Waffen-SS Assault Gun Uniforms
By Willi Schumacher
- An SS-Unterscharführer of Nachrichten Assault Gunner from 1. SS-Panzer-Division "Adolf Hitler".
- SS-Unterscharführer of Artillerie Assault Gun Wrap from Sturmartillerie-Abteilung 2, 2. SS-Panzer-Division "Das Reich".
- Great photo showing men of SS-Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung “Das Reich” in assault gunner uniforms wearing various types of belts & buckles and headgear. From left to right: Hermann Bolte (German Cross in Gold), Friedrich-Wilhelm Graun (German Cross in Gold), Ernst August Krag (Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves), Wolfgang Otto (German Cross in Gold) and Hartmut Braun. Bolte and Otto are wearing single Tank Destruction Badges on their right arms. Krag is wearing an officers overseas cap with red soutache and Otto is wearing a two-button model M1943 field cap. The other officers are wearing their officer service caps.
- SS-Oberscharführer of Panzerjäger Assault Gun Wrap from SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 2, 2. SS-Panzer-Division "Das Reich". This tunic has Army panzer shoulder straps with dark-green tops that are sewn into the shoulder seams. The runic collar tab is officer-quality silver bullion without piping and the cuffband is aluminum flat wire with silver-gray silk thread borders.
- SS-Hauptsturmführer of Aufklärungs Assault Gun Wrap from SS-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 2, 2. SS-Panzer-Division "Das Reich".
The assault gun wrapper was identical in style to that of the panzer wrapper with exception of color. They were manufactured from stocks of gray-green wool. The Waffen-SS used a uniform called the drill uniform, which manifested itself in the same style as that of the Waffen-SS assault gun wrapper. These lightweight uniforms were manufactured with herring-bone twill (HBT) material and were worn during the hot summer months and also during training exercises. Some may have had shoulder rank insignia and the sleeve eagle insignia but it is unlikely that much more was added.
- Waffen-SS Assault Gun Trousers were designed after their Army counterparts but with the addition of a button on the forward facing front pocket flaps – having two buttons – one on each side versus a single button in the center.
The assault gun trousers were identical in style to that of the panzer trousers with exception of color. These trousers were manufactured with stocks of gray-green wool with the exception of the herring-bone twill (HBT) lightweight trousers used by the assault gun crews during the hot summer months and during training exercises. These lightweight trousers were styled the same way as the gray-green wool trousers, like the M1942 Kielhose with two-buttoned forward folding front pocket flaps.
- SS-Sturmmann Hans Joachin Katschinski, an assault gunner in the 12. SS-Panzer-Division "Hitlerjugend" wears the one-button model of the M1943 field cap with two-piece insignia.
- Waffen-SS Enlisted M1943 Field Cap – one button model with two-piece Bevo insignia.
- Ritterkreuzträger Paul Guhl of the Adolf Hitler Division wearing a one-button model of the M1943 field cap piped in aluminum for officers. The one-button model often had two-piece insignia on the front.
- An example of a two-button model Waffen-SS officer M1943 field cap with aluminum piping around the crown. The insignia for the two-button model was usually split between the front and left side. This insignia is aluminum flat wire officer-quality.
- SS-Schütze Assault Gunner wearing the standard Waffen-SS enlisted overseas cap.
- Standard Waffen-SS enlisted overseas cap. This cap was based on the Luftwaffe overseas cap design. The insignia is machine-woven.
- Example of a Waffen-SS enlisted overseas cap with a red soutache for artillery. The soutache were ordered removed by SS-Hauptamt (SS-Main Department) in November 1940, as well as a return to white piping on all service caps. This cap is stenciled inside with a 1940 date.
- Example of a Waffen-SS officer overseas cap. This cap has the aluminum wire piping denoting an officer cap but has the distinctive enlisted machine-woven insignia. This was a common practice during the war.
- Example of a Waffen-SS officer service cap. The standard was white piping around the crown and above and below the black felt cap band. For a period of 8 months in 1940, ending in November, members of the Waffen-SS were authorized to wear caps with various colored piping representing their branch, e.g. red for artillery, black for engineers, etc. The insignia is stamped aluminum and the silver bullion chin cords are attached on each side with silver pebbled buttons.
- SS-Untersturmführer Hargesheimer, panzer commander wearing the Waffen-SS Officer Service Cap with the silver bullion chin cords. Notice the wire inside the crown has been removed so the cap does not maintain its rigid form and that the wings on the national emblem have been bent back.
- These two Waffen-SS volunteers from the Westland Regiment demonstrate the SS black leather chin strap (left) and the Army black leather chin strap (right).
- This is an example of the Waffen-SS NCO/Other Ranks Service Cap with the black leather chin strap in the SS style with the break in the center and two adjustments – one on each side.
- Various styled headgear being worn by this group of Waffen-SS artillerymen. The officer on the left is wearing the Army M-38 styled overseas cap with aluminum piping around the crown and the scalloped front. The SS-Scharführer next to him is wearing a crusher cap while the other two men are wearing the early SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT) side caps (overseas) with the Totenkopf buttons on the front and the national emblem on the side.
- This is an Waffen-SS artillery crusher cap used by artillery officers, both conventional and Sturmgeschutz. Notice the visor isn’t the stiff Vulcan type like the regular service cap – it being more soft and flexible. This cap was made and worn in 1940 when SS regulations permitted the wearing of different colored waffenfarben (branch) on the caps. Also notice that the crusher cap lacks the chin cords.
- Photograph of a Ritterkreuzträger SS-Obersturmführer panzer commander in the cupola of his Panther wearing the combination camouflaged panzer uniform and a crusher cap under his headset.
- Ritterkreuzträger SS-Unterscharführer Gerhard Fischer, Zugführer of 3rd Company/SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 5, 5. SS-Panzer-Division “Wiking” wearing the crusher cap with his assault gun uniform.
- SS-Unterscharführer Wurrer, a baker in the Wiking Division wearing the Old Style Service Cap.
- This is an example of the Old Style Service Cap as worn by many Waffen-SS NCOs in the early days of the SS-VT and Waffen-SS. The visor is covered in gray-green wool just like the rest of the cap. There is no chin cord. White waffenfarben was the normal branch color although during the authorized period in 1940, other branch colors were worn. These, and the crusher styled caps, were very popular with the assault gun crews because of their softness and flexibility.
The assault gunners wore the same headgear as the other members of the Waffen-SS, that is the overseas and M1943 field caps in gray-green wool. The rare exception may be the wearing of soutache on the overseas caps, in most cases red for artillery or pink for Panzerjäger.