During WW2 the German armed forces issued uniforms with different coloured piping to the different troops. This was called Waffenfarbe and it could be piping around the collar of a jacket, on epaulettes or around a cap. The colour represented the branch of service the individual was serving in. For example, red was artillery, yellow meant signals, etc. In the case of the medical specialists, the colour used was a dark blue and that colour would be worn across all ranks.
German combat medics were also issued specialist equipment to treat their wounded comrades. Their items could be fractionally different to standard equipment; for example the issuing of an oversized water bottle, or more simply the wearing of a medic’s Red Cross armband. They also had access to specialist gas masks for head wounds, and medical backpacks containing everything they could need. Here are a few examples of specific medic-related items currently for sale.
Medical NCO’s Visor Cap with Blue Piping
A good example of Waffenfarbe in use, this non-commissioned officer’s visor cap has the deep blue piping for the medical service. Manufactured in a field grey coloured wool, it has the typical boat shape preferred by officers at that time.
The cap is a good size; approximately 58cm, and it will look great on a mannequin or a display head. Interestingly, the inner celluloid diamond in the centre of the cap has the owner’s name, ‘Felmeden’ written in it. This may give the new owner the opportunity to research this man’s career in the medical service.
The cap is fitted with the correct black leather chinstrap, which is held in place by a single button on each side. The chinstrap is also marked 35 R Larson Berlin, which is presumably the manufacturer’s details.
This cap is available from Eagle Relics priced at £675.
Medical Branch Epaulettes
Next up is a matching pair of Wehrmacht Major’s epaulettes. Again, piped in blue for the medical service. They look like they have never been used, as one end of them would normally be sewn into the shoulders of a jacket and then the other end held down by a button.
Epaulettes are great items to collect, as they are small and easily displayed. There is also a vast array of different types by service colour, then each rank within that branch. You then have service dress, mess dress, combat and parade uniforms; all of which had to have different types of epaulettes.
This particular pair are for sale from Antiquities of the Reich priced at £125.
Red Cross Armband
No German army medic’s kit would be complete without a Red Cross Armband. They were widely issued to medics on all sides but they were not always worn, so they were supplied separately to the uniform and their use was discretionally.
The armband was designed to offer the wearer protection and neutrality whilst in the process of caring for the sick and wounded. But in reality, they would often become targets themselves, due to their medic status.
This clean example is for sale from Malcolm Wagner Militaria in the UK. £50.
Medic’s Specialist Pouches
A uniquely issued item for German combat medics was this specialist waist belt pouch. Larger than the standard ammunition pouches, they were designed to carry light bandages, medicine and dressings. So anything that could easily treat minor wounds on the move.
The construction of these pouches seems odd, as they hinge at the front (away from the wearer) but there was a reason for this. The flap opening this way allowed the pouch to be accessed much easier than if it had hinged more conventionally. So when worn in combat, at first glance they look like they are on back to front.
They can be found manufacturered in both black and brown leather and this pair is marked on the back with a letter R and S respectively. They have rear Y-strap carrying loops at the top rear, as well as the standard belt fastening loops.
This pair is for sale from Clements Militaria in Holland €145.
Combat Medic’s Water Bottle
The next item is a good quality used example of a WW2 German Army combat medic’s water bottle and cup. All parts are held together with leather straps and the cup sits inverted on top of the bottle, which in turn has a screw-down top to keep the liquid secure inside. The bottle mounts onto the belt via a hook, and a shoulder strap would hold it in place on either the left or right side of the wearer.
Often these items are dated around the rim of the aluminium bottle, on the back of the cup and sometimes also on the back of the leather carrier. They were a larger size than the standard infantry model to allow the medic to administer water to patients, as well as having enough for his own use.
This water bottle is for sale by ICMS Militaria in Holland €145.
Medical Oxygen Dispensing Backpack
Combat medics generally travelled with as little equipment as possible when in a combat zone. But there were occasions when they needed very specific equipment to treat their patients. One such item is this oxygen breathing backpack known as a Heeresatmar.
It was manufactured by the Drager Company and as an oxygen tank with gauges and hoses, and it dispensed oxygen via a face mask to injured men, especially ones who could not move very easily. Designed to be worn on the back like a rucksack, it measures approximately 16 inches high and 13 inches wide, with a depth of about 4 inches.
This is a piece of medical issue kit that is not found very often and could be just what you need to complete a gap in your collection.
It is currently available from The Ruptured Duck in the USA. $750.
Medic’s Fur Backpack
And finally, a rare chance to buy an original and fully complete German medic’s M34 fur backpack. On the exterior it has the fur covering and multiple stitched Red Cross circular emblems, as well as all the necessary carrying straps, while on the interior the material used is the same as that of the MP44 canvas pouches, with the red stripe running through the material. The rest of the main pack is manufactured in Luftwaffe blue canvas.
The kit still contains all of the originally-issued contents, which include paper instructions, pads, bandages, packs, bags and ointments. There is also the owner’s name, ‘Muller’, marked inside, as well as a Waffenamt stamp and 1944 date on the rear back panel. The rear carrying straps are also marked with matching maker’s codes. This is a very difficult piece of kit to find in complete condition.
It is available from Regimentals in the UK. £1,695.
Are you interested in WW2 Camouflage German Helmets? If so, CLICK HERE
Do you have items to sell? Dealer or collector; it’s completely free!
We love to show items for sale from all around the world, so grab the chance to put your item in front of thousands of potential buyers worldwide.
For dealers with your own website: it couldn’t be easier, so get in touch via [email protected] to express interest, and we will select items from your website to include in our daily posts, and advertise them for free! No work on your part required at all. If you have a social media and/or eBay account, feel free to include these in your e-mail as well. We will tag your social media account whenever your item is included in one of our posts so you can gain even more exposure. Click here to see the list of our current partner sites.
Collectors / sellers with just one or two items to sell: Send us an email to [email protected] with 3-5 clear photos of the item, item description (be as descriptive as possible), location, price and shipping options, and we will shortlist it to be included in upcoming articles. Again, totally free!
Subject to approval, your item will be seen by tens of thousands of people per week.