Jump to content

How were the 'Schwarzmänner' dressed in Africa?


Rob de Bie
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have a Fujimi 1/72 Ju 87D that I want to add some ground crew figures too. I know they were called 'Schwarzmänner' because of their black clothing, but I wonder whether different outfits were used in Africa, for obvious reasons. Does anyone know?

 

spacer.png

 

Rob

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding the posted photo of the Ju 87R-1 of the III./StG 1, this unit was in Libya only very briefly, from 10.April 1941, when they made their longest-ever transfer flight (3 hours from Trapani, Sicily to Tripoli, then 4 hours, 46 minutes on to Derna) until 8.May 1941, which happened to coincide with Gruppenkommandeur Helmut Mahlke'a 100. Feindflug.  In his memoir, Mahlke mentions their arrival had been preceded by two of the Ju 52s assigned to them hauling some of their key ground personnel, including Inspekteur Schiling, who purchased tropical clothing in the Tripoli bazaar.  He "had even tracked down a clothing store where we were able to kit ourselves out in the most important items of tropical clothing: tropical helmets, lightweight khaki shirts, jackets and trousers -- not all matching, not necessarily all fitting, but at least suitable for the climate.  Dressed in our new finery we didn't present a very military appearance on the ground.  But our Ju 87s would more than make up for that in the air.  That was where it mattered."

 

Your subject, Walter Sigel's Ju 87D-1/Trop, is later, from 1942, by which time the Luftwaffe was supplying its own tropical clothing.  Shorts were worn in hot weather, but long trousers were common -- it can get COLD in the desert at night (my father reported swings from well-over 100° F in the day, dropping into the 40s at night, and always, thousands of flies.  He also learned to dump out his boots in the morning, a scorpion may have crawled in overnight, to keep warm).

 

Nice work on that Fujimi 'Dora,'

GRM

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jack and GR, many thanks for all the information. You've given me a good start. I was surprised to see even tropical hats. I tried forming one from thick aluminium foil, but it wasn't a success. I then went looking in all my figure sets, and to my surprise a few figures with a tropical hat are included in Preiser set 72509. I will probably use one of them.

 

Rob

Edited by Rob de Bie
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

About tropical clothing

In Sicily Hajo  Hermann wrote exactly about it. In his book: Bewgtes Leben. There was non.

This is an other location but still the same heat!

Happy modelling 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

During July 1940, Germany was already entertaining the possibilities of operations in  North Africa.  This became a necessity to prevent a total collapse of the region.   By late 1940, the Army would have tropical wear ready for issue, with Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine would follow soon after with their own designs.  My reference library also mentions that tropical clothing could also be sourced from the Italians and later, captured British booty -the two prime alternate sources.   No initial purchase orders have been uncovered to pin point an exact date.

 

In a huge compendium of tropical uniforms by Robert Kurtz, he mentions the Luftwaffe pith helmet only began to be available mid-1941, but it's distribution was phased out by early 1942 as it was considered unsuitable.   In the photo I had linked earlier, the individual facing the camera with his hands behind his back, looks to be sporting Italian headgear, goggles and shorts - or maybe the person is actually Italian too?

 

As to why not everyone was issued tropical clothing and in every suitable region, well initially these was intended only for the DAK.   It was only later that other areas of similar climate (and usually just during summer months) did they become standard issue.  Priorities and availability also factor in. 

 

regards,

Jack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is to mention an other point for modellers. Mostly forgotten objects in aircraft are curtain. I started some times ago a thread about it! Im every cockpit to see, Ju 88 and so on...

Happy modelling 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The photo posted by @JackG shows the often mixed uniforms used by german troops in the Mediterranean theatre. While there were specific uniforms for Africa, they were often supplemented with suitable items intended for continental use due to the inadequate and inconsistent supply situation that plagued the Afrika Korps from the start.

 

The pith helmets shown are all of Luftwaffe pattern:

spacer.png

(photo from germanmilitaria.com)

...the metal insignia has been removed, as was often the case since they are only held on by a few fragile aluminum prongs.

 

The man all the way to the right with his back turned to the camera is wearing "Drillich" trousers. They were intended as an inexpensive work uniform and are made from un-dyed linen twill. When new, they are something of an 'oatmeal' color. However, they fade to white as they age. Here is a pair of them from my collection, in the Luftwaffe pattern (which differed from the army pattern in having pocket flaps). I added sheet of white paper for white balance:

 

spacer.png

 

spacer.png

 

The shorts worn by most in the picture are of the several styles worn by troops in Africa largely conforming a standard pattern but with several variations in pocket and waistband details. They could be made from several materials, mostly linen or cotton twill, but could be found in poplin or other weaves due to the many manufactures producing them. All are a tan color, Army examples generally being more olive-tan, Luftwaffe tending more toward yellow-tan, and navy tending more towards the orange end of the spectrum. Here's a set pair from my collection that are Luftwaffe marked:

 

spacer.png

 

spacer.png

 

The long trousers used by the Luftwaffe started out essentially the same as the above short trousers, except longer. Later they adopted a Luftwaffe-specific pattern with a large pocket on the left leg (copied from the British BD uniform) and bloused cuffs:

 

spacer.png

(photo from germanmilitaria.com)

 

A couple chaps are wearing the continental wool 'flyer's cap" produced in Luftwaffe blue-grey wool. An example from my collection is shown in the above photos with the shorts.

 

 

Edited by RainierHooker
grammar
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe that Osprey's line of "Men at War(or Man at War< don't recall the correct title, apologies)" has several titles concerning the Luftwaffe in North Africa with some excellent photos and color drawings of the men and their uniforms and equipment. HTH

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have the Osprey book entitled "Bf109 Aces Of North Africa" and it has some good pics of ground crew and pilots in assorted desert garb plus some nice colour plates of pilots as well.

 

Regards

Colin.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/15/2021 at 4:13 PM, JackG said:

During July 1940, Germany was already entertaining the possibilities of operations in  North Africa.  This became a necessity to prevent a total collapse of the region.   By late 1940, the Army would have tropical wear ready for issue, with Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine would follow soon after with their own designs.  My reference library also mentions that tropical clothing could also be sourced from the Italians and later, captured British booty -the two prime alternate sources.   No initial purchase orders have been uncovered to pin point an exact date.

 

In a huge compendium of tropical uniforms by Robert Kurtz, he mentions the Luftwaffe pith helmet only began to be available mid-1941, but it's distribution was phased out by early 1942 as it was considered unsuitable.   In the photo I had linked earlier, the individual facing the camera with his hands behind his back, looks to be sporting Italian headgear, goggles and shorts - or maybe the person is actually Italian too?

 

Jack, thanks for the additional information! My Stuka is from 1942, so a pith helmet would not be out of place.

 

Rob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/17/2021 at 6:50 PM, RainierHooker said:

The photo posted by @JackG shows the often mixed uniforms used by german troops in the Mediterranean theatre. While there were specific uniforms for Africa, they were often supplemented with suitable items intended for continental use due to the inadequate and inconsistent supply situation that plagued the Afrika Korps from the start.

 

The man all the way to the right with his back turned to the camera is wearing "Drillich" trousers. They were intended as an inexpensive work uniform and are made from un-dyed linen twill. When new, they are something of an 'oatmeal' color. However, they fade to white as they age. Here is a pair of them from my collection, in the Luftwaffe pattern (which differed from the army pattern in having pocket flaps). I added sheet of white paper for white balance:

 

RainierHooker, thanks for your great post! A question about the "Drillich" trousers: as far as I can see, it had no loops for a belt, but instead buttons for braces, and some straps to tighten the waist, correct? Added braces would be great for the figure I plan to build. The woolen cap is another interesting option, I have to look through my Preiser figures again.

 

Thanks again!

 

Rob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/17/2021 at 8:58 PM, JPuente54 said:

I believe that Osprey's line of "Men at War(or Man at War< don't recall the correct title, apologies)" has several titles concerning the Luftwaffe in North Africa with some excellent photos and color drawings of the men and their uniforms and equipment. HTH

 

JPuente54, thanks for the book suggestions! I have to admit I have nothing covering that era - I selected that Fujimi Stuka for the reason that I could not do any research, in order to finish it straight from the box 🙂

 

Rob

On 10/18/2021 at 3:49 AM, fishplanebeer said:

I have the Osprey book entitled "Bf109 Aces Of North Africa" and it has some good pics of ground crew and pilots in assorted desert garb plus some nice colour plates of pilots as well.

 

Colin, a similar thanks for the book suggestion!

 

Rob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Rob de Bie said:

 

RainierHooker, thanks for your great post! A question about the "Drillich" trousers: as far as I can see, it had no loops for a belt, but instead buttons for braces, and some straps to tighten the waist, correct? Added braces would be great for the figure I plan to build. The woolen cap is another interesting option, I have to look through my Preiser figures again.

 

Thanks again!

 

Rob


Correct, the drillich trousers like most German non-tropical trousers up until 1943/44 have no built in loops for belts. They have cinches on either side of the waist and buttons for braces. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/21/2021 at 1:27 AM, RainierHooker said:

Correct, the drillich trousers like most German non-tropical trousers up until 1943/44 have no built in loops for belts. They have cinches on either side of the waist and buttons for braces. 

 

Thanks again! I will add braces to my figure. Here's where I am with my figure. I still want to add some kind of head gear, in a way someone would use to sleep in the daylight.

 

stuka-22.jpg

 

Rob

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...