Original German WWII Afrikakorps DAK Tropical Motorcycle Overcoat - dated 1942

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. In early 1941, the German military began their conquest of southern Europe. Due to the warmer climates of these areas, the German Army needed to equip its troops with a more suitable form of dress, and replace the standard wool based feldgrau uniforms. The new "tropical" uniforms were lighter in weight, and dyed in colors ranging from light tan to dark olive.

This is an extremely rare rare DAK dark tan cotton overcoat or greatcoat as used by German Army Motorcycle riders in tropical environments (Italy, Mediterranean, North Africa) during World War Two. It is heavy grade cotton manufactured with high quality and offered in very good condition. It features painted pebbled aluminum buttons that are stitched on and look to be maker marked. The backs are a bit oxidized so they may be faint. There are buttons and loops on the shoulders for shoulder board rank insignia, but none are installed.

The overcoat can be worn in several configurations, and has various buttons and straps on the inside and outside. There is also a hook fastener at neck to keep out the wind. Some may wonder why in the hot tropical environments an overcoat was needed, but any motorcycle rider can tell you that protection from the wind and sun are definitely needed in hot and sometimes dry environments. The water loss from air is not minor, and the overcoat actually ends up being quite a bit cooler for the rider than not wearing it, as long as you are riding.

The overcoat has lots of vents allowing air circulation, as well as a button closure on bottom rear to allow the legs to move more freely when on the vehicle. It also still retains the complete size markings on the inside, which read:

43        48
120       63
E. 42

These markings indicate that this overcoat was issued at the Erfurt Depot in 1942. The size markings indicate the following:

Torso Length: 43cm = 16.93 in.
Neck: 48cm = 18.90 in.
Chest: 90cm = 35.43 in.
Total Length: 120cm = 47.24 in.
Sleeve Length: 63cm = 24.80 in.

We measured the back of the overcoat, and it is indeed 48 inches long, so these are accurate.

Overall condition is very good, showing only light to moderate wear from service. There are a few small pulls and tears on the exterior, and the shoulder lining also has a rip in it, but only on the inner layer. The color is very well retained, and as far as we can tell, all of the buttons are still present, and firmly attached. This is the first time we have been able to offer this particular version of German motorcycle overcoat, and it is definitely a prime example.

Offered in very good condition, this is an exceptional wartime coat that gives one heck of a silhouette when worn!

History of the German Africa Korps

The Afrika Korps or German Africa Corps (German: Deutsches Afrikakorps, DAK was the German expeditionary force in Africa during the North African Campaign of World War II. First sent as a holding force to shore up the Italian defense of their African colonies, the formation fought on in Africa, under various appellations, from March 1941 until its surrender in May 1943. The term "Afrika Korps" is pseudo-German (so-called "cod-German"), deriving from an incomplete German title. The German term referred solely to the initial formation, the Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK), which formed part of the Axis command of the German and Italian forces in North Africa. The name stuck, with both news media and Allied soldiers, as the name for all subsequent German units in North Africa. The unit is known for having been commanded by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

The dry climate of Africa proved to be an issue with much of the standard leather field gear that the German Army usually used. It would dry out and crack quickly, and become unusable. To deal with this, the standard field gear such as belts, Y-straps, A-frames, bayonet frogs, and other items, were issued in special tropical web versions.

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