Original German WWII Heer Army Großdeutschland Division Infantry Major Officer's M36 Field Uniform Tunic

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Set Available. The Panzergrenadier Division "Großdeutschland", also commonly referred to simply as “Großdeutschland” or “Großdeutschland Division”, was an elite combat unit of the German Army (Heer) that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II.

Originally formed in 1921 it was known as the Wachregiment Berlin and served as a ceremonial guard unit and by 1939 had grown into a regiment of the combined Wehrmacht German armed forces. The regiment would later be expanded and renamed “Infantry Division Großdeutschland” in 1942, and after significant reorganization was renamed Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland in May 1943. In November 1944, while the division retained its status as a panzergrenadier division, some of its subordinate units were expanded to divisional status, and the whole group of divisions were reorganized as Panzerkorps Großdeutschland.

This is a very nice early pattern German WWII Heer Army M-36 Tunic, showing moderate wear from service and in very good display condition. There is no maker mark on the interior, or other markings, so this was most likely custom made for the officer at a local tailor. The tunic features four pockets with scalloped flaps and pebbled zinc and steel buttons, and has a six button front closure, with two "hook and loop" fasteners for the collar. The buttons on the tunic are sewn directly to the fabric, not attached with metal circlips, and have had most of the olive paint worn away. All of the buttons look to be original, and are maker marked on the rear.

The interior is lined with lovely gray rayon, with lightweight white striped rayon in the sleeves. There is an interior pocket inside the left breast, and an interior belt fastener, which has partly torn away on the right side. There are a few tears and some light staining, but the interior is really in good shape otherwise. There is the usual slot for the officer's dagger to hang out of the lower left pocket

It is adorned with the usual rank and branch insignia used on German tunics. The attractive Army breast eagle is the correct officer's silver bullion hand embroidered type on a green background, and is very neatly hand stitched to the chest in a fashion typical of wartime German tailor work. It is only stitched to the outer layer of fabric, indicating installation when the uniform was made, so it has never been replaced.

The left sleeve has a lovely third pattern black Großdeutschland cuff title, with machine embroidered Sütterlin style script in silver. It has the correct piping, which was on all of these cuff titles, not just those used on officer's uniforms, as often asserted. It is hand stitched to the sleeve around the entire circumference, and we have compared it to period examples, and it matches the pattern exactly.

The collar is wrapped in a dark-green wool, has officer's field litzen collar patches on each side, which are woven from silver bullion thread with a dark green background matching the collar. The colored bullion stripes on each are Weiß (white), which was the Waffenfarbe (corps color) during WWII for infantry and motorized infantry. This would indicate they were a member of either the Großdeutschland Panzergrenadier Regiment or Fusilier Regiment, as both were originally infantry units. The collar is in good shape, tough there is a wear around the edges, which is usually one of the first places to show damage from use. There is also overall loss of the fuzzy "nap" on the collar.

The “sew-in” style Stabsoffizier schulterklappen (Field-grade Officer shoulder boards) of this tunic are constructed with two rows of fine silver flatware "Russia Braid" double piping, which are plaited together to form a loop around the buttonhole. They are in very good condition, and do not have any rank "pips" installed, indicating the lowest staff officer rank of Major, equivalent to the same rank in the U.S. and U.K. armies. They also have lovely gilt metal interlocking GD monograms attached, for the Großdeutschland division. The second buttonhole from the top on the tunic has the ribbon for an Eastern Front medal installed. There are also some thread loops above and on the pocket underneath, so there are awards that the German soldier removed, probably to put on another uniform.

Overall condition is very good, with light wear and staining consistent with service. There is overall wear to the fabric, with some pilling and loss to the fuzzy top layer. There is a small moth hole on the left side by the second lowest buttonhole, and also some scattered mothing overall.

A really fantastic Uniform tunic from a legendary division of the German Wehrmacht, totally correct and ready to display as is or dress up a bit with some great awards. Ready to display!

Approximate Measurements:
Collar to shoulder: 9"
Shoulder to sleeve: 26”
Shoulder to shoulder: 16.5”
Chest width: 19"
Waist width: 18.5"
Hip width: 22”
Front length: 29"

More History On The Großdeutschland Division
The Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland was activated on 14 June 1939. The regiment saw action in France in 1940. It was attached to Panzer Group 2 in the opening phases of Barbarossa, and was nearly destroyed in the Battle of Moscow in late 1941. On the last day of February 1942, the remnants of the regiment absorbed two battalions of reinforcements that arrived from Neuruppin and the regiment was reconstituted. It later moved to Orel, and on 1 April 1942 the former Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland was reinforced and expanded into the Infanterie-Division Großdeutschland (mot.) (motorized Infantry Division Grossdeutschland) using newly arrived troops from Germany.

The division was assigned to XXXXVIII Panzer Corps during the opening phases of Fall Blau, the Wehrmacht's 1942 strategic summer offensive in southern Russia. During the combined Soviet winter offensives Operation Uranus and Operation Mars, the division fought near Rzhev, where it was rendered combat ineffective.

In January–February 1943, Großdeutschland and XXXXVIII Panzer Corps, along with the II SS Panzer Corps took part in the Third Battle of Kharkov. The division fought alongside the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS AH, 2nd SS Division Das Reich and 3rd SS Division Totenkopf during these battles. After the conquest of Kharkov, the Großdeutschland was again pulled back and refitted.

On 19 May 1943, with the addition of armoured personnel carriers and Tigers the division was redesignated Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland (Armored Infantry Division Grossdeutschland), though in reality it now had more armoured vehicles than most full-strength panzer divisions.

The newly re-equipped division was subordinated to the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps, part of Fourth Panzer Army, and took part in the Battle of Kursk. During the buildup period, a brigade of two battalions was equipped with the new Panther tanks, which were plagued by technical problems, suffering from engine fires and mechanical breakdowns before reaching the battlefield. By 7 July, the division had only 80 of its 300 tanks still fit for combat. After the Kursk offensive was cancelled, the division was transferred back to Army Group Center, and resumed its role as a mobile reserve. The Tiger I tank company was expanded to a battalion, becoming the III. Battalion of the Panzer Regiment. Großdeutschland saw heavy fighting around Karachev before being transferred back to XLVIII Panzer Corps in late August. For the rest of 1943, Großdeutschland retreated across Ukraine, and in 1944 into Romania, where it took part in the First Battle of Târgu Frumos.

In early August, the division was transferred to East Prussia from Army Group South Ukraine. Over the next months, Großdeutschland was involved in heavy fighting in both East Prussia, including a counter-attack on Wilkowischken and the Baltic States, suffering high casualties in both men and materiel. The division was nearly destroyed during the battles in the Memel bridgehead.

In November 1944, while the division and several attached units were redesignated as Panzerkorps Großdeutschland. By March 1945, the Panzer Grenadier Division Großdeutschland had been reduced to around 4,000 men after the Battle of Memel. By 25 April 1945, the division was engaged in heavy fighting in the battles around Pillau. Eight hundred men of the division were evacuated on ferries via the Baltic Sea and surrendered to British forces in Schleswig-Holstein on May 9. The rest were either killed or captured during the fighting in Pillau or surrendered to Soviet forces on May 9 on the Vistula spit.

Terms such as M40 and M43 were never designated by the Wehrmacht, but are names given to the different versions of the Model 1936 field tunic by modern collectors, to discern between variations, as the M36 was steadily simplified and tweaked due to production time problems and combat experience.

Field Tunic (Feldbluse) Model 1936
When the NSDAP came to power in early 1933 the Reichswehr, the armed forces of the Weimar Republic, were near the end of a two-year project to redesign the Army Feldbluse (field-blouse). Beginning in that year the new tunic was issued to the Reichsheer and then the rapidly growing Wehrmacht Heer, although minor design changes continued to be made until the appearance of the standardized Heeres Dienstanzug Modell 1936. The M36 tunic still retained the traditional Imperial and Reichswehr uniform color of grey-green "field gray" (feldgrau) wool, but incorporated four front patch pockets with scalloped flaps and pleats (on Reichswehr tunics the lower pockets were internal and angled). The front was closed with five buttons rather than the previous eight, and the collar and shoulder straps were of a dark bottle-green instead of the Reichswehr grey. Compared to the Weimar-era uniforms the skirt of the feldbluse was shorter and the tailoring was more form-fitting due to Germany's adoption of mechanized warfare: soldiers now spent much time in the confined space of a vehicle and a shorter jacket was less likely to pick up dirt from the seats. It also included an internal suspension system, whereby a soldier could hang an equipment belt on a series of hooks outside of the tunic. These hooks were connected to two straps inside the lining, which spread the weight of equipment without having to use external equipment suspenders. The M36 was produced and issued until the very end of the war, though successive patterns became predominant.

SS field uniforms were of similar appearance externally but to fit their larger patches had a wider, feldgrau collar, and the lower pockets were of an angled slash type similar to the black or grey SS service-dress. The second button of an SS Feldbluse was positioned somewhat lower, so that it could be worn open-collar with a necktie. Due to supply problems the SS were often issued army uniforms.

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