Original German WWII Radio Signalman #2 Fernsprechtornister Cowhide Backpack - Dated 1940

Item Description

Original Item. Only One Available. This is a very nice original German WWII Radio Signalman cowhide backpack, known as Fernsprechtornister (Telephone knapsack). The design is based on the M39 "Tornister," but it larger and with dual closure flaps. It also folds out somewhat like a medical back pack or field desk, so that the entire interior is accessible at once.

These backpacks would contain the necessary equipment for the Signalman, such as cable reels and various tools. There were three versions of the backpack, "1,2,3", with each having different interiors for holding different equipment. This pack is marked with 2. It has the standard early war design, with shoulder straps that interface with the pistol belt as well as the bottom of the pack. As the war progressed the design was simplified for economical and practical reasons so the cowhide cover was eliminated making these packs especially scarce on today's collector market.

The pack measures approximately 13"W x 14"H x 4 1/2", and still retains almost all of its original parts from what we can see. The pack itself is maker marked and dated on the back between the strap fittings :


There is also a clear Waffenampt WaA 279 stamp under the maker mark. The right side strap is unmarked, while the left side strap is marked bml / 42 over a Waffenampt, indicating 1942 manufacture by Hans Römer in Neu-Ulm / Donau. This would indicate that the removable straps were replaced at some point during the war with arsenal spares.

Condition is very good, especially considering the age. The fur on the cowhide is still almost completely intact, though the leather has been worn at at the edges, with a small tear on the right back edge. The shoulder straps are complete and intact, with the leathers still supple with a nice color. The side straps that connect to the bottom of the pack are also still present, with no issues. The various buckles and straps all look to be present.

The "Desk" portion still folds out correctly, though it looks like all of the internal separators were removed at some point. We have seen other #2 packs like this, and it looks to have been modified during the war to carry a large radio or battery unit.

A very nice and rare example of a Radio Signalman #2 Fernsprechtornister Backpack, ready to display!

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