BACKGROUND: The Greatcoat was an essential uniform item worn by all ranks, with minor variations, and followed the basic design of the Imperial German army’s greatcoat. During WWII the German army utilized at least thirteen different styles of greatcoats with numerous variations and intended purposes. On November 12TH 1934 the German army introduced the fully lined, heavy, Übermantel, (Surcoat/Overcoat), designed specifically for personnel on stationary service such as vehicle drivers, guards and sentries. The surcoat was designed large enough to fit over the standard greatcoat as required in extremely cold conditions. During the war the standard issue greatcoats underwent a few minor modifications and it is believed that the surcoats also followed these modifications. The early production greatcoats came with button holes on both the left and right front closure panels which allowed the coat to be button up either left or right handedly but regulations of December 1ST 1939 abolished all but one of the button holes on the right side of the closure panel. Early production greatcoats also came with small metal hooks positioned at both sides of the bottom front closure panels, and additional small metal hooks positioned at both sides of the reverse tail skirt vent with corresponding thread loops situated at the side seams just below the waistline. The metal hooks and thread loops allowed the wearer to hook the tail skirt up out of the way when mounted or on the march. Regulations of 1940 abolished these metal hooks and thread loops and also reverted the collar back to a field-grey fabric. Of Note: Both of the above regulations were not strictly adhered to. Officers and certain senior NCO ranks were responsible for purchasing their own uniforms and as a result were allotted a clothing allowance through the army’s Kleiderkasse, (Clothing Account), system. The Officers and certain senior NCO’s could choose to purchase their uniforms from the armed forces clothing depots or to privately purchase garments of higher quality. Although enlisted personnel were issued their uniforms from government supplies they were also permitted to purchase privately tailored uniforms although the price may have been restrictive.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Heavy, field-grey wool/rayon blend construction, fully lined, full length, double breasted style surcoat features dual, vertical, parallel, rows of six front closure buttons with corresponding button holes on the left front panel, and a single button hole on the right front panel with a corresponding, horizontally extended, fabric tab with a single button positioned on the interior left side panel. The surcoat also has a single metal hook and eye positioned at the neckline. The surcoat has two, diagonally angled, slash, front, lower breast pockets and an additional, two, horizontal slash, hip pockets with straight edged flaps. The straight cut, non-adjustable sleeves have deep fold back French cuffs which are tacked in the upright position at both the inner and outer sleeve seams. The surcoat has the additional, unique, feature of rounded bottom, grey leather reinforcement panels to each upper breast and forward shoulders and vertical, grey, tear-dropped shaped leather panel positioned to each side panel, running from the armpit down to the waistline. The grey leather side panels each have a dual-ply, horizontal, leather loop and were designed specifically to secure M-24 stick grenades. The reverse of the surcoat has a horizontal, half waist belt with two retaining buttons at the waistline and a central, vertical tail skirt vent with a four button closure. The tail skirt vent runs from the half waist belt down to the bottom edge of the coat. The bottom tail skirt edge of the surcoat has three horizontal rows of reinforcement stitching. The surcoat has the slip on shoulder strap fabric retaining loops and buttons. The surcoat has an especially large, field-grey, lay down collar with the typical zig-zag reinforcement stitching to the reverse. The reverse of the collar has part of a single button and a dual button holed, extended fabric tab positioned under the left side with a single, corresponding positioned beneath the right side collar for a secure neck closure in inclement weather. The interior of the surcoat is fully lined with sheep’s wool with brushed grey rayon to the sleeves with an internal padding. The lining has a single, vertical slash pocket to the left breast panel. The front closure, reverse half waist belt and shoulder strap buttons are all the field-grey painted, pebbled, alloy type and retain the majority of their original paint. Buttons appear to have their original stitching. The surcoats were cut large enough to fit over the standard greatcoat and this example is roughly a size 46" chest (117cm).

GRADE ****1/2                             PRICE $275.00

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