Field and Garrison Uniforms utilized by the Waffen-SS
Tunics and Trousers: (Bluse und Hose)
Originally, members of the Waffen-SS wore a uniform identical to those worn by the Allgemeine-SS. As a walking out dress, this uniform proved to be impressive when on parade or on liberty, it was not practical for field use or other utility purposes. A grey-white cotton drill uniform was procured in the summer of 1933. Commissioned officers and Non-Commissioned Officers' drill jackets were of similar cut to the original black tunic and was designed to incorporate both collar patches and shoulder straps. Non-rated soldiers were issued a tunic with standing collar, which was not as finely tailored as the Officer's and NCO's and proved to be relatively unpopular among the ranks.
In the beginning of 1935, an earth-grey uniform was introduced to the soldiers of the Leibstandarte and the SS-VT. The SS Political armband was visual striking and obviously unsuited for combat or field use. At this time, it was replaced with the SS-Alder and Swastika, which was worn on the left arm. As a historical note, SS-Totenkopfverbände personnel, beginning in 1936, were issued an earth-brown version of this uniform, for use within KZ's.
Beginning in 1937, both the earth-grey and earth-brown uniforms were replaced by the standardized field-grey SS uniform. this uniform was generally based on that of the Heer uniform but did utilize the slanting slash side pockets and black or silver piped collar which was the same color as the rest of the tunic characteristic of SS uniforms. In 1938, the soldiers of the Leibstandarte were issued Heer tunics, but were distinguished as SS tunics by having unpiped dark-green collars and pleated patch side pockets.
With the formations of the SS-Divisions Totenkopf and Polizei, the SS had little choice but to outfit these Divisions with Heer uniforms, albeit with appropriate insignia. By May 1940, Heer uniforms were standard throughout the SS-VT and the Waffen-SS as a whole. For practical reasons, throughout this year the dark-green collar was phased out in favor of a field-grey version and the black/ silver piping was also discontinued.
The following are examples of uniforms utilized by the Waffen-SS. Not all of the examples below are approved for the LAH reenactment Unit.
The M36 uniforms consists of Heer-style wool tunic and trousers. The tunic collar is constructed of bottle-green colored material. The pockets of the tunic are of the patch type and pleated. The pockets are covered by a scalloped flap and secured with pebble finish buttons. The tunic may or may not have buttoned cuffs, belt hooks or cuffed sleeves. Color of the tunic body and sleeves must be field-grey. The front is usually closed with five pebble-finish buttons. The M36 us authorized for all ranks as a walking out uniform. Field use of the M36 tunic is reserved for use by officers and NCO's. The trousers are field gray wool with a straight or slightly tapered leg. No patch style pockets are authorized. Slash style pockets are acceptable. Trousers should be suspendered, however, belted is acceptable as long as the tunic is worn. Trousers may have draw strings on the leg bottoms.
M-1936/1937 Officers Tunic
The Waffen-SS adopted field gray as their uniform color in 1937 and the officer's field blouse was modeled closely on that of the army. Its key elements: deep french cuffs; dark green pointed, double hooked, stand and fall collar; and pleated pockets with deeply scalloped flaps; were carried through from 1936 through the end of the war (excepting the officers versions of the M44 bluse). However, material quality suffered from the same declines as all German uniforms. Unlike the army, most Waffen-SS officer's jackets retained the five button front (as did the enlisted SS blouses), but six buttons were also used. Pocket flaps were deeply scalloped and collar points were long. Again, as with the army, captured stocks of fabric from many countries including Russia, Italy, Holland, and others were utilized. Only officers may wear riding pants (breeches) with any uniform.
The M40/41 uniform is identical to the M36 uniform except for the bottle green collar which has been replaced with the standard field-grey collar of the same material. the M40/41 uniform is authorized for all ranks as a dress or field uniform. This is the most commonly utilized German uniform.
M-1942 HBT Tunic
Herringbone Twill (HBT) uniforms are authorized for use in the LAH as they were authorized by the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS during the war. All HBT uniforms must be constructed of an approved herringbone twill material and dyed the appropriate reed green color. All uniforms must conform to the M-1941, or M-1943 patterns. It is authorized for all ranks in the field, but is not recommended for use as a dress uniform.
The M43 uniform consists of the field grey tunic and trousers as with the M41 uniform. However, due to war shortages of labor and material, The pocket flaps were cut straight without scallops and the pockets were no longer pleated. The cuffs, as found on the M36 and some M41 tunics were also omitted. Trousers were predominantly straight legged and untapered. The M43 uniform is authorized for all ranks as a dress or field uniform.
The M44 uniform consisted of a field grey wool copy of the British battle jacket and straight legged wool trousers. The tunic is of waist length, has only two unpleated patch pockets with straight flaps and is closed with six pebble finish buttons. This uniform is authorized for all ranks but is limited to field use only. The use of this uniform as walking out dress is strictly prohibited.
Trousers and Suspenders
Model 37 Trouser Model 43 Trouser
Woolen and Light Weight Cotton
The Waffen-SS was issued two types of undershirts which were to replace the brown undershirt issued prior to 1940. The shirts were from regular Heer stock. The first undershirt was mouse grey with long sleeves and tail (woolen or lightweight cotton). The front half-opening was secured with pressed paper or dish-pan type buttons. Shoulder board loops were added to enable the wearer to display rank when the shirt was worn without the tunic. The sleeve-eagle was commonly worn with this uniform. This shirt was constructed of light wool or a stretch tricot material.
The second undershirt is identical to the first except the color was field grey and pleated breast pockets were added with scalloped flaps. The flaps were secured with dish-pan style buttons. Post-war Bundeswehr undershirts are authorized. The brown undershirt is not authorized for wear. Officers may wear the collarless white cotton undershirt with long sleeves.
Original or post war French motorcyclist overcoats are authorized for Feldgendarme, NCO's or above for Garrison use. Field use is limited to motorcycle dispatch riders, and Feldgendarme.
Headgear utilized by the Waffen-SS
Original or reproductions are authorized to be worn in the field. Regardless of the type utilized, it must be painted field grau, and have a black leather chinstrap. All helmets will have the silver Waffen-SS shield with black runes affixed to the right side of the helmet 5mm below the air vent hole. Plastic or Spanish conversions are not authorized.
The distinction of the M-1935 Stahlhelm is the crimped or rolled bottom edge around the bill, sides and skirt. The liner is constructed of a leather suspension fastened to the helmet shell by means of rivet split pins and is adjusted by a drawstring. The airvent is made by a rivet through the shell. The M-1935 comes in various sizes.
Same as the M-1935 except it has slightly larger air vents that were stamped instead of riveted .
Identical to the M-1940 except that the bottom edge of the bill, sides and skirt are not rolled under thus presenting a sharp edged appearance.
M-40 Cap (Feldmutze)
The M-40 cap is constructed of field grey wool and the pattern is of the "overseas" pattern style without the bill. Officers will wear white or aluminum piping around the crown. Waffenfarbe (if worn) will be white (infantry). The Waffen-SS style eagle and Totenkopf will be sewn to the front of the cap. Approved for garrison and field use for all ranks.
M-43 Field Cap (Einheitsfeldmutze)
The wool M-43 cap is constructed of field grey wool with a cloth or
imitation silk lining. The cap will have a scalloped skirt sewn to the outside of the cap
with the front secured with two pebble finished buttons. A BeVo Waffen-SS style eagle will
be sewn to the left skirt. A BeVo style Totenkopf will be sewn centered to the front of
the cap. Officer caps will have white or aluminum piping around the crown. Approved for
M-43 Camouflaged Cap:
The camouflaged M-43 cap is of the same style as the wool version. It is constructed of an approved Waffen-SS camouflage material and may be reversible (Fall to Spring). It may also have a simulated skirt sewn to the outside (commonly known as the "fake-fold version). This cap is approved for all ranks and is recommended for field use only. Insignia on M-43 caps is prohibited.
Peaked Cap (Schirmutze)
Peaked Cap Officers "Infantry"
The dress peaked cap is authorized in garrison for SS-Untersharführers and above. It consists of a field grey cover with a shiny black leather or patent leather visor and a black cap band. The cover and the cap band will be trimmed with Waffenfarbe in white (for infantry). A matte silver Waffen-SS eagle and Totenkopf will be affixed to the front of the cap. Officers will wear a double silver cord on the lower front of the cap band secured by two matte silver buttons. NCO's will wear a black leather chinstrap affixed in the same manner albeit with two black buttons in lieu of the silver ones. The peaked cap can be worn with or without the spring stiffener for the cover.
M-37 Old-Style Peaked Cap ("Crusher"):
Crusher Cap EM
The crusher cap is of the same style as the peaked cap except for the following modifications. The visor is constructed of soft leather or of a field grey covered cardboard. the cap is worn without stiffener, cords or chinstrap. The crusher cap may be worn in garrison or the field by SS-Unterscharführers or above. Sew-on insignia is optional.
Footgear utilized by the Waffen-SS
Improper footgear can break an otherwise excellent impression. Original boots are certainly authorized but are becoming harder to find, especially in a comfortable size. Reproduction and postwar boots and shoes have the advantage of being newer and ultimately, in better condition and in a larger variety of sizes.
Marching (Jack) Boots (Stiefel)
Jack boots are constructed of black leather and may be smooth or pebble finished black leather and are several inches shorter than the officer boots. Hobnails and heel irons are mandatory. For garrison and field use by all ranks.
Low/Ankle Boots and Gaiters (Gameschan)
Low boots are generally constructed of smooth leather and are of the laceup style. Hobnails and heel irons are mandatory. Low boots are authorized by all ranks for garrison and field use.
Gaiters are constructed of a leather reinforced canvas and are secured around the ankle by means of two leather straps with buckles. Color may vary from field grau to olive drab. British, Canadian, and camo gaiters are strictly prohibited. Gaiters must be worn with low boots, except with the panzer uniforms.
Winter Clothing (Winterbekleidung) and equipment utilized by the Waffen-SS
During WWII, the Waffen-SS issued a variety of winter clothing and accessories. The following items are authorized by the LAH because of their historical authenticity and because of the real protection they offer from the cold.
Original or reproduction overcoats are authorized for all ranks for dress or field use.
Original or postwar, approved for all ranks.
Reversible Parkas and Trousers
Only one type of reversible parka and trousers is authorized for all ranks. It is commonly known as the "reversible-to-white" parka. It can be either of the early mouse gray or SS camouflaged on one side and white on the other.
SS Fur Anorak
The winter of 1942/43 brought major changes in clothing for German arms forces. While the Army successfully developed their own winter garments, the SS came up with a different garment. They created a fur lined one piece pullover type anorak. This type of winter clothing was very commonly worn by SS troops in the famous battle of Kharkov in 1943. (Authorized for wear in the LAH on Eastern Front Events Only)
Gloves and Mittens
All ranks may wear field gray or green woolen gloves while in the field or garrison. Current U.S. woolen glove inserts are acceptable, but must be dyed from the olive drab color to field gray. Officers and NCO's are authorized the use of gray suede, or leather buttoned gloves for dress. Only officers are allowed use of gray suede or leather gloves for field use. Dark green mittens and field gray, and reversible to white mittens are authorized. Olive green canvas over-gauntlets are authorized for motorcycle dispatch riders.
The toque is a circular knitted pull over scarf. They are authorized for all ranks and may be mouse gray, field gray or green.
Fur caps may be of German or Russian variety. Metal pin on insignia is authorized. Approved for all ranks.
Wear of the leather overcoat is restricted to officers only.
Winter White Overgarments
White smocks, trousers and gloves may be worn by all ranks in a snow environment. Plain white is the only color authorized. Camouflage patterns or splotches are strictly prohibited.
Original or postwar sweater
Some images courtesy of AnderFront, 1944 Militaria, Lost Battalions, Grenadier Depot, Soldat FHQ, Truppensattler, Mike Dunn, and http://ww-2militaria.com/index.htm (Peter Lukas)