L012380 PARATROOPER'S K98 BLUE/GREY AMMUNITION BANDOLEER. (Fallschirmjäger-Patronengurt)

BACKGROUND: As a result of observations of the Russian experimentation with the newly developing paratroop personnel in 1928 the Germans began serious consideration of also developing paratroop units and plans were drawn up for formation of such units in late 1935. Both the Luftwaffe and Army eventually established paratrooper units, consisting of voluntary personnel, on January 29TH 1936 and March 31ST 1937 respectively and a paratroop training school was established at Stendal in early 1937. Originally development of special clothing and equipment was undertaken by both branches of service to provide the paratroopers with functional items specifically designed with parachute jumps in mind until January 1ST 1939 when all the paratrooper units were transferred to control of the Luftwaffe. Due to the bulkiness and the small ammunition capacity of the standard K98 ammo pouches a specialized ammunition bandoleer was developed for paratroop personnel and introduced in mid-1938. Since the paratroopers could potentially be dropped in isolated positions the need to carry sufficient personal ammunition was a prime concern and the bandoleers enabled the paratrooper to carry twenty, five round ammunition clips for a total of one hundred rounds as opposed to the standard pair of K98 ammo pouches which could only contain six, five round ammunition clips each for a total of sixty rounds. The bandoleer underwent several minor modifications and color alterations during the war with the original bandoleers, (circa 1938/39), being produced in a mottled green canvas, altered to Luftwaffe blue/grey canvas in 1940, tan/water and splinter camouflage patterns in 1941 and later in olive drab or plain tan.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Circa 1940 pattern, blue/grey canvas/rayon blend construction bandoleer. The bandoleer consists of a slightly curved, dual-ply, center section, designed to be worn around the neck with quadruple-ply, ten pocket, sections machine stitched to each end. The end sections each have eight, doubled up, pockets with openings to both the top and bottom edges and an additional two pockets with openings at the top edge only. All the pockets have rounded edge, fold over closure flaps with grey painted, smooth magnetic sheet metal, closure snaps. The snaps mostly all still function and retain all of their original grey paint. There is surface rusting on the interior of the snap and one looks to be permanently rusted closed with a tear to the fabric surrounding it (see photo). The reverse of both of the end sections have a stitched on, vertical strap with a inserted snap to one end and a corresponding stitched on, horizontal retaining loop. The reverse straps were designed to be inserted through the retaining loops and secured by the snap closure. The straps allowed the bandoleer to be attached around the leather waist belt to secure it to the wearer. Could not find any visible markings, although they are most probably there someplace. Scarce early paratrooper ordnance accessory.

GRADE ****                             PRICE $1,295.00

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