The most important part of World War II German soldier equipment was his weaponry, which consisted of a bolt-action 98K Mauser rifle, a bayonet, and hand and stick grenades. The bayonet, as a belt weapon, belonged to dress as well as combat uniforms for all servicemen and non-commissioned officers up to the rank of sergeant and were also carried by mounted soldiers. The rifle squad and platoon leaders were armed with an MP40 Schmeisser sub-machine gun; the squad gunners with a light machine gun (MG 34 or MG 42 Maschinengewehr); the sapper equipment included a flamethrower (Flammenwerfer 35); the German paratrooper (Fallschirmjäger) weaponry comprised the FG 42 automatic assault rifle; and, from 1943, the "Sturmgewehr" automatic assault rifle was part of the Waffen-SS soldier fighting equipment.
Among the standard equipment of the German infantry soldier was a black leather belt with a buckle that bore the eagle emblem and the motto "Gott mit uns" (God with us), as well as a sliding leather holster for side arms. On either side of the belt buckle were two black leather three-section bullet pouches, each of which could hold 30 bullets. On the right rear of the belt, the musette bag was fastened with two loops and a hook. It held the daily ration of cold food, a small round bakelite container for butter or fat, rifle-cleaning tools, spare ammunition, and at first also the "iron ration", consisting of a small bag with 500 grams of hard zwieback in small pieces and a 200-gram can of meat. It could be eaten only under orders in cases of the most extreme need, which soon proved to be unrealistic after the beginning of the eastern campaign. Fastened to the musette bag by a strap was the felt-covered three-quarter-liter field flask with a field cup carried over it.
The German soldier equipment also included a spade carried in an open leather carrier, hanging at the left rear of the leather belt. This hand spade was not only used to dig a foxhole and trenching tasks, but it was also used as a weapon in hand-to-hand combat. On the left side too, the Model 30 gas mask was carried on a thin cloth belt over the right shoulder. For gas protection there was also a packet of Losantine tablets for use against the chemical warfare agent Lost. Before battle, the field cap was exchanged for the dull gray steel helmet (Stahlhelm), which otherwise usually hung on the front of the belt over one of the two bullet pouches. The steel helmet was the standard Model 35 with two shield-shaped emblems, the colors of the Reich on the right and the service insignia on the left side. The steel helmet was made of smooth sheet steel, 1.1 to 1.2mm thick, and was made in five sizes; it weighed 1.34 kg. Later in the war the application of the two symbols was eliminated, for the use of camouflage covers made these emblems superfluous.
But that did not complete the marching and fighting equipment of the German infantry soldier. There was also the assault kit.1 This consisted of a leather harness that was attached to the belt at the front by two straps at the left and right and became a wider strap in the back that was likewise attached to the belt. To this harness there could be fastened, on the soldier’s back: the two-part cooking utensil with lid and folding handle of aluminum (capacity 1.5 liters), with three eating utensils. If the cooking pot was not used to hold food, then it contained a cloth bundle of washing and shaving implements. Also fastened to the harness was the tent square, folded around the cooking utensils; along with the field flask and cooking utensils, this was one of the most indispensable pieces of equipment. The tent square (Zeltbahn), with a weight of 1.27 kg, was of triangular form, measuring 202 x 202 cm on the sides and 240cm along the bottom, and was made of waterproof fabric.