Kit Details- Summer '44
The Allied troops who fought their way ashore on D-Day faced variable resistance, some of the German units in the coastal defense zone being of less than impressive quality. But the liberators were faced, within hours, by some of the most formidable divisions in the Wehrmacht: first-class Waffen-SS armor and infantry, rushed to the new front as Hitler's "fire brigade." Bitterly resisting the Allied advance through the massive hedgerows and small banked fields of Normandy, and throwing in savage counterattacks as long as they could scrape together even a weak company and a handful of tanks, the Waffen-SS made the Allies pay dearly for every yard of French soil. Their appearance represented an ad hoc mixture of the classic uniform items with camouflage garments, and ersatz personal equipment.
1 - M.40 Feldmütze called the "Schiffchen" (side cap) in feldgrau (field grey), adopted in 1940, with the special Waffen-SS shape of eagle-and-swastika insignia, and the SS death's-head replacing the Army's national cockade, the badges embroidered in silver-grey on black. This cap style had been replaced a year before by the peaked type; but was still seen quite widely, particularly among veteran soldiers.
2 - Hemd (Shirt) with collar, and two buttoned, flapped breast pockets, introduced in place of the old collar-less type in 1943. It could be worn with a tie and with tunic shoulder straps when in shirtsleeve order.
3 - M.40 Feldbluse (field blouse), officially field grey, although the use of recycled wool and the high rayon content in the cloth made for color distortions. Note the simplified pockets, and field grey collar, characteristic of mid to late war. The right hand collar patch bears the runes of the SS; the left one bears a silver metal pip, identifying the rank of Unterscharführer (junior sergeant); and the front and bottom edges of the collar itself bear the silver-grey Treße (braid) of NCOs from this rank upward. On the left upper arm is the SS-pattern eagle-and-swastika badge; on the forearm, the cufftitle of the 17. SS Panzer-Grenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen. On the upper right arm is an award badge indicating the single-handed destruction of an enemy tank with an infantry weapon, e.g. a Panzerfaust. On the right pocket is the embroidered star of the German Cross in Gold award, unusual for an NCO. A whistle lanyard emerges from his pocket.
4 - M.1939 Koppelträgestell für Infanterie (infantry equipment suspenders) in black leather .
5 - Fernseher (binoculars), 6x30, painted in the dull ochre (called "ordnance-tan" by collectors) used for German vehicles and many items of equipment from 1943/44.
6 - M.1924 Stiehlhandgrenate (hand grenade).
7 - Patronentasche pair of triple magazine pouches for the MPi.40 submachine gun, in canvas with leather fittings, with attachments for the belt and suspenders. The left hand set has a small external pocket for the magazine loader.
8 - 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).
9 - Rubber lens protector for the binoculars.
10 - Zeltbahn (shelter quarter) reversible camouflage in W-SS pattern, here simply strapped to the belt--a common practice when in lightened assault harness.
11 - Binocular case in dark brown bakelite.
12 - M.1931 Brotbeutel (breadbag) used as a"haversack" to carry the soldier's personal items.
13 - M.1931 Feldflasche mit Trinkbecher (canteen with cup) with tinned, olive-painted cup.
14 - 1 - M.1935 Stahlhelm (steel helmet) with SS camouflage cover--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.
15 - Tarnhosen (camouflage trousers) Straight-leg trousers in camouflage material, of the so-called "Dot-44" pattern, adopted by the Waffen-SS only; these were the trousers of the complete 1944 camouflage uniform, issued with a jacket cut in the same shape as the woolen Feldbluse. The uniform could be worn over the wool uniform, or by itself, instead if the weather was hot. Mixed uniforms, as here, were not uncommon in the field.
16 - Strumfe (socks) Standard issue socks, here rolled over the trouser leg to "blouse" them into the boot. This was a popular late-war method of blousing instead of using the Gamaschen.
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 also appeared in natural tan.
18 - Maschinen-Pistole 40, usually referred to as the MPi.40 (MP-40 sub-machine gun) in 9mm caliber. The MPi.40 is usually incorrectly referred to as the Schmeisser'; Note folding skeleton butt. This was one of the finest sub-machine guns to appear during the war, and was eagerly sought after by soldiers of both sides.