Luftwaffe Summer Flight Trousers in Brown
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Image courtesy of Hermann Historica Auctioneers, Munich
Estimated market value:
The German Wehrmacht was composed of three main branches, the Heer, the Kriegsmarine, and the Luftwaffe. The Heer and Kriegsmarine uniforms were based upon the designs utilized by their predecessor organizations, the Deutsches Heer and the Kaiserliche Marine. Conversely, the Luftwaffe uniforms were based upon the uniforms worn in the sports and para-military organizations that were the forerunners of the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe uniforms were specifically designed to deviate from the designs of the other Wehrmacht service branches. It was also necessary that the uniforms differentiate between military and civilian pilots.
There were two main organizational precursors of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Sports Association (DLV or Deutscher Luftsportverband), and the National Air Raid Protection League (RLB or Reichs Luftschutzbund).
The DLV and the RLB were created in 1933. These civilian organizations were used to secretly train members for future roles in the Luftwaffe. The DLV became obsolete after Hitler’s official introduction of the Luftwaffe in 1935, and it was disbanded and replaced by the National Socialist Flyers Corps (NSFK or Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps).
The flight trousers are also known as the aviator trousers of channel trousers (Kanalhose). They were worn in combination with the Aviator Jacket (Flight Jacket) as part of a two-piece flight suit, known as a “Kanal” (channel) suit. The two-piece flight suit was favored by Luftwaffe personnel because it was simpler, and less expensive to replace or repair the jacket or trousers, rather than replacing an entire flight suit.
The trousers were not an official uniform garment, but they were worn by Luftwaffe pilots and aircrew personnel in a semi-official capacity. The ambiguity regarding the trousers’ status resulted in many authentic variations in its design and material during the Second World War. The exact introduction date of the trousers is debated, but it is widely believed to have been introduced between 1942 and 1943.
There are two main versions of these trousers, the summer trousers for warm weather and the winter trousers for cold weather. The general design of these trousers is the same, wherein they feature zipper closures, an adjustable waistband, lining, and pockets. The known colours of these trousers include white, blue-grey, and tan/brown. Known trouser materials include leather, cotton and wool blends.
The front fly closure has a metal or plastic vertical zipper without a cover. Each leg also has a slash from the knee to the bottom of the leg which is closed by a zipper.
At the top of the front fly closure zipper there is a tab closure with two buttons. There is also an adjustable tab on either side of the zipper.
The summer trousers may be lined with silk or synthetic silk, while the winter trousers are lined with a warm material, such as faux fur or fleece. The winter trousers may have internal circuitry that could be used to electrically heat the trousers in extreme weather conditions. Reich numbers (Reichsbetriebsnummer) (RB-), and the wearer's name may be stamped onto the trouser waistband or stamped on a tag that is sewn into the waistband.
There are generally two external pouch pockets on the front thighs, and three “slash” pockets cut into the lining of the outside leg seam: one along the left leg seam and two stacked vertically along the right leg seam. Below the left slash pocket is a pouch pocket for a sidearm. The pouch pockets are closed by press-stud buttons, while the slash pockets have zippers.
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