In 1939, the German military were producing the best looking uniforms by far. At the start, of WWII the German military was successful on all fronts. By 1942, they had defeated and occupied the majority of Europe and North Africa. Although they had been victories during the early years of the war, they would eventually be defeated and Europe and North Africa was liberated by 1945. The German tunic however, would march on.
The German military at this time, would rarely differentiate between dress uniforms and combat uniforms. The German Soldier was expected to wear the same uniform into combat as he would to a wedding ceremony, one might say both are equally as intense. It was not until the end of the war that the German military began to produce separate uniforms for combat and ceremonies. For this reason, the German uniforms were not only designed for combat, but they were also made to look presentable for ceremonies. If you read my earlier post on the American M-1941 jacket, you will see how this was a sharp contrast to the rational of the American military at this time.
The German military would go through four different styles of tunics, each one progressively getting cheaper to produce. This was due to their limited resources towards the end of the war. As you can see from these different versions of the tunic, there are some simple design features such as the four pockets, the collar and wool material that many designers have taken and added to their own pieces.
Note: These examples are reproductions from At The Front
As you can see, collars went from green to the same material as the rest of the jacket. Pockets went from pleated to patch and then by the end of the war, they had eliminated two of the lower pockets and the lower section of the jacket. These changes were due to limited resources caused by the Allies’ effective air raids damaging Germany’s military industrial complex. It also did not help that Germany’s factories were being captured with every mile the Allies advanced into occupied Europe.
You’ve seen the actual pieces, now its time to see how seventy years ago the Soldiers wore them.
This photo clearly breaks down the differences between the early models.
The four pockets, the collars, the wool material and the epaulettes, features designers have all borrowed to create their own pieces. Here are just a few examples.
The designers have clearly taken inspiration from the German tunics of WWII. These vintage German designs do not come cheap. Luckily, with all vintage military items there are companies who make reproductions. The company featured at the start of this post is one of those companies. I have listed them below with their prices. The differences in quality really comes down to the wool thats used, so the higher the price the better the quality.
At The Front $115.00
1944 Militaria $115-385.00
Hessen Antique $85-90.00
During WWII, these tunics struck fear into the populace and armies of Europe and North Africa. However, for the German Soldier it was something they wore with pride. Designers and labels have taken some great features, such as the four pockets and the collars of this uniform, and incoporated them into some beautiful warm wool jackets both for men and for women. German design has always survived the test of time and this is just another excellent example.