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Italian Camo for the 1st and 12th SS


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I was getting ready to play a scenario that included the Hitlerjugend, when I suddenly discovered that I didn't know what uniforms to use. I had decided to use camo, and there my problems started...

When they used camo, did the SS 1st and SS 12th use Italian camo exclusively by 1944, or were they using a mix? There are several sites on the web that describe the sequence of armor camo patterns, is there anything like that for uniforms?

My next disconcerting discovery was that I don't seem to have anything in Italian camo by ATF other than trousers. Have I managed to overlook ATF's late-war Italian camo SS uniforms? How prevalent were they anyway (see above)?

And finally, what, exactly, is Italian camo, anyway? I find that it looks a lot like splinter camo, and I'm not sure I know the difference. [For that matter, why is oak leaf called oak leaf -- it doesn't look like any oak leaf I've ever seen, unless its supposed to be light filtered through oak leaves].

I've managed to convince myself that it probably existed because I've seen a picture that is supposed to be a staff meeting in Normandy and at least one of the officers is wearing camo that is some kind of a splinter pattern, presumably Italian. And the former Third Reich Factbook website has a sample of Italian camo worn by the SS.

Finally, is there any historical evidence that German soldiers in WWII ever wore camo pants but non-camo tunics? Is this an actual historical phenomenon, or an artefact of modern-day action figures? It suggests a late 20th century fashion statement, since I would think it would be more important to wear camo on the head and upper torso rather than the legs.

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I have a history of the 12th SS that breaks down the camo use by battalion - they did have a mix; some battalions of the PzGren regiments, for example, wore primarily dot pattern 4 pocket tunics and trousers, others wore different types of camo. So the Italian stuff was not predominant in 12th SS by any means. The Panzer regiment assigned to the div also had a wide mix of uniforms, including leather items, smocks, camo suits (4 pocket tunics and pants) and Italian stuff.

I have to agree that the use of camo pants and plain tunics seems a bit ahistorical, but I would need to look at some photos to refresh my memory as to why I feel that way.

Italian camo has no "raindrops" the way splinter has, nor are the edges of the colour "blotches" sharply cornered; they are more of a swirly pattern. Modern Italian camo seems not to have changed much - a google search ought to yield you dividends.

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The Photos that I have seen of the 12SS at Normandy seem to indicate that they were well supplied with the 44 dot pattern 4 pocket tunic and pants. Most of the ones I see for the 1SS seem to show a blend of smocks & dot. In CM terms stick to either one. Don't worry too much about Italian Camo, the few pictures I've seen of Germans wearing it look like a field expediant and unlikely to have been issued. As with most of these issues go for the great perponderance of the evidence not the exceptional photograph. I've seen a picture of a German Officer sporting a mustache and a gotee, but I would think that it would be a silly conclusion to think that was authorized or that there was a battalion out there that looked like background figures in a Van Dyke painting.

DavidI

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The Italian camo seems to have been picked up by SS units serving in the Med - I believe that Italian shelter quarters (shelter half?) were cut up to make field expedient clothing just as David suggests. They may also have "liberated" whole bolts of cloth, but I am sure there are some SS experts at www.feldgrau.com that could answer the question much more satisfactorily - also try Marcus Wendel's Axis History forum.

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I suppose if someone asked my *really* nicely I could put together an Italian camo uniform mod, but I'd have to know what a German italian camo uniform is supposed to look like: were there tunics or smocks or what? Ideally whatever it is would be identical in cut to one of my previous uniform mods since adding a camo pattern to one of them is easy.

As to the camo-pants-with-plain-tunic question: I'm not sure about action figures, as I don't play with them, but I've seen several photos of German Heer soldiers in Italy wearing Italian camouflage trousers with woolen or HBT tunics, like in my new mod here: hbt2.jpg

smile.gif

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I never meant to suggest that you were the source of the mixing of camo pants and plain tunics, and if it seemed that way, please accept my humblest apologies.

Somewhere in my very fuzzy memory I seem to recall someone having found action figures with this uniform arrangement. The link to one of the figures was posted on the board (this was about three years ago) and received the expected chorus of ooh's and ah's. One modder who shall remain nameless opined privately that no such combination ever existed. I have no opinion since WWII is not my period. However, I do actually see things like this walking around in the New York subways once a week when I'm in town to visit my girlfriend (modern camo, of course). I suspect the mix has infiltrated our subconscious subliminally; it probably would have seemed odd to our parents and grandparents, who had a different (and more classical) sense of aesthetics altogether.

On the other hand, if you've actually seen a period photograph of some poor German unfortunate enough not to have been outfitted in a proper uniform, then I'm delighted that my post-facto cultural interpretation of what is going on around the fringes of our minds will meet the fate that it deserves.

Unfortunately I'm so low tech I can't remember how to go about posting an image link. (I was actually going to send you j-pegs but I can't remember your address either...must be the water up here). I've seen two examples in the Waffen SS uniform section of the Third Reich factbook. I just checked them and, not surprisingly, my memory is a bit faulty: one seems to be a panzer commander's wrap (that's probably what the officer in the staff meeting was wearing, though the quality of that particular photo makes it hard at first to realize what he is or isn't wearing), and the other is some kind of a (very ugly) winter smock. Unlike most of the uniform pictures posted on the web these things don't seem to be for sale, and given the source they're probably authentic. I guess I was hoping that you might have something on this in you uniform reference library, but since I don't collect books on this subject I have no idea what's available. I would have thought that the uniform would have looked like all the other camo uniforms, just with Italianate fabric. But one of the few things that I have learned about this kind of thing is that one shouldn't assume anything.

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Originally posted by Philippe:

I never meant to suggest that you were the source of the mixing of camo pants and plain tunics, and if it seemed that way, please accept my humblest apologies.

No worries, I was just attempting to confirm that the practice existed in real life. smile.gif There are at least two photos of the combination in my recently-obtained German Army Uniforms and Insignia book. The caption on one said it was a reasonably popular thing to wear in the Italian theater.

Since I don't really know anything about the subject I'll have to assume the author is telling the truth and that these guys in the photos weren't the only two soldiers in Italy wearing the combination. ;)

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Took me a while to find it, but this link has some interesting photographs of fine young fascists. The photo that had originally caught my eye was the one that included Wilhelm Mohnke, third picture from the bottom on a particularly slow-loading page.

http://home.att.net/~SSPzHJ/Photos.html

Now that I look at this page again with a different agenda I notice a photograph of three officers from three different units in the same division, each wearing different camo (one of which appears to be italian). There's even a photo of a soldier from a recon unit who is in shadow, so that you can't tell if he's wearing italian camo trousers or has merely been rolling around in the mud (or perhaps a bit of both).

On an unrelated note I particularly like the image of the german officers striking unposed poses for the photographers, and the palpable social discomfort in the receiving line at the begining of the page.

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In the photo beneath this caption:

Bremer, front and center, with Bartling standing behind his right shoulder.

...is the halftrack the FT-equipped one (SPW 251/16?). It certainly looks that way from:

1. the tube to the right of the MG and;

2. what appears to be two crewman visible in the background wearing protective hoods/googles...a uniform/head mod just waiting to happen for CMX2 ;)

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Originally posted by Brent Pollock:

In the photo beneath this caption:

Bremer, front and center, with Bartling standing behind his right shoulder.

...is the halftrack the FT-equipped one (SPW 251/16?). It certainly looks that way from:

1. the tube to the right of the MG and;

2. what appears to be two crewman visible in the background wearing protective hoods/googles...a uniform/head mod just waiting to happen for CMX2 ;)

251/16 is right. Another clue is the presence of 3 gunshields. I like how the crewman on the left has his mount aimed at the brass.
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