Basis of impression
Pictured here is an enlisted soldier of an infantry unit in the Heer (army), mid-late war. He is wearing an M40 wool feldgrau uniform with infantry collar tabs and shoulderboards. Our soldier is wearing the Heer chest eagle and the insignia of a low-ranking NCO – an Obergefreiter. The red medal ribbon shows that he has served on the Eastern front. His M35 helmet is fitted with a splinter pattern cover and a foliage loop made from a tyre inner tube: a field improvisation enabling soldiers quick and easy camouflage to break up the lines of the distinctive helmet.
He is armed with an MP40 sub-machinegun, with the six spare magazines carried in a pair of pouches that hang off the standard German belt. Note that the Heer belt buckle (normally silver in colour) has been painted grey/green to lower its visibility – a common practice by this stage of the war – and that he carries a stick grenade for quick use at the front of his belt. To support the increasing weight of the belt order – also carrying breadbag, mess tins and water bottle – leather Y-straps are worn, with the gas mask tin on a canvas strap and also attached to the belt. It should be noted that by this stage in the war most soldiers had “lost” the gas masks that were supposed to be in the tin, and they tended to be used for the carriage of additional ammo, food and personal effects. At the rear, attached to the top of the Y-strap is a rolled-up Zeltbahn, a large triangle of cloth which served as a tent quarter, a rain cape, or was worn over the feldgrau uniform as a camouflage smock. Like most Heer camouflage items, it is in splinter pattern.
The other noteworthy point about this Heer soldier is that he is wearing boots and gaiters, a wartime economy measure, though senior NCO’s and Officers often still had their old-style jackboots.
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• M35 Helmet: £45 – EB (EM, MN, RAU, NM, SoF)
• Splinter/white reversable helmet cover: £14 – MN (EM, EB, RAU, NM, SoF)
• M40 Pattern Tunic: £40 – SH (MN, EM, EB, RAU, NM, SoF)
• M37 Pattern Trousers: £30 – SH (MN, EM, EB, RAU, NM, SoF)
• Collar insignia: £10 SoF (MN, EM, RAU, NM, RS)
• Chest eagle: £4 – SoF (MN, EM, RAU, NM, RS)
• Feldgrau shoulder boards with white edging: £10 MN (EM, RAU, NM, SoF, RS)
• German low boots: £75 – EB (NM, EM, SoF, RAU). (Cut down British Army boots are a cheap alternative.)
• Repro gaiters: £4 – ZP (EM, SS)
• Leather belt: £20 – MN (EM, SoF, RAU, NM)
• Heer Belt Buckle: £15 – MN (EM, RS, SoF, RAU, NM)
• 2 x MP40 magazine pouches: £25 – SoF (EM, MN, RAU, NM)
• Leather Y-straps: £30 – MN, (EM, SoF, RAU, NM)
• Bread bag: £12 – SS (MN, EM, SoF, RAU, NM)
• Mess tins and strap: £5 – ZP (SS, EM, MN, RAU, NM, SoF)
• Water bottle and cover: circa £40 – EB (EM, SoF, RAU)
• Gasmask Tin and straps £50 – SoF (MN, EM, RAU, NM)
• Zeltbahn quarter: £32 – MN (SoF, EM, RAU, NM)
• Zeltbahn straps: £4 each – MN (EM, SoF, RAU, NM)
• ACM MP40: £100 – AH (RSOV)
• MP40 Sling: £12 – MN (EM, SoF, NM ,RAU)
All prices stated are approximate. Those in brackets are alternative suppliers, who may be more expensive. Often, shopping in the far east can be a false economy, since you are hit with high postal charges and (sometimes) import tax – and the quality of goods may be lower than that of the good UK suppliers, such as Militaria-Net or Richard Underwood.
Key to retailers
MN: Militaria-Net (UK) http://www.militaria-net.co.uk
EB: eBay.co.uk (UK) http://www.ebay.co.uk
EM: Epic Militaria http://www.epicmilitaria.com
RAU: Richard A Underwood (UK) http://www.richardaunderwood.com
ZP: Zeltplane_Com (eBay) (GER) http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/zeltplane_com
SH: Spearhead (eBay) (HK/Singapore) http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/barrylyndon28
SoF: Soldier of Fortune (UK) http://www.sofmilitary.co.uk
RS: Regalia Specialist (UK) http://www.nicholasmorigi.com
RSOV: RSOV (HK) http://www.rsov.com
AH: Action Hobbys (UK) http://www.actionhobbys.co.uk