Luftwaffe Summer Flight Suit
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 Flight Suit was first introduced as a one-piece suit prior to the beginning of the Second World War, but it continued to be worn until the end of the war. This suit was worn by all aircrew members when they participated in military flights.
There are three main versions of the suit, each associated with a specific region/weather type, including the summer suit, the land winter suit, and the maritime winter suit.
These suits were designed as step-in and had to be loose enough to be worn on top of any service uniform and still provide maneuverability. They vary in the type of front closure used, either a zipper fly or button fly. Generally, the Flight Suits feature a combination of zippers, buttons, and press-studs.
The summer suit is composed of a light-weight tan material, such as cotton or linen, and it is also known as the Combination Flying Suit for Flight in Summer.
The land winter suit is composed of heavier blue or brown materials, such as velveteen or moleskin, and lined with fur or fleece. This suit may also be known as the Bulgarian Suit or the Combination Flying Suit for Flight in Winter.
The maritime winter suit is composed of leather and lined with fur or fleece.
The flight clothing rank insignia may be worn on the sleeves of the flight suit.
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