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German Field Blouse Models 1933-1943: How They Fit
By Ed Walton, Transcribed by Jonathan Bocek


The following was originally published at: www.lostbattalions.comSpecial thanks to Ed Walton for allowing us to use his article: "German Field Blouse Models 1933-1943: How They Fit"  here on this site.

The German Army introduced a new field blouse (Feldbluse) in 1933 to replace the 1927 model service coat (Dienstrock) that is associated with the "Reichswehr" era. The new blouse gave the German soldier an updated, modern look that was quickly refined by several changes in 1934 and 1935 into the classic "M36" field blouse; the most famous German uniform of the National Socialist era (with the possible exception of the black SS Dienstanzug). The basic design that was introduced in 1933 and shortened in 1934 was carried forward on virtually all military and Nat'l Socialist Party uniform coats, with the exception of the panzer jacket (Panzerjacke) and the "M44" field blouse, during the Third Reich. Note that these uniform jackets do not fit anything like a civilian suit or any current service uniform of any nation we know of. The following are the key fitting elements of the WWII German uniform: The overall length is short (please read below for more on this), the arm holes are small and the back is narrow. This gives the wearer the overall feeling of smallness in the arm and shoulder area and a form fitting feeling in the body. This feeling is commonly mistaken as the jacket size being too small. This is because modern garments (with the exception of fine Italian or European suits) are no longer made to this form fitting method and no one is used to this feeling.

This Field Blouse is "short!"
The actual goal behind shortening the field blouse was to make it more suitable for wear in a motorized environment by raising the skirt high enough so that the back hem would not touch a vehicle seat and become soiled. Hugo Boss is usually credited/blamed by the popular press for the snappy appearance of Third Reich uniforms, although the present Boss firm, founded by Hugo's sons after the war, makes the claim that Hugo was merely a sewing contractor. Whoever the designer was, he was quite an illusionist; instead of merely shortening the M33 field blouse by 6 inches, he reworked the entire garment to create the false impression of greater height. The first step in the process was to raise the sleeve cuff end up from the root knuckle of the thumb to the wrist bone (a full three inches), exposing the entire hand. Then the hem of the skirt front was raised up to the same height from down at the first finger joint (about 6.5 inches). The third step was to raise the back of the skirt another two inches, so only the top half of the butt was covered. Lastly, the belt position was raised the width of the belt, so that the bottom edge of the belt aligned right about bend of the elbow.

The resulting uniform was an optical illusion which made every soldier wearing it appear several inches taller than he actually was. The short length of the jacket and the high position of the waist belt fooled the mind's eye into seeing almost every German soldier as a tall Nordic "superman" with a trim torso and amazingly long legs. Reportedly, the new design was test modeled before groups of women (what we now call "focus groups") to make sure it would have the desired effect on the opposite sex, thus raising the troops' morale.

Please study the accompanying photos to better understand how the German tunic is actually supposed to fit.  Pay particular attention to the position of the hands relative to the sleeve length and the length of the jacket body.







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