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Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1949-Present From West Germany through to the modern reunified German Republic.

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1950s era Labor Service Unit on field training exercise?
Old 08-18-2010, 09:54 PM   #1
Guardian 5
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Default 1950s era Labor Service Unit on field training exercise?

Team - I just obtained this intriguing series and am waiting arrival for the actual photos.

What do you think?

They are alleged to show early "West German Defense Forces". They don't look right for early Bundeswehr, although the World War II era U.S. weapons are correct for the Heerestruktur 1 forces.

My early guess without the photos in hand are:
- 1950s era LSU on maneuvers
- Very early Bundeswehr
- Bundeswehr in "opposing force" tan uniforms
- Non-German troops, possible Austrians.

What say you?

All the best - TJ
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:59 PM   #2
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Close-up of the bottom photo.

I'm very interested in your opinions.

Is the second man from the left wearing khaki coveralls over a BW Affenjacke or is that a U.S. "Ike jacket", LSU or other European uniform?

Thanks - TJ

All the best - TJ
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:06 PM   #3
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Team - In looking at the bottom photo again, it looks like the third man from the right may have a PPsh 41.

If this is confirmed upon delivery, it would seem as though this would be a picture of the Austrian Bundesheer in the early 1950s.

All the best - TJ
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:04 PM   #4
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Interesting pictures, TJ. When you get the real photos I'd love to see some high res pics. The details are very difficult to make out with what we have to work with. But based on what I can see, I'd agree this is very early 1950s. This guess is based on two observations:

1. Extensive amounts of US equipment (including the M1919A6)
2. Diverse uniforms

It could be very early BH. The PPSh does seem to indicate this, though very early armed police units used a larger variety of weapons than later. I don't think it is OPFOR (war gaming) as I'm pretty sure they would not have unique uniforms for this. Generally a different colored armband would be worn with the standard uniform.

The guy with what appears to be a uniform with collar insignia holds the key, I think.

Steve
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Old 08-20-2010, 03:04 AM   #5
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Hi,
for me is the early Austrian army
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:40 AM   #6
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For I would like to see bigger pics...
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:57 AM   #7
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I don't believe the very early Austrian BH or B-Gendarmerie wore uniforms with an open-lapel (Ike/Affenjacke) style of collar. The only uniform to fit this style is the M56 4-pocket service jacket which was not a field uniform.

The possible presence of a Soviet PPsh would almost assuredly rule out any US-based organization such as LSU. This could also possibly be a US Thompson submachine gun?

All the above is subjective as the details of the photos are extremely difficult to make out.

Are we seeing manuever/OPFOR bands on the helmets?

While appearing very light, the coveralls look like US HBT coveralls as worn by mechanics and armored vehicle crews.
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:13 PM   #8
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TJ,

Interesting photo. The third guy from the left is definitely carrying a PPSH. To me, this could not be a BW outfit. I can not look at my Austrian books until I get home but they are more than likely Bundesheer.

Regards,

Gordon
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:33 AM   #9
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Took a look through the Urrisk book on the postwar Bundesheer. Armored troops were issued with an Ike-style jacket and there is a photo in the book showing the PPsh. Similar light-colored coveralls can also be seen in pictures in the same section.

So armor-related Bundesheer troops. I was very surprised to find Soviet weapons in use in a primarily US/British supplied force.
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:29 AM   #10
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The Bundesheer also used a Bataillon of T34, so I don´t wunder.
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:42 PM   #11
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A bit off-topic but how did Austria come to acquire enough tanks to for a battalion of T-34s? Considering the amount of US gear they used (or possibly were forced?) to use, their supply system must have been somewhat strained for parts from the Russians?
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:05 PM   #12
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Remember that the Soviets were in Austria until 1955. They probably bought a bunch of used tanks from the Soviet Union. In general the Soviets looked at Austria for economic exploitation.

Steve
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LSU - British Sector?
Old 06-11-2013, 06:32 PM   #13
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Default LSU - British Sector?

Gents,

I just won these, they have yet to arrive.

They would appear to depict some sort of early West German paramilitary force.

If I had to venture a guess, I would say a Labor Service Unit in the British Sector c. 1950.

Note the British vehicles and 1937 Pattern Battle Order. This is the only time I've seen a water bottle carried in this manner.

I'll post close-ups when they arrive.

Thanks,
TJ
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Last edited by Guardian 5; 06-11-2013 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #14
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Here's the second picture. The footgear appears British as well.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:34 PM   #15
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The third and final picture.

For some reason, I can't get it any larger. I'll post a better view when I receive it.
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