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Kit Details-'43
Infanterie Soldat

Raised from the pre-war paramilitary SS militia, the Waffen-SS evolved during the war years into what was almost a "parallel army," many hundreds of thousands strong and organized into more than 30 divisions--some of them the largest, best equipped, and most formidable combat formations in the Wehrmacht. From a low initial reputation among the professionals Of the Heer, they rose to become the ever-reliable "fire brigade'" committed as the spearhead of attack or the last line of hopeless defense. Their field grey uniforms were generally identical to those of the Army apart from their special insignia; and their personal equipment and weapons - although initially drawn from obsolete stocks were by 1941 standard current Wehrmacht issue.

'43 Soldat kit detail1 - M.1935 Stahlhelm (steel helmet). The characteristic W-SS camouflage cover, which was worn from the first days of World War II, was made from no less than 14 separate pieces of cloth; and fixed by an 'envelope' which slipped under the front brim, and three spring hooks which engaged at sides and rear. Like all the many patterns of camouflage smock, the helmet covers were reversible, the colors being predominantly brown on one side for autumn and winter, and predominantly green on the other for spring and summer. This is an early cover, lacking the later external loops for foliage.

2 - Only the collar of the tunic is seen above the camouflage smock. It bears the black collar patches of the W-SS: on the right, bearing the SS runes badge of the whole organization, and on the left bearing a system of rank insignia peculiar to the SS, here the two stripes of a corporal; both collar insignia were embroidered in white or silver-grey for enlisted ranks.

3 - Tarnjäcke (Camouflage smock), first tested by the W-SS as early as 1938, and later issued universally to all combat personnel. It was copied by the rest of the Wehrmacht in various ways; and, since World War II, by almost every army in the world - it was a genuinely important innovation in military dress. Of loose cut, gathered at wrist, waist and neck by elastics or laces, it was worn over the woolen uniform but under the equipment. This is a model manufactured in 1942-44, with two skirt pockets; earlier smocks had only vertical slits through which the uniform pockets could be reached. Another sign of a late-pattern smock is the series of loops sewn onto the shoulders and arms, for attaching foliage. There were about seven variations of camouflage pattern, in light and dark greens, light and dark browns, even orange and violet shades; all featured small, basically rounded patches of superimposed colors in patterns resembling leaves. Here both smock and helmet cover displays the 'spring/summer' side.

4 - M.1939 Koppelträgestell für Infanterie (infantry equipment suspenders) in black leather .

5 - M.1911 Patronentasche (rifle cartridge pouches) Standard issue black "pebbled" leather, two sets of three, holding a total of 12 five round clips of 7.92x57mm Mauser ammunition.

6 - M.1924 Stiehlhandgrenate (hand grenade).

7 - Koppel u. Koppelschloß (belt and buckle) Standard issue black leather, the Koppelschloß (buckle) of grey-painted metal bearing a design peculiar to the SS: an eagle with outstretched wings, clutching a swastika, the wings breaking a riband bearing the motto "Meine Ehre Heißt Treue" (My Honor Is Loyalty).

8 - M.1884/98 Seitengewehr (bayonet) in old-pattern black Seitengewehrtasche (leather bayonet frog; old style lacks a hilt strap).

9 - Klappspaten (folding entrenching shovel), in its metal-reinforced leather carrier, which included a loop to hold steady the bayonet scabbard.

10 - M.1938 Gasmaske und Trägbüchse (gasmask in its fluted scwarzgrün metal canister).

11 - Gasplane (anti-gas cape), here in a late type of satchel made in ordinary (i.e. non-proofed) cloth.

12 - Zeltbahn (shelter quarter) reversible camouflage in W-SS pattern, here simply strapped to the belt--a common practice when in lightened assault harness.

13 - M.1931 Feldflasche mit Trinkbecher (canteen with cup) with tinned, olive-painted cup.

14 -M.1931 Brotbeutel (breadbag) used as a "haversack" to carry the soldier’s personal items.

15 - M.1942 Hosen (trousers) in feldgrau (field grey) cloth. These had belt-loops; and tightening laces and instep straps at the bottom of each leg, introduced for use with ankle boots and web anklets, which replaced the old high Knobelbecher ("dice shakers") in the middle war years.

16 - Gamaschen (canvas anklets), with leather buckle straps.

17 - Schnürschue (ankle boots) in natural leather, first issued to some troops in 1937, replaced the high boots during the war years for economy reasons. Usually blacked in use, they sometimes appeared in natural tan.

18 - Karabiner 98k (Mauser 98k 7.92mm rifle) in caliber 7.92x57mm.

Updated: Dienstag, 29. Januar 2002