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Old 08-03-2019, 10:17 AM   #46
MarcoPennisi is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Into the painful city ... among the lost people.
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Originally Posted by Hptm. Fuhrmann View Post
Very interesting piece, didn't even know there was also a field grey variant of it, thanks for the detailed pictures!

I don't think these tunic were designed to be patchwork-pieces to use leftover material scraps. The twill weave on the grey fabric (which I think is a wool blend instead of cotton as suggested) goes in the same direction all over the tunic, this couldn't have been achieved if you only got scraps to work with. Besides that, making a tunic from scraps is way more time consuming than making a bulk of regular tunics. For regular tunics you have a stack of several layers of cloth, you put the patterns on the top layer, placing them so that you get as little scraps as possible, trace the patterns and then cut the whole stack according to them. So with one cutting you get enough pieces for, let's say, 10 tunics. If you use scraps you first have to look for pieces that fit your patterns and then trace and cut every part individually. That's just not economical. Also, looking at the construction of the tunic, assembling all those individual parts looks to be way more time consuming than a regular tunic. The little scraps that were left from regular uniform making were either used to make insignia like shoulder straps or they were recycled and made into new cloth.

I think these were experimental, factory made tunics produced in a small number and sent out to units for field trial. All the parts on those tunics that are prone to heavy wear are made from field grey wool. The shoulders and upper back where your Y- or backpack-straps are placed and the weight of your equipment rested; the waist were your belt was placed; and your forearms up to the elbows where you prop yourself up while crawling on the ground.
Maybe those tunics were only intended for use by special units but the trials ended unsatisfactory or the cost-benefit-ratio didn't add up?

Hptm. Fuhrmann is right, processing waste from uniform making would only allow for shoulder straps or their shoulder loops. But I owned and examined other late pattern field tunics with the back portion and/or the pockets made of a different fabric from the rest of the garment which only proves the acute shortage of textile (as well of other raw materials) the Germans experienced as the war evolved and their manpower expanded, thus forcing them to make use of whatever fabric was available and fit for the purpose. This is especially true with the Waffen-SS as documented by the exchange of letters and by the situation reports of the proper WSS departments. W.Naasner’s book SS - Wirtschaft und SS – Verwaltung is enlightening in this regard.
Using a different material for the areas subject to more wear reminds me more of US WW2 airborne reinforced jump jackets & pants and of some postwar uniforms (including my own). I don’t think this is the case. The WSS quartermaster ordered, let’s say 10,000 , field tunics to clothe 10,000 recruits , the clothing factory produced 10,000 tunics and no one knew if and how many would have been donned by the baker company or the recce patrols .
The perspective of the cost-benefit ratio is plausible but doens’t seem to have been the Germans’ major concern. The cost of so much forced labor was very little, in the SS industry the cost of inmate laborers was almost nil. Quantitative requirements and timing of supply were more compelling.
Eventually, just in passing, the Lodz ghetto had 117 workshops that worked for the Germans and in the General Gouvernement there were three major SS owned clothing factories. A minor SS clothing enterprise was in the Baltic countries as well. Thus I can’t see the reason why such clothing couldn’t have been made in the East.
Intriguing specimen, BTW.
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