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NIGEL THOMAS, colour plates by STEPHEN ANDREW
The stone-grey trousers had 2mm branch colour piping when worn with the Waffenrock. The trousers were plain when worn with the field tunic, and in May 1940 the colour changed to feldgrau cloth. The traditional black leather hobnailed marching-boots, nicknamed Knobelbecher - 'dice-shakers' - were 35-39cm high from heel to ankle. They were shortened to 32-34cm on 9 November 1939 to save material.
The M1936 marksman's lanyard, introduced 29 June 1936 and awarded by the company commander, distinguished 12 levels of marksmanship. Award 1 consisted of a matt aluminium plaited cord with an aluminium Wehrmacht eagle on a shield, replaced in 1939 by an aluminium eagle above crossed swords on a shield all in a small wreath, suspended from the right shoulder-strap, hooked to the second tunic button. One to three aluminium acorns at the lower end designated Awards 2-4. For Awards 5-8 the M1939 badge with a larger wreath replaced the shield, and Awards 9-12 had this same badge in gilt. From 16 December 1936 artillery gunners wore the badge with artillery-shells instead of acorns.
The other ranks' black leather belt had a rectangular dress-quality bright aluminium pebbled buckle with the Wehrmacht eagle in a wreath with the Gott mit uns ('God is with us') motto, introduced 24 January 1936. The 84/98 service bayonet, introduced in 1898, was carried in a blued steel sheath suspended from the belt by a black leather bayonet-frog. The standard ammunition pouches were of smooth or grained black leather with matt-grey aluminium fittings.
An Artillery Wachtmeister acting as a battery sergeant major (Hauptwachtmeisterdiensttuer), wearing the M1935 service uniform with M1935 other ranks' field cap. Note his double cuff braids, indicating his appointment, and the lack of the usual report book stuffed into the front of his tunic. He wears a 1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class ribbon and the bronze SA Defence - Badge. France, May 1940. (Friedrich Herrmann)
The Walking-Out Uniform for other ranks was the same as the Parade Uniform, except that the M1935 peaked cap replaced the helmet, standard black lace-up shoes the marching-boots, and ribbons the medals. The sword, Y-straps, ammunition-pouches and rifle were omitted.
The other ranks' peaked cap, in feldgrau tricot, introduced 10 September 1935, preserved the traditional 'plate' style, although privately purchased caps often took the officers' 'saddle' style.
Otherwise it was exactly the same as for the officers' cap, except for the 1.5cm wide patent leather or vulcanised fibre chin-strap with two black metal buckles, fixed to the cap with two 12mm smooth black lacquered buttons.
The Reporting Uniform consisted of the peaked cap, field tunic with ribbons and field-quality insignia, plain trousers and marching-boats, no field greatcoat, black belt with bayonet and bayonet-knot and marksman's lanyard.
The Service Uniform for technical and senior NCOs consisted of the peaked cap, field tunic with ribbons, M1935 field greatcoat, trousers and marching-boots, black belt with pistol and holster and grey suede gloves. Junior NCOs wore the helmet instead or the M1935 other ranks' field cap instead of the service-cap, and Y-straps, ammunition pouches and a bayonet instead of the pistol and holster. Junior NCOs also wore grey suede gloves.
The other ranks' field greatcoat, introduced 10 September 1935, was identical to the officers' version but was of lesser quality and the insignia was other ranks' field-quality.
The M1935 other ranks' field cap, introduced 10 September 1935, resembled the later M1938 officers' field cap, and was developed from the M1934 cap of 24 March 1934. It was made of feldgrau cloth with a feldgrau flap, and the eagle and swastika and national cockade was embroidered in white cotton on a feldgrau backing from 30 October 1935, and on a bluish dark-green backing from 19 June 1937. Embroidery changed to silver-grey on 5 February 1939, and on 4 June 1940 to mouse-grey on feldgrau backing. The cockade was enclosed by a 4mm woollen branch colour chevron, point-up.
For the Undress Uniform NCOs and men wore the peaked cap, the field tunic with ribbons, plain trousers and marching-boots, the field greatcoat if ordered, and the black belt with bayonet. NCOs wore grey suede gloves and technical and senior NCOs the pistol and holster, the only field equipment carried with this uniform.
Major Ebcrhardt Rodt (left) and Hauptmann Finster (right) in the Corn Market, Ghent, 20 May 1940 wearing the M1935 officers' field uniform, confer in a 4 × 2 Wanderer WII staff car. Finster is wearing the M1938 officers' field cap, a 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class button-ribbon with 1939 bar, and the 1939 Iron Cross 1st Class. (Josef Charita)
The Guard Uniform consisted of the helmet or field cap, field tunic with ribbons and plain trousers with marching-boots (Waffenrock with piped trousers for Guards of Honour), field greatcoat if ordered, black belt, bayonet and marksman's lanyard. Technical and senior NCOs had a sword or a pistol and holster, junior NCOs and men Y-straps and ammunition-pouches. All NCOs had grey suede gloves.
The field uniform consisted of the helmet or field cap, field tunic with ribbons, field greatcoat if ordered, plain trousers and marching-boots. All NCOs had grey suede gloves.
Technical and senior NCOs carried a pistol and holster, and other NCOs acting as infantry platoon leaders carried the riflemen's field equipment with the map-case and, if equipped with a submachine gun, two olive-green canvas M1938 magazine pouches. Other infantry NCOs and men carried the standard riflemen's field equipment.