Original German WWII US Omaha Beach Veteran Captured German Artillery 2nd Lieutenant Wool Uniform With General Assault Badge and Capture Papers - Tunic & Pants

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind Set. This is a fantastic example of a German Artillery Officer’s Uniform. The uniform was captured and sent home with a “certificate” by Technician 5th Grade Jess Howard VanZant, an Omaha beach veteran of D-Day and was positioned at one of the most dangerous positions on the beach, Fox Green.

Jesse VanZant proudly volunteered for service in WWII and participated in the Normandy D-Day invasion on Omaha beach as part of Company D, 115th Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, US Army. He continued service in Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe. Citations received include, Presidential Unit Citation, EAME Ribbon w/4 Bronze Stars and Bronze Arrowhead, Battalion Croix De Guerre with a silver star, and the Medal of Jubilee, from France.

The 115th Infantry landed at 1025 hours, with the 1st and 2nd Battalions abreast on FOX GREEN beach, about 1000 yards east of that part of the beach on which it was intended to land. The 2nd Battalion on the right crossed the beach and started up the cliff, making slow progress due to mines. The progress of the 1st Battalion on the left was faster. It pushed inland to the south of ST. LAURENT, reaching there about dark. This battalion was subjected to heavy fire from snipers and mortar fire through- out the night. Lt. Col. Richard C. Blatt became fatally wounded by mortar fire. The 2nd Battalion attempted to capture ST. LAURENT, but was unsuccessful. It then moved to the south of the town, into the woods, about one-half mile to the west.

Regimental Headquarters landed with the leading battalions, and remained on the beach under artillery fire until 1600 hours. At 1630 hours, the headquarters moved the CP inland to a trail east of ST. LAURENT.

Casualties were heaviest amongst the troops landing at either end of Omaha. At Fox Green and Easy Red, scattered elements of three companies were reduced to half strength by the time they gained the relative safety of the shingle, many of them having crawled the 300 yards (270 m) of beach just ahead of the incoming tide. Casualties on this spot were especially heavy amongst the first waves of soldiers and the demolition teams - at Omaha these were tasked with blasting 16 channels through the beach obstacles, each 70 meters wide. German gunfire from the bluffs above the beach took a heavy toll on these men. The demolition teams managed to blast only six complete gaps and three partial ones; more than half their engineers were killed in the process.

This is an incredible uniform with an even more incredible story attached to it! Technician 5th Grade VanZant was a “man among men” just like the rest of the guys he stood shoulder to shoulder with on that hellacious day.

The uniform belonged to a German Artillery 2nd Lieutenant, and was documented as being captured on 26 April, 1945 by “Cpl. Tech. Jesse H. VanZant”. The uniform itself is in amazing condition and retains tailor tags on both the tunic and trousers for Alfred Knuth of Berlin.

Officers' shoulder boards were constructed from "Russia" braid, an aluminum-thread double piping. Company-grade officers (Leutnant through Hauptmann/Rittmeister) wore epaulets constructed by wrapping two side-by-side lengths of braid around the buttonhole and back, giving the appearance of eight parallel cords; the whole was sewn to an underlay (Unterlagen) of Waffenfarbe badge-cloth. Until 1938 the underlay was of the same outer dimensions as the braid, and only visible edge-on; in that year the underlay was made wider, so as to create the impression of edge piping like the enlisted shoulder-strap. Rank was indicated by zero to two gilt-metal rank stars; unit designators were also of gilt metal.

The red Waffenfarbe (corps color) and lack of gilt-metal stars indicates that this was a 2nd Lieutenant in the German Artillery. Awards featured on the tunic are an unmarked General Assault Badge, which was a military decoration awarded during World War II to personnel of the German Army, Waffen-SS and Ordnungspolizei (order police) who supported an infantry attack but were not part of specific infantry units and therefore did not qualify for the Infantry Assault Badge. The other award is a single ribbon for the Eastern Medal. The Eastern Medal was awarded to any member of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS "in recognition of experience in the struggle against the Bolshevik enemy and the Russian winter within the period from 15 November 1941 to 15 April 1942." It was also awarded posthumously to any service member who died in the line of duty within the Soviet Union. It was wryly called the Frozen Meat Medal or the "Order of the Frozen Flesh".

This is truly an incredible uniform that comes with an even more incredible backstory of the American soldier who captured it. It’s not often that you are able to add a German WWII uniform to your collections that have solid provenance, so you do not want to miss out on this opportunity!

Comes more than ready for further research and display!

Links For Further Information
Technician 5th Grade VanZant Can Be Found Here On The American D-Day Website
The 115th Infantry Regiment After Action Report For June 6, 1944 Can Be Found Here

Approx. Measurements:
Collar to shoulder: 9”
Shoulder to sleeve: 25.5”
Shoulder to shoulder: 18”
Chest width: 18”
Waist width: 16”
Hip width: 22.5”
Front length: 29"
Waist: 32"
Inseam: 34"

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