Protective Suits

By Willi Schumacher

Contents

  1. Protective Suits

Protective Suits

By order of HM 41, No. 473, dated 5 May 1941, a two-piece protective suit was introduced for crews of armored reconnaissance vehicles for use as working dress, summer field dress and as a camouflaged uniform to cover their black uniforms when concealment was necessary. Manufactured with a reed-green herring bone twill (HBT), or drill material, it was in the same general style as the black panzer uniform with a few exceptions:

  1. The jacket had a single large pocket on the left breast with a large buttoned straight or slightly pointed flap;
  2. The jacket could be worn over the black panzer jacket in times of winter for extra warmth and worn by itself during the summer. There were two sets of buttons running parallel to each other. One set was hidden like the black panzer jacket to be used when wearing the black panzer jacket. The other set was to be used when not wearing the black panzer jacket;
  3. Buttons were manufactured of light metal and in a bowl shape;
  4. The machine-woven national emblem was on a field-gray backing;
  5. The collar tabs and shoulder boards or straps were the same as the black panzer jacket;
  6. The jackets and probably the trousers were manufactured in a light-gray or brownish-gray drill for use as summer dress; and,
  7. The trousers were made of the same color drill material and had a patch pocket on each thigh, one in the center and the other slightly higher. The pockets were buttoned with straight flaps. The trousers were worn in the same manner as the black panzer trousers, that is, bloused at the bottom.

An order dated 22 August 1942 (HM 42, No. 472) replaced the shoulder boards and shoulder straps with the new sleeve rank designed for wear on camouflaged uniforms. From this order, protective clothing for panzer crews were no longer manufactured with the button and loops for the slip on shoulder insignia.

There are many examples of private-purchase or field-made protective suits being made with camouflaged materials manufactured in Germany and Italy, as well as the mouse-gray zeltbahns.

A one-piece, or overall, protective suit was also manufactured, being of a Czechoslovakian origin. It was made of a light gray-brown drill material and had a buttoned front from the neck down to the crotch. These were hidden buttons on a tape along the left side. There was a narrow collar, which could also be buttoned. On the breast were two pleated (or plain) patch pockets with straight or slightly pointed buttoned flaps. There were two slash pockets on the two patch pockets without flaps on the rear. Insignia was worn the same as the black panzer uniform.