Wear of Uniform and Equipment
One of the first events that started the transition from German civilian to Landser, was the issue of common military uniforms and equipment. The following regulations govern the actual wearing, or carrying, of some
of the more common items of uniform and equipment used by the German soldier. For a correct impression, the proper wearing (and upkeep) of these items is as important as the items themselves. Learn the German names!
How you wear your uniform matters. Make the veterans proud!
M-43 Einheitsfeldmütze: This should be worn one finger above the right ear, and two fingers above the left ear. The side flaps are not to be unbuttoned unless so ordered. The traditional pinch in the crown is optional, but very common (see note below**).
M-38 Feldmütze: This was an early war cap that should be worn with three fingers over the left ear, two fingers over the rights ear, and one finger over the right eyebrow. The kokarde is centered on the nose. The M-38 should be pinched together at the top, not pulled down or you will look like a bucket-head! A safety pin can be used to pin the crown of the hat together, just like it was really done back then.
Schirmmütze (peaked cap): This is to be worn square and level on the head with the lower edge even with the eyebrows. The kokarde was to be centered on the face. If you have looked at photos of German soldiers who are wearing a Schirmmütze, you will notice that this is seldom done. Usually, it is cocked over the head just as the Feldmütze. **Note – Something that should be added here is that during recruit training, the German soldier wore a Schirmmütze and had it ingrained in him not to touch the bill of the cap. Instead, he was taught to hold the cap by the crown. This also comes from the fact that the Feldgendarmarie would come down hard on you if there was even a smudge on the brim. This habit naturally was carried over to the Feldmütze, and this is actually the reason most soldiers hats had that pinched look on top.
Stahlhelm (helmet): This was to be worn square on the wearer’s head and not pushed back, riding the neck and exposing the forehead. The liner is to be one finger above the eyebrows, with the chinstrap firmly in place but not tight enough to cause discomfort.
Feldbluse (tunic); The proper fit of the tunic should have a collar that fits two of the wearer’s fingers in it. When the wearer sits, there should be no strain on the waist or chest buttons.
Feldhosen (trousers): When the worn with the low boots, the extra material over the
calves is pulled inward at the inseam and folded forward before being secured by the
gamaschen. Typical fit should be very loose in the legs and will not bind when the wearer
does a deep-knee bend. It is proper to wear the waist of the trousers at about the navel,
NOT at the hips.
Schnürschuhe und Gamaschen (ankle boots and gaiters): Boots should be of the proper
fit, blackened, and greased. Gamaschen should be worn with the buckles on the outside
of the leg and with the straps to the rear. The bottom of the gamaschen should overlap
the tops of the boots.
Marschstiefel (marching boots): These should fit snugly around the ankle without pinching, and
loose in the calf to prevent the cutting off of circulation.
Mantel (greatcoat): When worn, this should be buttoned all the way to the top.
Koppel mit Schloß (belt and buckle): The belt will not sag or hang loose when equipment is
hung from it. The buckle should rest slightly above, or over (depending on the size of the
soldier), the bottom tunic button. The center of the buckle should be in line with the row
Feldflasche mit Trinkbecher (canteen with cup): This should be worn on the right
side, upper metal loop, of the breadbag, with the bottom strap through the bottom
leather tab so that it does not flop.
Koppeltragestell (Y-straps):The rear strap should be hooked to the belt in the center, small of
the back, not the top of your butt crack. The D-rings should be at the upper rear of the
shoulders. The O-ring should be at the center of the back. The front straps should be adjusted
so that they fit comfortably, and sit flat. When the secondary straps are not in use, they should be tucked under the belt so they do not dangle free.
Zeltbahn (shelter quarter/poncho): This should be strapped to the D-rings of the Y-straps,
on the A-frame, or attached to the center rear of the belt above the breadbag.
Kochgeschirr (messkit): This should be strapped to the O-ring of the Y-straps, to the A-
frame, or on the left loops of the breadbag.
Spaten mit Tasche (small shovel with carrier):With the short shovel, the carrier should be
worn on the left side of the body with the bayonet hung between the belt loops and secured
by the carrier strap. With the folding shovel, the bayonet should be hung forward of the strap
with the scabbard through the loop on the carrier.
Soldbuch (paybook): Habitually carried in the front left breast pocket of the tunic.
Erkennungsmarke (identity disc): Worn on a cord around the neck, or carried in a private
purchase pouch, which was also worn around the neck.
Hemd (shirt): The shirt must always be tucked in. The collar of the shirt may be worn outside of the tunic only when authorized by the ranking man.
Unterhosen (drawers): There are two loops on the inside of the trousers, which slip through the tapes on the outside of the drawers. In this fashion, the drawers (which do not have elastic in the waist) are prevented from sliding off the waist.
Socken (socks): These should be mended and without holes.
Fußlappen (foot wraps): These could be worn over the socks or by themselves. These were a favorite of the veteran landser, some of whom preferred them over socks. It does take some skill to get them wrapped correctly, where they do not press creases into your feet.
Aufschiebeschlaufen (shoulder board slides): These are to be worn over the regular shoulder boards and pushed all the way out to the fold of the board with the number facing out.
Wear of the Uniform
The manner in which you wear your uniform is very important. To wear it correctly in the field is not enough. When at an event visiting vendors, or wandering around socializing, there are a couple of details you should be aware of. There were a number of different uniform dress orders, which were set by the kommandeur in the orders of the day. The orders are:
1). Feldanzug (combat dress): Combat gear, helmet, and weapon.
This can be further separated into two categories: Montieren
(mounted) – belt, ammo pouches, bayonet, gasmask canister,
Y-straps. Demontieren (dismounted) – all standard equipment as
2). Dienstangzug (service dress): Feldmütze, and service belt with
sidearm (bayonet). This is when the event can be considered in
the “Hinterland”. For awards ceremonies, the feldmütze is
replaced with a clean, unadorned, stahlhelm.
3). Ausgehanzug (walking-out dress): Schirmmütze (if you have
one) or feldmütze is worn with waffenfrock (dress tunic), or your
regular tunic. The uniform should be very clean and neat, with no
holes or tears. Often the belt and sidearm that was worn was of
a much better quality (patent leather, shiny buckle, etc.) and
fancier. The bayonet could be the shiny, dress-style with troddel
(bayonet knot) of the proper colors.
4). Drillichanzug (work uniform): German soldiers did not always
wear their expensive wool uniforms. Maintenance and hard labor
was done in a cheaper uniform. The original issue was an off-
white linen material, which later became feldgrau, the same as
the standard uniform. Later still, the uniform was issued in
“reed-green” HBT material that was sometimes worn in combat,
especially in tropical climates. Although called “reed-green”, it
was actually more of a bluish, greenish, gray color.
5). Sportanzug (athletic dress): This uniform consisted of black
drawstring (not elastic) shorts, a white tank top with sewn-on
Heer insignia, and low, brown leather running shoes.