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"German Undershirt?" Topic

10 Posts

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Terry3703 Jun 2015 10:31 a.m. PST

I am wanting to do a figure of Heinrich Jager, a main character in Harry Turtledove's WorldWar series. The description I want to use for him is one he wore at the end of the last book. He is described as wearing only his green undershirt and his black panzer trousers.

I am trying to determine the shade of green for this undershirt and also if it should be long sleeve or short sleeve.

If it helps, he was a colonel in the panzer troops.



Sundance03 Jun 2015 11:16 a.m. PST

Unless I'm just thinking of the sports shirt, Germans wore a white undershirt, with a light/medium grey shirt and the black panzer uniform in WWII. The Bundeswehr wears green undershirts. Don't know where he got the idea that Germans wore a green undershirt, unless it's just part of his world.

Personal logo timurilank Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2015 11:24 a.m. PST

I would think some of the re-enactment groups would be the best source for that information.
The History Bunker.

Most colour photos show German soldiers dressed with their jackets on. However, when all else fails, then there is this…



Terry3703 Jun 2015 4:31 p.m. PST

Thank you Gentlemen. Not sure where he got some of his data, but he does seem to be spot on with some things. I have been pondering this all day and am beginning to think he is not referring to an undershirt like we might think of a pull-over tee shirt, but he is referring to the shirt he wore under his panzer blouse. That being the case, he may have interpreted the shirt as being greenish when it is probably more of a bluish color? Still pondering,


photocrinch03 Jun 2015 4:37 p.m. PST

Well underneath it all they were apparently quite ripped:


zippyfusenet03 Jun 2015 6:28 p.m. PST

Check Osprey MAA 2593 Underwear, Foundation Garments and Lingerie of the Wehrmacht 1933-45, forthcoming in October 2016.

Martin Rapier03 Jun 2015 10:09 p.m. PST

The mouse grey shirt (they wore white ones early in the war) would fade to a sort greenish hue. Mine certainly has, so really and sort of mid greeny grey will do, but make it lighter than field grey wool uniform colour.

Personal logo GreyONE Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Jun 2015 1:17 p.m. PST


deephorse05 Jun 2015 4:52 a.m. PST

As you suggest Terry, the problem is one of interpretation. What does Turtledove mean by 'undershirt'?

According to my references there was no such thing as a Wehrmacht issue 'undershirt'. There was underwear, shirts, sweaters etc., but not an undershirt.

To determine exactly what the chatacter could be wearing will depend upon whether or not you want Turtledove's timeline to fit in exactly with the historical uniform issue timeline? It's going to be easier if you do!

The pre-war shirt was a long-sleeved garment that was pulled on over the head. It had no collar and had 4 buttons to fasten the opening that allowed it to be pulled on. It was an off-white colour. Brian L Davis remarks that armoured unit personnel were issued grey (as he describes it) shirts from the begining.

Off-white is not a good colour choice for troops wishing to be concealed and so a field grey (or grey-green) coloured one was introduced in 1941. This time it had a collar, otherwise it was the same as the pre-war version. As has been shown many times on TMP (and elsewhere) the precise colour of field grey varied throughout the war and from manufacturer to manufacturer, so make your own choice.

Next there was the M-43 shirt that added shoulder straps and two breast pockets, but otherwise was the same as the 1941 model. It is said to be of a darker grey colour and arrived in mid-1943.

Finally the shirt had another colour change in January 1944, this time back to what is described as grey-green.

Terry3705 Jun 2015 6:11 a.m. PST

Deephorse, Thank you for the information. I have just received similar information from a friend who collects WWII militaria, some of it German. He is most knowledgeable, but I had not heard from him when I posted the question.

GreyONE, Thanks for eh picture. Hadn't recalled that scene, but I think something with sleeves would be more appropriate for being outside on the city streets of Poland. I do like hte color however!

I am decided on the 1941 issue with the collar and in a grey-green color.

Thanks again!


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