Kriegsmarine Coastal Artillery Tunic
Image courtesy of Hermann Historica Auctioneers, Munich
Image courtesy of Hermann Historica Auctioneers, Munich
Estimated market value:
The headgear, uniforms, and insignia worn by members of the Kriegsmarine were based upon the designs utilized by the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) and the Reichsmarine (Navy of the Weimar Republic). The official regulations governing the uniforms of the Reichsmarine were issued on April 5, 1921, and they were embraced, with a few alterations, as the Kriegsmarine uniforms in 1935.
From 1933 to 1945, the uniforms worn by personnel in the German Navy were produced and disseminated by the Navy Clothing Depot and private manufacturers. The cloth was of a high quality prior to the Second World War, but during the war, it became increasingly synthetic and of lower quality. Similarly, the cloth used in the uniforms of Officers and Admirals was of a higher quality than the cloth used in the uniforms of lower ranking personnel, such as Non-Commissioned Officers and Enlisted Men. The cloth utilized in garments of the blue uniform is of an overall better quality than the cloth utilized in the field-grey uniform. For the field-grey uniform specifically, the cloth is more grey-coloured in pre-war uniforms, while the cloth is more green/olive-coloured in wartime uniforms.
The main colour of Kriegsmarine uniform pieces is a dark navy blue. However, during the summer months, and initially also in regions with warmer climate, a white summer uniform was used. Eventually, a brown tropical uniform was introduced for units stationed in tropical and subtropical regions. Land-based Kriegsmarine units, most of which were part of the Coastal Artillery, wore Army-like field-grey uniforms in the style of the Kriegsmarine.
The garments may have proof stamps, serial and unit stamps, and manufacturer marks denoting the legitimacy and origin of the item. They also tend to feature sewn name tabs (Namensläppchen) on all clothing items associated with the blue and field-grey uniforms. The blue uniform garments all have a serial number stamp (Stammrollennummernstempel), while the field-grey uniform garments have a unit stamp.
The proof stamp is present on all garments produced by the Navy Clothing Depot, and it includes the size of the item, if needed, with the year of manufacture above the size, and a surmounting script that reads “B.A.K.” or “B.A.W.”. This stamp information is framed, and written in white ink on blue or black garments and in black ink on all other colour garments.
The serial stamp is composed of letters and numbers, and it is present on blue uniform garments from the Depot. The stamp is either printed in red ink or sewn in red thread. The numbers are preceded by a letter that denotes the area in which the wearer served, with an “N” for Navy Station or an “O” for Navy Station Baltic. The stamp ends in a letter associated with the wearer’s career group, with an “S” for deck personnel and a “T” for technical professionals. Below the serial number is the year in which the wearer entered the navy, surmounted by a horizontal line.
The unit stamp is present on field-grey uniforms. It includes the framed, shortened unit name of the wearer in red ink.
The marks of private manufacturers vary widely, ranging from codes to full names, and even abbreviated letters, as well as the year of manufacture. After 1942, Reich numbers (Reichsbetriebsnummern) were also used as manufacturer marks (RB-).
The buttons worn on Kriegsmarine garments are generally gold-coloured, except for the uniforms of Officials which used silver-coloured buttons. The buttons feature the image of a fouled anchor on the obverse. The buttons are composed of brass, or of light metal. The gold-coloured buttons were gilded, while the silver-coloured buttons were silvered. As well, in the case of special uniform garments the buttons may be composed of plastic.
The Field-Grey Tunic was first introduced during the time of the Reichsmarine, but it was officially worn until 1935, and unofficially worn by Kriegsmarine personnel for several years afterward. These tunics were part of the field-grey uniform, and were worn by Kriegsmarine personnel of all ranks who served in the coastal artillery and other land-based Kriegsmarine units.
This tunic is composed of several main elements, including the panels, the buttons, the collar, the pockets, the lining, the belt hooks, the national emblem, and the rank insignia.
These tunics are manufactured using two front, two back, two sides, and two skirt panels composed of field-grey cloth. The back skirt panels feature a slash originating from the waist seam and traversing the vertical length of the skirt panels.
The collars are in the “stand-up-fall-down” style (Stehumlegekragen), and they are generally composed of field-grey badge cloth, but they may also be made from basic cloth. The colour of the collar is always field-grey prior to 1935, but following 1935, the collar may be made from dark blue-green cloth. The collars on the tunics of Officers are unique because Officer tunics were often manufactured privately. Their collars may be taller than regulation height and are always made of badge cloth. The collars worn by Non-Commissioned Officers feature a gold-coloured tress border.
The front right panel features six to eight matte-silver coloured anchor buttons placed parallel to the seam, and a corresponding number of button holes along the opposite panel. The back panels feature two buttons along the back waistline. There may also be three small buttons in the interior of the collar, which were used to attach the lining. These small buttons are only present on the collars of later tunics since earlier tunics have a permanently attached collar liner. The tunics that were manufactured privately may have buttons that are gold-coloured or yellow-brown coloured. The buttons for Officials are always silver-coloured.
These tunics have a total of five pockets, two at breast level, two at hip level, and one interior pocket cut into the breast lining. The pockets at breast level are “patch” pockets, and they were sewn onto the front panels with scalloped flaps and a button. The pockets at the hip level are “slash” pockets that were cut directly into the lining of the jacket, and they also have scalloped flaps and a button. The interior pocket is located at breast level within the interior lining of the left front panel.
The lining may be located throughout the entire tunic, or only partially lined; the tunics of Officers are always fully lined.
The tunics feature two belt hooks which are located at the intersection of the lateral and waist seams. These hooks were attached to the interior of the jacket via a cloth patch, which has an eyelet through which the hook passes. The belts were worn between the bottom two buttons and placed in the belt hooks.
The national emblem is featured on the right breast of the tunic, above the right patch pocket, and it is embroidered on a cloth backing that matches the colour of the tunic. For the tunics of Officers, the national emblem was often produced with gilt bullion.
These tunics generally feature collar tabs and removable shoulder boards to indicate the rank and career of the wearer. See the Collar Tabs and Shoulder Boards sections for more information.
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