German, Uniforms, WW2

WW2 German Panzer Uniforms for Sale

Some of the most iconic WW2 uniforms were those issued to the German Panzer crews.

The 1930s German Army wrap-over tunic was created to assist tank and vehicle crews to get in and out of their vehicles with the least obstruction. The conventional German combat tunic at that time had buttons running down the front and they would inevitably catch on things. The wrap-around front design of the new tunics allowed buttons to be hidden. The colour also served a practical function by hiding the dirt and oil that the uniforms would come into contact with on a daily basis.

The irony of the whole design was that the combat awards so often issued to tank crews – such as Iron Crosses, tank awards and wound badges were designed to be mounted onto the front of those same tunics. Meaning that those awards would continually catch on vehicle parts and hatches, completely contradicting the purpose of the wrap-over tunic.

This propaganda photograph of Panzer ace Michael Wittmann shows his awards being worn on the front of his Panzer wrap-over tunic.

Michael Wittmann in his wrapover tunic.
Photo credit: Bundesarchiv

Very few combat awards were produced in flat cloth so it was perhaps a case of style over function at the time, or perhaps the designers completely missed what would happen to a panzer crewman’s uniform as he won awards during his career.

Not withstanding the practical issues of Panzer tunic being worn, there are hundreds of period photographs of Panzer crews relaxing in European cities. Outside cafes, or standing up in the turret of their Tiger tank in combat situations. One thing is for sure – they had some of the best clothing designs of that era.

A stunning Panzer tunic, trousers and M43 field cap grouping

It is rare to have the opportunity to buy a complete Panzer uniform set. This wrap-over tunic is a very early one which is 1935 dated. It has the Panzer pink piping throughout on the collar boards, the collar edge and on the shoulder boards which show the rank of 2nd lieutenant. The collar boards are machine sewn to the collar with correct alloy skulls fastened through via two rear prongs. The breast eagle is a machine sewn BeVo weave example in white thread on a black background, which has been hand sewn onto the tunic.

The trousers are the regulation pattern with two slash button pockets and a smaller watch pocket on the front right. The interior lining around the waist and pockets is white cotton and there is a 2 button waist with 4 button fly. They are straight legged with ties at the ankles. This pair is dated 1941. With an approximate 32 inch waist and a 46 inch length, they the ideal size for a display.

This great set is available for sale from The Ruptured Duck and is priced at $24,500. 

Panzer uniform for sale
WW2 Panzer uniform group including a wrap-over tunic, M43 cap and trousers.
Interior of ww2 Panzer jacket for sale
The tunic has a lighter interior lining. The waist is adjustable via two drawstrings and around the sleeve tops there is reinforcing in the same material.
WW2 panzer tunic interior markings
Along with the size markings, there is what appears to be a unit marking. Panzer Regiment 3 perhaps?
WW2 German panzer jacket rear view
Rear view of the jacket which is plain and uncomplicated. Images: The Ruptured Duck
Panzer jacket insignia.
The epaulette and collar insignia. All of the elements are piped in pink indicating the Panzer colours.

The Ruptured Duck Militaria

A rare field grey Panzer Pioneer Officer’s wrapover tunic

This style of late war tunic was produced in rough field grey material to the same pattern as the standard black one shown above. They are very difficult to find today in any condition and this example has very little service wear.

An interesting addition are the collar tabs which have black with silver dashes around them, as well as the standard alloy skull in the centre. The epaulettes are also trimmed with a black edge, denoting pioneers and there are medal ribbons for the German-Italian Africa Campaign medal and the Iron Cross Second Class.

The tunic interior is finished in a light tan colour and there are the usual manufacturer’s size markings which are clearly visible. The back is quite plain. There are two vertical pleats which are very often found on late war tunics. These were an ideal way for a tailor to take the jacket in if the wearer lost weight.

This tunic went up for auction via C&T Auctions in their USA November sale. Their estimate was $6,000 – $8,000 but it did not sell this time so worth keeping an eye out or contacting the auctioneers if you’re interested.

WW2 German Army Pioneer's Wrapover Tunic for sale
WW2 German Army Pioneer’s Wrapover Tunic with medal ribbons.
Rear view of WW2 Panzer tunic for sale
The rear view of the tunic is again very plain. There are two vertical pleats which are very often found on late war tunics. These were an ideal way for a tailor to take the jacket in if the wearer lost weight.
WW2 Field Grey uniform complete interior
The interior has two draw-string adjusters and it is half-lined with tan material.
ww2 german Panzer breast eagle
The breast eagle is mounted on a field grey background in subdued thread.
Collar and epaulettes. The collars are piped in black with silver dashes.
It has a wide collar and grey backed epaulettes which are surrounded by a dashed black and silver cord. Images: C&T Auctions

C&T Auctions logo

Reed Green Denim Assault Tunic

Another branch of service that needed their own clothing was the self-propelled artillery, which accompanied infantry into close contact with the enemy. As the majority of these men were fighting in open topped vehicles, it was obvious that the black wrap-over tunic would not fit the bill. They were not particularly well camouflaged and they stood out in the top of a camouflaged vehicle or scouting for enemy vehicles. The answer was to create a multi-purpose wrap-over tunic in dark denim, which would provide a degree of camouflage and also act as a summer weight combat tunic.

Normally the jackets would have coloured branch of service collar badges and epaulettes, but this example does not have either. The wrapover was available to officers and it could be privately purchased by them, and the general design stayed the same for all ranks with the large front pocket being used for maps and small items. If needed, the jacket could also be worn over another tunic for added warmth.

This example is size marked on the inside and it has a single draw cord to allow a small amount of waistband adjustment. It is in very good condition and available from The Collector’s Guild priced at $5,995.

WW2 German Army Herringbone Panzer Front view.
Front view with the distinctive wrapover design which cover the front and takes the buttons down one side. The jackets also have the distinctive oversized pocket on the front and buttons down each cuff.
Inside of a Panzer Wrapover Tunic Assault gunner
The army assault artillery wrapover tunic interior is very basic with no added lining material.
WW2 German Army Eagle on wrapover tunic.
The Assault Gunners wrapover tunic breast eagle.
WW2 Assault Gunners tunic interior.
The maker’s size markings are in white on the inside of the tunic. Images: The Collector’s Guild

The Collector's Guild

Staying with Panzer troops and combat jackets…

Next up is a Panzer officer’s Afrika Korps tropical tunic. Tropical tunics had a standard design with an open top collar, 4 pleated pockets and removable buttons. The tunic has an enlisted man’s tropical eagle, which was manufactured on a tan backed material and matching Panzer pink collar badges and epaulettes.

Again, the tunic was designed with no real lining for warmth as it was thought unnecessary, although it does have adjustable button cuffs. The underneath of the button flap has a maker’s name stamped into it. The buttons are also removable and they are accessed behind a flap which runs from top to bottom of the tunic front. They could be removed whilst cleaning the jacket and then put back later on, as they are fixed in place by small steel loops.

It is interesting to see how the tunic has faded almost to white on the exterior, but more of the original colour can be seen inside the jacket and under the pocket flaps and collar where the sunshine has not reached.

This particular jacket has been featured in a book written by Daniel Fisher on the Afrika Korps. It is priced at £6,995 and is available from Regimentals.

WW2 DAK combat tunic for sale
This M40/41 tour pocket tunic has been faded by the light of the sun.
ww2 afrika korps tunic in tan for sale
Rear of the jacket shows service wear.
WW2 DAK jacket for sale
The jacket lining is minimal and only really has areas of reinforcing.
DAK tunic button fastenings
The manufacturer’s stamp is hidden under the front button flap. The buttons are all held in place by steel circular clips which could be removed easily for cleaning.
ww2 DAK other ranks eagle on jacket
The distinctive tropical eagle was hand sewn over the top of the pocket.
WW2 Tropical jacket epaulette
The pink piped epaulette and collar badge in detail.

Regimentals Militaria

Moving away from combat tunics

All the best dressed Panzer officer’s had a Waffenrock or ceremonial parade jacket, which they would wear when attending official functions. These jackets conformed to a specific design. They were often privately purchased and made from only the best materials. As with all Panzer jackets, they would be trimmed in the pink Panzer colours on the collar, epaulettes and also along the front edge of the buttons all the way down and around the cuffs.

Invariably officers would leave a spare Waffenrock at home and because so many did not return home after the war, they can often be found in almost untouched condition. That said, of all the colours of service available, the Panzer pink piped ones have always been at a premium for collectors.

This non-commissioned officer example has the correct breast eagle and it has a number 3 on each of the epaulettes along with a single rank pip. The buttons are also decorated with a letter “I”.

This tunic is for sale via IMCS Militaria in Holland and it is priced at €950.

WW2 German Army waffenrock.
WW2 German Army waffenrock – front view.
Rear view of a WW2 German Army waffenock.
Rear view shows the level of decorative detail. This style of buttoned rear was used a lot during the First World War on their tunics and it is purely decorative.
Inside of a WW2 German Army waffenock.
This Waffenrock has a tailored interior with belt hooks and lined sleeves.
WW2 German Army waffenock.
The epaulette is marked with the number 3, along with one pip and a button which has the letter “I” on it.
WW2 German Army waffenock.
The pink piping goes around the turned up cuffs and behind the mock buttons .
WW2 German Army waffenock eagle.
Close up of the distinctive eagle dress eagle which has been sewn on by hand.

IMCS Militaria logo

Thank you for reading this post. For more US Army combat jackets for sale CLICK HERE.

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