German, Uniforms, WW2

WW2 Kriegsmarine Uniforms for sale

The Imperial German Navy was in place until 1918 when the organisation changed to the Reichmarine by 1919. That organisation in turn changed to become the Kriegsmarine in 1939 and the translation of that word literally means “war navy”. It was clearly a taste of things to come as within only a few short years the Kriegsmarine were in action around the world.

Despite assurances made within the 1919 Treaty of Versailles to limit the size of the German Navy – that treaty expressly forbid the construction of submarines and any military expansion. However by 1935 the new Kriegsmarine was completely ignoring this and it had secretly forged ahead with a vast expansion programme to build up their navy and U-boat fleets.

No matter which area of speciality within the Kriegsmarine a man served during WW2 from 1935 onwards uniforms had the addition of the gold eagle and swastika. It was an addition that continued right up until the end of hostilities in 1945 and it is one of the quickest ways to spot a WW1 or WW2 uniform in a photograph or in combat footage.

Without the addition of the gold eagle and swastika the basic uniform stayed very much the same throughout as it had proven itself to be practical over many years.

Below we take a look at some of the standard items of uniform that would have been worn by a member of the WW2 German Kriegsmarine that are currently for sale from our partner sites.

Kriegsmarine parade tunic

Up first is probably the most recognisable item of Kriegsmarine uniform – the parade or dress tunic. The design continued from the WW1 uniform with the addition of the eagle on the breast.

It is made from navy wool with a short cut front and long arms. The jacket has gilt washed buttons down both left and the right front and also along the cuffs to create a visually interesting look. Most of the buttons are not actually usable and were added purely for decoration.

This example comes with a couple of shirts and a regulation pair of white trousers as well as the distinctive blue and white dickie which fastens at the front and goes over the shoulders. The jacket also has trade badges applied to the sleeves which would indicate the qualifications or specialisms of the wearer.

This grouping is in great condition and named to a man called LEIN.  It is available for sale from Antiquities of the Reich priced at £995.00.

WW2 Kriegsmarine jacket.
WW2 Kriegsmarine blue tunic with lanyard and gold breast eagle.
WW2 Kriegsmarine jacket with collar.
Jacket with the transitional striped collar.
WW2 Kriegsmarine white shirt.
White shirt which was normally worn with the striped collar around the neck and over both shoulders.
WW2 Kriegsmarine trousers.
Kriegsmarine white trousers which match the shirt.

Antiquities of the Reich logo

Kriegsmarine Shirt

The most often worn item onboard ship for the enlisted men was the long shirt. Again it displayed the eagle on the right breast and the trade badges and rank on the sleeve – plus blue cuffs. it is a no frills piece of uniform. It was designed to be washed and changed regularly and it would have been worn by all sailors when onboard ship.

This example has the eagle as well as rank and trade insignia. It is priced at €130 from Danzig Militaria.

WW2 German Navy shirt.
White Kriegsmarine work shire with insignia.
Rear of the shirt with the blue cuffs and striped collar.
Kriegsmarine Eagle.
Close up of the blue eagle on the white shirt.
Kriesgmarine rank and trade insignia.
Close up of the rank and trade insignia.

Enlisted man’s Kriegsmarine tunic

Another enlisted man’s shirt.  This one has no rank insignia on it at all indicating that it would have been worn by the lowliest of sailors.

It is for sale from Marvin’s Militaria priced at €65.

KM enlisted mans shirt.
Kriegsmarne white shirt without any rank or badges.
Kriegsmarne white shirt.
Kriegsmarne white shirt rear.
Shirt collar.
Close up of the shirt collar.

Kriegsmarine Tropical Service Tunic

In warmer climates the Kriegsmarine soldier could wear a tropical tan tunic. These could be privately purchased by enlisted men, but more often than not the standard Government issue tunic was worn.

Good quality tan tunics are still available and this 4 pocket khaki example is dated 15th of January 1943 and it is fitted with dished removable buttons which feature a fouled anchor and a pebbled background. They are fastened to the tunic using s-shaped clips enabling them to be removed for cleaning which was a real advantage to having to re-sew them regularly. The internal stamps indicate that the jacket was first issued by the clothing depot in Wilhemshaven.

It has slip on epaulettes which fasten to a small canvas loop on each shoulder, it shows a rank of Feldwebel and indicated the trade of a Radio Operator.

This tunic is offered for sale from The Collector’s Guild priced at $995.

WW2 Coastal Artillery tunic.
Front view of the Kriegsmarine tropical issue Coastal Artillery Tunic which is finished in a tan colour.
WW2 Coastal Artillery tunic interior.
Interview view of the tunic with the upper area lined in white cotton.
WW2 Coastal Artillery tunic internal stamp.
B.W.W. Clothing Depot stamp and 1943 date on the inside of the tunic lining.
WW2 Coastal Artillery tunic epaulette.
The slip-on epaulettes allowed for easy cleaning and accommodated any change in rank or department to be done easily.
WW2 Coastal Artillery tunic insignia.
The tunic has a tropical tan coloured bevo weave eagle above the right pocket.

The Collector's Guild

Another tropical tunic, this time in jade-green

This example has the rank of petty officer and produced in a darker jade-green material to the one above. This one also has removable gilt buttons for cleaning as well as gilt edged rank epaulettes.

It is priced at £575 from Battleflag Militaria.

KM tropical tunic.
Front view of the Kriegsmarine Tropical tunic in jade-green colour.
KM tropical jacket interior.
Internal view showing the coloured lining.
Rear view.
WW2 KM eagle.
Close up of the gold Kriegsmarine eagle.
Epaulette on a kriegsmarine jacket.
Close up of the epaulette with a gilt edging and button.

Battleflag Militaria

Kriegsmarine leather uniform

Another variation of the kriegsmarine uniform is this double breasted leather wrap-over tunic and trousers. Although these sets were issued to the Kriegsmarine they were famously worn by panzer troops during the Normandy campaign. The idea was that the buttons on the jacket would be hidden behind a layer of cloth or they would not catch on the hatches of vehicles or equipment when worn.

This set has a herringbone twill lining which is RB numbered, size stamped on the pocket. The “RB” number – or Reichsbetriebsnummer to give it its full name was instigated in 1943 as a system that meant the German Government could put production details onto a piece of equipment or clothing. But at the same time a factory name and address could remain secret via the numerical code and only be known to a small number of people. It was a simple way of maintaining the security and secrecy of factories producing products for the military.

This great condition set appears to have never had insignia and it is priced at £895. It is for sale from Regimentals.

Kriegsmarine wrapover tunic and trousers. WW2
Kriegsmarine wrapover tunic and trousers.
Kriegsmarine jacket rear view.
Kriegsmarine leather wrapover jacket front view.
Kriegsmarine jacket inside.
The inside of the jacket showing the lining showing the cream pocket and internal drawstring belt area..
Kriegsmarine trousers from WW2.
Kriegsmarine leather trousers with button fly and buttons for suspenders.
Kriegsmarine wrapover tunic and trouser set.
A close up of the Button cuffs.
Kriegsmarine wrapover tunic and trousers. WW2
Inside of the ;leather trousers are lined in a grey material..
Kriegsmarine jacket interior markings.
The manufacturer’s markings and “RB” number stamped onto the pocket.

Regimentals Militaria

And finally… if you are starting a collection and do not have a large budget why not look at Kriegsmarine insignia. It is readily available from trusted dealers and it gives you a starting point for a collection.

In a future article we will discuss the many different Kriegsmarine eagles available to collectors, but for now this Kriegsmarine breast eagle is a flat bevo weave and in great condition. It is priced at £30 from KriegsmarinePlus.

Kriegsmarine Plus logo

Interested in German Paratrooper Smocks? CLICK HERE

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