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Dan- Peterson

© 1995 Daniel Peter on Printed in Singapore

This edition published in Great Britain 1995 by Windrow & Greene Ltd. 19A Floral Street London WC2E 9DS

Designed by John Ana rasio/Creative Line

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ISBN 185915 0055


Introduction Heeres-Splittermuster 31 Luftwaffe-Splittermuster 41

Po t- War.: Bundesgrenzschutz-Splittermuster Post-War: Bunde wehr-Splittermuster

Post- War: Foreign "Splinter" Patterns Wehrmachts-Sumpfmuster

Po t-War: Bundesgrenzschutz-Sumpfmuster Post - War: Po t- War: Foreign "Mar h" Pattern Post-War: Po t-War: DDR-Strichmu ter Post- War: Foreign "Raindrop" Patterns Glossary of Terms

3 5 17 23 25 28 31 50 53 58 63 64

The u e of camouflaged clothing by military force i by no mean' a recent phenomenon. Histcr ic al account of painting, or otherwise coverin o metallic armour for ambushes or nigh! time operations date to the an.cient world. The practice of medieval hunt men wearing ubdued shades of brown or green i.~ al a well attested; and indeed the wearing of pecialized garments for the purpo e of concealment can be documented in even earlier culture . Early European explorers recorded that ome Native American hunter concealed their bodie with the skins of animal in order to approach their prey more closely; and it .... ould eem logical that the arne tribesmen would sometime have employed similar practice in their intertribal warfare.

I n the modern age of gun powder, however, it could be said that the Germans were the pioneers in the u e of uniform of colours cho en for concealment, and a early a the 17th and 18th centuries. Thi was probably not from any direct tactical intent but an indirect result of their being the fir t to recruit into their military establishment rifle-equipped hunt men or Jiigers, who naturally retained element of their traditional forest green hunting clothing in the uniforms they wore.

The German had no monopoly over the concept of camouflage, however. The mid- to late 19th century brought improvements in firearm that made the practice of infantry advancing shoulder to shoulder with paradeground precision an inadvisable, even. suicidal manoeuvre .. In the la I decade of the century most major armies adopted khaki field uniform for colonial operations.

All waning countries devi ed some sort of camouflaged clothing during World \ ar I for the use of sniper and other personnel particularly expo ed to danger on the static, close-range battlefields dictated by trench warfare; but it i not believed that any of the e examples were pattern-printed,presumably because wool - difficult to print with multi-coloured pattern - was the predominant material for field uniforms. Nevertheless, it is evident that the concealment value of multicoloured camouflage patterns wa under tood: military equipment of all kinds, from trench helmets to battleship , was painted in disrupti e coloured patterns by rno t of the combatant force . Credit can be. given to (he German, however, for producing the fir tprinted



Some of the earliest examples of German "camouflage" uniforms were those worn by 18th-century rifle-equipped lagers, who were recruited from among the hunters and foresters of various heavily wooded states; this reconstruction

is an e 'ample of a Hessian Jager of the 1770$. Forest green remained limited 10 a minority oflight troops. however; during the [9th century 1110 '1 German line infantry, and particularly the increasingly dominant PIll ian Army. retained

dark blue service uniforms.

In [910 the Germans adopted Feldgrau, "field grey", for all line uniform (though Jiigers were initially i sued a slightty greener shade). Various slightly differing shades of greenish grey remained the standard for German woollen combat uni forms through both World Wars. In the Second

W rId War camouflage pattern printed clothing upplemented, but never replaced the field grey uniform in combat.


camouflage-patterned cloth - the elaborate geometric "lozenge" patterned fabric used [0 cover the visible surface of many German aircraft wa generally factory-printed in trip and attached to the frame matched edge to edge like patterned wallpaper, rather than being laboriou ly painted by hand.

Though it ha been frequently claimed in other work, however. credit cannot be given to the Germans for being the fir t to provide their soldier with factoryproduced, regulation i ue items of pattern-printed camouflage cloth. It wa the Italian Army of the 1920s which fir t i ued the troop with a combination shelter half and poncho made of cotton duck factory-printed in a camouflage pattern. Intere tingly, this same Italian camouflage cheme ha per i ted, virtually unchanged into the 1990 , making it undi putably the world' mo t succe fuJ camouflage pattern. (Italian material wa also used exten ively by German forces in World War 11.)

Nevertheless, it was the German armed force which made the mo t innovative and ex.tensive use of camouflage-printed uniforms and equipment during World War II. and the e pattern and items are the primary ubject of thi work and its companion volume.


Organisation and typology

The first aim of this project has been to establi h a definite typology for German camouflage pattern and garment, ince much confusion over their designation exists among post-war collector. Appropriately I believe the terms used here for the variou camouflage pattern described are those employed by the German force them elves, though even here there i often no univer al nomenclature for a gi ven pattern. Just a elements of medieval armour are known by French terms it i only appropriate that German terminology be used in di cussing German camouflage clothing. Throughout this book German terms will appear in italics, and a glos ary of term can be found at the end of the book.

For variou reason the author ha al a included in this book camouflage pattern and clothing of the postwar German military establishments. Primarily, this is because my intent is to document the entire history of German camouflage- printed uniforms. Secondly, they are included for the benefit of uniform collectors. ince post-war item are often confu ed with (and ometimes unscrupulously sold as) the World War 1I equivalents. For the same reason rirnil ar foreign camouflage pattern obviously inspired by German originals and occa ionally confused with them, are a1 a included here. Finally, it hou ld be noted that post-1945 camouflage clothing can be interesting and collectable in its own right: indeed, some of the post-war German items are actually rarer than many of World War Il vintage.

This first volume of a two-part erie deal with what es entially can be can idered Wehmlacht pattern together with those po t-war German and foreign variations obviou ly inspired by the World War II original. The term "Wehrmacht" doe not mean the

German Army (Deut ches Heer), but i rather the collective term for the German "national" armed force (Army, Navy, and Air Force), as opposed to the Nazi "political armed force - e entially. the Waffen-SS. Whether by accident or design (though conveniently for the format of the e book ). the whole field of

German camouflage clothing pattern can be fairly

evenly divided into two broad categories based on the

characteri tic of the original Wehrmacht and Wafjen.SS pattern ..

"Wehrmacht" camouflage, whether of the Heel" or Luftwaffe, i generally characreri ed by an overprint of intermittent lines or "raindrop " (referred to in German as "Strich "), a feature notably absent from all the pattern developed by the Waffen.-SS. TI1Ue, this fir t volume will examine all German camouflage clothing in which the "Strich" element form some part of the

cheme. The econd volume (Europa-Militaria .0.18) will examine the camouflage pattern of the Waffen-SS, as well a' the derivative po t-war patterns from which the "Strich" elements are ab ent. Thu included in both the Wehrmacht and SS volumes will be pattern of the We t and former Ea t German annie based on their irnilarity to the World War II original.

To some this may seem a rather confu: ing or di jointed way of pre enting the : ubject; but, after considerable thought, the author believes it to be the best way to arrange the material for anyone but the most experienced collector .By mean of this ystem of clas ifying camouflage patterns by their physical characteri tic (rather than by the identity of the primary u ers) anyone can u e these book to identify an unkown camouflage-printed item of probable German origin with reasonable ea e.

As with all other books ever written on German World War II military clothing, there will invariably be collector among the reader who will raise the cry that some of the items pictured in these two volumes are copie . The difference between the e book and previou work, however, is that the bulk of thi collection wa per onally obtained by the author 15 to

20 years ago often at very nominal prices, from

Turki h used-clothing dealers at the Frankfurt • flea

market". A it wa related to me, the e military item were gleened from among tons of Ie aluable rag from a cloth recycling plant in nearby Darmstadt.

Longtime European deaIer in German miliraria are .~B.::;,I..;;" probably as familiar with this once-important source as

they are today with the eastern European ource which ha e come to the fore ince the raising of the Iron Curtain. A difference i that, with the ridiculou ly high value of the e garment today many of the e eastern European "bargains" are extremely clever fakes.

Finally we would point out that all the photographs published here were taken. pecially for thi book; and a caption reference to e.g. "a German paratrooper in Sicily, 1943 'mean "the uniform appropriate to thee e troops at this date, worn by our model in a photographic recon truction".


the Zeltbah n was in fact commonly worn a a camouflage garment, as atte ted by both photographic evidence and interviews with veterans.

The Zelrbahn appears to have been the only item of standardized camouflage to be issued to the German Army in over a decade. It wa probably in the spring of 1942 (no pecific order can be located) that the German Army began to j, ue , as a set, a pullover "shirt' (Tarnhemd] - in English parlance a smock, the German u age pre urnably being due to the pullover design of contemporary German uniform shirt - and a helmet Cover (Tarnh el muberzug}, made of a lightweight herringbone twill linen drill material. One side of both the helmet cover and the mock were printed in the same plinter pattern a the Zeltbahrt 31, while the rever e side were left in natural white a a

now camouflage.

Till et wa unque tionably inspired by the early camouflage garments of the Waffen-SS,. which predated them and which they closely resembled in

An exceptionally brightly coloured example of a Heeres Zeltbahn dated 1940. ormally the Zeltbahn has only one large grommet in each Corner; thi one is unusual in having five e)[iJ1I grommets, two all each side and

one in the centre. bottom which is reinforced '" i til leather; all seem to he factory-filled. Although the buttons and grommets appear to be painted white ihi i imply the effect of ox idation on the zi nc,

he earliest of all World War II German camouflage patterns wa ordered in June 1930 to be printed on the new triangular tent-poncho

combination (Dreieckszeltbahn} which would replace the rectangular grey Viereckige Zeltbahn the following year. Thu wa born the "Zeltbahn 31". de tined to become po ibly the most widely produced camouflage-printed "garment' in history. Virtually every soldier of the World War 11 German Army, Air Force, aval Artillery and various Police formations was is ued the Zeltbahn 31 in the 0- called HeeresSplitter camouflage pattern, and it mu t con equently have been manufactured in it· million .

Thi Splitter ("splinter") pattern wa obviou ly in. pired by the many similar types of 'dazzle" camouflage painted on hip and other equipment in World War 1. Although the angular and sharply contra ring element of the design might .eern an ineffective camouflage cherne, in reality at any distance the angular splinter effect disappear in a blur of subdued colours.

Some writer have maintained that the Zeltbahn 3] wa not intended to be worn as a camouflage garment, but rather to be u ed only as a shelter, or worn as a poncho in wet weather. Whatever the original intent,

COIl truction. Both Am1Y and SS smock were cut very full to be worn over the field grey uniform, with vertical la h opening in the tor 0 ide for acce to uniform pocket beneath. Both were aL 0 collarle S, to allow clear vi ibi'lity of the collar de ices of the uniform jacket worn beneath. There were minor difference: the Army mock wa ecured at the wai t by a drawstring, and at the cuff by buttons, whereas the SS model used elastic throughout. The Army helmet cover was secured by a simple drawstring, as opposed to the mote complicated SS ystem of rocker clips and spring.

The only other regulation is ue garment to be manufactured in the Heeres-Splitter 31 pattern wa the Wintertarnanzug of padded jacket, matching trou er , eparatein u lated hood and mitten , often but not

invariably reversing to white. Thi outfit wa the re pon e to the bitter Ru ian winter of 1941, and wa approved for manufacture in April 1942. For the winter of 1942, the writer believes that only a small proportion of these suits were produced in camouflage pattern the majority being made in either a neutral

'rnou e" grey or traditional greeni h "field grey" reversing to white.

Although the e appear to be the only tandard issue clothing item - produced in the Heeres-Splitter pattern, a myriad of non-regulation garment and helmet covers 6 were "field-" or "tailor-made" from Army Zeltbahn

( bove) Detail of a very early Zeltbahn bearing a unit marking and the date 1936. Between 1931 and 1945 this item remaine-d alrno t unchanged in material and construction.

material; the e included everything from the crudest field expedient to excellently tailored camouflage ver ion of the service dre tunic, seen in photographs worn with complete in ignia. Parachuti ts' jump smocks and Luftwaffe Field Divi ion jackets manufactured from Zeltbahn material are in all Likelihood post-1945 forgeries though there i a remote posibility that ome could be original: a factory making these specialized Luftwaffe garment might ha e run out of the regulation cloth and

ub tituted Zeltbahn material a an expedient. There do not appear to be any archival photographs to confirm thi po sibility, however.

(Right) This photo illu trates the lei/balm 3 J as worn in wet "cather or for concealment, The lei/hahn on the right is a rare example in which one side rs printed entirely in shades of hrown: the reverse ide has normal coloration.

(Bl!low) Detail view of the rare brown-variant Zeltbahn. the

rev erse of which (seen ar left) i in the normal grey-green colour. It 1, not known whether this was designed for orne pedal purpose (e.g Afrika Korps use?) or lias imply ~ manufacturer' accidental variant. Perhaps it "as manufactured by afirm

II hich primarily produced 55 pattern Zeltbahnen, all of which have both a green "springsummer" side. and a brown "autumn-winter' side.

(Right) A one- to two-man officer ' tent in HeeresSplittermuster camouflage cloth. The panel' are too large to have been made from Zeltbahnen, indicating that it i a factorymanufactured piece. These were apparently purchased by/i ued to officers, who would. not normally share the pyramidal three - or four-sided. helters with their men.

(Left) Three Zettbahnen buttoned together to form a helter. There was vi uually no limit to the number of additional Zeltbahnen that could be added to create larger helters. The oldier wear a field jacket in

the Luftwaffe-Spliuermuster, to illustrate the difference between the two pauerns. Zeltbahnen were never manufactured in this Luftwaffe pattern.

Top left} A typical manufacturer' mark on a 1941 production Heeres Zeltbahn. Some example are entirely de aid of marking .

(Top right) Zeltbahnen of the later war period (as well a other item of uniform and equipment) are often marked. only with the Reichsbetriebnummer, This was a coding system under which each manufacturer of war material had it own unique number, thu eliminating the need for a name and address.

Thi example i al 0 dated 1944.

(Left) Tire Heeres-Splittermuster Tarnhemd and Stahlhelm Tarnhelmuberzug, This

en emble wa in pired by the uccess of the imilar ver ion

i sued before the outbreak of war to the Waffel1-SS. althoughoddly - it wa never produced in comparable numbers. Even though they are more rarely found today. the e garments are generally priced lower than their SS counterpart . Unlike the SS Tarnhemd, which i usually manufactured from cotton-rayon Zettbahn cloth, the Splirrer-

T 'arnhemd was manufactured from linen drill in a herringbone twill weave.

(Above) Detail of the SplitterTarnhemd. While [he garment superficially re ernble the first model SS mock in construction. the photograph illu trares those detail unique to the Army model . Wherea both versions of the SS· Tarnhemd have elasticized cuffs and waistband the Heel' version u eel a

dra wstri ng wai tband and buttoned cuffs. The collarless, lace-up neck opening and slash breast openings were common to both Army and SS first model camouflage smocks.

(Left) Detail of oue of the twin

lash openings in the SplitterTarnhemd, which provided

acce to the pockets of the uniform jacket normally worn beneath this smock. TIle manufacturer's name, "B. Rawe & Co.", is stamped Oil the white side of the flap; curiously, although the Germans do not use the word "company", the "Co." abreviation is nOI uncommonly seen in the name of German

bu ine . es.


(Right) TIle Heeres WintertamlJl1Zl.lg in Spliuermuster, This i the

earlie t model, manufactured from tandard reversible cottonrayon Zeltbahn cloth. giving it a somewhat tiff appearance. The uniform i rever ible to while, and the use of regular Zeltbahn cloth is discernible where the, material 11a been tom. This suit was probably manufactured in 1942, prior to the production of the lighter weight 100% spun rayon camouflage cloth normally used for the outer shel.l of these winter uniform .

(Above) Detail of the hoods in thefirst and econd model ofthe WiliterlamallZIIG. The first - left - is produced in heavier Zeltbahn cloth; it has two layers of loth in the neck area and a button and loop beneath the hood. The implified second model.

manufactured in a 100% rayon . hell. lack the e feature .

(Left) Derail of the trousers

is ued with the \villtenamanzug. Like all other element of this uniform they are completely reversible,

(Above right) The Vl'ill'lerramall:tlg on the right is manufactured in the lighter weight [00% rayon hell, as are most examples of the uniform.

It i .however, unu ual in that it exhibits a manufacturing error: tbe Ssrich or "raindrop" element run in a horizontal direction on the body - a vertical arrangement is almost uni ersall found in .uch patterns.

(Righi) Completing the WilJlerillmclIlZllgi an insulated hood. the tail of which, normally tucked into the jacket. i 'left exposed here for better visibility. The hood on the right hows the extreme variance of colour

po ible in the Splittermuster. being entirely in hade of brown and Ian. The manufacturer's stamp can be een on the white interior of the hood,

(Above) Detai I of the mittens

is uedv ith the Willlertamam;ug. The e have no provision for firing a weapon; later models,

pr duced in the Sumpfmuster pattern de cribed in a later chapter. remedied thi fault by the provision. of a separate trigger finger.

(Right) Detail of manufacturer 5

tamp in the in ide of the

trou ers of the Spiinermuster WilllertlJrnanZlIg. "Gro se 1"' would be equivalent to "small".


(Right) Detail of manufacturer's. tamp in the separate hood of the Splittermnster WimertarrJQ]IZJ~g. Mo t example are not nearly as well marked as this one. u ually displaying only a size and an RB number. Below the manufacturer' stamp are head size . both civilian ( ize 57) and military (size 3).

(Left) There are many example of "field made" uniforms manufactured from the cloth of the Zeltbahn 31 Mo I common are version of the four-pocket ervice tunic and trou ers,

though ever), conceivable style of military garment eerns to have been made, from capes to caps to rropical horts. Lack of space prevents our showing individual example. with the exception of thi interesting

er ion of the Pall-eli turmgesclutr; uniform; note the large breast p ckei. as also een on orne i sue denim and HBT armoured troop' working uniforms.

(Below left & right) Rucksacks manufactured frOI11 Heeres Zeltbahn cloth are fairly common. though 1110 I eem to be privately made rather than factory issue; the majority were crudely ewn together immediately after World War Il, for refugee 10 carry their belongings. This example is a rare exception which is actually made better than most WW11 German issue rucksacks. complete with an integral metal frame and fa tory quality

uspension sy tern. There are no markings to confirm a WWU date. though in all probability, ba ed on the construction technique and materials. it is a wartime item. Identical rucksacks have al 0 been

ob erved in SS·EiclJenlaub camouflage cloth. a funher indication Om these are of WW[( vintage.


(Top left & right) Unu ual variation of HeeresSplitternuister pattern doth used in 3 camouflage apron t=Heeres Tarnungs Korper-schurze"), a late-war expedient garment previou ly known only in the WehTlIlaclu Sumpfmuster pattern.

(Left) Detail of what is apparently an e tremely late Zeltbahn, exhibiting the arne carbon black "dripping" overprint a the 1945 Liebermuster which was 10 become the last camouflage pattern of both the wehrmacht and the Walferr·SS see second volume, Europa-Mililaria 18).. The light-absorbing carbon black

Here the standard spl Liller pattern Zeltbahn camouflage is printed over an unknown irregular blotch pattern, faintly visi ble. This pattern is printed on one ide only. the other being perfectly normal.

element was introduced becau e of the fir l appearance of infrared imaging equipment. which negated the effecti veness of earlier pattern . Thi example lack a manufacturer' stamp and never had buttonholes or grommets fitted. indicating [hal it \ as probably left unfinished

~ hen the war ended.


The Heeres-Spl ittermust er pattern in pired a er irni lar type which was used in special Luftwaffe uniforms and equipment. Apparently, the Air Porce decided that the splinter patterning on the Zeltbahn 3 J should be reduced in ize and made omewhat more intricate for a better camouflage effect on clothing. The basic plinter pattern seemed to be retained to how affinity with the Army, though troop of orne Air Force formation (e.g. the Di v ision "Hermann Goring") occaionally wore WClffen-SS camouflage clothing, preu mably for rea on of availability.

Previou writer have differentiated the Heel" and Lu/fII'affe pattern as "I and 2." or 'A and B '. 1 feel that the terms Heeres-Splittermuster and LuftwaffeSptinermuster are the most logical , a the former wa: fir t developed and u ed by the Army, and the latter wa developed, and u ed exclu ively by the Air Force (with the rare exception of SS paratroopers).

Thi pattern wa probably fir t produ ed in 1941 for [he parachuri t ' jump mock, or "Knochensack" ("'bone sack"), and its use in the inva ion of Crete .i well documented. There is no evidence for it u e in the campaigns of 1940. Cloth ing produced in the LlljIH'af!c-Spliuer pattern seem to have been limited to two ba. ic type of garment: the parachutist' jump smock, and the Air Force Field Division jacket.

Two versions of the jump mock were produced in Luftwaffe-Spl ittermu ster camouflage cloth. The ear lies r. and by far the rare t , wa the" tep-in" model with permanently tailored-in vestigial legs; this was a hart-lived design, for obiou rea ons - an. we r ing call of nature ill the field required complete removal of personal equipment. The econd model clo ely re embled the first but opened all the way down the front and could be put on like a normal jacket; for para-jumping the skirt would be secured snugly between the legs and around each thigh by means of metal pre stud.

In the collecting field, parachuti t: mock have

become one of the mo t expensive and : ought-after items of German World War li field uniform; and natura] l , this demand ha led these garment to be extensively faked. Most Common are copies made from the Army pattern plinter cloth of the cheap and ea. ily obtainable Zeltbahn . Though the Army and Air Force splinter patterns are imilar to the untrained

IRighllOp & right) The second model parachuri t' jump smock III Lu!twaf!e-SpJillermu.Her. It is seen here with the matching

hel me! COver, and the ban dol ier for the K9 Mau er rifle. The bandolier holds 20 five-round clip- of ammunition.

eye 1 do not believe that there i any archival photographic evidence for the wartime use of Armypatternplinter cloth in the manufacture of the parachutist' jump smock.

The Luftwaffe Field Divi ion jacket. do not seem to have been produced before 1942. The e.arl ie t photographic evidence for their u e which this writer has een comes from North Africa in late 1942-early 1943. These early models were produced from the arne heavyweight, windproof splinter pattern cloth as the jump mock, and u ed the same pre s studs for the jacket cuff. Later Fie1d Divi ion jackets were made of cheaper varieties of cloth and had button cuffs instead of press snap .

In addition to clothing, everal equipment items were al 0 manufactured from Luftwaffe-Splitter cloth. These in luded covers for the parachuti t teel helmet though there seem to be no evidence of factory-made covers for the regular Model 1935 and 1942 steel helmets as worn by members of the Field Divisions. The factory-i sue parachuti ts' helmet covers were made from the same cloth a the mocks, the camouflage pattern being printed on the ou ide ani y.

Ammunition bandolier for both the K98 Mauser and the FG42 a ault rifle, a well as grenade bags, were at 0 manufactured from Luftwaffe-Splitter cloth.


(Left.) Detail of "Elite'· ripper commonly used on original sptinrer-pattetn jump smocks; the unavailability of original zippers i one of the chief

ob tacle to fakers. AI. 0 visible here j the ribbed, twill type material which is characteristic of the e early-war "bone sacks". The camouflage pattern was printed on the exterior only. The smock i perhap the most difficult of all German camouflage garment [0 reproduce exactly, due to the three-colour thread, interwoven twin which is apparent under clo e examination. Like the Zeltbahn, the mock was manufactured of 33% rayon! 67% real cotton. while the. majority of camouflage garments were made entirely of

ynthetic fibres.

(Above & right) Further views of the second model "bone sack". thi lime with the bandolier for the paratroopers' FG42 a ault rifle. Each pocket carries one 20-round box magazine, totalling 160 rounds.

(Abo,,!! & right) Grenade bags for the Steilhandgranate Models 1939 and 1943. As these are manufactured ill the LuftwaffeSplittermuster it is highly probable that they were H specialized equipment item for paratroopers, and possibly Luftwaffe Field Di vision troops. Barely discernible is the black webbing strap connecting the top inner comers of the bags behind the neck; a second strap across

the small of the back connects the bottom comers. The distinctive Luftwaffe splinter camouflage pattern is printed 011 one side of the cloth only. The zippers are marked "Elite", and are identical to many used on jump smocks" Some original grenade bags have white plastic zippers marked "Ri-Ri", as also occasionally used on the jump smock.


(Below) The fronts of most jump smocks.aud of LrfltwafJe Field Division jackets, are secured by large diameter blue gins (as here) or plastic buttons.

Thou sands of unused buttons of this type survived the war, and they are therefore een on fake 3, well as original garments.

(A'IMn'c) An B .Scm Flak 39 dual purpo '<: gun depressed for use against ground targets. Each of rhe three figures wearsa different version of essentially the same Luftwaffe Field Division combat jacket.

(Right) The gun-layer in the foreground wears the earliest version onne Field Division jacket. made out of the same heavy duty. Windproof twill, cloth as the parachutists' jump smock; another feature in common is the use, of "Prym"marked press studs, which were replaced by regular buttons on the latcr-ver ion jackets. The figure behind him wear the second version of the Field Division jacket made of the same tightly woven cotton/rayon fabric as the Zeitbah». but - printed in 'I he LuJlWajJe pattern and on one side on I y,


(Left) The range-finder wears the latest. and most common version of the Luftwaffe Field Division jacket, made of linen drill in the distinctive herringbone twill weave. Although this material was commonly used for Field Division jacketsit is never found used in parachutists' smocks of the same camouflage pattern; the linen drill material lacks the windproof qualities required in a garment designed for airborne use.


Rr gene. ~t.iO~S' mos~ co.untries. o. f ~?ntin. e.ntal EUro. pe ave maintained a "border guards service separate

rom their regular Police and An:ny establishments. The German (Federal) Republic is no exception; its BWldesgrel'lzschut- (BGS) is equipped up to the level of liaht aircraft and armoured vehicles, and includes within its o~"aIIi ation the country's elite anti-terrorist commandos,


the GSG-9 group.

The Bundesgrensschur: was fonned in the 1950s, before [he BUlldeswehr, and operated under the Ministry of the Interior. For both. formal duties and under field conditions the BGS wore uniform distinctly different from the Army, including the use of a virtually unchanged World War IT style steel helmet. This penchant for traditional Wehrma.cht fashion was also evident in the .BGS's choice of camouflage uniform, the first pattern of which was clearly derived from the Zeltbahl'l31. The "BGS-Splittermuster" is a much closer copy of the original. Wehnnacht pattern than thal adopted by the Bundeswehr; in fact, it is possible that !he printing equipment used may have been left over from World War II. Two distinguishing features differentiate BGS-Splittermuster from Heeres-Splittermuster. Firstly, me background colour of the BGS pattern is an extremely

(Riglll) Interior detail of the earliest version of the Field Division jacket. produced from the same heavy cotton/rayon materi al as the early ju rnp smocks. The interior pocket is made of scrap Luftwaffe blue canvas, as, often used in Air Force rucksacks. bread. bags and other equipment.


Comparison of Zeltbahnen in the BGS (left) and Wehr-lilt/chI (right) splinter patterns, tile 'BGS example with a comer turned to expose the white side for snow

camouflage. The BGS-SpJiuer version is frequently mistaken for an item of Bundeswehr equipment; but. in fact the Bundeswehr ne ver adopted a

pale grey, nearly an off-white; and secondly. all BGS splinter camouflage material, whether used in the manufacture of Zeltbahnen or clothing, was printed white on the reverse side for now camouflage effect. This characteristic has allowed unscrupulous dealers to manufacture first model WH-Heer camouflage smocks from BGS Zeltbahn cloth. These counterfeits can be readily detected, however, due to the fact that the World War II smocks. employed a herringbone twill. linen material,

In addition to the Zeltbahn, a reversible camouflage suit was also produced. in BGS splinter pattern. The jacket was of pullover design, closed down the front with both zipper and buttons. It had four pockets on the winter-white side and the same on the splinter side plus an additional first aid pocket. These suits are very rare today, and were probably never manufactured in such large quantities as the later BGS Sumpfmuster suits. The author has seen only three examples of [his uniform; the one illustrated here was discovered in a bale, of discarded BGS-Sum.pftnu.ster uniforms turned in for property disposal. At sometime in the mid-1960s [he BGS-Splittennuster was superceded by a tan-based Stlmp!muster pattern, also very reminiscent of that used by the Wehrmacht.

triangu lar Zeltbahn - the Federal German Army's shelter-poncho was rectangular in shape (and is described in the second volume of this series).


(Left) First model BGS Tamantug. a very rare uit today: the pre ent writer has only een three of these jackets duri ng

1- years of collecting in Germany, The small pocket between the jacket kirt cargo pockets i for the first aid

dre ing. This suit probably elates from the early 1950s ,. when the 8GS wa armed with Mauser rifles; wartime teel helmets

were originally worn, followed by one of 8GS pattern ve.ry

imilar to the wehrmacht Model 1935.

(Below left) Detail view of the neck closure, secured by both bakelite button and a zipper.

Thi late 1940 -early 19505 ''RiRi" zipper would not be encountered on original wartime German uniforms.

(Below) The suit worn reversed for now camouflage. Only the fi rst aid dre i ng pocket is not repeated On the white side,



T;e Federal Gelman Bundeswehr, formed in 1956, was i sued a splinter-pattern KCl1npjclI'I.ztlg (battle uit) the arne year. The pattern was obviou Iy in pired by the traditional German Army. plinter camouflage which first aw use in 1931. However, the "BWSpliller" pattern can readily be d.i tingui bed fro:n ~ny other splinter pattern by the cunou way the prmting

creen eern to have been deliberately lipped, leaving di tinct unprinted white border in orne area of the camouflage plinter. The e garment are too well made for this to be a printing error, unlike the irnilar white bordering - due in fact to printing errors - found in some wartime German camouflage Clothing.

There are two di tinct variants of the BW splinter pattern, differentiated by the overprinted "raindrop' element, On the most common ersion. these lines are velY narrow and greyish-green in COIOlIT, Much career are the garments in which (he "raindrop , are both broader, and coloured black.

Two pattern of nits were i ued. Mo t common was the ver ion in which the jacket had four large pockets with pebble-fini h nap buttons: thi was worn by virtually all branches of the Army including armoured vehicle crewmen.

Only paratroopers wore a differentversion, distinguished by upper zippered pockets lightly reminiscent of thosei:n the wartime "Knochensack", as well as additional pairs of pockets on the rear skirt and on the leeves, Apparently less than 1.000 of these uniform were produced for the Bundeswehr's then single parachute battalion making this perhaps the rarest of all regular issue German camouflage garment '.

The BW 'pI inter uniform wa bart-lived, di appearing in the early 1960 , This may have been due to the great influence of the US Army on the Bundeswehr; the former did not wear camouflage uniform in Europe until the late 1970s. (Curiously. it was at that time that the Bundeswehr began ex.perimentingonce more with camouflage clothing.) The BW plinter uniform never di appeared entirely, however. Like their American counterparts, the Bundeswehr retained a camouflage helmet cover in u e to some extent, The detachable hoods of the old pl inter uniform were commonly converted into helmet cover. and are till occa ionally seen worn by older career soldier,

[Top right) TIle standard camouflage combat uniform of (he BrmdItS"';"r from 1956 until the earls 1%0.

left is the more common version with th i n grey "raindrops"; on the right, the less frequently seen type with broad black lines. The, two trouser variations can also be. distinguL hed here by the pocket detail- only tho> parachutists' version, right. had z.ippered pocket.

(Right) Thi photo illustrates the two di \Iinet variations in the camouflage cherne of the 1956 Brmde<;,,·;hr Tarnanzug. On the


(Below) Rear view of tile parachutists' uniform. The cargo pockets on the rear jacket skirt are. another di tinguishing feature absent. from the general is ue version.

(Right & far right The airborne force' version of the 1956 Buudeswehr Tarnantug, Helmet covers were occa ionall made from the detachable jacket hood; 'here one covers an early Bundeswehr copy of the wartime Fallschirmjager Stahlhelm. Note the zippered chest and sleeve pockets, unique to the

parachuti ts' jacket. In the

ab ence of epaulette the normal slip-on style rank in ignia are sewn instead to the upper sleeve.

Below right Detail of a metal "Ri-Ri' zipper of mid-1950 production, a. type that should not be encountered 011 original World War [J uniforms.



S i.nce the end .. of World War 11, several foreign . , nations have adopted . plinter camouflage patterns in pire d by those manufactured for the German force.

The ear lie t use can be atttribured to the Swiss, who copied the German Zeltbalui 31 splinter pattern so clo ely that it i possible that it could actually have been manufactured in Germany, as was

a much Swis war material.

Though the material may be identical however, not so the object it elf: unlike the triangular German Zeltbahn

the Swi version wa

rectangular, and much like the German helter section of World War I and the Reichswehr year. Its official designation was the Zelreinheiten 1901. Thi remained the standard Swis sheller/poncho until .1955, when a new design appeared which was printed in a pattern in pired by the last German pattern of World War Il, the Liebermuster 45 (which will be di cussed in the econd volume).

With the exception of a helmet cover no other item

of Swi military uniform appear to have been

manufa tured in a German-inspired plinter pattern.

Another country which adopted combat clothing in a splinter pattern similar to Germany wa Poland. These uit were non-rever ible and are readily di ti ngu i hab le from German pattern by two features. Firstly. the Strick or "raindrops' on the Polish version cover the entire urface, whereas the German type has only intermittent patche of this element. Secondly the ground colour of the Polish patterni a traw yellow, a colour never known to be used a the backgound of wartime German plintertype camouflage (though it ometime had a tan ba e).

From about 1960 to the present, the Bulgarian Army ha used a plinter pattern imilar to that of the Wehnnacht. Like the German original it incorporates green and brown splinter on a greyish--green background. Here the similarity end for instead of

hort, .traight "raindrops' the Bulgarian pattern features somewhat longer, wavy line .

The Swedi h Army currently wear a splinterpattern uniform, but a thi does not utilize the characteri tic German Strich element it i beyond the 2Bcope of thi work.

(Top) plinter ide of the Swiss helmet cover discontinued in 1955 when a version of the German 1.945 Liebermuster pattern was introduced. This cover is rever ible to a pattern

irnilar LO the German Sumpfmuster discussed in the next chapter.

(Above) Although the camouflage pattern. adopted for the Swiss Zelteinheiten 1901 in the late 1930 is nearly identical to that of the German Zeitbahn 31 it can easily be distingui hed by the peculiar way the green "splinters" are interconnected by thin band of the same colour. Thi purely wiss characteri tic never OCCU.fS in

the German plinter camouflage materials.

(Len) Compari on of bu ttons and buttonholes on the rectangular Swi Zelteinheiten 1901 (left) and the triangular German Zehbahn 31 (right). German bUHOL1 are usually zinc-plated iron. while Swiss buttons are aluminium.

(Below left) Poli h plinter pattern camou flage un i form

u ed during the 1950 and early 19605. when it was superceded by a uniform ill which all of the splinter patterning was eliminated. leaving only the "raindrops" ..

(Below) Detail of Polish splinter pattern, Bes ide the unusual colours. thi pattern can be

di tingui hed from U1C German by the application of the "raindrop" effect over the entire pattern.


('top left) Bulgarian one-piece camoufl age coverall and cap in

a pattern inspired by [be wartime German splinter scheme. A number of different sarments are made in this pao;rn. including pullover shirts, twopiece summer and two-piece padded winter uniforms.

(Top right) Detail of Bulgarian splinter pattern. Unifonn;in . [his distincti ve pattern. appear to have been exported '[0 Sovietbacked Afghan forces. and more recently to Serbia.

(Left) Splinter pattern shelter half. possibly of French origin to judge by the words "Equipemenrs Milirairf" inscribed on the buttons. It is probable that at least one wartime manufacturer of the Zeltbahn was located in German-occupied France. and these were perhaps made using the old German printing screens, but with onlv two colours on each Side.'


ossibly in late 1942, though more probably in early 1943, the Wehrmach.t introduced another distinct camouflage pattern .. It retained both the

Srrich and. Splitter elements of the earlier pattern' but the edges of the splinter elements were burred or softened so as not to present as sharp a contrast as in the original Heeres-Splittermuster. This pattern has commonly been called "tan and water' by English-

peaking commentators; this is ambiguous, when one considers that many garments in this pattern have ab olutely no "tan" in the coloration at all but rather a greyish green background like the original Zeltbahn.

By 1944, some manufacturers deleted the splinter elements from the pattern altogether, leaving, besides the usual "raindrops" only mottled blotches of brown and green on the tan or grey-green background.

Collectively, all these variants are generally known in Germany as the "Sumpfmuster", which literally tran lates to "marsh pattern". There are several slight variations on the described patterns, probably based more on the artistic license and production capabilities or individual manufacturers than on any intent to produce specifically different types of patterns. Despite (his, previou writer-collectors on this subject have attempted to cla sify each variation with a letter or number, often with contradictory results.

Based upon the present writer's own observations and coUecti.ng experience. and upon the guidance of German camouflage collectors, historians and veterans, there is a logical way to describe every major pattern variant without the need of a guide book and lettering code. and it is thu :

The earliest patterns .. which clearly retain a burred or feathered splinter design, would be classified as "Sumpfmuster-Ad", as this was most likely the year of ib appearance. Further clarification would be to define the garment's base colour as either "grune Sump/muster" or "beige Sampfmuster" depending on whether the background colour was grey-green or tan.

For those late issue garments in which the splinter effect cannot be discerned at all, we would use the term "Sumpfmuster-sq", since no example of this pattern has been located which was dated before 1944; again, the "green' and "beige' prefixes could be added for a complete description.

I Above right) Detail showing a iypicnl example of the Sllrnp!mll;Jter·43 camouflage pattern, The spll nrer effect can 'till be seen. and corresponds closely to the original pattern used for the Zehbahn 3 J .

(Rigbt) Detail hawing a typical example of the SllmpftrllIsler-44 pattern. By now aU traces of [he lIngu lar plinter effect have vanished .. leaving in theirplaces only irregular blotches of tile same green and brown colours.


There i one additional variant that .hould be mentioned.

Till is a variation of the Sumpfmuster-dl which occur only on some (not all) Luftwaffe parachutist': smock and Field Divi ion jacket . Apparently. the e i ring LuftwaffeSplitter printing rollers were modified to print the new burred-edge Sump/muster thu creating another pattern unique only to some example of these specialized Air Force garments. A terminology for thi variant pattern would imply be Luftwaffe-Sumpfmuster.

The Sump/muster family of patterns were used in more different type of regulation military garment than any other pattern u ed by German armed force .wartirue or po t-war. It may have been originally developed by the Luftwaffe fOI it paratroopers and field troop, though it i mo t commonly een as the pattern u ed by both Army and Ail' Force for the Wil'ltertamanzug, of both reversible and non-rever ible type (see description of thi four-piece ensemble in the Heeres-Splittermuster chapter).

Garments originally manufactured in Army and Air Force splinter patterns were all eventually superceded by one or more of tbe Sump/muster variants; the only notable exception wa the Zeltbahn 31, which continued to be produced in the Army plinter pattern until the end of the war.

In Army ervice , the plinter pattern Tarnhemd (collarle camouflage mock) was replaced by a lightly different model with an integral hood, first in the original

burred plinter" Sumpfmuster-a.I variation and finally in the Sumpfmuster-aa, These are found with both the tan and grey-green base colours, though the latter ver ion i considerably rarer. Factory-issue matching trousers also exi t and were apparently is ued a' a et with the hooded Tarnhemd; however the e are extremely rare, and were probably only is ued to snipers.

The SW'I1pfmuster-43 und 44 patterns eem to have been u ed exclu ively in the camouflaged Gasschutzanzug, or chemical. warfare protective suit. These uits were originally produced in a medium grey colour with a natura! black rubber interior. The later suit , probably manufactured in 1944, occur in both Sumpfmuster pattern. , employing the arne lightweight cloth as the hooded Tarnhemd, but with natural black india-rubber permanently vulcanized to the inside surface . The protective en emble wa an extraordinarily complicated

even-piece et which completely encased the wearer to protect him from tile new chemical nerve agents fir t developed by Germany. (Unlike the chemical agents of World War I. these nerve agents could be instantly lethal if ab orbed through the kin, hence the need for total protection. Why the German never u ed these nerve agent i ornething of a mystery; it was probably decided that any advantage would be hart-Jived before the Allie reciprocated in kind.)

Theoretically the e uit could al a have been manufactured in SS camouflage loth, but no surviving examples are known; even in the WerhrmachtSumpfrnuster very few of the e suits were ever made. and it remains one of the rarest of all World War II German camouflage garments.

32 Apparently, the la t regular i sue camouflage uniform of

It is unclear which, ere the first garments to appear in the new "marsh pauem''; a good guess would be the Winlentlnlanzug. whi h was the rno t widely produced garment in this pattern. It. is possible that the earl lest 511 it are tho e printed in the gl'iille SlCInrifmuster, like this jacket. 1111 make sense if we look at this

an evolutionary development, with

the first stage being the burring of the harp spli nrer edges. but retaining the grey-greenJeJdgrau base colour of the old pI inter pnuern. Both the Willtenarnam;Jtg and the Heeres Tarnhemd are found pri nted \ ith the grey- green ba e, making the term "tan and water pattern" omething of a

mi nomer for this family of patterns as a whole.

since it was purchas ed for a very nominal price from a Turkish used - clothing dealer at the Frankfurt flea market, orne year before the nearly identically cut Ml944-style Liebermuster jackets appeared on the

cene . Although I know of no original wartime photograph which show either the Sump/muster or Liebermuster ver ion of this M 1944- ryle blou e, from this inexpensive flea market find 1 am at least convinced that it existed in the former pattern, and therefore rea onably ure that at lea t orne of the Liebermuster version are likewise authentic.

(Right) Detail of the 11011- tandard pattern trousers in the previous photograph. It i possible that [he muuufacuirer did not already hs e the rollers for printing Heer- or LtifrwaJJe· Splittenmwer for modifying to print the Sumpfmuster, so merely designed a similar pattern. of hi own.

the Wehrmacht was inspired by the M1944 two-pocket blou e, which in turn wa inspired by the British battledre s blouse. Example of thi uniform in the Liebermuster-a S camouflage pattern have recently turned up on the. collector s market; though thi uniform wasintended for use by both the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS, it will be featured in our econd volume

ince the pattern has more SS attributes.

However at least one ab: olurely genuine jacket of this short, two-pocket M 1944 type ha survived in Sumpfmuster-as, 1 can attest fully to it authenticity,

(Left Comparison of the "green" (left and "beige" (right) colour variations of [he Swnpfrllllster-43 pattern in the WillterJ(jrl;aTl~lIg. The trousers of the oldier on the right are a peculiar pattern

ariarion which is based on neither the original Heer nor the Luftwaffe splinter.

(Left) Detail of manufacturer' markings on the insidefly area of the variant Sumpfmuster. These are quite full. including the Reichsbetriebnummer

oding, the Roman numeral "Il" indicating ize, and "44" for the year of manufacture. The ·'M.L." may be a manufacturer's reference. There is no evidence to indicate thi i a special experimental pattern a suggested in some text .though it i very rare, and probably the product of a small manufactory.

(Left) The usual placement for

ize and manufacturers' markings on the jacket of the Wintertarnarrug was

u nderneath the windflap of the front do ure. On this rare feldgrall-grouncl jacket the only discernible mark is a Reichsbetriebnummer,

(Below left) On thi more common beige! tan-based jacket the only marking is the "2' indicating ize ("I" being the smallest). It may be no coincidence that the general regulation of February 1943

\ hich ordered all German military equipment to be painted in a tan base colour roughly coincided with the adoption of the tan backgound for most SII1T1pfmuster-43 and SUlI1pjmllsrer-44 pattern suits.

[Right) The two soldiers carrying a box of four Panzerfaust 60s display different. though irnilar patterns on thei r winter camouflage uniforms. The man in the foreground wears a uit of the later production Sumpfmuster-s-t, The jacket appears to lack a hood, but in fact- being unpadded - it is tucked down in ide. The background Didier wears the more common SumpfilJlJster-43 suit. with his jacket hood up; it was made large enough to fit easily over the helmet,

(Left & below) Although thi particular uniform is manufactured fromWeltrmaclu· SIIIIIPfi'IllSfI}r cloth. the SI10W camouflage side is common to

all rever ible WimertamQllzugen, including those of the Waffen-SS (discu ed in the econd



(Right. or a 11 of the padded winter camouflage suits. in either Splittermu fer or

nmpfmusrer chemes. were manufactured 10 be reversible to white: many examples are found which are de igned to be worn only with the camouflageprinted side out. The outside of rhe uniformi of identical cut to ihe rever ible versions. and the inside is lined in a grey or bluegrey artificial silk (spun rayon) material. There is no evidence to -uggest I.h31 these were issued

ex III ively [0 Luftwaffe troop. , i ornetime suppo ed due to ihe blui h lininz. More likely.

cause the white side of the rever ible uniform became

oiled easily and its padded construction made it hard to

den n. it was more practical to wear [hill one- or two-piece white over-garments on top of it. This would ugge t that [hi may be the last version of the suit .. (Inreresringly. the Wajfell-SS continued to produce their winter suit exclu ively in the rever ible tyle.)

(Right) Manufacturer's stamp 011 a pair of rever ible lVin.tertanum<ug trou er in "mar h pattern". German camouflage uniforms were manufactured throughout. the occupied territories and some dearee of variation i naturally found, given inevitably varying manufacruring techniques and equipment. This garment was manufactured in Antwerp. Belgium.

(Left) Late-manufacture mitten of the Willtertarnallztlg ensemble were sometime made with a

epa rate trigger finger, for

improved ea e in handling weapons. There i no evidence for the claim.sometimes made by dealer . that these were specifically i ued to nipers.


Above & left) Two ver ion of the econd type HeeresTamhemd, basically identical except for the cloth pattern. The enli led man (at right in both photo) wears an example printed in Sumpfmuster-e i, and ha: tucked his hood down inside the back of the neck giving a

mi leading collarless effect. The officer (left) wear a smock in Sumpfmuster-sa, and has his hood exposed. Like that on [he winter jacket, this was cut large enough to cover the helmet. theoretically eliminating the

need for a separate helmet cover - although an experienced infantryman would alway prefer a eparate cover. to avoid a hood's disadvantages of hearing and peripheral vi ion.

(R:igl1t & inset) Details of the second model Tarnhemd, Like the first model in HeeresSplittermusrer, the e mocks bad a drawstring wai t and button cuff . Manufacturer' markings usually only the ize, here "I", and a Reichsbetriebnummer]

were pri nted in ide the breast pocket-acces flap opening.

(Left) The rarest version of the econd type Heeres- Tarnhemd was printed on a grey-green background ill lead of the more usual tan. Thi example has had it hood. removed, perhaps to "field-rig" a helmet cover; and note the interesting non-standard elaticared cuff: in Waffen-SS style.

(Below) The lining of the smock worn by our paratrooper in Sicily is of natural undyed linen. tamped with the RB number. and an Arabic "2" followed by a "6". indicating the ize. The alass button on thi example are a darker. hade of blue than mo L

(Right) The parachmi t' jump smock in the LufMaffe Sumpfmustcr, a special pattern which eems to have been created by modifying the printing roller originally used to print the Air Force plinter pattern. It. i manufactured from a double faced twill cotton/rayon blend offering excellent wind re i lance. 'ate the characteristic jump mock pocket detail; and the kirt fastened into separate .• legs" by press stud.

(Above & right)

Parachuri t' "bone ack" prin ted in the normal WelrrmachrsSumpfmuster pattern seen on the. winter suit and Army camouflage mock. This Fallschirmjager is dres ed for action in Tuni ia and Sicily, 1943, with and-coloured helmet and Ltrftwaffe tropical tTOU ers, Thi mid-war production jump smock i sti 1.1 made of a predominantly cotton (33% rayon) blend and weave identical to that employed in the Zeltbahn,



(Top .Iefl & right)

Detail of the zipper style on the illustrated "Knochensack": one of the most common wartime' makes, marked "Zipp" on [he front surface of the pull, and "D.R.P,." (for Deutsches Reich fa/em - a confirmation of wartime manufacture) on the reverse.

(Left) Detail of right rear panel ofa mid-war jump smock in Sumpfmuster, showing the buttoned fasten i nz of the flare pistol holster, tightening snap. and holes for the metalbelt support books. The well-used snap has lost its green-grey baked enamel fini h.lea.vi.l1g the brass exposed.

(Left) Another zipper style, this time of an early nylon material. used in some mid-to-late war parachutist's jump smocks and camouflage grenade bags. Similar zippers are still being made by the original manufacturer, and are sometimes employed in counterfeit uniforms.

(B'eimv) Interior detail of the late-issue lightweight synthetic fibre jump smock printed in SumflfillllSler-44 (below). The Roman numeral "Il" is probably the size. and the "b" may stand for the German word breit indicating a broad fitting. The garment is basically unlined, save for the backing of the large zippered cargo pockets; these appear to have been made from a khaki cotton twill, perhaps factory scrap left over from making tropical clothing.

(Left) A late-war jump smock dated 1944 .. By this time the "bone sack" was made entirely of spun rayon synthetics, in the same weave and light weight a the second model HeeresTarnhemd and the outer shell of the lVinlertcu·llf1nzug. This example is printed in the late Swnpfmuster-44 without any trace of splintereffect. The Soldbuch-is being. removed from one of the four zippered pockets common to all 'Versions of the Luftwaffe jump smock.


(Below) Derail of typical press tud u ed in mo I oriainal example of jump mock and fir t model LlIflWaffe Field Divi ion jacket. The word "PRYM" i the manufacturer. while the "6" indicate the size 6mm). Many fake are betrayed by the u e of post-war

pres IUd, wb ich are sti II rnanufactured by PRYM:

i.ron ically, the post- war tuds are marked "ORIGl AL PRYM" ...

(Right) One of the rare r of all wartime camouflage garments is the Gasschunaniug in Sumpfmuster heme (it is

rea onably common in plain grey c lour), Thi example has a helmet cape, upper tor 0 and glove in one ryle of Surnpfmuster-a i, the "apron" ection in a slightly different

variant. and leg in Srullpjmu.rlel'·44. The reason this suit came in so many parts was 10 make removal ea ier hould it become contaminated

with chemical nerve agent.

(Above) Detai I of yet another type of original jump mock zipper, th.i one marked "RAPID", on the 1944-daled SlImpjmllSler44 garment. Thi example u es di hed metal button in read of the. more typical blue. glas or plastic type.


(Right) Detai I of another original wartime PRYM nap

IUd, thi lime a "number 7".

The number 6 i rile rna ! commonly encountered on camouflage clothing, though both smaller and larger ones are occasionally employed, as are those from other manufacturers. Original naps do no!

necessaril y guarantee an original garment: particularl y deviou counterfeiters will of len remove original naps from common item like gas heel cases, forreII e on high-priced forgeries.


(Above) Detail of the high rubberized "boots" of the Gasschutzamug, Webbing straps are shown in a wartime manual bound around the boots (see photo on page 45).

(Top right) The "apron" section must be tepped into like a pair of trou ers, after donnina the legging and torso cape.~

(Right) Fastening the "apon" .


Left) Detail of one ofrhe cardboard "button •. used to secure the webbinz traps of the Gnsschlll.Zflllmg. -

(Right) Detail of helmet with atrachedrubberized cape to protect [he rest of the head not covered by the gas rna k. The cape may be tied under the chin.

(Left & above) One of the rarest of all German wartime camouflage garments is thi

short M I 944-style blouse made from herringbone twill linen in Slllllp[musler-44 pattern. The present writer did not even know ofthis jacker's existence until the exampleillustrated was purchased from a Frankfurt flea

market rag dealer. It bears a very close re ernblance to the

M 1944- ryle Liebermuster jackets. which will be described iII. the econd volume. ote in the mar view the unusual feature of tWO sets of foliage loops. very similar to those used on the second model SS-Tal"ll/u!fIul.

(Ri,gbt) The Heeres Tarnungs Korper-Schurv« (Army camouflage apron) in Sumpfmuster-a i pattern. This was apparently a last-ditch attempt to provide a camouflage garment requiring the minimum amount of manufacturing.

(Below) Detail showing the latestyle uniform buttons as u ed on the short Sumpfumster blouse. The herringbone twillweave can al 0 be een.

• '9'

Ac n'




At some time apparently in the early 1960 the Bundesgrenzschutz border police replaced their splinter pattern camouflage suit and Zeltbahn with a new pattern ba ed on the Wehrmacht's old Sump/muster cheme. The jackets of the earliest uits were of pullover Tarnhemd cut nearly identical to the earlier pl inter ver ion but without the capability of rever ing to white. The- e were superceded by two variations of a more conventional jacket; and a threequarter-length parka similar in design to the plain greyoli e model is ued to the Bundeswehr. The later issue jackets and parkas of the BGS can be identified by a pen pocket all the right upper sleeve which bears the Bundesgrenzschut; insignia. Nylon rain gear ill the same pattern i also i sued.

Some of the best early fake Wehnnacht camouflage uniform have been made from thi BGS material, most notably helmet covers Luftwaffe Field Division jacket and paratrooper

mocks. The best method of detection i carefully to compare a sample of BGS material with that used in the uspect garment, and to check zipper and press stud details illustrated in

(L~ft) The earliest BGS Sump/muster suit with pullover jacket. It is basically a copy of the BGS splinter pattern uit but without the capability to reverse to white. ote, again, the field dre sing pocket in the front of the skirt.

(Rigbt) The second model BGS Sumpfmuster jacket was a conventional front-buttoning garment with B "oaped" back to provide ventilation. A !bird model added a pen pocket on the upper right sleeve.

relevant chapters of this book.

This BGS marsh pattern has become extremely popular, and is employed for a variety of garments and equipment items produced for both the export military and. private commercial/collector markets. Equipment include sleeping bags; and a Zeltbahn - note that there is no e idence for this item ever being manufactured in Sumpfmuster during the ar year . Libya is one example of a military export cu tomer, and has equipped some of it army in uniforms made of the BGS pattern cloth.


(Above) The 8GS Sumpfmuster parka. Pile-tined, it. is very similar in design to the contemporary olive-grey parka of the Bundeswehr.


(Below The rubberized nylon sleevele s rain garment in the BGS Sumpfmuster pattern. This is rernini cent of the late wartime ersatz camouflage apron in the Wehrmachr-Sumpfmuster pattern.

white to the camouflage in what i thu a five-colour pattern.

The Czech army developed another version of the Sumpfmuster in the mid-1960s to replace their very colourful predominantly black and yellow "salamander" pattem (not Illu trared). There are two distinct versions of this new pattern: one in which the blotche are very di tinct, and a second in which they are nearly invi ible, The former i illustrated i.n this chapter, and the latter in that on foreign "raindrop" pattern • since the virtual invi ibility of the blotches make it es entially a "lined" rather than a 'mar h" pattern. Only two colours are used in this pattern: dark green-grey circles and blotche are applied over a lighter grey-green ground.

The Bumgarian Sumpfmuster is more of a copy of the Czech pattern than of the original German scheme; however it is included here since this is a survey of all pattern based on wartime German camouflage. The Bulgarian pattern is u ed exclusively by border guards the regular army using the Bulgarian version of the

pLi.nter pattern di eu ed in an earlier chapter.

The Austrian Arm y a I 0 adopted a type of Sumpfmuster which wa apparently used exclusively for one side of a poncho/shelter almost identical in construction to the German Zeltbahn 31.


Several countrie have adopted camouflage pattern which. contain desi~n elements simi.lar to those of the wartime WehrmachtSumpfmuster. All (except the Swiss) retained the characteristic German Strich., "raindrops' but are differentiated from foreign. pl in ter patterns by irregular blotches in tead of geometric "splinters'.

Mo t imilar to the German is the Czech pattern firt used in the late 1940 /early 1950s for a helter

ection/poncho; thi is virtually identical to ome ver ion of the German Sumpfmuster-A i, and in all pro babi lity was printed us i ng origina I wart i me German rollers. Intere tingly these same Czech shelter/ponchos are al 0 known in wartime Italian camouflage patteru.) The author is unaware of the German-style camouflage being employed for other items of Czech issue.

This pattern was fo! lowed by another in Sump/muster style used fromthe 1950s for a pecial paratroopers' combat uniform. It can ea ily be di tinguished from German material by irs use of a fourth colour in the camouflage scheme instead of the ba ic German three. A imilar, econd ver ion of thi camouflage wa u ed exclusively for a helter tent/poncho' iti di tinguished by having some areas deliberately left unprinted, adding small areas of

(Above) This special uniform for General Officers was introduced in 1975, and has features also seen ill the second version of the regular issue Felddienstanzug from around thi date, most notably the addition of a pair of slash pockets in the jacket skirt, The main difference between the Generals' version and the rezular issue was the lack of jacket -

leeve and trou er cargo pockets.

This particular example can be dated to the late 1980s by the addition of the new rank insignia which are buttoned to the leeve, and the "baseball" -sryle cap which replaced the Feldmutze.

(Above r.ight) The second model FDA for paratroopers, lacking the foliage loop een on the previous model, and with the trousers now tailored to be worn inside the combat bOOL The weapon is the East German version of the So jet AKMS,

de ignated the MPi- KMS-72,


(Right) Detail of the special

kn i fe pocket on the trou sers of both first and second models of the paratrooper uniform. The lower portion of the fighting Yes'! can also be een.

(Far left & left) Thi fullyequipped paratrooper appears to be wearing a different pocketed jacket, but in fact wears over his jacket the econd model of the special load-carrying ve t. AI a

een i the grey field service beret worn in lieu of the plastic jump helmer. The side view

haws equipment such as the back; pack and water bottle carrier also in the Strichmuster camouflage. Slung over hi shoulder i the Soviet-de ianed RPG-18, a copy of the Am;cican LA W. The new rank insignia on the sleeve identify this as a lateproduction uniform.



(Previous page & left) The first camouflage pattern developed for the Czechoslovakian Army after World War n. but apparently limited to u e on the helter tent/poncho. was closely based on German wartime SUl1Ipfmusler-43 and may have been printed with [he original roller . though no! on the same material.

(Right) The ".ft ve-colour" Czech Sump!muster used only for thi

helter lent/poncho.

di ringuished by small areas deliberately left unprinted white. After World War If the countries of occupied Eastern Europe adopted Russian-style uniforms and equipment, and this item is no exception. II is worn by pulling a drawstring to form II hood. as was the Russian model on which it wa based.

(Bottom right Czech paratrooper armed with the RPG-7 anti-rank weapon and wearing the Czech two-colour Sumpfmuster uniform of the 1960 . which i now ob olete.

(Below left & right) Special uniform for paratroopers in the second. four-colour Czech Sumpfinuster valiant from me early 1950 . The "fourth" colour. absent from [he German original. i black or very dark green.


(Left) The dose-up of the pattern worn by the Czech paratrooper demonstrates that thi s is not, as bas been suggested. a "faded out" version of the more common Czech Strichmuster in which the blotches are nearly invisible: it was deliberately printed this way.

(8elow left &rigbt)

The one-piece Bulgarian Sumpfmuster coverall issued to border guards; he is armed wiih a Bulgarian-made version of the Soviet AKMS assault rifle.

(Left) This Swiss helmet cover pattern lacks the characteristic German "raindrop" element found in every other pattern in this book; it 'is included here for the guidance of collectors, since it looks very similar to wartime German Sumpfmuster without the Strict: lines. This is the reverse. side of the splinter pattern helmet cover illustrated earlier. This pattern doe no! seem ever to have been used for anything other than helmet covers.

(Below) Austrian version of the German Zeltbah» 3 J, with one side printed in the, familiar A ustri an camouflage uniform pattern and the other

in an interesting version of a Sumpfmuster.


Thi , the last camouflage pattern of the Communist Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, could also be con ide red the final evolution of the venerable German 1931 splinter pattern. Thi proces of change began during World War II, with the splinter fir t losing their sharp edges and becom.ing burred, then being replaced by undefined blotches' and finally in thi pattern, the blotches disappearing altogether, to leave only the Strich or 'raindrop" effect.

The "ein Strich - kein Strich" pattern ("one line - no


line as it is nicknamed in Germany) was introduced to the Ea t German Nationale Yolksarmee in 1965 replacing the irregular blotch pattern ("Fla,chentammtlster", discu ed in the second volume of this serie ). Officially designated the FDA or Felddienstanzug (field ervice uniform), thi pattern appears to have been copied directly from the Polish Army. which had adopted it earlier in the 19605 after using a cia e copy of the HeeresSplinermuster mentioned previou ly in this book.

The earlie t ver ions of thi combat uniform were cut identically to the la t uniform printed in the earlier blotch pattern, having two upper breast pockets and pockets on each upper leeve, There was at a a parachutist's version of the uniform which had a knit collar and cuffs, and trousers with padded knee reinforcements and a pocket for a fighting knife. During thi time the winter uniform remained a solid light grey colour. A rectangular Ru ian-style shelter half/poncho was also produced in the Strich pattern as well as a multitude of other equipment uch as packs, magazine pounche ,etc. In the early 1970 a fighting/load-carrying vest for paratroopers was also produced in the Strichmuster.

By the 1970 lower slash pockets had been added to the jacket; and in October 1975 a pecial General Officer' version of thi uniform was is lied, replacing a plain grey one previou Iy worn in the field by NY A general . Also in the 1970 , the formerly olid grey padded, pile-collared winter uniform also appeared in the Strickmuster. Finally, some time prior to German reunification in 1989, the uniform changed again, this time having four patch pockets on the front. Obviou ly in pired b the latest Soviet uniform developed during the fghan War (which was ju t a obviously inspired by the American battle dres uniform) these uniform. were kept in war reserve

tack, and do not appear to have been generally i ued to or worn by the VA.

(Left] The first model Felddienstanzug for paratroopers. The mo t obviou differences are the lack of visible breast pockets, and the knit collar and cuffs; it

al 0 has thicker padded knee and arm reinforces. and an extra, knife pocket on the trousers which are worn over the boots with this uniform.

(Right) The first model rv A Fetddienstanzug, this example dated 1966. First model uits are characterized by the lack of

10\· er jacket pockets, by knee and elbow reinforcements, foliage loops on the body and sleeves, and exposed greY plastic pebble-grain buttons on the sleeve and trou er pocket flap, Shoulder board were worn: al a remini cent. of that period i the F eldmutze cap, worn \ ith both field uniform and the everyday woollen

ervice uniform.


(Above & right) The final version of the regular

F elddienstanzug, The jacket now has four from patch pockets, though they are largely obscured here by field equipment. The sleeve pockets are retained. but the foliage loops have been eliminated. The loop on the ann for the new type rank insignia is standard. The rifle i the MP1- AKS- 74 based on the Soviet AKS-74. Other than the grey nylon webbing. the only equipment item not manufactured in the Strichmuster is the grey rubberized bag holding the chemical protective rna k.



S urpriSin.glY it was POland. which fir t adopted the lined/"raindrop' pattern which is 0 closely associated with former East Germany Nationale Yolksarmee; and intere tingly. once East Germany adopted the near-identical pattern, the Poli h abandoned it.

Thi lined pattern evolved from the Poli h pl inter pattern, which unlike the German original (which bad only random patches of lines) had a uniform' raindrop' overprint covering the entire pattern. With. the splinters removed, the two-colour line pattern was bam. Thi pattern seems to have appeared in around 1960; a garment in the present writer' collection is dated 1962, well before its adoption by Ea t Germany.

The Czech lined pattern date from the mid-1960 , approximately the date when a very similar one was adopted by Eas t Germany On many uniforms the two patterns appear identical, and only by very close examination can the mottled, irregular underprint of the camouflage scheme be di cerned. This is why this version has been. included in the lined/vraindrop section of this book.

U e of the "raindrop" Strichmuster wa not confined to Communist countries. Because East German camouflage uniform ometirne found their way to Communist guerrilla in. outhern Africa, the South African Defence Force had uniform in the same pattern manufactured locally for counter-in urgency operation .

Above) The Polish Strichmuster uniform, Though dated 1963. this uniform could easily be mistaken for the late 1980s uniform of the East German NV A. which al 0 featured a jacket with four patch pockets 011 the front.

(Left) Comparison of the Polish (left). and East German (right) Strlchmuster camouflage patterns.



Knochensack "Bone sack" - German nickname for the jump smock of the wartime German paratrooper.

EMS No.1: The American Civil War

Recreated in Colour Photographs

EMS No.2.: The RODlan Legions Recreated in Colour Photographs EMS No.3: Vietnam: US Uniforms in Colour Photographs

ElVIS No.4: The English Civil War Recreated

in Colour Photographs

EMS No .. 5: Wellington s Army Recreated. in Colour Photographs

Gllossary of 'Terms


S ince this isa study of German camouflagepatterns and uniforms, , the writer believes it important to utilize the actual German terms rather than those invented by foreign collectors (though in some cases there is no clear consensus of opinion as to the correct terminology even in Germany),

Bundesgreneschutz (BGS) The post-war German border police, who had their own unique camouflage uniforms distinct from those of the German Army.

BGS-Splittermuster The earliest camouflage pattern of the Bundesgrenzscbuta.based very closely on the wartime German ADJ1y splinter pattern.

BGS-Sumpfmuster The second model of border police camouflage, based closely on the Sunlpfinuster-43 pattern of the wartime Wehrmacht.

Bundeswehr (BW) The post-war Federal German Army,

BW-Splittermu.ster Federal German ADJ1y camouflage pattern adopted in 1956.

Heel' The wartime German Army. The prefix Heeres denotes types of camouflage patterns or garments used primarily by the wartime German Army,

Heeres-Splittermuster The earliest German ground forces camouflage pattern, first employed on the M.odel 31 shelter-poncho or Zeltbahn .. As this pattern was also used by the Air Force and some Navy ground troops, Wehrmacht-Splittermuster :is an equally appropriate term.

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EM No.2:

EM No.3:

EM No.4:

EM No . .5:

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EM No.7:

EM No.8:

Paras: French Paratroops Today

World War II Infantry in Colour Photographs World War I Infantry in Colour Photographs Allied Battle Tanks ~. Central European Frontier US Marine Corps in Colour Photographs Waffen~SS Uniforms in Colour Photographs Operation Desert Shi,eld - The First 90 Days

Air War Over the Gulf

Luftwaffe The wartime German Air Force.

LlIjhvaJfe-Splitterm.uster Term for a specific variant of splinter-style camouflage pattern employed only in garments and equipment items intended for use by personnel of the German Air Force,

Luftwaffe-Sumpfinuster Term for a specific variant of 'marsh pattern" camouflage created by burring the edges of the LW-Splitterml.t&ter.

EM No.9: 82nd Airborne Division in Colour Photographs EM No.lO: The French Foreign Legion Today

EM No.H: The French Foreign Legion in Action

EM No.12: Military Model Showcase

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EM No.14: Red Arnl)' Un.iforms of WWIl in Colour Photographs EM No.15: British Airborne Forces in the 90s

EM No.16: US Navy SEALs

EM No.17: Weh.rmacht Carueeflage Uniforms & Post-War Derivatives EM No.18: Waffen-SS Camouflage Uniiforms'& Post-War Derivatives EM No .. 19: The o,ritisb Army of the Rhine

Sumpfinuster43 "Marsh pattern' - the Intermediate W.ehrmacht pattern between splinter pattern and late marsh pattern, in which the original splintereffect has the sharply contrasting edges burred. The background colour is usually tan, less frequently grey-green .

Sumpfinuster-44 "Late marsh pattern" - a late war Wehnnacht camouflage scheme derived from the earlier Sumpfinuster-43 pattern, in which the green and brown "splinters" have evolved into irregular blotches, The background colour is usually tan, less frequently grey-green,


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Tarnhemd 'Camouflage shirt" - the German term for the loose-fitting, pullover smock.

Tamhelmuberzug Camouflage helmet cover,

Wintertarnanzug Winter camouflage suit - the two- piece padded suit first introduced in 1942, and usually but not always reversible to white,

In 8.0 other country bas camouflaged clothing been so extensively used, and in such great diver ity of patterns and styles, as in Germany. For the' first time, US Ar.my museum curator nAN PETERSON traces the evolution and development of the camouflage uniforms of the German armed forces by means of vivid colour pbotographs of one of the world's most extensive collections of original examples. In thistle t of two books, be examine the broad category of camouflage pattern and uniform types used by the German Army and Air Force troops of World War Il, and those po t-war patterns which were clearly derived from the Webrmacht types ~ some still in use over half a century later. Indispensible for coUectors un:iform historians and military modeUers alike. this book finally resolves the confusion surrounding many of these patterns and garmentsand establishes acomplete and concise sy tem of identification and terminology.

The forthcomingcompaeion velume in this series examines the camouflage uniforms of tbe Waffen-SS and their post-war deri atives.





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