Uniform Terms

The following terms are used frequently on this website and readers should be aware of what they mean.

There are a couple of general notes that must be said with reference to any discussion of German Army uniforms of the Second World War.   Collectors, especially those who speak English, have muddied the waters of what constituted correct terminology for many years.  British and Americans are equally guilty of applying their own types of terminology to German garments and military practices.  Worse, many collectors - and those who write references for them - have freely adopted the standards of their own nation's military when classifying and cataloging German military garments.

Put simply, the German Army had very different standards of what constituted "uniformity."  German uniforms (such as the field blouse), helmets, head-dress and insignia changed dramatically during the war years, and there was little effort made to classify one particular type of uniform tunic, breast eagle, or collar patch as "Model X" or "Pattern Y."   While collectors do find the designation M40 Field Blouse or 2nd Pattern Collar Patch useful (as no doubt they are, as these terms are by now universal in the collecting world), it should be remembered that the Germans simply did not think in such terms.  A soldier wore what he was issued, and if a new pattern was introduced (during the war - which usually meant it was inferior in quality and appearance) no one worried about replacing all the old items first.  They were worn until "worn out."

While there were indeed some cases where new patterns of insignia were ordered replaced (such as the change in waffenfarbe for Schützen Regiments upon being renamed Panzergrenadiere, or the continually changing regulations for collar patches worn by panzerjäger units), veteran soldiers often ignored these restrictions, especially if the older pattern was, in their eyes, superior.