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German Pipe Usage
By James Miller


 

Tobacco usage being what it was during WW2 it can pretty much be stated that everyone, regardless of nationality, used tobacco in some form or another.  It was no different in the Deutsche Wehrmacht of the time either.  Whether they were issued the item or purchased it over the counter, tobacco was a hot commodity for the average landser.  But how was it used?  Well, for some, cigarettes & occasionally cigars were the preferred method of smoking and photographic evidence along with veteran interviews bear this out.  However, for quite a few in the ranks, the preferred method of smoking tobacco was in a trusty pipe.  When asked what was used most, veteran Alfred Becker of the 326th Division stated:

"I smoked a pipe.  This was popular with even young men back then.  It was a small pipe, I don't remember what I lit it with, I must have had a lighter.  Pipes were better in the front lines.  You can see a cigarette burning and so they tend to draw bullets to your face."  

So what type of pipe would you say, the average landser use in the field?  Hopefully this article will give you at least a partial answer.

From looking at photographs of Heer soldaten in the field it seems to show that, for the most part, the average soldaten preferred a certain style of pipe to smoke from.  That particular style can be summed up in one word and the word I would use is compact.  If you look at the original photos of the soldiers smoking pipes you will see a pattern shown.  The pipes you see are all small, with overall lengths probably being less than 6 inches.  The stems of the pipes are usually straight, but not always as you can see in the photos.  Also, notice the small pipe bowl, usually round in shape but it can also be polygonal at times too.  Most of the time they were made out of bakelite or wooden material.  The size of the bowl is small, generally less than an inch and a half in diameter.  This style of pipe could be easily stuffed in a pocket or even stashed in a breadbag if so desired. 

 
But where can one find such pipes?  Well, originals are always good! But smoking from an original period pipe at an event will eventually damage the pipe beyond repair and ruin an artifact from the past.  Future generations may frown on this as it takes away from them the pleasure of seeing a small, but interesting piece of history.  I say that those style of pipes can still be found.  The color photos of the pipes that are provided below show that they are still around today.  Go to any good pipe shop and look over what they sell to find that perfect pipe.  E-bay is also a source that can be utilized (that is where I found these color photos).  But where-ever you go look for the style that is presented here.  It may be small, but it can be a large part in enhancing one's overall impression.       

 
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