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How to wear Fu▀lappen
By Jonathan Bocek


The fu▀lappen or "foot rag" was usually a cloth square measuring 40cm or so.  Made of woolen or cotton flannel it had no seams or any special design.  Fu▀lappen were a common issued item amongst the men of the Wehrmacht.  So much so, a popular slang term for an infantryman was "Fu▀lappenindianer" or ôFootwrap Indian."  

Wrapping fu▀lappen takes special care. If done improperly, it could pinch the foot & cause general discomfort.  If done correctly, it is like wearing socks.  Many say fu▀lappen were more commonly found amongst the older men, but the younger soldiers used them just the same..  It does seem however, many of the younger landsers had little patience for the foot wraps.  When asked to describe the wear of fu▀lappen vs. socks, Karl Wegner (a former member of the 352nd Division) stated, 

"Some of the older men had these but I never could bother with the time it took to put on a pair of boots when wearing them." 

But not every German soldier had Wegner's views.  Some even preferred to wear fu▀lappen over socks.  Hans Melker, a grenadier in the 68th Infanterie Division recalls:

"Fu▀lappen!  (Laughs) Oh yes, I forgot about those.  You wrapped them on your feet like this.  First you stand on them so your foot and heel point towards the corners.  (motions on the floor).  Then you fold the toe up, then wrap up this side, then the other side (wraps up an invisible Fu▀lappen).  I wore out my socks and never had the patience to fix them.  I gave the little sewing kit that my mother sent me to my best friend.  I always traded off the nice homemade socks that my mother sent me.  I traded them off for tobacco, food, magazines, things like that.  I still feel bad about that.  My mother used to sew my name into the things that she would send me.  The other soldiers would say, I wished my mother would do that for me.  One pair of socks she sent me wound up on a soldier from another company.  He got his chest and head blown off.  On his feet were my mother's socks with my name on them.  The commander came to our sergeant to ask them if I was missing.  Of course I wasn't.  I usually got along with just the Fu▀lappen except in the winter.  They were harder to wear out, all you had to do was turn them so your heel was in a different spot every time.  We also called cooked cabbage Fu▀lappen because it was flat and smelled so bad!"

As described above, the following are the steps to properly fold fu▀lappen:

Now in the winter, one can actually wear fu▀lappen over socks for extra warmth.  As veteran Alfred Becker of the 326th Infantrie Division (was 21 when the war ended) stated when asked he wore Fu▀lappen or socks,
 

"In the winter, I wore both.  In the summer, socks until they wore out, then the Fu▀lappen."

So no matter if your young or old, it would be correct for you to wear fu▀lappen.  Be it winter or summer they are practical & inexpensive.  For those looking to purchase fu▀lappen, 1944 Militaria (click here) has Post War German Foot Wraps at $1 a piece!  Other vendors have them as well at a similar prices. Between availability of quality sock reproductions & these inexpensive alternatives, there should be no excuse for lack of authentic foot coverings.


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