During WW2 German Army soldiers were issued with a personal wound dressing which they kept inside a small pocket in their tunic. If they were wounded, the individual or his comrades could administer limited help quickly until they could receive expert treatment later.
For vehicle crews or groups of soldiers, a larger medical box was widely issued. This was called a Verbandkasten which is German for first aid kit. The contents of the box would be configured to accommodate the needs of the unit and often they reflected the problems encountered in a particular theatre of operations.
The exterior colour of the box could also represent the conditions where it was being used, with some boxes being issued in tan, field grey and they were even painted white for snow conditions.
In this article we take a look at some Verbandkasten boxes available from our partner sites.
Field Grey Verbandkasten
First up is a good combat-used example of a field grey coloured Verbandkasten. It has the standard wording on the top and the regulation Red Cross, as well as the internal paper label inside the lid still intact.
It comes with a full compliment of contents, including pins, needles, tubes, syringes and wartime-dated bandages. The lid label is 1941 dated. It is for sale from D&B Militaria in the UK priced at £550.
Military Classic Memorabilia in Normandy have this field grey Verbandkasten for sale. It contains a cross section of medical items, including the usual bandages, ointments, test tube and powders.
This kit has a real combat used feel about it and you can image it being in constant use during the battle for Normandy. It is priced at €380.
Below is another standard issue field grey Verbandkasten box. This has different contents to the one shown above and it includes rows of unissued bandages, aspirins, lint, and even an eye patch. It is very difficult to find absolutely complete boxes now.
Available from Regimentals in the UK for £750.
DAK Tropical Verbandkasten
Next up is a tropical variation of the Verbandkasten. It is finished in the tropical tan colour often associated with the German Army Afrika Korps or DAK (Deutsches Afrikakorps).
This particular box for sale from Military Antiques contains 1942-1943 dated items such as a surgeon’s cap, bandages and various field dressings. As well as having the original paper lid insert which is dated 1942, it also has a Waffenamt acceptance stamp.
It is available from Military Antiques in the UK priced at £495.
The German Army issued variations of the Verbandkasten and this following example is made of wood. It still has the standard wording and red cross on the top and it was probably designated to be supplied to a specific ambulance or vehicle, as it seems to have a vehicle number stencilled on the side. The box has been manufactured with a fabric carrying handle on the end and it is in good condition.
The box is full to the brim with various medical equipment. Its contents include different types of bandages as well as a pair of medical scissors. One of the bandages is dated July 1941. This box has certainly seen the war!
This Verbandkasten box is for sale from Para Classics Ltd in the UK priced at £400.
Dutch Wooden Verbandkasten
Here is another variation on the wooden Verbandkasten boxes theme, available for sale in Holland. Originally a German Army medical kit, this box has been reissued or reused by the Flemish/Dutch army or civilians during the war and probably afterwards.
The need for medical kits and equipment did not stop at the end of the war and there are also lots of recorded instances where both sides were using the opposition’s medical supplies – especially when they were captured after a battle. This box is proof of this happening. It started out as a German box and was then reused by the enemy.
This box is also full of Dutch medical equipment, including a number of bandage packets.
Available from Clements Militaria priced at €250.
Restoration Piece Verbandkasten
And finally, if you like the idea of owning your own Verbandkasten but cannot afford the price of an already complete set; why not buy an empty box? You can restore it and fill it with the contents of your choice. There are plenty of empty Verbandkasten boxes on the market. They range from ones which just need the contents adding, all the way down to ones which need painting, stencilling and the contents adding as well.
It can be a cost effective way of building up a full kit, since the individual dressings and ointments are not that expensive when bought separately. Most militaria shows will have the smaller items for sale.
This Verbandkasten box needs restoration work and it is for sale from The Militaria Shop in the UK priced at £52.
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