Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wehrmacht Regulations on the Fit of Uniform and Equipment Items

Overview of the Fit of Clothing and Equipment Items

[Translated from "Hilfsbuch für den Hauptfeldwebel" by Hans Rödel, 1942. Translated by Chris Pittman]

Field cap: The cap is to be worn slightly tilted to the right, in such a way that the lower edge is 1 cm over the right ear and 3 cm over the left ear, and about 1 cm over the right eyebrow as seen from the front. The cockade is in line with the center line of the face. The cap must fit in such a way that the back of the head is covered.

Visor cap: The cap should sit horizontally on the head as seen from the front, the cockade in line with the center line of the face. It must be large enough to cover the back of the head. The lower edge of the visor should intersect the eyebrows at its lowest point.

Field blouse: The field blouse must fit over the wool sweater in such a way that it is wide and blousy in the torso, and the man is not hindered in his movements. Folds created when the belt is fastened are to be distributed in such a way that they do not press on the body. The belt buckle sits between the two lower buttons. The blouse should just cover the buttocks. The arm hole is large enough that the man can freely move his arms without causing pinching in the armpit. The lower edge of the sleeve extends to approximately 3 cm below the wrist. The collar bind should extend about 0.6 cm - 1 cm over the collar edge.

Waffenrock: The Waffenrock must hang freely in the skirt, without causing folds in the front and without jamming. The middle seam should be about 1 cm over the hips in such a way that the lowest front button should be covered by the belt. The arm hole is large enough that the man can freely move his arms without causing pinching in the armpit. The lower edge of the sleeve extends to approximately 3 cm below the wrist. The collar must be large enough that a collar bind can be worn. It must not protrude on the sides or in front. The shoulder boards should lie on the center of the shoulders. The skirt should cover the buttocks.

Overcoat: The overcoat should reach the center of the lower leg. The fastened belt lies above the rear belt and leaves it free. The sleeves extend 1-2 cm past the jacket sleeves. The collar sits lightly on the jacket collar in the rear and in the front must be loose enough that you could fit a flat hand between the jacket collar and the overcoat collar. The shoulder boards should lie on the center of the shoulders.

Collar bind: When the field blouse is open, the collar bind is buttoned to the 5 buttons in the neck hole of the jacket, and is visible about 1 cm all the way around. Both ends must be long enough that they extend at least to where the neck opening is closed. When the field blouse is closed, the collar bind remains buttoned to the three rear collar buttons of the field blouse. It should be visible over the collar about 2-3 cm in front, and elsewhere around 0.6 cm all the way around.

Wool trousers: The trousers should pull moderately tightly against the rear split. The lower ends of the legs may only extend to the upper edge of the boot heel in the rear, they may not bulge in the front. The rear closure belt must sit tight above the hips and the fastened leather belt must lie on the trousers beneath the buttons.

Boots: The boots must fit tight in the heel and along the length, to avoid squeezing. When walking, the heels lift a little from the sole and may not slip up and down. The tips of the boots or shoes must offer 1-1 1/2 cm space when toes are fully outstretched. With jack boots, do not choose too narrow shafts.

Belt: The belt sits on the rear belt buttons of the Waffenrock, on the belt hooks of the field blouse, with the overcoat the hooks on the field blouse are pulled through the slits and the belt sits on that, the belt sits over the waist strap. The bayonet frog sits a little in front of the left side belt hook on the field blouse, with the overcoat and Waffenrock it is worn in the corresponding place. The middle of the eagle on the belt buckle is in line with the front closure buttons on the Waffenrock and field blouse, with the overcoat it is in the middle of the two button rows. With the Waffenrock, the buckle covers the lowest button, it should be between the two lowest button on the field blouse, an on the overcoat it should be between the two lowest button pairs.

Helmet: Seen from the front, it should be 1 cm over the eyebrows. From the side, it covers half the ear.

Tornister: The Tornister is fitted with the rolled overcoat. The upper surface intersects with the lower collar edge, the lower edge of the Tornister should come to around the middle of the belt. The carry straps and auxiliary straps should not pinch and should not cut in under the arms.

Awards: The marksmanship lanyard is worn from the right shoulder to the second button on the Waffenrock or field blouse. Rank badges on the sports suit: horizontally on both arms, 12 cm beneath the arm hole, a 15 cm long and 1 cm wide strip of white cotton for NCO ranks. Rank badges on the sports shirt: Around the neck opening, a 1 cm wide black twill band for NCO ranks.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

WWII German book on orienteering: "Karten- und Geländekunde" (Maps and Landforms)

Undated WWII-era German manual, "Maps and Topography." This does not appear to be a military issue manual, but there is information here about reporting, so clearly this was geared towards military/paramilitary use. Topics covered: Maps, landforms, orienteering in terrain using a map, the preparation of sketches. This is a scan of the original, German language of course.

Download "Karten- und Geländekunde" as PDF

The story of the "Westwall ring"

How the Westwall ring came into being

(From "Wir von der Westfront," 1940.)
They sat together in the rooms, the men of the Westwall. All day, they had dug trenches, fortified bunkers and covered the border against the enemy with a net of iron wire. Now it was a free evening. Some wrote, some sang, some whispered, some dreamed.

Among the men was also a goldsmith. Gottfried Grau, he was called. He came from Pforzheim. This Gottfried Grau had brought a piece of "warrior's gold" into his room with him: a piece of iron wire. Like a toy, he wound the shorter end of this wire into a ring, and bent the longer end with a file into a spiral, which soon lay like a rosette on the narrow ring. Then he put the ring on his finger and regarded it with scrutiny, like a piece of jewelry from his old workshop.

The other men started to notice this. They looked over the shoulder of the goldsmith.

"It is beautiful, this ring," a young man said dreamily. "It suits us."

After Gottfried Grau finished his duty on the Westwall, he returned to his home city. As he bid his comrades farewell, he thought about the iron ring he had made. He took it out of his pocket and gave it to the young man. "In memory!" he said seriously.

When a year was over, Gottfried Grau came back to the Westwall, but this time not as a trench worker, rather in the gray jacket of a soldier. When he greeted his new comrades, he noticed that some of them wore an iron ring with a wound spiral. Such a ring as he had once made and given as a gift. He asked the soldiers about the origin of this jewelry. They couldn't say. Someone had seen someone else wearing it, and one got the feeling that this ring had a deep meaning and tried to make one. So arose many such rings, "Westwall rings" as they were simply called by the soldiers.

Gottfried Grau knew that his trained fingers could do good work here. From now on he spent his free time in the weapions maintenance room, making Westwall rings. The soldiers helped him with it.
And when today, when they put a self-made ring on the finger of their comrades, the officers and the men, they say then: "In memory!"

And it sounds as a promise to cameraderie for all time.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

More original WWII Wehrmacht field kitchen recipes

Last week I posted some simple original wartime German field kitchen recipes. Here are some more recipes from wartime cookbooks. Translations are mine.

There is a mix here of meat and vegetarian dishes, stuff that does and does not require refrigeration, that uses fresh or canned meat, that would be very simple to make in the field or that would require some more effort. These are all simple field type recipes for traditional German fare. You can see that the recipes are made to be flexible and can be varied and adapted depending on availability of ingredients, or just to add variety.

Translated from the book "Oestliche Speise nach deutscher Art":


Bayrisch-Kraut: Clean and quarter the cabbage, remove the core and slice into thin strips. In hot fat, cook 1 tablespoon of diced onions. Add the prepared cabbage and bring to a boil with a little water. Add salt and coriander, cook until done. Add a sweet and sour taste by browning a little sugar, add vinegar with water and season with pepper. Mix this well with the cabbage. Thicken with raw grated potatoes or stir in potato flour and bring to a boil again.

White cabbage, stewed brown: Chop and slice the cabbage as for Bayrisch-Kraut and cook in fat. In a little meat broth, add 1 small onion, 1 small carrot, a little thyme, bay leaves and crushed garlic. Cook this for 30-40 minutes. Heat some fat in a pan and add flour to make a gravy, use this to thicken the broth/seasoning mixture. Pour this through a sieve over the cabbage and boil until done. Add a shot of Crimean or Caucasian wine.

Kraut-Salat: Clean and quarter the cabbage, cut in fine strips. Blanch in boiling salt water. Drain and let cool. Mix with vinegar, oil, finely chopped onions, salt, pepper and coriander. Season to taste.

Translated from the book "Die Feldkuechengerichte - Nach dem Original-Feldkochbuch des OKW 1941.":


(Note: all indicated measurements are for 1 portion for 1 person)

With fresh, pickled, smoked, or frozen meat: Remove the bones and put them in cold water, add herbs or vegetable waste (such as cabbage cores, celery leaves, cabbage leaves or onion peel) in a linen or net bag. Bring to a boil to make a broth. Add salt. Cut the meat into 2-3 kg pieces and add to the boiling broth. Never put pickled or smoked meat in salt water because it releases salt during cooking. Cook the meat without vegetables until done, then remove the meat from the broth and keep warm.

Add vegetables to broth and cook until done.

Season depending on the type of dish.

Before serving, slice the meat into portions. Every soldier wants to see his portion of meat.
Using canned meat shortens the cooking time ,as canned meat is pre-cooked. When seasoning, keep in mind that canned meat is already salted and seasoned.


Put fresh meat, pickled meat, or smoked meat in boiling water and cook according to the above directions. Cook 1500 g potatoes in broth or water. If using canned meat, add to finished dish. Season with salt or chopped fresh herbs before serving. If you have dried herbs, cook them in the dish for only a short time. Or, add roasted onions to the finished dish.

Tomato potatoes: season the finished dish with up to 25 g tomato paste.
Potatoes with pickles: Dice 50 grams of pickles (about 1/2 a medium pickle) and mix into the finished dish just before serving, do not boil.
Onion potatoes: instead of using herbs, add up to 10 grams of fresh onions or 2 grams of dried onions, and cook together with the dish. Roast the onions before adding them if possible.
Celery potatoes: Add up to 50 grams of fresh celery or 5 grams of dried celery to the dish an cook together (reduce the portion of the other vegetables accordingly).
Sour potatoes: Boil the dish together with bay leaves and allspice, season the finished dish with vinegar.


For 90 g sauerkraut and 1200 g potatoes: add raw finely chopped sauerktraut to finished dish shortly before serving.
For 400 g cabbage or 400 g green beans or 400 g other vegetables and 1000 g potatoes: The vegetables can be pre-cooked in water or broth until done.


Put fresh meat, pickled meat, or smoked meat in boiling water and cook according to the above directions. Cook 600 g fresh vegetables or 30 g dried vegetables together with 750 g fresh potatoes in boiling broth or water. If using canned meat, add to finished dish. Season with salt or with onions cooked with the dish. If using fresh chopped herbs, add them to the finished dish.

800 g white cabbage and 500 g potatoes: cook with caraway seeds.
800 g carrots and 500 g potatoes: cook with marjoram
600 g rutebaga, 75 grams noodles, and pickles: Cook noodles, rinse, then add to the rutebega. Add the pickles to the finished dish.
600 g carrots, 250 g potatoes, 50 g dried peas: Soak the peas, cook in broth. Boil carrots and diced potatoes together with the peas. Add finely chopped parseley.
300 g sauerkraut with 500 g potatoes or 300 g sauerkraut with 50 g dried peas: Cook the potatoes or peas, add sauerkraut and boil together. Cook with juniper berries.

Pound out cuts of meat, coat with mustard, fill with ground beef, onions or pickles, roll them up, put them close together in a pan and fry. Remove from pan, roast some onions in the hot pan. Mix these with seasoned broth, return the Rouladen to the pan, cover with the broth and onions and braise. 20 minutes before done, thicken the broth with some flour. Thyme, or allspice, vegetables cut into strips and braised together with the meat, buttermilk and red wine improve the flavor.


The best combination for this is a mix of 2/3 lean beef and 1/3 medium-lean pork. Slice the lean meat into pieces, season with salt, pepper and marjoram and run through a meat grinder. Knead the meat together with some cold broth, water or milk. Then grind the pork together with some onions and mix that in.

You can extend ground meat with soybean meal. 4 parts meat to 1 part soybean meal. You could also use white bread or Zwieback. Soak 1 kg white bread or Zwieback in 3 liters of water, then press out excess water. 3 parts meat to 1 part soaked bread.

Koenigsberger Klops: Make the ground meat into meatballs, boil for 15 minutes. Make a white sauce using the broth and a roux made of flour and fat. Season with lemon or vinegar, pickle juice, white wine, capers, herring or sardines.

Fried meatballs: Form the ground meat into balls, press a bit flat and fry in hot fat. To make it easier and save fat you can just brown the meat on both sides and then allow to cook in a sauce.

Kohlrouladen: Blanch large cabbage leaves in salt water until they are flexible but not soft. Remove and spread on a cutting board. Cook the small cabbage leaves until done, chop, mix with ground meat. Make narrow long meatballs from this mixture, put them on the cabbage leaves, roll together and cook like meat Rouladen.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Simple WWII German recipes for Schweinebraten, Gulasch, and meatballs

The Oberkommando des Heeres published a cookbook called "Oestliche Speisen nach deutscher Art" (Eastern Dishes in the German Style) for German personnel serving in the occupied East. The book included instructions on how to cook in Russian home kitchens and had a mix of German recipes that could be made with locally available ingredients, and local recipes. We have previously posted a Borscht recipe from this cookbook. Here are some meat recipes. Translations are mine. Note that these recipes are deliberately vague so as to be adaptable based on availability or simply taste. Any of these are easily prepared over a fire with very minimal equipment required.


Cut the meat into as big pieces as possible. Brown on all sides in hot oil, season with salt and pepper. Remove meat from pan and keep warm. Add coarsely chopped root vegetables to pan and brown well. Dust with flower and mix together. Add water or broth and bring to a boil. Put the meat back in and cook with gentle heat until it is done. Season with bay leaves, juniper berries, allspice and/or peppercorns. Add wine to taste.

Gulasch - Basic recipe with fresh meat

Dice the meat, add salt and pepper, fry in a little oil. While browning, add finely chopped onions, a teaspoon of tomato paste, a little paprika, and roast together. Cover with water and braise until done. Add flour to thicken and bring to a boil, simmer until done.

Variations on Gulasch:

1. Gulasch with bell peppers. Add 1 chopped bell pepper for the last 30 minutes of cook time. Or, add 1-2 canned peppers, sliced, to the dish at the end just until heated.

2. Szegediner Gulasch. Add 1/8 kg of sauerkraut per person to the dish at the end just until heated.

3. Gulasch with vegetables. Add fresh or dried vegetables, even pumpkin, and cook together. Soak dried vegetables before using. Canned vegetables can be added at the end just until heated.

4. Serbian Rice Meat. Use veal if possible, seasoned with paprika. Add 4-5 tablespoons of rice (about 100 grams) in the last 20-25 minutes of cooking. Or instead of rice you can use risotto, just mix it into the finished dish.

Gulasch from canned meat

Meat in cans is pre-cooked. Because it is usually very fatty, you can make it more productive with this sauce: Roast chopped onions and 1 teaspoon tomato paste in a little fat. Add 1/8 liter water and bring to a boil. Thicken with flour, use 10 grams of flour per 1/8 liter water. Bring to a boil again, cook until done. Season with pepper or paprika. In this sauce, add the canned meat just to heat it up.

Meatballs from fresh meat

Grind the meat in a meat grinder. Add salt and pepper and mix well. Add bread crumbs or soaked bread, finely chopped onions, egg or just egg whites or egg substitute. Mix well and form into balls. Coat with flour or bread crumbs and fry in hot fat until done. The meat mixture tastes best when the onions are cooked and it is seasoned with available herbs. The meat can be extended with finely clopped and mixed in cabbage cores or other vegetable waste, without sacrificing goodness.

Meatballs from canned meat

Finely chop the meat and leave it to dry in the air for a little while. To cook, use the same recipe as for fresh meat but you must add flour.