BACKGROUND: The development of camouflage clothing and equipment had began in the German army in WWI, and continued through the Weimar Reichswehr, (National Defence Force, Circa 1919-1933), era. The German army’s geometric, Splittertarnmuster 31, (Splinter camouflage pattern 31), was originally developed in late 1929 and early 1930 and was first adopted for use with the M31 quarter shelter/poncho in late 1931. Further developments in 1943 modified the original splinter pattern by softly blurring the distinct geometric pattern and slightly altering the coloration. This modified camouflage pattern was designated Sumpftarnmuster, (Swamp/Marsh camouflage pattern), although it is now commonly referred to as the Tan/Water camouflage pattern, which was once again altered in 1944 by an even stronger blurring of the distinct geometric pattern. Further camouflage pattern development continued through-out the war and additional subtly different patterns were created with the intent to equip all personnel with the same camouflage pattern but this was never achieved. After the devastating winter of 1941-1942 on the Russian front the German army found that it was drastically under equipped with cold weather garments to withstand the severe cold and a wide variety of improvised garments including a broad assortment of donated civilian garments were utilized as a temporary solution. To rectify the situation the OKH, Oberkommando des Heeres, (High Command of the Army), began testing heavier winter clothing in the spring of 1942 to develop suitable garments for the Russian front. In April 1942 Hitler approved the chosen designs and the first models were issued in the autumn of that year, in the reversible blue/mouse grey/white colorations, which was modified to camouflage pattern/white combinations in 1943. Included with these new garments were heavy, padded, reversible winter suits which consisted of a parka, pants and separate hoods and mittens. Of Note: These garments were also produced in non-reversible models. The winter parkas were a standard issue item and were distributed to all EM/NCO’s for the winter season, (September 15TH to April 15TH), with other winter garments and were to be returned to the units clothing depot in April for storage, repair and cleaning to be reissued the following September. Originally Officers and senior NCO’s responsible for purchasing their own uniforms and headgear were required to purchase the new winter garments until regulations of December 1942 extended the issue winter clothing to all ranks in the colder theatres of operation. Although the suits proved quite effective they were very difficult to keep clean and launder which resulted in regulations dictating that the white side was only to be worn on the exterior when absolutely necessary.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Early, three quarter length, water repellant, heavy, ribbed cotton twill and cotton/rayon blend construction, double breasted style parka with mouse grey to one side, reversible to white. The mouse grey side is in the heavy, ribbed cotton twill while the white side is in the cotton/rayon blend material. The parka features a large, overlapping, vertical, six button front closure with a smaller, overlapping, wind flap. All six of the front closure buttons are absent on the mouse grey side while four of the buttons remain on the white side. Buttons are a combination of original and replaced stitching. The parka has a horizontal, tunnel looped, heavy, ribbed, fit adjustment draw strap positioned at the waistline. The parka has two, diagonally angled, slash, hip pockets with straight edged, button down flaps positioned to either side of the front closure, just below the waistline. The straight cut, dual-ply, sleeve cuffs each have a horizontal, tunnel looped, heavy, ribbed, olive drab canvas fit adjustment strap with a single button eyelet to each cuff. The outside cuff seams each have a small, vertical slash allowing the tunnel looped, cuff fit adjustment straps to be utilized on either the mouse grey or the white sides. The upper sleeves each have a molded, black, glass button to both the inner and outer sides, which were designed for wear of the identification armbands by front line troops. One of the identification band retaining buttons is missing from the left sleeve of the mouse grey side. The parka has an un-padded, dual-ply, integral, hood, which is large enough to accommodate a helmet. The hood has a tunnel loop to the forward edge and the original drawstring. The parka is fully reversible to white with all the same features as on the mouse grey side. The parka has an internal, heat retaining padding through-out. The parka has no visible size or manufacturer’s markings. The parkas were designed large enough to fit over the standard service uniform and this example is roughly size 40", (101.6cm), chest. Shows the expected age and use.

GRADE ****                             PRICE $1,000.00

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