Luftwaffe Leather Greatcoat
Image courtesy of Hermann Historica Auctioneers, Munich
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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 included both a civilian group and a secret military sub-group called the DLV-Fliegerschaft (Pilot Base).
The DLV and the RLB were officially founded in 1933, and they 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 in 1937.
The Leather Greatcoat was worn by Luftwaffe Officers and General Officers during regular and field service. The design of this greatcoat mirrors the design of the standard greatcoat, but unlike the greatcoat, the leather greatcoat had to be bought by the wearer without any aid from the Luftwaffe.
The Leather Greatcoat is composed of several main elements, including the leather, the pockets, the buttons, the lining, and the insignia.
The Leather Greatcoat was produced of leather dyed blue-grey. The bottom of the Leather Greatcoat’s skirt was reinforced with stitched seams post-1938, to aid in the preservation of the leather.
There are two pockets on the Leather Greatcoat. These pockets are located at hip-level, they are cut on a downward angle into the Leather Greatcoat’s skirt panel lining. They feature a rectangular flap covering.
There are two parallel rows of six buttons on the front of the Leather Greatcoat. The buttons may be silver-coloured, gold-coloured (gilt), or blue-grey plastic. The metal buttons tend to feature a pebbled surface. The plastic buttons were worn on Leather Greatcoats produced prior to August 1937, while metal buttons were predominantly used afterward.
The interior lining may be composed of silk, artificial silk, or a rayon blend, generally depending on the rank of the wearer. The manufacture’s label may be sewn into the lining of the Leather Greatcoat’s neck.
Unlike the standard greatcoat, the only insignia worn on the Leather Greatcoat are removable shoulder boards.
This style of greatcoat may also be composed of rubberized materials.
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