the ambassadors to Rome (von Hassell), Tokyo (von Dirksen) and Vienna (von Papen), but permitted them to be retained "for further disposal of the foreign office." Von Neurath was appointed as the Ambassador to Rome. On 4 February 1938 a "secret council" (Geheimer Kabinettsrat) at the cabinet level was established to provide Hitler with consultation for foreign affairs. The council, however, never performed a duty. It was one more of many well-named institutions created by Hitler that were without real functions. Hitler maintained direct control over the Auswartiges Amt (Foreign Office) via von Ribbentrop.

What had been presumed to be a harmless show of diplomacy in the establishment of the Rome-Berlin axis was to later draw Hitler down into the quagmire of military misadventures. This was expanded on when Japan joined into the "Pact of Steel," which brought Germany into direct confrontation with the United States. Following the outbreak of the war, the question arises as to why government officials were found in the remote areas of the occupied territories. The logical progression in Hitler's scheme of conquest was that when the Wehrmacht had crossed the borders of a country, and that country had fallen victim of conquest, that country, in effect, became a state added to the Greater German Reich or to its "Sphere of influence," while nominally still "independent." As such, the country ceased to exist as a foreign power, and had no right to diplomatic recognition. As an "Ausland" state, it was administered in part by government officials.

There was an absolute distinction between the Reichsministry for Foreign Affairs and the Reichsministry of the Interior. The former was responsible for all activities outside the borders of the Greater German Reich, while the latter was responsible for all activities within those borders. However, there will be a crossover discussion regarding the officials of the Reichsminister of the Interior since those officials wore nearly identical uniforms as those of the diplomatic officials.

John R. Angolia: "In the Service of the Reich", R. James Bender Publishing, 1995


Labels: , ,

Monday, July 23, 2007

Uniforms of the Kriegsmarine

The everyday uniform of the Kreigsmarine officer was a blue, douple breasted tunic, blue trousers, and blue peaked cap. The tunic had 10 anchor embossed buttons which were gold in color, and the usual gold bullion eagle and swastika below the right shoulder. Rank was shown on this jacket through gold stripes which appeared on the lower sleeves. A white shirt and black tie was worn beneath the tunic and black shoes were also worn. The peaked cap which completed this uniform was slightly different than those worn by the Luftwaffe and Heer in that it was of a wider construction. A leather strap was worn in place of a cord. The cap insignia were made of gold bullion or yellow thread. The Kreigsmarine eagle and cockade insignia also differed from those worn by the other services, as the eagle was a bit shorter and the cockade rose higher.

The officer's summer or tropical uniform was a single breasted white tunic. It had four patch pockets and rank was shown on shoulder straps much like those worn by the army. It also had an open collar ana gold metal pin but sometimes a gold bullion eagle was substituted. Either blue or white trousers could be worn. The early jackets of this style; had a stand-up collar but in most respects the two styles were alike. A white peaked cap was worn with this uniform.

A frock coat was worn when full dress uniform was required. With this outfit rank was shown on both epilettes and sleeves. Blue trousers were worn, along with a cocked hat. For less formal occasions, this same frock was worn but epaulettes were replaced by shoulder straps. Buttons and other insignia were all in gold. Again black shoes were worn with a white shirt and black bow tie.


Generaladmiral - Admiral 1 broad & 4 regular stripes.

Admiral - Admiral 1 broad & 3 regular stripes.

Vizeadmiral - Vice Admiral 1 broad & 2 regular stripes.

Konteradmiral-Rear Admiral 1 broad & 1 regular stripe.

Kapitian zur See - Captain 4 regular stripes.

Korvettenkapitian-Commander, 3 regular stripes

Kapitianleutnant - Lt. Commander 2 regular & 1 small stripe between.

Oberleutnant - Lieutenant 2 regular stripes

Leutnant - SubLieutenant 1 regular stripe.

N.C. MONDAY", "Uniforms of the Kriegsmarine", "Das Hakenkreuz", 1971

Labels: ,

Friday, June 22, 2007

Tips on Detecting Fake Uniforms

A fake uniform is one which is simply not what it appears to be: It is not a uniform made for the Wehrmacht, Party etc. but is a modern made uniform made for the purpose of deceiving the collector. A made-up uniform is one which is put together from original and/or reproduction parts, with the insignia added after 1945 by a collector or dealer for the purpose of deceiving the collector.

It is almost impossible to write out a list of things to watch for in buying a uniform, but there are some guidelines which I would like to bring to the collectors attention. By using these and by applying some common sence a collector with little experience can guard himself from being swindled.

1. HAVE A REFERENCE LIBRARY: If you are going to collect SS uniforms, you should own some good books on the subject. How else are you going to learn and where can you go for quick information? No collector can have too many references.

2. IF YOU ARE NOT AN "EXPERT" YOU SHOULD KNOW ONE: When you are in doubt, ask. Get a second opinion before you spend your money.

3. KNOW YOUR SOURCE: If the item is coming from a "vet" then there is little to worry about. If it is being offered by a collector or dealer consider the reputation of the person. Is he known to be honest, or does he have a reputation of selling fakes and pulling tricks on unknowning collectors.

4. LOOK AT THE OVERALL APPEARANCE OF THE UNIFORM: Does it appear to be 30 years old? Even if in great condition it should not have that "brand new look and feel. Smell it! Strange as this may sound, your nose can detect age very well. Does the tayloring agree with what you find in your references? Is the style, cut and color correct? If your first impression is negative -- watch out!

5. INSPECT FOR LABELS: Remember, these can be fakes too, but a well marked tunic with correct labels is better than an unmarked one. Are the labels proper to this particular item? Are the RZM tags (if any) correct for this type of uniform? Did the person whos name appears inside the tunic, actually exist and did he hold this rank and belong to this unit? Use your references!

6. ARE ALL INSIGNIA PROPER TO THIS UNIFORM?: Check to make sure all the various insignia are correct. THIS CAN BE THE BIGGEST TIP-OFF TO A FAKE OR MADE-UP: First verify that the insignia is all original. Then check to see if they are all proper to this uniform. Do the collar tabs match the shoulder boards? Is the breast eagle proper to this type uniform? Are the buttons correct? Does the uniform have the proper size and color of piping around the collar?

7. LOOK FOR INSIGNIA ADDITIONS AND DELEATIONS: Check the way the insignia is sewn on the uniform, does it appear to be original or has it been changed? Is there evidence of any insignia being removed? Does the Waffen-SS tunic show signs of once having an Army breast eagle?? Does all the insignia look to be about the same age, or does the sleeve eagle look new while the tunic is well worn? Are the boards mint and the tabs shabby? Is the quality of all insignia about the same and is it the quality you would expect from a private or a general?

8. IS THE PRICE "TO GOOD TO BE TRUE?" If so--it probably is: No collector or dealer is going to offer you a $500. item for $200., unless there is something he knows about it that you don't: And what he probably knows is that the item is a fake. Beware of any "bargains". However, remember that some greedy crooks will hold out for an original price even though they are selling a fake.

I've stood by and wathced a collector (including myself) rationalize away all the flaws and signs of a fake simply because he "wants" to believe the item is real. If you have been looking for a certain item for years, it can be hard to have to tell yourself that the gem you just found is a beautiful fake. You want it to be real, so you convince yourself it is, regardless ofall evidence to the contrary.

I realize that the list is far from complete and that following these suggestions will not insure that you won't be fooled. But by using these guidelines your chances are greatly inproved over simply "taking the sellers word for it"!

Bob Treend, "Anything they could make then - They can make now", Der Gauleiter, 1976

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Marine SA

Marine SA units were first formed in 1929 to provide pre- and post-military training to men designated for assignment to or leaving service with the navy and merchant marine. Each SA-Gruppe contained at least one SA-Marinestandarte without concern for the geographic proximity to sea ports. Inland sreams and waterways were the training grounds for such units. Prior to 1934, Naval SA units were merely a part of the regular SA, but with a specialized charter. In 1934, following a significant reorganization, Marine-SA units were given an independent status within the overall structure of the SA.

Even from the earliest days, the Marine-SA wore a distinctive uniform and insignia. The first uniform consisted of a dark blue visored cap (instead of the standard pattern SA kepi), dark blue breeches or straight pants, brown boots with breeches), and the standard pattern SA brown shirt. A completely distinct uniform was introduced for wear by members of the Marine-SA in 1934, the dark blue service tunic was introduced, and the color of the footwear was changed to black.

While most of the insignia worn by members of the Marine-SA remained consistent with those of the regular SA, the device worn on the navy-style visor cap was distinctive to the Marine-SA.

In early 1933, a special cap device consisting of an elongated oakleaf wreath with the political leader rosette (black swastika in the center of the red/silver/black rosette) was worn on the black mohair band of the visor cap· Enlisted personnel wore the insigne in gold metal, while officers had the insigne in gold hand embroidered wire.

Sometime in early 1934, the insigne was modified, with the political leader's rosette being replaced by a silver political-style national emblem with a 38mm wing span. The national emblem was placed in the center of the gold wreath, and the insigne moved from the center of the mohair band to the center front of the upper cap.

In mid-1934 the insigne was again moved back to the front center of the black mohair band, where it remained.

The third and final insignia pattern was introduced sometime in 1938 or 1939 and remained until the end of the war. The cockade was a gold oakleaf wreath with a round SA rosette in the center, and positioned at the front center of the mohair band. At the front center of the cap top was the late pattern national emblem.

J.R. Angolia: "Cloth Insignia of the NSDAP and SA", 1985. R.James Bender Publishing


Labels: , , , ,

Monday, June 11, 2007

Introduction to Luftwaffe Uniforms

Uniforms of the Luftwaffe

By Hitler's decree of February 26, 1935, the Luftwaffe was to be officially the third branch of the Wehrmacht as of March 1, 1935. The new Luftwaffe was faced with the problem of uniforms. .. . they wanted a distinctive uniform from those of the other two branches of the Wehrmacht (Heer and Kriegsmarine) and also wanted a clear separation in dress of military and civilian flyers.

Preceeding the March 1 date, all those in secret training for the Luftwaffe wore the basic Deutscher Luftsport- Verband uniform with minor variations. After carefull examination of production costs of an entirely new uniform it was decided to utilize the basic grey blue DLV uniform with newly designed Luftwaffe insignia. Among these were the Luftwaffe national emblem (a flying eagle clasping a swastika), a new and extensive use of Waffenfarben, some changes in the DLV collar rank insignia and the adoption of the Army's shoulder strap ranking system.

With the passage of time, a number of various uniforms evolved in cut and design which were designated to cover any occasion Luftwaffe personnel would encounter. Among these were:

(a) Flying Service Uniform for flying personnel
(b) Field Dress
(c) Service Dress
(d) Guard Uniform
(e) Undress Uniform for officers and NCOs which lead (on duty)
(f) Reporting Uniform
(g) Parade Dress
(h) Walking-Out Dress
(i) Informal Full Dress (day) for officers
(j) Formal Full Dress (day) for officers
(k) Informal Full Dress (evening) for officers
(l) Formal Full Dress (evening) for officers (m)Informal Full Dress for NCOs and men
(n) Formal Full Dress for NCOs and men
(0) Summer Uniform for officers
(p) Sports kit

Roger James Bender: "Air Organizations of the Third Reich-The Luftwaffe", 1972. R. James Bender Publishing


Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Organization Book of the N.S.D.A.P.

As a reference for collectors of Nazi militaria, the Organisationsbuch del' NSDAP is generally among the most valuable, both in information and in cost. Even for the collector with little or no knowledge of German its illustrations of uniforms and rank insignia make it a worthwhile purchase.

There are, however, several editions of the work available. The information in the 1936 edition, for example, is limited indeed when compared with the last or 1943 edition. As a rare book, however, the 1936 or first edition is more valuable.

Since no English language version of the NSDAP bibliography is available, this article is intended to serve as a checklist of the various versions of this book, both for contents and for value.

The 1936 Organisationsbuch der NSDAP

This is the first edition, and was written during the years 1934-35.
It is bound in red cloth with silver lettering. Unlike all later editions, this first edition has the words 'Organisationsbuch der' NSDAP' printed legnthwise on the spine. The front cover has the national eagle facing left and the title'. The title pase lists the publisher as 'Zentralverlag der' NSDAP., Franz Eher., Nachf., Munchen. It is dated 1936, but no quantity is listed. Records show the printing figure to be 50,000. The uniform illustrations are not professional. They are crude and without detail. The rank insignia, however, are well done. This is the only edition that illustrates the rank insignia of the Parteigericht or Party courts. These rank insignia were eliminated in late 1936. Later editions do, of course, list the organization of these courts, but the judges no longer had special insignia.

The 1937 Edition: (Second and Third Printings) The second edition is also bound in red cloth, but the title is printed horizontally on the spine. The 1937 exists in three printings. The first was a printing of 50,000 marked 2.nd Edition. The second was a variation of the 2.nd printing adding some peripheral information. It is rubberstamped with a 3 over the original printed ed. number. The third 1937 variety is the 3.rd printing, an issue of 50,000 copies. Uniform illustrations in the 2.nd and overstamped 3.rd are similar to the 1936 version. The 3.rd printing has more professional drawings which show greater detail.

The 1938 Edition: (Fourth and Fifth Printings) The fourth and fifth printings are almost identical in binding and content to the 3.rd edition of 1937. Total printing figures for the year were nearly 150,000 copies. (Note: While the 5.th printing is dated 1938, it was printed in early 1939)

The 1940 Edition: (Sixth printing) the sixth printing is bound in red cloth with silver printing as earlier editions. Like both 1938 printings, it illustrates the second style rank insignia for Politische Leiter. It is, however, of a larger format than earlier editions, containing more detailed orsanizational information. It runs slightly more than one-hundred pages longer than earlier editions.
Illustration quality is excellent. The 1940 Org. book was the first to illustrate NSFK uniforms and insignia.

The 1943 Edition: (7th printing) The last printing of the work, the 1943 edition is bound in red cardboard with a red cloth backstrip. It is the most complete edition, both in information and in illustrations. It is odd, however, that even at this late date the authors had not yet include the Waffen-SS, even though it was directly under party control as a branch of the SS. This is the most sought after edition.

The 1943 Edition: (Post-war Reprint) Bound in reddish-brown cloth with silver lettering, this reprint has the title printed lengthwise on the spine. On the original 1943 it was done horizontally. The reprint is a fair reference. But has little resale value. The color plates are somewhat disappointing since the colors have been inaccurately reproduced. The publishier also saw fit, for God know what reason, to add photos from various other books which have no relation to the text whatsoever. It is, at best, a poor substitute.

Thomas Reid: "The NSDAP Organization Book", "Der Gauleiter",1977

Labels: , , , ,