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Wehr Volunteers Uniforms

Wehr Volunteers Uniforms

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Wehrmacht Foreign Volunteers 1939

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Wehrmacht Foreign Volunteers 1939-1945
Though the foreign volunteers of the Waffen-SS are perhaps the most well-known (or notorious, depending on your point of view), in terms of absolute numbers, more foreigners served in the other three branches of the military – army, navy and air force – than in the Waffen-SS. Volunteers came from all areas of occupied Europe, the Balkans, and occupied Russia. The reasons for volunteering were probably as varied as the individuals who volunteered, but likely feelings of antiCommunism in some cases and nationalism in others fuelled non-Germans to volunteer. A great many entered the three main branches of the German military and were absorbed into the regular forces; however, a few "German Legions" composed entirely of non-German personnel were also raised. It is these formations, with their specialized insignias, that this article will examine. The exact numbers of foreign volunteers in the German forces is difficult to say – reputable sources have estimated 1.5 million Russians alone served with the German military during the war. In general, most of the foreign volunteers wore the same uniform as the rest of the German military throughout the war; only a brief description of the uniforms will be provided here, since they are covered under other sections. However, some variations were allowed, to assuage national pride. This often took the form of special insignia, which will be examined in detail. As well, most of these units had German officers, though some foreign nationals also served as officers; their uniforms would have been the same as those worn in the rest of the military, except for some distinctive insignia. (See the Army Specialist Officers section on the adminstrative officials page for more information.)

1. Western European Volunteers
Service Dress
The first foreign nationals to be organized into "German legions" were from France (the Legion des Voluntaires Francais orLVF) and Belgium (the Legion Wallonie), both of which began their service in 1941, during the Russian campaign. These units appear to have first been issued with the M1935 uniform (see Wehrmacht 39-42) This was a thigh-length field-grey tunic,

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straight stone-grey trousers with slash side pockets closed by buttons and a right hip pocket, and black leather hobnailed marching boots. A broad black leather belt was worn with the tunic at all times, with a rectangular belt plate. Like the dimple-finish buttons, this was made in dull white metal but usually overpainted field-grey. (see Basic Combat Equipment for a fuller discussion) It is likely, however, that the majority of members of the Legion des Voluntaires Francais and the Legion Wallonie were issued with the M1943 tunic and trousers. This uniform differed from the M1935 in both materials and design; it had a distinctly "utility"appearance, and was greyer than the earlier uniform. Usually, but not invariably, the pockets had no box pleats, and straight flaps. The collar was also now field-grey instead of dark green. From this point on, the detachable shoulder-straps were of field-grey instead of green cloth (It was not uncommon for the earlier green straps to be worn on the M1943 tunic by veterans, however.). As well, the trousers were now made of field-grey material, and had a built-in cloth belt, rather than suspenders. The final major development came in autumn 1944 with the introduction of the M1944 Feldbluse . It was issued to conscripts and to serving soldiers when their old uniforms needed replacement. Similar in design to the British battledress and American "Ike" jacket, it was waist-length, the skirt being replaced with a waist band 12cm deep. It had six buttons up the front, and was entirely slate-grey. The collar was usually worn open. There were two unpleated breast pockets with straight flaps. Ranking was now shown only on the shoulder-straps. The eagle insignia was worn above the right pocket, usually on a broad, shallow triangle of field-grey backing. The trousers had two slash pockets covered by forward-buttoning flaps, two hip pockets, and a small buttoned "fob" pocket on the front of the right thigh, high up. The normal headgear in the field was the sidecap (Feldmutze). This was of field-grey with a turn-up all round, the upper edge of the turn-up being "scooped" at the front. On the front of the crown was a small version of the breast eagle in white on green (though it appears that in some units, this was removed). Below this was a roundel or cockade in (from the outside in) red, white and black, woven on a dark green diamond-shaped backing. Usually an inverted-V (^) of piping in the Waffenfarbe was sewn to the turn-up, enclosing the diamond and butting its upper edges; the lower "legs" of the (^) extended down to the bottom edge of the cap. The sides were designed to be pulled down and worn around the wearer's ears. It was rarely worn this way, though it appears that in the first Russian winter, many were forced to do so. From 1942 on a modified sidecap began to appear. This had two small buttons on the front of the turn-up. The eagle-and-swastika and cockade were now produced on a single piece of backing. The (^) of Waffenfarbe was not worn on the modified version. In June 1943 a new field headgear appeared. The M1943 field cap or Einheitsfeldmutze - variously translated as either "action field cap" or "replacement field cap"- was based on the cap worn by mountain troops, the Bergmutze. It was of "ski-cap" shape, with a slightly longer peak than the mountain cap, and was in field-grey cloth overall. The turn-up had two small buttons at the front (though versions with a single button have been seen), and a combined eagle-and-cockade badge was worn on dull green backing on the front of the crown. Officers wore silver-thread badges, and had silver piping round the crown seam. However, both versions of the sidecap continued to be seen until the end of the war.

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The combat headgear for all ranks was the M1935 steel helmet (Stahlhelm). Initially painted grey-green on both the inside and outside, from 21 March 1940 the helmet was finished in matt dark grey (though the color ranged from light to dark field grey, depending on the manufacturer). In 1939-40 the Stahlhelm was worn with two decals on the sides: on the left, a silvergrey eagle with folded wings and swastika on a black shield; on the right, members of the German legions often painted a version of their own national shield. In the case of the Legion des Voluntaires Francais , this took the form of the French tricolor, with (from left to right) blue, white and red stripes in a vertical pattern (in the Legion Wallonie, the stripes would have been black/yellow/red). Croatian units appear to have painted on a smaller version of the sleeve shield, featuring a red/white checkerboard pattern. These shields began to be removed from March 1940, and the eagle disappearing in 1942-43 – they made convenient aiming points for snipers! Shades of paint, and presence or absence of decals, varied widely throughout the war. Helmets were often camouflaged with paint, mud, hessian camouflage netting and with foliage tucked into a cruciform strap harness hooked over the helmet.

Rank Insignia and Arm Shields
1. Rank Insignia Between the ranks of private (Schutze) and Stabsgefreiter the ranking appeared only in the form of insignia on the upper left arm; the shoulder-straps remained plain, apart from the Waffenfarbe. (In November 1942 the title Schutze was changed to Grenadier). An Obergefreiter with less than six years’ service wore a double chevron, and the same rank with six years’ service wore a single chevron with a pip in the center of the triangle. A Stabsgefreiter wore a double chevron with a pip. In 1942 the rank of Stabsgefreiter was discontinued. From that point on, the Obergefreiter with six years’ service wore a double chevron with a pip. Non-commisioned officers' rank was worn on collar and shoulder-straps only. An Unteroffizier wore a strip of broad silver lace (Tresse) 9mm wide around the long and rounded edges of the shoulder strap inside the Waffenfarbe piping. An Unterfeldwebel wore an additional strip of Tresse along the bottom edge. A Feldwebel, Oberfeldwebel and Stabsfeldwebel also wore one, two and three silver pips respectively. All grades of NCO also wore a strip of Tresse around the bottom edge of the collar and up its front edges. (From 1943 on, this was replaced by dull silk. Tresse was not worn on the M1944 Feldbluse.) Within the individual unit, the senior NCO – equivalent to a Regimental Sergeant-Major – was identified by the term Hauptfeldwebel ( colloquially, "Der Speiss"). He was identified by two

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stripes of silver Tresse around each forearm 100 mm (3 15/16 inches) above the bottom of the sleeve. "Der Speiss" might be either an Oberfeldwebel or Stabsfeldwebel, and would also wear the shoulder straps of his rank . Officers’ ranking appeared only on the shoulder-straps. These were constructed of dull silver cord on a backing of Waffenfarbe which showed at the long and rounded edges; the straight outer edge of the strap was sewn down into the shoulder seam of the tunic. The straps of company officers of were of ribbed "Russia braid"; two double strips were led along the backing, round the button-hole and back along the strap, giving the effect of eight widths of cord. The junior commissioned rank, Leutnant, worn no additional insignia. The Oberleutnant wore a single gold pip near the outer end; the Hauptmann, two pips equally spaced. Field officers wore more elaborate shoulder-straps of interlaced cord, giving a plaited effect. Majors wore them without additional insignia; the Oberstleutnant was marked by a single gold pip, the Oberst by two. A new system of sleeve rank patches was introduced in August 1942, for wear on camouflaged garments and working denims. These were rectangles of black cloth about 3 15/16 inches (100 mm) wide, and were "stacked" one on top of the other. Stylized oak leaves were added for officers. This insignia was worn on the upper left arm only.

This insignia was not widely accepted, however. Photos show the standard insignia was often attached to camouflage clothing. 2. Arm Shields Both the Legion des Voluntaires Francais and the Legion Wallonie wore arm shields peculiar to their nationality. In the case of the Legion Wallonie, this took the form of an armshield in the Belgian colors of black/yellow/red, with the legend WALLONIE at the top. In the case of the LVF, this took the form of the French tricolour of red/white/blue, and the legend FRANCE across the top.

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Summer and tropical uniform
When the war began in 1939, it was never envisioned that the Wehrmacht would be operating in a wide variety of climates – the M1935 tunic was designed as an all-purpose uniform. However, the stifling temperatures encountered in southern France and Russia, Italy, the Balkans and Greece from June to August led to the issue of a variety of lighter summer uniforms for wear during these months. Though this program began in 1941, many of the changes did not become widespread until 1942-43. In general, the summer uniform was worn on the Western, Russian and Italian fronts; in North Africa, Italy, Sicily and Sardinia, the tropical uniform (see below) was worn from the summer of 1943, after the surrender in North Africa. However, items from both the tropical and summer uniform were worn mixed together; as well, the M1935 tunic also continued to be worn. At the beginning of the war, members of the Wehrmacht wore the white M1933 fatigue uniform in warm weather.(see Wehrmacht 39-42). However, this uniform was impractical for the front lines, and on 12 February 1940, it was replaced by a more practical version in reed green. However, the uniform (designated M1940) did not come into widespread use until the summer of 1941. It was single breasted, had a stand and fall collar, five buttons down the front closure, and two patch pockets closed with square flaps and buttons. Officers and enlisted men often added shoulder-strap and sleeve rank insignia and breast eagle. Its popularity led to the manufacture of the M1942 reed green summer tunic for wear in hot weather. It was of the same basic cut as the M1935, but lacked the pleats on the tunic pockets. The sleeve ends were cut to allow them to be buttoned up tight around the wrists. There was a 17cm deep slit in the center of the jackets skirt at the rear on each side of the tunic. However, the M1940 tunic was still occasionally encountered. As well, the M1941 reed-green pullover-style cotton shirt was also worn in hot weather. It had five plastic buttons and two breast pockets. When worn alone, officers and NCOs wore their shoulder-strap rank insignia; occasionally, arm chevrons or (more rarely) the camouflage insignia were also worn. It is likely this tunic that was most commonly seen among members of the German Legion. In rear rest areas, or while on fatigue duties, more latitude was allowed. Prewar, and during the Polish campaign, white shirts (hemd) were issued to all arms of the German Army for wear under the M1935 tunic. It was soon found, however, that white shirts were impractical when soldiers worked without their tunics in hot weather. Two new versions of shirt were seen from early on in the war, and were worn throughout. One was mouse-grey, without breast pockets, had an attached collar and long sleeves with buttoned cuffs. The other was field-grey, with two breast pockets (pleated or unpleated, depending on manufacturer), long sleeves with buttoned cuffs, and attached collar; this version had buttons and loops at the shoulders, which allowed the shoulder straps to be worn. Neither shirt could be undone right to the bottom; each had to be pulled over the head, the neck and front being done up by a vertical line of four small buttons. The collar was usually worn open when in shirtsleeve order.

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Protective Clothing
The Army greatcoat was worn throughout the war. At the beginning of hostilities it was of field-grey cloth with a dark green falling collar. It was double-breasted, had two rows of six metal buttons, and reached to the mid-calf at least. There was a cloth half-belt with two buttons in the rear of the waist, and a central rear vent, hidden in an inverted pleat, which reached from hem to waist. (Officers’ coats had the pleat from collar to hem.) There were two slanted slash pockets just below the waist, with rounded flaps. The cuffs had deep turn-backs. Uniform shoulder-straps and rank chevrons were the only insignia worn. Shortly after the beginning of the war a second pattern appeared, with a field-grey instead of green collar. The two were worn indiscriminately. During the terrible winter of 1941-42, German soldiers pressed into service any civilian or improvised protective clothing they could lay their hands on. Quilted Russian jackets, fur waistcoats, and fur- or pile- lined ear-flap caps were much prized. Thin cotton snow-camouflage capes and over-suits were improvised from sheets, their details varying with the skill or taste of the maker. A wide variety of fur- and fleece-lined and trimmed coats, and civilian fur clothing were also to be seen. Stories abound of soldiers wearing women’s fur coats or fox furs, or with their greatcoats being stuffed with paper or straw. The experience of the first Russian winter led to the hasty design and issue of a proper cold-weather field uniform in time for the winter of 1942-43. This was an excellent and popular two-piece reversible suit, very loose and baggy in appearance, with thick blanket inter-lining. The suit appeared in two basic patterns; the first was in "mouse grey" on one side and white on the other, the second was in camouflage pattern and white. This suit was completely reversible, all fittings and pocket openings being duplicated. The jacket buttoned down the right side of the chest with six buttons, and had two slanted pockets below the waist with buttoned flaps rounded at the corners. There was an attached hood, and internal drawstrings pulled the waist, hem, hood and cuffs tight. The trousers were of the same material, with drawstring bottoms; they could be worn inside or outside the boots, and were rather shorter in the leg than conventional trousers. The jacket had a button on both front and rear sleeve seams half way down the upper arm, for the attachment of different-coloured cloth armbands as an identification measure. No other insignia were worn on the suit's white side. The reversible winter uniform was widely used from its introduction until the end of the war. However, constantly wearing the garment white-side out caused it to become soiled, defeating the purpose of having a snow-white side. It was difficult to clean the suit under front line conditions, because the woolrayon inner lining was hard to dry out without the right machines. In order to overcome this problem, a number of different styles of white, lightweight covers existed. A variety of fur-lined greatcoats, complete with fur collars, were also worn. As well, animal-skin greatcoats were also worn, primarily by officers. They came in a wide variety of colors, sizes, shapes and styles. Large felt and leather winter

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boots were also issued from 1942. Issue winter caps were also to be seen from 1943 onwards. (See Wehrmacht 43-45 for more detailed information).

Camouflage clothing
Apart from the camouflaged side of the reversible winter uniform, the German Army issued several other camouflaged items, and officers purchased others privately. The pattern employed early in the war, and used throughout, was called the "splinter" pattern. It consisted of geometric shapes in dark green and dark brown on a light green base, with areas of dark green "rain" streaks over the brown and light green. The patches of colour were hard-edged. This pattern was first used on the Zeltbahn or camouflaged shelter-quarter, which could also be worn as a waterproof cape. It was printed with a dark pattern on one side (the base being light green), light on the other (the base being khaki). The camouflaged Zeltbahn was issued as early as 1931, and can be seen throughout the war. From 1942-43 a second camouflage pattern appeared and was used alongside the first, Usually termed "water" pattern, it featured a much softer mosaic of coloured patches. The base colour was a light tan brown, with large and indistinctly bordered patches of dark brown and dark green. The areas where two colours met were obscured with broad borders of in intermediate khaki shade; light green rain was irregularly over-printed on all colours. Both patterns were used on the camouflage side of the reversible winter uniform. A baggy lightweight smock was also issued in the mid-war years. It was collarless, and had a V-neck closed with a drawstring laced through five eyelets on each side. The tunic collar was usually worn over the smock neck. The smock reached to the thighs, and had very loose sleeves buttoned by a tab at the wrist. there was a prominent seam around the arms above the elbow, and a ventilation hole in each armpit with a white binding. A flapped opening on each side of the chest gave access to tunic pockets and there was a drawstring in the waist. One side was printed plain white, the other in the first or "splinter" pattern. A helmet cover in the same camouflage pattern, with loops for the fitting of foliage and a drawstring to hold it taut under the helmet rim, was widely used from 1943 onwards. It had a prominent stitched seam pattern, running from front to back and side to side in across the skull in a cruciform arrangement. Smock and helmet cover were worn by all ranks. Loose trousers in the same camouflage pattern were also available, but photos suggest these were not as widely worn.

2. Balkans Volunteers
By June 1941, the great majority of the countries of south-eastern Europe (Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the newly-independent state of Croatia) were allied with Germany. All except Bulgaria sent contingents of their own forces to fight either on the Russian front or as security troops within the Balkans. (The uniforms of these contingents will not be covered here.)

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As a newly-independent state, Croatia could not send it's own forces. It did, however, provide three Legions of volunteers.The first was the 369th Croatian Infantry Regiment, or Verstarken Kroatischen Infanterie Regiment 369. It was attached to the 100th Jager Division on the southern sector of the Eastern Front. In September 1942, along with its parent division, the Regiment was sent to Stalingrad, where it was annihlated. Later, three new divisions were raised (the 369th, 373rd and 392nd Infantry Divisions). Though the majority of the officers and NCOs were German, the rank and file were Croat. Members serving as part of the Croatian contingents wore the same basic uniform as the rest of the Wehrmacht, as described above. The majority would have worn either the M1935 or, less likely, the M1944 uniform. (It is also possible that the M1942 summer uniform was worn year-round by some members, given the difficulty of supply within the German military.) The only concessions to national pride were an armshield of 25 red and white chequers beneath the legend HRVATSKA (the Croat spelling of Croatia) or KROATIEN (the German spelling), and a gold oval badge worn on both the sidecap and M1943 Einheitsfeldmutze with the letters NDH (for "Independent State of Croatia" in their own language) instead of the German eagle. As well, a smaller version of the red/white chequered badge (minus the legend) was worn on the right side of the helmet. (Though the helmet symbols were ordered removed as of 1942, it is possible that they were retained longer than that within the 369th Regiment, as a symbol of national pride.)

3. Eastern Volunteers
Almost from the beginning of the campaign in Russia, individual Soviet Army prisoners and deserters offered their services in an auxiliary capacity. These Hilfswillige or "auxiliary volunteers" (generally called "Hiwis") were drivers, cooks, medical orderlies – virtually every type of support duty required for the German military were performed by the Hiwis. At the beginning, many retained their Soviet Army uniforms stripped of insignia. Later, many Hiwis were either issued or managed to obtain elements of German uniforms. The second category of Eastern volunteers were the Osttruppen. These included personnel formed into their own units (called Ostbattalionen), and incorporated into the German forces. The bulk of them were non-Russians – Balts, Ukranians, Cossacks, etc, and were employed mainly in rear-area security. The expansion eventually led to the formation of the Russkaia Osvoditelnaia Armiia, the Russian Liberation Army or ROA. Its creation was spearheaded by General Andrei A. Vlasov, a captured Russian commander who convinced his German captors that he was willing to collaborate with them in order to bring down the Stalin regime, and was willing to lead an army to do it. There was, however, a considerable amount of mistrust within the German military, and even opposition from within the various minorities that made up the ROA. This mistrust meant a number of these units were to serve not in Russia, but in Western and Southern Europe as part of the occupying forces. At the beginning of 1942, seventy-two battalions Ostbattalionen were serving in the West. Morale in these units was low – they had enlisted to fight the Communists. There were instances of mutiny, and those that opposed the Allies in Normandy did so with little enthusiasm. (The webmaster read a biography a number of years ago of an American paratrooper serving in the European Theatre. He mentions seeing Asian troops that had been captured shortly after D-Day, and thinking they were Japanese serving with the Germans in France. The biographer pointed out, correctly, that they were in fact Asiatic Russians serving with the Ostbattalionen). Like the Hiwis, members of the Ostbattalionen wore a combination of Russian and German uniforms, though it is likely the uniforms on the Western Front were more standardized.

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Service Dress
The service dress worn by members of the Eastern volunteers of the Wehrmacht can be described as chaotic at best; they drew personnel from many sources, and the clothing reflected this fact. Some wore German uniforms, others wore Soviet uniforms, dyed grey-green or left untreated. Often, uniforms were a mixture of the two. Most likely, the M1943 tunic (discussed above) was the most common type worn by both Hiwis and members of the Ostbattalionen, though it is possible that the M1944 Feldbluse and even the M1935 tunic were seen as well. In addition, it is likely that the M1940 and M1942 summer tunics were worn – possibly year-round. It should be noted here that members of the Russian contingents were not supposed to wear the German eagle-and-swastika breast eagle (the Hoheitsabzeichen), as this was considered a German national honor (though the French, Belgian and Croat volunteers appear to have worn it as well). Instead, an alternative breast badge was to have been worn, featuring a diamond enclosing a swastika and supported by two stylized wings, in grey on a field grey backing. In practice, this badge was seldom seen, and either the German eagle, or no breast badge at all, was the norm. As well, elements of the Russian uniform were also worn. At the beginning of the war, The rank and file of the Russian forces wore the traditional khaki-cotton gymnastiorika, a pullover shirt-tunic, breeches and black leather boots reaching to just below the knee (though khaki puttees and short boots were also commonly seen). The shirt had a fly front, stand-and-fall collar, two patch pockets with buttoned, pointed flaps on the breast, and sleeves gathered at the wrist into cuff-bands closed by a button on each cuff. Officers, particularly senior officer, wore the 1935 service tunic, known as the French. It was single breasted, with six brass buttons and a stand-and-fall collar. On the breast were two pleated patch pockets with buttoned three-point flaps. The skirt pockets were slashed, with buttoned flaps. It also had the front and bottom edges of the collar and the top edge of the cuff piped in their respective branch colors, as follows: infantry – raspberry red; cavalry – black; artillery and armor – red; engineers – blue. However, officers often wore the other ranks' tunic in the field, piped round the collar edge and top of the cuff in branch color. The breeches (or sharovari) for all ranks had two slash pockets, and reinforced patches on the knees. Unmounted units wore khaki breeches; those in the mounted branches (except armor) wore royal blue breeches, with the outer seam piped in branch color. In January 1943 dress regulations changed for the Russian army. The shirt-tunic lost its fly front, and the now showed three buttons. The falling collar was replaced by a plain stand collar closed by two small buttons. There were no pockets on the other ranks' tunic, though the officer's version had slashed pockets with pointed buttoned flaps on each breast. For officers, the French was replaced by the kitel. This had slash pockets, a plain stand collar, five brass buttons and branch-color piping round the top and front of the collar and the top of the cuffs. (It should be mentioned here that there was a wide range of variation in color in Soviet

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Army uniforms. Though the uniforms were nominally "khaki", this must be understood to cover every shade of brown from dark chestnut to light mustard, with several grey and green tones thrown in for good measure.) Russian armored units wore a tunic identical in cut to the rest of the army, but in steel grey rather than khaki. Is is possible that volunteers from these units retained this tunic while serving with the Germans. In addition to the sidecap and M1943 Einheitsfeldmutze, Russian volunteers often wore the traditional Soviet pilotka, a khaki cloth sidecap with two gussets on the crown and a turn-up around the bottom edge, though with German badges. Combat headgear was generally the Stahlhelm.

Cossacks The Cossack communities or "hosts" had traditionally provided light cavalry for the armies of the Tsars for centuries, and gained a reputation as skilled horsemen. However, like other Russian minorities, they had been persecuted under the Communist regime, and initially welcomed the Germans as liberators. They were initially recruited in small squadrons and served as local auxiliaries, but their numbers grew as the war progressed until an entire division was formed in 1943. Traditional Cossack clothing was often worn, mixed with parts of German or Russian uniformsdescribed above. The most common item of Cossack clothing retained were the burka, baschlyk and tcherkesska. The burka was a heavy, stiff, square-shouldered riding cloak made from black camel or goat hair. The square-shouldered effect was achieved by wearing a wooden yoke inside the cape (and giving the impression of impossibly wide shoulders). The baschlyk was a deep hood with two long scarf-like ends or tails, attached round the neck with a cord, and in a variety of colours. Traditionally, the tails of the baschlyk were worn crossed at the front and tucked under the belt while the hood was down, and knotted when the hood was up; however, it appears that the tails were also worn thrown behind the shoulders, the hood being held in place by the cord. It was either worn with the greatcoat, or with the tcherkesska. This was the traditional calf-length coat, most commonly in black, decorated with gaziri (false "cartridge tubes") on the chest. Riding breeches, either in German field grey or traditional Cossack dark blue, retained where possible the stripes along the outer seam which identified the different Cossack "hosts": 50mm wide red stripes for Don Cossacks, 25mm wide red stripes for Kuban Cossacks, 50mm wide yellow stripes for Siberian Cossacks, and 50mm wide black stripes edged with narrow blue piping for Terek Cossacks. In addition to the standard German and Russian headgear, Cossacks also wore the high papasha of Tsarist tradition, worn in black with a red cloth top patch by Don Cossacks, and in white with a yellow top by Siberian Cossacks. The shorter kubanka introduced by the Soviets in 1936 was also seen; it was usually in black, with a red top for the Kuban, and a light blue top for the Terek. The tops

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of both types of caps were often decorated with a white braid cross extending from front to back and side to side. Cockades worn on the front of all caps were at first round, bearing two crossed white lances on a red background. Later on large and small ovals were introduced in the colors of the different Cossack "hosts".

Protective Clothing
Members of the Ostlegionen and the Hiwis would have worn either the greatcoat or winter parkas worn by the rest of the Wehrmacht (described above). However, given the lower status of many of the Eastern volunteers (particularly the Hiwis), it is likely that those serving on the Eastern Front made do with their issue Russian clothing. This was generally no great hardship, however, since the Russian winter clothing was superior to that of the German, and was often eagerly sought after by members of the Wehrmacht. The Russian greatcoat (kaftan) was generally of dark grey cloth, though khaki examples are known. For the rank and file, it was double-breasted and had concealed buttons. There was a deep fall collar, and the turned-back cuffs were cut on the bias so that their top edge sloped up and back to a highest point on the rear seam. Officers' greatcoasts were similar but had two rows of four brass buttons and round cuffs. Collar and cuffs were piped in branch color for officers. In winter a wide variety of wadded and quilted clothing was worn, usually taking the form of collarless jackets and trouser in various shades of drab khaki. The jackets frequently fastened on the right of the breast by loops over buttons or toggles. Massive grey felt boots were worn, with straw or paper stuffed inside as insulation. (These boots were highly sought after by members of the German Army as a replacement for the jackboot, which was totally unsuited for winter wear.) Until 1942, the usual winter field headgear was the budionovka or schlem. It was a pointed, peaked cloth helmet with tie-up flaps, usually in grey cloth. From 1942 on, it was generally replaced by the ushanka, a grey cloth cap with fur-lined tie-up flaps. The front flap was invariably worn raised even when the neck and ear flaps were down. The lining was normally fleece for rankers; officers sometimes wore versions made with real fur.

Rank Insignia and Arm Shields
1. Rank insignia Members of the Ostlegionen had special collar and shoulder straps, though it appears that the standard German shoulder straps were used as well to denote rank. Though it was envisioned that each Legion would have its own piping on the shoulder straps, in practice all shoulder straps had red piping. The special rank insignia worn by non-German members of the Ostlegionen were generally worn by the lower ranks only; in practice, native officers rarely rose above the rank of Oberleutnant. (Often, senior NCOs and officers of the Ostlegionen were German, and wore standard rank.) A system of bars and pips were used to denote both native NCO and junior officer ranks. Officers' shoulder straps were simplified,

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and were similar to those worn by German Sonderfuhrer officials, symbolizing a reluctance to accord native officers the same status as a German officer. A distinction was made between volunteers of Asiatic and Causcasian nationalities, Russian and Ukranian nationalities, and Cossacks, as follows: Asiatic and Caucasian nationalties Shoulder straps for Asiatic and Caucasian nationalities were grey-green with red piping, and a series of white braids and pips to denote rank, while the collar patches were red with white braid. Ranks were as follows: (The German translation of the Cyrillic is given first , followed by the German equivalent – see US/UK ranks for Allied equivalent): Legioner (Legionar) – plain collar patch and shoulder strap; OberLegioner (a rank introduced on 1 January 1944) – plain collar patch, shoulder strap with one silver pip; Pomoschnik komandir otdeleniya (Stellvertretender Gruppenfuhrer) – collar patch with white V-edging, shoulder strap with one white bar; Ober-Yefreytor (rank introduced 1 January 1944) – collar patch with white V-edging, shoulder strap with one white bar and one silver pip; Komandir otdeleniya (Gruppenfuhrer) – collar patch with white V-edging and one white bar; shoulder strap with two white bars; Pomoshschnik komandir vzvoda (Stellvertretender Zugfuhrer) – collar patch with white V-edging and two white bars, shoulder strap with three white bars; Komandir vzvoda (Zugfuhrer) – collar patch with white edging, shoulder straps with two vertical white bars; Pomoshschnik komandir roty (Stellvertretender Kompaniefuhrer) – collar patch with white edging and one white stripe, aluminum shoulder board; Komandir roty (Kompaniefuhrer) – collar patch with one white stripe and one silver pip, aluminum shoulder board with one knot; Komandir batal'ona (Batallionsfuhrer) – collar patch with one white stripe and two silver pips, aluminum shoulder board with two knots. It should be noted that officer sometimes unofficially acquired gold pips for the collar patches. It should be noted that as of 29 May 1943, rank titles were standardized throughout the Eastern Legions. The rank titles used in the next section were used throughout the Eastern Legions for the remainder of the war.

Russians and Ukrainians The collar patches were of a standard design throughout the Russian and Ukranian contingents of the ROA. For other ranks, they consisted of a black patches with a single red center stripe and button

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painted field grey; for officers, the patches were piped in silver around the edge, with a red center stripe and button painted field grey. Shoulder straps used in the ROA were similar to those used in the old Tsarist army – wider than the German strap, with pointed ends for other ranks, angled ends for officers. All shoulder straps were black (though the color has been described as bluish dark green) with red piping. Other ranks had straps with a pointed end near the button; NCOs had white stripes and silver pips to denote rank (the Ober-Fel'dfelbel wore the standard German army shoulder strap for that rank). Officers had straps blunted at the end near the button, with either one or two center red stripes and gold pips. Ranks were as follows: (German equivalent first, then Legion rank.): Grenadier (Soldat) – plain; Obergrenadier (Obersoldat) – single silver pip; Gefreiter (Yefreiter) – single white stripe; Obergefreiter (Ober-Yefreitor) – single white stripe; single silver pip; Unteroffizier (UnterOffitser) – two white stripes; Feldwebel (Fel'dfebel) – three white stripes; Oberfeldwebel (OberFel'dfebel) – the standard German shoulder strap was used by this rank, a rounded strap with aluminum edging and two silver pips. The Hauptfeldwebel (Khaupt-Fel'dfebel) wore two stripes of silver braid around the cuff of each sleeve); Leutnant (Podporuchik) – red center piping down the center of the shoulder strap; Oberleutnant (Poruchik) – center red piping down the center of the shoulder strap, single gold pip. Cossacks Cossack collar patches featured white crossed lances on a red background, edged in bluish dark green for enlisted men, and in aluminum braid for officers. Cossacks wore the same shoulder insignia as the Russians and Ukranians, as described above. However, the rank titles were different, as follows (German equivalent first, then Cossack): Grenadier – Kazak; Obergrenadier – Sarshiy Kazak; Gefreiter – Prikazni; Obergefreiter – Starshiy Prikazni; Unteroffizier – Uryadnik; Feldwebel – Vakhmistr; Oberfeldwebel – Ober-Vakhmistr; Hauptfeldwebel – Khaupt-Vakhmistr; Leutnant – Khorunzhiy; Oberleutnant – Sotnik. Hiwis At first, because they were considered auxiliaries, the Hiwis' uniforms were generally devoid of any rank insignia. Later, they were allowed to wear some rank insignia, though only up to the rank of Unteroffizier. Though it is possible that they used the same insignia as the rest of the Ostlegionen, it is more likely that the standard German rank insignia was used instead.

2. Arm Shields A variety of armshields were worn by members of the Ostlegionen, and were worn on either the upper left or upper right arm. Initially, they were the same shape as those worn by other foreign Legions, and bore the name of the region of Russia from which the unit hailed. Some examples are:

Georgia – worn on upper right arm.

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North Caucasas – worn on upper right arm

Latvia – worn on upper right arm

Armenia – worn on upper right arm

Azerbaijan – worn on upper right arm. Other versions feature a yellow crescent moon and eight point star superimposed on the shield.

Turkestan – there were four versions seen for these members. Two are shown. Don Cossack – similar versions were issued for the Terek (black, green and red stripes) and Kuban (halved crosswise yellow and green). All versions were worn on the upper left arm.

Later patterns were simpler, and instead of names in Arabic letters, they bore only letters, either in Arabic or Cyrillic alphabets. Some examples are:

Ukraine – worn on upper right arm. The letters YBB are Cyrillic, standing for the Ukrainske Vyzvolne Viysko (UVV) or Ukranian Liberation Army

Terek Cossacks – worn on upper left arm

Don Cossacks – worn on the upper left arm.

Kuban Cossacks – worn on the upper left arm

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Siberian Cossacks – worn on the upper left arm

Russian Liberation Army – the letters POA are the Cyrillic version of Russkaia Osvoboditel'naia Armiia. Worn on upper left arm.

3. North Africa
As in Europe and Russia, German propoganda tried to capitalize on nationalist feelings by recruiting members of the local populace in North Africa into the German military. However, unlike in these other theatres, they were only partially successful. Two non-European Legions were formed: the Free Indian Legion and the Free Arab Legion. As well, a legion comprised of French settlers in North Africa, the Phalange Africaine, was also formed. The Free Indian Legion was recruited from Indian troops of the British forces captured in North Africa. By the end of 1942 it numbered approx. 2000 men, and was officially formed as Indisches Inf. Regt. 950 of the German Army. It served as part of the Atlantic Wall garrison near Bordeaux, but was withdrawn to Germany after D-Day. Originally recruited as part of the Wehrmacht, it was placed under the control of the Waffen-SS as of 8 August 1944. The unit never saw combat, and was eventually disbanded. The second was the Free Arab Legion, composed predominately of Palestinians, Iraqis and Tunisians, as well as some Moslem residents of France. The first unit raised was Sonderverband 287, which eventually grew to a strength of three battalions; one battalion later served served in Tunisia, while the other two were used in anti-partisan operations in the Caucasas and later in Yugoslavia. A second German-Arab battalion, the 845th Inf. Bn, also served in the Balkans. The largest Arab unit ot the German Army was raised in Tunisia, and was variously known as the Deutsch-Arabische Lehr Abteilung or simply Deutsch-Arabische Truppen. It comprised five battalions within the 5th Panzer Army (including elements of Sonderverband 287 and the Arab members of the Phalange Africaine), and was used in rear area security. As well, four KODAT battalions were raised, and served in the Balkans. It appears these units were used as auxiliaries. (It should be noted that the term "Free Arab Legion" was simply a generic name for those who fought under German command.) A third Legion, the Phalange Africaine, was also formed following the Torch landings in Africa in 1942. It was a mixed French/Arab unit which served on the Tunisian front, attached ot the 754th Inf. Regt of the 334th Inf. Div. It existed for only a few months.

Service Dress
Members of the Free Indian and Free Arab Legion wore the standard German Army tropical uniform worn by the rest of the Afrika Corps. The tropical uniform worn by the Afrika Corps varied widely in colour, depending on length of use, different manufacturers' batches, etc.; and the latitude tolerated in the desert armies of other nations was also observed in the German forces. Colours described below are regulation shades.

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The M1940 Tropical tunic was the same in cut as the M1935 uniform described above: thigh length, of olive green cloth, with pleated breast and skirt pockets and five olive-painted metal buttons. (The color resembled British "khaki" or American "olive drab". Early versions ranged in color from greenish-brown to dark brown. Later versions were more standardized.) The belt habitually worn with this jacket was of olive webbing, with an olive-painted belt buckle exactly like the continental pattern. It was meant to be worn with an olive green shirt and olive tie, though this was usually replaced by civilian scaves. In October of 1942, a modified version of the tunic appeared. The M1942 Tropical tunic was similar in cut to the earlier version, but omitted the pocket pleats. Both versions of the tunic can be seen throughout the campaign. They were likely worn most often during the winter, and in early morning or in the evening, when temperatures could drop to nearfreezing. The M1940 tropical shirt, manufactured in light olive cotton drill, was often worn instead of the jacket. It was of pullover type with four small plastic buttons. It had long sleeves and two box-pleated patch pockets with pointed flaps; shoulder straps were the only insignia worn on the shirt. The M1940 standard light-olive cotton twill tropical long trousers proved more practical than the standard-issue jodhpurs first issued when the Afrika Corps arrived in North Africa. Troops often added tapes to allow the trouser bottoms to be pulled tight over the ankles. They were worn either gathered at the ankle or confined in short olive web gaiters virtually identical to the British anklet made their appearance. Shorts were also worn. (It is likely that members of the Free Indian Legion retained elements of their British-issue uniforms, or used captured French clothing. Though differing in style, both uniforms uniforms were a light sand color. It appears the members of the Phalange Africaine used a combination of German and French tropical uniforms) Brown laced ankle-boots made of leather and canvas often replaced the knee-length version. Olive or grey socks were worn, both to ankle and knee length. Officers sometimes wore their black leather continental high-boots. The almost universal headgear in North Africa was the tropical field cap. This was issued in olive green, but many sandy drill shades were observed; the issue colour faded with use, and the men used to dye the caps a light sand colour as well. This light, stylish peaked cap bore silver piping round the crown seam and round the front "scoop" of the false turn-up for officers. The officers' field-grey peaked cap were also worn occasionally. A lightweight, olive-coloured version of the sidecap was also worn, largely by armoured units; for officers, it bore silver piping exactly as on the continental sidecap. Sikh members of the Free Indian Legion were allowed to wear turbans instead of the tropical cap.

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When it first arrived in North Africa, the Afrika Corps were issued with pith helmets. The cork helmet was covered in olive cloth (changed to brown in 1942), and worn with painted metal shields pinned to each side, echoing the steel helmet: the black/white/red shield on the right, the eagle and swastika on the left. It was rarely worn in action, but can often be seen in photos taken away from the front lines. The normal combat headgear was the standard M1935 steel helmet, painted light sandy yellow or stone. A silver-white Wehrmacht eagle on a black shield – usually stencilled – was sometimes painted on the left side. Unofficially though more often, the DAK vehicle sign, a white palm-tree and swastika, was painted on the right side. Cloth covers made of burlap were also used. Members of the KODAT battalions wore the French continental M1935 khaki field uniform and French equipment. On the right upper sleeve, they wore a white armband with Im Dienst der deutschen Werhmacht (in the service of the Wehrmacht), introduced on 1 October 1941.

Insignia and Arm Shields
The tropical field cap and sidecap bore the usual national eagle on the front of the crown and the cockade on the front of the false turn-up, the latter often enclosed by and inverted "V" of Waffenfarbe piping. The eagle was in light blue-grey on a tan backing, the cockade in black, white and red on a diamond-shaped tan or olive backing. Officers sometimes worn enlisted men's insignia, sometimes officers'; the latter featured silver-on-tan eagles and the raised black, silver and red cockade with backing normally worn on continental pattern sidecaps. Above the right breast pocket of the jacket the usual eagle badge appeared in light blue-grey on a tan backing. All ranks wore this, although some officers replaced it with the silver-on-green eagles from their continental uniforms. All ranks below officer wore Litzen collar patches of conventional design but of dull blue-grey colour; these were sewn directly to the collar, with a narrow strip of tan long the middle of each bar and a narrow area of tan showing between the bars. Officers wore the standard silver-on-green Litzen from their continental uniforms, as described above, with Waffenfarbe strips. Enlisted men wore detachable olive cloth shoulder-straps, piped around the edge with Waffenfarbe piping. Officers wore their normal continental shoulder-straps of silver on Waffenfarbe backing. The Tresse indicating rank on NCOs' shoulder-straps and collars, and the braid of junior NCOs' sleeve chevrons were all of a dull copper-brown shade. The armshield of the Free Indian Legion was worn high on the right sleeve: the legend FREIES INDIEN appeared in black on a white upper strip, above horizontal stripes of orange, white and green, with a superimposed yellow and black tiger leaping diagonally towards the top right corner. The Free Arab Legion also wore their arm shield on the right sleeve. This had vertical stripes of green, white and black below a segment of red bearing two white stars, and black-on-white upper and lower stripes reading FREIES ARABIEN in Arabic and German respectively. It should be noted that the AFRIKA cuff titles do not appear to have been worn by members of these

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legions.

Protective clothing
The M1940 standard tropical greatcoat, essential for frigid desert nights, was made in deep chocolate brown wool. It was of the same cut as the continental version, with two rows of six matt field-grey buttons, a back half-belt secured by two buttons, turn-bakc cuffs. Either the continental-pattern shoulder straps and sleeve chevrons, or the tropical pattern straps and chevrons were worn on the coat. In addition, The M1940 standard olive-brown wool pullover, with a roll-neck or turtle-neck, were also worn, often under the tunic.

REFERENCES
Caballero Jurado, Carlos and Lyles, Kevin, (1983). Foreign Volunteers of the Wehrmacht 194145. London: Osprey/Reed International Books Davis, Brian L. (1973) German Army Uniforms and Insignia 1933-1945. London: Brockhampton Press. --------------- (1983). Badges and Insignia of the Third Reich 1933-1945. London: Arms and Armor Press Embleton, Gerry and Windrow, Martin (1977). World War 2 Combat Uniforms and Insignia.. Warren: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc. Fowler, Dr. Jeffrey T. and Chappell, Mike, (2001). Axis Cavalry in World War II. London: Osprey/Reed International Books Mirouze, Laurent, (1990), World War II Uniforms in Colour Photographs, London: Windrow & Greene Ltd. Thomas, Nigel and Andrew, Stephen, (1997). The German Army 1939-45 (1): Blitzkrieg. London: Osprey/Reed International Books -------------------------------------, (1998). The German Army 1939-45 (2): North Africa & Balkans. London: Osprey/Reed International Books -------------------------------------, (1999). The German Army 1939-45 (3): Eastern Front 1941-43. London: Osprey/Reed International Books -------------------------------------, (1999). The German Army 1939-45 (4): Eastern Front 1943-45. London: Osprey/Reed International Books -------------------------------------, (2000). The German Army 1939-45 (5): Western Front 1943-45. London:

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