IACMC MILITARIA FORUM

Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.

2 posters

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket?

    avatar
    Sanglier
    Corporal
    Corporal


    Location : California
    Registration date : 2022-08-03
    Number of posts : 31

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? Empty Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket?

    Post by Sanglier Mon May 06, 2024 8:06 pm

    I posted this jacket on WAF many years ago hoping that someone there would recognize it, but beyond educated guesses and learned speculations, no one was able to identify it definitively at the time. Now that traffic there has slowed to a trickle, the odds of someone bumping into my old post and commenting on it are effectively nil, yet I know exactly as much about it today as I did back then, i.e., almost nothing.

    The jacket came to me from a German seller who hypothesized that it was a prototype for the BW Gebirgsjäger Dienstjacke, undoubtedly based on the color of the garment, its shortness, the fact that the bottom three buttons did most of the work, and the presence of the side laces. However, the jacket is completely unmarked save for the small size label by the collar, even the buttons have a plain back.

    The overall jacket layout is clearly inspired by that of the WW II era wrappers, which were themselves inspired by civilian ski jackets, thus completing a circle of sorts, if this was indeed meant to be worn by Gebirgsjäger. The fabric is a laminate with a hidden rubber middle layer, very similar to the rubberized fabric used to make TR-era officer's raincoat. It is completely waterproof (and non-breathable). Other than a half-lining in the upper back and internal storm cuffs at the end of the sleeves, the garment is unlined, with large vents left open in the armpit area to help dissipate heat and prevent moisture buildup. There is a large "extraction handle" sewn to the upper back (leading some WAF members to speculate that the design dates from the European Defense Union trial period, where some of the prototype field uniforms also sported this external feature), as well as four factory-sewn belt hooks (reminiscent of the arrangement seen on SA, HJ, and other TR era short shirt/jacket uniforms, which was also present on early Bundesmarine short leather jackets). The combined presence of these features certainly points to military/combat rather than civilian/police application, but by whom?

    A recent thread on WAF discussing the field trial of StuG wrappers by the 28th Jaeger Division in 1943 as a standard Feldbluse revived my curiosity about this jacket. If I squint hard enough, I can make out a trail of bread crumbs leading from the StuG wrapper to the M44 Bluse, to the Affenjacke, to this mystery jacket, before ending at the Gebirgsjäger Dienstbluse, though it could very well be hallucination from a place of ignorance. If so, can anyone here show me the light?

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? RwPDDyJ

    ripcord and TennoHeikaNate like this post

    CollectinSteve
    CollectinSteve
    ADMIN
    ADMIN


    Location : New England, US
    Registration date : 2009-03-08
    Number of posts : 6938

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? Empty Re: Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket?

    Post by CollectinSteve Tue May 07, 2024 4:01 pm

    That's an interesting piece for sure. I don't think it is civilian, but I don't know what the Hell it is.

    Steve
    avatar
    Sanglier
    Corporal
    Corporal


    Location : California
    Registration date : 2022-08-03
    Number of posts : 31

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? Empty Re: Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket?

    Post by Sanglier Tue May 07, 2024 9:40 pm

    My sentiment exactly, Steve, and it looks like it may stay that way for...ever? So I might as well post some detailed views to see if they could trigger someone's memory and help to narrow down the possibilities.

    A few notable features (left to right, top to bottom):

    1) The inner panel of the central gusset is made out of two pieces joined together. This serves no conceivable purpose, but seems consistent with the typically frugal German practice of using remnant fabric to make hidden components. A practice that presumably persisted (especially?) during the early post-war years.  

    2) The belt hooks are sewn through only the inner (flannel) and middle (rubber) layers of the laminated fabric (a cross section of which is shown in the upper right photo), so that the stitches would be invisible on the exterior surface of the garment (where exactly "zero" person today would have bothered to look for flaws). Such extreme attention to detail and OCD-level concern with neatness on a field garment also suggest the tailor was trained during an earlier era.

    3) The shoulder joint on this jacket is one of the most complex designs I have ever encountered. The gusseted sleeve is really only tethered to the shoulder by three tabs and an extension of the partial lining, giving it a lot of freedom of movement despite the inherent stiffness of the fabric. This flexibility, together with the back gusset, allow the wearer to easily stretch his arms through his full range of motion without sacrificing the tailored look of this close-fitting jacket; which must have been important if the wearer was expected to wear it while climbing up or rappelling  down a cliff on a regular basis.

    As someone who dabbles in sewing and enjoys studying old garment designs, I am struck by the amount of forethought and skills that went into both the design and construction of this garment, maybe a little too much (just like on many European combat uniforms of this era)! If this is indeed a prototype, then some of the features would have been quite difficult (i.e., costly) to implement during production due to the number of steps required, namely the crazy shoulder joint. Indeed, even with all the clever tricks incorporated into the design, this jacket could never have hoped to match the comfort and practicality of baggy field jackets that the US had already introduced to the world. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this idea was tried and quickly abandoned in favor of a more sensible service uniform that, while inheriting some minor bits from the prototype in the looks department, kept none of the core objectives.  

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? GWEw8sN
    CollectinSteve
    CollectinSteve
    ADMIN
    ADMIN


    Location : New England, US
    Registration date : 2009-03-08
    Number of posts : 6938

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? Empty Re: Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket?

    Post by CollectinSteve Wed May 08, 2024 1:45 am

    Thanks for the interesting pics!

    I don't know what this is, but I don't think it was a BW prototype. There's no evidence of anything like this, though of course the initial BW uniform was heavily influenced by the panzer wrap design.

    This does appear to be a tailored piece, not production. The chest pocket looks as if it was taken from a standard tunic. Oddly, the lower pockets. It is very out of place as a chest pocket, so why didn't they take a smaller chest pocket instead?

    The belt hooks were obviously not designed to take any weight. Ones in standard uniforms are on straps that are heavily reinforced. These might have been added as an afterthought when the wearer found his belt kept slipping down and looking unkempt. Especially given this is a Size 52 and there might have been some belly involved.

    This very well could be a hiking jacket for one of the many veteran's hiking clubs. In fact, I think that's the best guess. Some fairly well off veteran, perhaps a former panzer officer, had this made for him by a tailor who happened to have some left over WW2 cloth. The recovery handle and odd shoulder design are consistent with such a jacket.

    Steve
    avatar
    Sanglier
    Corporal
    Corporal


    Location : California
    Registration date : 2022-08-03
    Number of posts : 31

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? Empty Re: Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket?

    Post by Sanglier Wed May 08, 2024 11:30 pm

    All good guesses, Steve. Without clear Truppenversuch markings, and until evidence demonstrates otherwise, it is certainly not possible to attribute this to any trial program. However, the presence of a generic size label would argue against it being a custom-tailored or even made-to-order garment, and I have difficulty picturing why our veteran hiking enthusiast would want an "extraction" handle on his back?

    As for the chest pocket, my guess is that it's inspired by the massive one found on the HBT version of the StuG wrapper, just rendered much smaller and more elegantly. Indeed, the absence of external pockets on the wrapper was one of the main negative feedbacks from the Jaeger trial in 1943, according to that recent thread on WAF, so it's not surprising to see it on a derivative jacket intended for active wear outdoors. My earlier photos may not show it clearly, but as can be seen in the direct comparison below, this chest pocket is not cut like the lower pocket on a wartime tunic, and is proportionally much wider than the standard Feldbluse breast pocket (thus causing the illusion that it was a transplanted lower pocket). However, it does have a fully functional pleat, just like on wartime tunic pockets, thus making it somewhat more useful than its size would suggest.

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? SrSnrK6


    As for the belt hooks, they are necessitated by the high waist cut, just like on those short uniform shirts (a repro version of which is shown for reference). Today, only women's garments are cut that high. As a woman's hip is flared below her natural waist, a belt has no trouble staying put in that position. This is usually not the case even on a young and athletic male body. Without these support hooks, a belt would not have stayed in place that far above the iliac crest, even before additional mass is attached to it. Therefore, these hooks are there mainly to help preserve a smart appearance when a belt is worn, not necessarily to distribute carried weight (as was the case on the WH Feldbluse, almost as a secondary benefit). The exact same layout can be seen on the even-more-ridiculously-high-waisted Bundesmarine leather jacket alluded to in my earlier post, for the very same purpose. Later versions of this jacket did away with these hooks, presumably because it had dawned on the Bundesmarine fashion department that no seaman can wear a belt under his armpit without looking like a complete semen.

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? IosFryX  


    That said, the hooks on the mystery garment are much more solidly attached to the jacket than they look in my photos. They are made from galvanized steel, so they are a bit skinnier than the aluminum hooks issued by the BGS (left) and WH (right), and are sewn to the jacket using a thread that is almost as thick as the super strong T-210 thread used in leathercraft, which has been doubled up no less! I would not use these hooks as anchor points for rappelling, but they are more strongly attached to the jacket than the two belt ramps found on Swiss tunics, and there are four of them here... Given the physics of this arrangement, I have no doubt they can handle the mass of a full set of field gear from that era without any problem, should the need ever arise. The question is, if this was not meant to be part of a uniform, why would the tailor have made provision for a belt to be worn, and kept, in that position at all?

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? GDS0N97

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? RpSa1Xs
    CollectinSteve
    CollectinSteve
    ADMIN
    ADMIN


    Location : New England, US
    Registration date : 2009-03-08
    Number of posts : 6938

    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? Empty Re: Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket?

    Post by CollectinSteve Thu May 09, 2024 8:29 pm

    The belt hooks look plenty sufficient to hold a belt in place, for sure. Maybe even a fully loaded down set of kit. However, if this was a purpose built uniform for the purpose of field use then the hooks would have been attached more deliberately. As I said, they look to have been put on as an afterthought, which is not something I'd associate with something that was designed explicitly for field use.

    As for why the hooks are there at all is really just to keep the belt in place. Because it is high waisted the belt would otherwise have difficulty staying in place for a good military look. This was, in fact, a big complaint about the first standard jacket issued to the Bundeswehr. That problem was solved by abandoning the garment completely and going back to a traditional 4 pocket model.

    The size tag does indicate that more than one of these was made. Or perhaps more than one of these was intended to be made. It is entirely possible that the tailor that made this did so for a number of customers and/or had made these proactively to serve a possible market niche.

    The more I look at this the more I feel it's some sort of veteran's jacket for former Wehrmacht officers who had worn a panzerwrap when in the service. It feels "right" to me, whereas unknown late war WW2 or pre-BW trials jacket does not. But really... anything is possible. There's little information about this time period and that means we obligating us to prove a negative. That's not a good idea Smile Just because we don't know about it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    Whatever you have, it appears to be quite old and quite unique. Beyond that it;s a head scratcher!

    Steve

    Sponsored content


    Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket? Empty Re: Gebirgsjaeger experimental jacket?

    Post by Sponsored content


      Current date/time is Mon Jun 17, 2024 11:13 pm