German Army Winter Uniforms in WW2

At the end of Operation Barbarossa, in December 1941, just as the Wehrmacht spearhead units found themselves at the gates of Moscow, the Russian winter, Germany’s worst WW2 enemy, sprang an ambush on the German Army. Although they belonged to a great military machinery, the German ground troops realized that they had been ill-equipped to fight a winter war as they were dressed in inadequate uniform that did not protect the foot soldier against the extreme cold weather conditions of the Russian plains. Thus, during the first two winters, the German infantry had to improvise with civilian surcoats and fur caps, for the adequate winter clothing would not reach all frontline troops until 1943.

The only available protective clothing worn by the German troops between November 1941 and March 1942 was composed of nine uniform items: the M1936 round-neck, grey-white, woollen sweater; extra-thick, woollen underwear; the feldgrau tube-shaped, a woollen balaclava; a wool greatcoat, a feldgrau water-proof, ankle-length, double-breasted, guard coat; feldgrau woollen mittens, and felt overshoes. Although this clothing was sufficient for Central Europe, it proved to be completely inadequate for the Eastern Front’s cold weather conditions, specially the traditional German jackboots (Marschstiefel).

Below: German infantry soldiers wearing improvised snow comouflage over their wool greatcoats in early November 1941 as they closed in on Moscow

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Eastern Front: December 1941 – March 1942

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Different types of uniform worn at the Battle of Stalingrad: winter of 1942-1943 (notice the Russian PPSh-1 sub-machine gun carried by the German wearing the white combat uniform)

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Below: From left to right: a Panzergrenadier lieutenant, an artillery regiment captain, and a Grenadier regiment soldier, all wearing the winter uniform provided to German troops deployed in the north and central Eastern Front in February-March 1943

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Grenadier regiment and Jäger regiment troops in the winter of 1943-1944

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WW2 US Aircrew Helmets

The M3 and M4 steel flak helmets were introduced in 1943 and 1944 respectively, being issued to US bomber crews in response to heavy casualties suffered on daylight raids in the skies over Germany, during World War II. The M4 was designed by Colonel Malcom C Grow and replaced the M3, which was bulky to wear in the bombers gun turrets. He also designed flak suits, which were light body armour that protected the crew against fuselage metal splinters and shell shrapnels.

Used during the first bombing raids over Germany in 1943, the M3 aircrew helmet had been developed from the US M1 infantry helmet, to which hinged steel flaps were added on the sides to protect the ears and the sides of the face. It was worn mostly by gunners.

M3 aircrew helmet

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Below: the M4 flight helmet

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